Jul 26
icon1 Jennifer | icon2 Dinner, eggs | icon4 07 26th, 2011| icon31 Comment »

Nothing fancy. Scrambled eggs on a day when Daddy won’t be home for dinner. My husband doesn’t eat eggs, and neither does my oldest son. The three little ones love them, in any way, shape or form. I wasn’t sure what I would feed the oldest. I figured when I served the others, I could go digging for leftovers. But he came along when I called them to the table, and he pouted when all I could find was some cold mac & cheese.

“Fine, I guess I’ll try eggs.”

What? What did I just hear? “Are you sure?” I asked.

He nodded, and I lovingly spoonfed him a portion (shoved a forkful in his mouth) before he could change his mind. This one has gained lifelong notoriety for his unwillingness to even try things he’s decided he won’t like.

“So, do you like them?” All four of us waited for his response. He started to shake his head “no,” but then nodded and suppressed a smile. Sometimes it’s just hard to admit you’ve been wrong for, oh, TEN YEARS. My second son actually did a “Yes!” fist pump (he eats anything and can’t understand the more selective palates of his siblings . . . and his father).

Parents of picky eaters understand why this is such a significant victory for us. We don’t have many peaceful dinners because SOMEone is always griping, refusing, glaring, sobbing, or yelling. And it’s not always the same person. And quite often it’s me, having been pushed to the brink by all the griping, refusing, glaring, sobbing, or yelling. And don’t forget the shoving away of the plate. If you really want to get me going, just try shoving your plate away. And why not knock your milk over while you’re at it because I just LOOOOVE that! But I digress. The point is, we have very few go-to meals that are agreeable to everyone. So it’s difficult for me to suppress my elation over the fact that I’ve found one more, albeit a simple one, and one that we still can’t have when Daddy is home.

If you face a similar issue, you might find some enjoyment in reading Suburban Bliss’ “Did They Eat It” feature. I am supremely jealous of the patience (and photography skills) demonstrated here in documenting the step by step recipes and family reactions. Good stuff.

Feb 17
icon1 Jennifer | icon2 breakfast, Dinner, eggs, Timesavers | icon4 02 17th, 2011| icon3No Comments »

If you have school-aged children, you’ve probably heard of Market Day.  A monthly fundraiser for schools and other organizations, Market Day offers an extensive catalog of convenience foods that you order in advance and pick up at the school of your choice on a designated day.  The selection is vast, ranging from meats and produce, to prepared meals, appetizers, snacks and desserts.  While competitively priced, a portion of every purchase comes back to the host organization.  At our school, a dedicated staff of volunteers unloads the delivery truck on pick-up day, organizes the food by category, and helps patrons fill their orders and load their cars. 

My family and I have discovered several Market Day products that we can’t imagine life without.  Lots of people swear by their meats, but I generally go for the products I can use for a quick meal because, face it, it’s nice to have something in the freezer you can turn to in a pinch.  Here are our faves:

Cheese Lasagna Rollups:  I will never make lasagna from scratch again.  These come a dozen in a package, lasagna noodles rolled around the cheese mixture into cute little compact packages:  place them in a baking dish with your own sauce (sometimes we add sausage), cover with mozzarella, and bake.  No more mixing ricotta, parmesan and egg, boiling the noodles, layering, etc.  With our own sauce, this tastes no different than the labor-intensive homemade version.

Breakfast Skillet:  Scrambled eggs, cubed potatoes, pork sausage, onions and peppers; I love breakfast any time of day.  These come frozen in two bags (the eggs are separate).  Dump the first bag in your skillet, cover and cook five minutes; add a little water and the eggs, cover for another five minutes, and voila!  If all six of us ate this (only four will), I might have to scramble an extra egg or two to bulk it up, but even that’s nothing when I consider all of the chopping and dicing I’m avoiding.

