This week I started something new. I used to beat myself up over the fact that I didn’t often make dinner. For a number of reasons:
- Because there are only two of us girls, and one of us is kind of only a half-size person, and that same one of us doesn’t like leftovers.
- Because of my work schedule. I don’t get home until 6:30 – 7 on many nights… Try starting dinner at 7 PM and fitting in cooking, eating, homework, bathtime, reading/toothbrushing/prayer time and the rest of the bedtime routine by 8:30 PM all by yourself! It ain’t easy folks!! And with Brynlie in school now, bedtime is more important than ever. (Secret: most of the time, she doesn’t get to bed until at least 9. But I am really trying to improve on that)
- Because it felt like a waste of money and effort. I may have been saving more on food initially, but I would throw so many things out because they went bad before we could get to them. Especially healthy things like fruits and produce. We are rarely home to eat them.
- And also I think a little because it felt unappreciated. After all, what 3-5 year old cares how long and hard you worked over a meal? Half the time I would want to make something yummy and she’d be upset because all she wanted was mac n’ cheese.
So, our typical dinners rotated for a long time between fishsticks and veggies, chicken nuggets and veggies, mac n’ cheese (of course), microwave quesadillas, cereal, soup from a can, eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches, and noodles with red sauce (our version of spaghetti using curly noodles and Prego because Bryn thinks she doesn’t like spaghetti). I also try to make healthy-ish choices like organic mac n’ cheese, no sugary cereal, noodles made with veggies… but it’s a long way from balanced nutrition. In fact, as a menu, it’s pretty sad.
So with that background information you can guess what the new thing was I started this week: making dinner!! Like real dinner. I hopped on Pinterest and scrolled through pictures and had Bryn pick three things that looked yummy to her. These were the recipes:
This was the first recipe we tried this week. The corn looks delicious, but we just had chicken and spinach salad, and it was a big hit! Brynlie loved it, AND ate it again as leftovers.
Creamy Tomato & Spinach Pasta
This was next up on our list. I should have saved the picture I took of this dish with fresh parmesan grated on top. It looked SO good… and it was! This was my favorite recipe of the week. Brynlie really liked it too.
Loaded Chicken and Potatoes Casserole
This was the last recipe we tried. I had lots leftover, as in I ate it for lunch two different days this week. I thought it was pretty good! But Bryn said it was too spicy, so I had to drown her serving in a gallon of sour cream and make her eat it anyway. I halved the hot sauce in the recipe but I guess I should have eliminated it. If I make it again, I’ll definitely omit that part to make it more kid-friendly.
I was really proud of myself! Making dinner wasn’t as bad as I thought, and I think I only went out for lunch one day this week since I had food to bring to work for the other days, so I saved money after all. Plus I had leftover spinach and chicken breasts so we had grilled chicken salad for dinner another night, another meal Bryn really liked. I think I’ll try the same plan again this week and see how it goes.
Here’s some other random snapshots from our week. We’ll call this segment Makeovers by Brynlie. Brynlie would wear makeup every day if I’d let her. But I don’t… so now and then I’ll indulge her a little by letting her do mine. She usually requests me to do hers also, which I agree to as long as we’re not leaving the house. This time she wanted to give me “cheerleader makeup” so I googled that, and she got to work copying a picture from the internet. One girl had a star painted on her cheek, so she asked if she could use some of our paints on my face. I agreed, but turns out stars are kind of hard to paint, so we ended up with this:
Then of course I had to have my hair done. Not everyone can pull this look off but it’s okay because it clearly works for me.
Let me know if you guys have any ideas for easy/quick weeknight dinners! Now taking suggestions!