We all like to have choices! When it comes to food, having a little choice can be the difference between grumpy eating and enthusiastic eating, especially with kids who are picky eaters. One easy solution is to follow the model of make-your-own Sundays and apply it to dinner food:
Make your own pasta extravaganza –
- Boil a big pot of water and select 2 different kinds of pasta (my kids are big fans of wagon wheels, penne, rigatoni and spaghetti). When the first is done, use a big strainer spoon (insert pic) or tongs to take it out and add the 2nd kind.
- Make your own quick tomato sauce (link to recipe) or buy a good-quality jar (add a few brand suggestions). Make your own pesto (link to recipe) or buy a jar (365 and Traders Joe’s are good).
- Grate some parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese. Put out small bowls of chopped olives and sun-dried tomatoes. If you want more protein, include sautéed shrimp, meatballs (homemade or frozen), or white beans (delicious with broccoli raab).
I am a firm believer that with the right, high-quality ingredients anyone can put together a satisfying meal. Yes, there are techniques you can learn and countless complex dishes, but a meal of a few good cheeses, olives, baguette, and wine can also be fabulous. It’s worth spending a little more to know that the quality is really good. Find local stores with great products and, preferably sales people who really know and our excited about what they carry. Here is Roslindale, we have an excellent cheese shop that sells lots of interesting goodies. Here’s what we bought today: parmesan cheese sticks, salty caramels, farmhouse cheddar (sharp with an almost grainy texture), and Red Dragon cheese (cheese with coarse mustard in it).
I also recommend having good olive oil on hand. Use something mild for everyday cooking, but have a bottle of flavorful olive around to add to cooked pastas, make salad dressing or dip bread into. While we can’t all do what Barbara Kingsolver did (see Animal, Vegetable, Miracle) and eat only local food in season, the more we can buy produce grown close to home, the better it will taste. Most importantly, find foods that make you close your eyes and say “Mmmmm,” or smile because they’re so good.
So it is 1/1/11 and this is my first blog post! I am so excited to launch this site and continue the many conversations I have had with people about what to cook and how to do it. As the holidays roll to a close, I’m thinking about how much I love cooking for my friends and family. Some recent highlights from my kitchen include: My Mom’s Brisket, Chicken Marbella, and Butternut Squash Soup (see “recipes”). This is food that is deeply satisfying and perfect for winter days and nights.
As I launch this site, my hope is that it is a place for talking about good food, sharing ideas about cooking and for getting support to cook and eat the way you want to. As a teacher and coach, I love to help people gain the skills and confidence to work for their goals and fly on their own. Taking charge of how you and your family eats is powerful and has far-reaching and long-lasting effects. Whether your goal is to cook more, eat healthier, minimize the time you spend in the kitchen, or something else, it’s helpful to have support and strategies. If you want to learn more about coaching services, please see the “food coaching” page and email me to arrange a free sample session. If you just want to check out recipes and share your own ideas, please feel free to hang out.
This is Cooking for Everyone – that means that everyone can cook and that you can cook for everyone.