Monday, April 7, 2008

My dinnertime dilemma

I seriously don't know what my problem is. Lately I cannot seem to make an adequate meal plan for the week to save my life.

Here's the deal: At least for the time being, I am a stay at home Mom. That means that every day I attempt to clean my house. I chase my kids around. I let the dog out, change diapers, do my best to keep banshee screaming to a minimum. Last but not least, every night I make an effort to perform feats in the kitchen that result in a nutritious and filling meal for my family. Except sometimes on Wednesdays. That's dollar ninety nine kids meal night at KFC. I know. Barf-o-rama. But seriously people - I can't FEED my kids the same amount of food that they get for a buck ninety nine at KFC on Wednesdays, and at least I'm not overrun with McDonald's toys.

But anyway, back to dinner. I'm having major meal anxiety. First of all, I'm one of those freaks who likes to grocery shop. Dare I say it, but I enjoy it. Yes I had toys when I was a child. Be nice. I just like going to the grocery store - especially when the girl-offspring are both at school. Then it's like a vacation. I peruse the meat department and I can practically smell the grill. I meander through produce and envision brightly colored salads, and smiling happy children who always eat their vegetables. Or I walk past the margarita mixers and imagine myself on a beach, where the stock boy Jon stops shelving grape juice long enough to become Javier, the cabana boy who hovers anxiously at my elbow waiting for me to finish one umbrella clad drink so that he can fulfill his sole purpose in life, to get me a new one.

Then the baby usually knocks over a display of something terribly embarrassing, like a tower Kotex and I come back to Earth and scurry away to go stock up on yogurt or something equally practical, but the bottom line is that I like to grocery shop.

I love getting a good deal and I can usually find one, in part because I'm a tightwad like my Dad was and in part because I'm addicted to The Grocery Game. (check it out: - use me as a referral if you sign up) Our deep freezer is currently full of frozen shrimp meat, flank steaks, ground pork and ground beef, pot roast Italian sausage, hamburgers, chicken breasts, and a small turkey.

I have no idea what to do with any of it.

Seriously. It's really sad, but I feel like I just keep on making the same five or six meals over and over. I wake up in the morning and one of the first thoughts in my head is "crap what am I going to make for dinner tonight?" I'm having some major culinary issues here people. It doesn't have to be fancy. Or expensive. Or gourmet. I honestly couldn't care less. I just want it to taste good and not be the exact same thing we ate last week. And I want my family to enjoy it. In fact, recently when I told Skippy's mom that her son has gotten much better at complimenting my cooking, he replied over shoulder, "You've gotten better at cooking!" So I suppose that's something. I used to be way too intimidated to try a new recipe, or to make something completely from scratch. If it didn't come out of a box, I wasn't sure what to do with it.

But I appear to be in a rut. I'm attempting to plan meals at least a week in advance, and I find myself sitting at the table with my pen poised over my list, and I'm just writing the same things over and over.

So here's where you all come in. Yes, the ten faithful people who read my blog, LOL. I need some help. Ya'll need to email this blog to your friends, your moms, your personal chefs, whatever and then everyone needs to send me some recipes at because this old apron-wearing dog obviously needs some new tricks. Skippy is a whiz in the kitchen (he's even learned to clean up his own messes, double bonus!) but his hours don't let him have much time to cook at home during the week. So give me some new ideas. Email me an old family favorite, or get that recipe from a friend that you've been dying to try out yourself and pass it along.

All I ask is that it's fairly easy, uses ingredients that I can find in Safeway, and isn't full of too much processed crap. After all, I DO feed my kids KCF once a week.

Help a gal out, would ya?


The crazy one said...

Ame... you have to make this:

Better than Arby's Roast beef
1 (3 to 4 pound) roast
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Place roast in crockpot. Stir remaining ingredients together and pour over roast. Cook on LOW all night.

The next morning stir together. Remove any membrane or fat if desired. Stir well again. Let simmer on LOW until noon or evening.
Serve on buns.Leftovers freeze beautifully.

I tend to slice up a whole Walla Walla sweet onion to throw in. I also think a bell pepper would be good too. Anyway, I made it a few times for game night and all the guys seemed to like it.

Katy said...

i LOVE this magazine and the recipe's always look SO good. unfortunately i can't make any of it because a) i dont have a fridge and b) i dont have a kitchen.

hope you can find something yummy in there! some of it is a little too fancy but most of it looks pretty easy and tasty!

Katy said...

oops heres the link!
Domino Mag Recipes

Tracey said...

Oh, I can so feel your pain! I'm in the same rut. Here's what's helped me. Go to Barnes and Noble, Borders, whatever book store you like. You have to do it without the kids or at least bring something that will keep Chunk busy! Go to the bargain section and browse through the cookbooks till you find one you like. I refuse to follow an unknown recipe if there isn't a picture to go with it! So, I bought one that had pics for each recipe and I've gotten some great meals from them. Totally worth it to find the inspiration. Also, has saved me many times!

Emily said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Emily said...

Please delete my comment ASAP, or at least my email so i am not spammed to death.

kat said...

girl. you have to show me this coupon thing!

Claudia said...

Here is what I did to help with that dinner planning fiasco. I made a big master list of all the meals I like to cook to refer to when I can't think of what to make. And every now and then I think of one I forgot so I add it to the bottom. I also peruse my Rachael Ray (she is much less annoying in print) mags and cookbooks and occasionally add new things to the list. This week I added perogis w/ sauted turkey sausage, onions,celery and apples. It was really good. Although I cheated and bought the frozen perogis from Target. Anyway happy cooking.