Philly Cheese Steak Kit:  I may be from Chicago, but if I see a Philly Cheese Steak on a menu, I have a hard time convincing myself to order anything else.  So I was thrilled to find this option, which has everything you need to make four good-sized sandwiches in a matter of minutes.  Throw the frozen rolls (crusty sourdough!) into the oven at the same time you start the cheesesteaks in a skillet (they both take about five minutes).  Then I add the onions, let them simmer a few minutes, and sprinkle on the mozzarella, letting it melt.  There’s even enough meat here for us to make an extra sandwich on our own roll.

We have many other Market Day go-tos (like the Potato Skins, the Chicken Tortilla Soup, the Appetizer Loaf, many varieties of cookie dough, the PIES!), but I’d love to hear what your faves are!

Jan 2

Living in the midwest, we don’t cook outside anywhere near as often in the winter, and I really miss the taste of grilled food, as well as the expanded menu offerings that come from outdoor cooking.  So when I stumbled across the Nathan’s Reversible Stovetop Grill & Griddle while Christmas shopping, I just couldn’t pass it up.  And yes, that’s Nathan’s as in Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters, sponsors of the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog-Eating Contest in Coney Island that my family can’t miss watching in horrified admiration every summer! 

We took our new Nathan’s Grill/Griddle on a test run today for lunch.  On the menu:  Nathan’s hot dogs (natch) and Johnsonville Sweet Italian Sausage.  The Grill/Griddle fits over both front and back burners of our gas stove (the only cooking surface not compatible is glass) and distributes the heat evenly.  Although the hot dogs cooked pretty quickly, the sausages took more than twice as long as they typically would on the outdoor grill.  But I liked how the grease was channeled away from the meat, and 40 minutes later, we thoroughly enjoyed our summer-style lunch in the middle of winter.  Afterwards, clean-up was a breeze on the non-stick surface.

On the flip side of the grill is the griddle, which holds further appeal for us.  Making breakfast for a family of six is no small endeavor, and the expanded surface of the griddle will make for much faster pancake production.  The box even depicts pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage and potatoes all cooking simultaneously on the griddle surface, but that’s a challenge for another day.  So far, Nathan’s Famous Reversible Stovetop Grill & Griddle gets a thumbs up from my family, although I hope it will be quite a while before any of them can down 50 hotdogs in a ten-minute sitting!

Dec 10
icon1 Jennifer | icon2 breakfast, eggs | icon4 12 10th, 2010| icon3No Comments »

I did something this morning that I almost never, ever do. I made myself breakfast. Of course I eat breakfast every day, but it’s usually a bowl of Cheerios or a yogurt, or sometimes just a granola bar on the run. And what do all of these quick “meals” have in common? None of them sticks with me, and I’m starving in an hour. If I could have a hot breakfast in a restaurant every day I’d be happy as a clam, but who has the time or the money for such indulgences?  Not I, that’s for sure.

My day job is retail merchandising, so I don’t even stop for snacks, let alone meals. And now that there are only a couple of weeks until Christmas, I’ll be going nonstop, between work and trying to get my family’s holiday together. So this morning, I decided to take a few minutes and send myself off on my long day with a good breakfast to get me through. I made myself a simple omelet, a few strips of bacon, and toast, and now I feel like I could take on the world!  Now, what to make for dinner . . .

Sep 27
icon1 Kayla | icon2 eggs | icon4 09 27th, 2010| icon3No Comments »

Who knew that eggs were not only delicious, but so beneficial. From helping you manage your weight, to giving you lasting energy, eggs are a great source of protein and a body booster. I mean who knew that eggs had only 70 calories and had so many nutrients. And for all us of out there that are coo coo for cooking not only do we get to go crazy making all types of egg dished but we also get great benefits from them too. I just found this great recipe for deviled eggs with shrimp and olives,which I am very excited about going home to try. Normally I stick to the classic ham and cheese, but this just sounds delicious. Check out the recipe at http://www.getcracking.ca/recipe_detail.asp?rid=213, and if you guys happen to make it before me let me know what it was like.