One of the biggest challenges of being a working parent is suppertime. The tired, hungry and grumpy unite to spend some family time together. Add to this picky eaters, ungrateful teens and dishes to wash, and dinner does not always feel like a positive family event.
Whereas most people want to head for the drive-thru, my own problem is the opposite. You see, I have been envisioning what I want to eat since yesterday. The meat is marinated, the veggies are prepped, and I have decided that homemade tortillas and fresh-cut salsa would seal the deal. So rather than pick up on any family cues (my two children are whining and crying, my starving husband is scanning the refrigerator), I am making a huge mess in the kitchen: kneading, rolling and frying, dreaming about the delicious meal ahead.
Unfortunately nobody enjoys this meal, because I have allowed things to get “past the point of no return.” My three-year-old is sobbing, “but mommy, I wanted paaaaasssssstttta!” My one-year-old has thrown everything on the floor, and I am wishing I had a drink.
Can meals be both simple and nutritious? Can they please most members of the family? Here are some easy-to-make nutritious meals with variations to keep us all happy
1. Kids: poached eggs on toast with veggie sticks (or scramble, boil, fry eggs)
Me: same but toast covered with avocado and tomato slices
2. Kids: cheese quesadillas with cherry tomatoes
Me: cheese, black bean and cilantro quesadilla with spicy salsa
3. Kids: tuna melt and carrot sticks
Me: Tuna melt (tuna mixed with diced chives, hot peppers and smoked paprika), arugula salad
4. Kids: plain tortellini, cucumber slices with yogurt dip
Me: Tortellini with a garlic-yogurt sauce (clove of garlic mixed with fatty plain yogurt), drizzled with a little melted butter containing hot paprika/chili flakes and mint.
5. Kids: baked potato (cooked in microwave) with sour cream, steamed broccoli, chili on side
Me: baked potato topped with chili and sour cream, broccoli on side.
6. Kids: stir-fried rice: rice with fried veggies, eggs, leftover meat or nuts.
Me: Above with added chili hot sauce
7. Individual whole wheat pita pizzas: topped with cheese, veggie sticks on side
Me: topped with artichoke hearts, peppers, spinach, olives and feta cheese