Tag Archives: dinner

How-To’s Day: Roasted garden roots

Our five-year-old Christopher (on the left in this photo) doesn’t eat veggies. Or anything else even remotely healthy but especially veggies. So, we put him in charge of the garden. He weeds and plants and waters and takes great pride in his little plot of green.  He still won’t eat most of the fruits of his labors but he will at least taste it. This is the same kid who won’t even lick his broccoli for a whole bowl of ice cream. That’s progress.

Christopher’s latest harvest, a whole bunch of root veggies, seemed like the perfect opportunity to get a few vitamins and minerals into his body that he is surely missing. Here’s how we did it:

Butter, salt & pepper

Step 1: Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees and line your cookie sheet with foil, shiny side up.

Step 2: Cube all of the veggies, no smaller than an inch, no bigger than an inch-and-a-half. You decide what ratio of potatoes to beets to carrots you want and cut up enough to fill the cookie sheet. One cookie sheet easily feeds our family of five.

Step 3: Peel and cut six to twelve cloves (according to your taste) of garlic in half and distribute evenly amongst the veggies.

Step 4: Cut a cube of butter lengthwise and then into pats and spread out the same as the garlic. You can use as little as a half a cube or a whole cube if you want them good and crispy. Add salt and pepper to taste — more than you would think you’d need — the potatoes suck it up.

Step 5: Roast on the center rack for 20 to 45 minutes depending on how done you like them. We do two pans for company (as seen above) and it’s important to remember to rotate them to get good browning on the top and bottom pans.

These are great to cook ahead of time if you need to put other things in the oven. Just crank the oven up to 500 degrees about 5 minutes before dinner and throw the veggies in the oven until they’re sizzling.

Disclaimer: If you know us at all, you know my husband gets credit for this recipe. If you don’t, you know now. Thanks Allen!


Garbonzos incognito

Garbonzo bean cookies. Sound yummy? No? You’d be surprised. After dropping many not-so-subtle hints when the book first appeared on Costco shelves I was thrilled to receive Jessica Seinfeld’s, Deceptively Delicious for Christmas in 2007. With a picky eater at home, Seinfeld’s idea — to puree nutrient packed veggies and hide them in delicious kid-friendly meals and treats — sounded like just what the doctor ordered for our family.

Unfortunately, when it came down to physically pureeing spinach and other veggies to include in brownie batter and grilled cheese my enthusiasm for the system died off.

But one recipe stuck with us: Chocolate Chip Cookes (with chickpeas). (FYI, chickpeas = garbanzo beans.) I was nervous at first. Beans and chocolate chips don’t usually belong in the same mixer but these cookies stack up well next to any chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve ever tasted. And I feel like my kids are actually being nourished while they snack. Even my picky Chris loves them! If you know him personally, you will share my shock of his hours old exclamation, “Thanks so much for making these cookies, Mom!” That’s right… Chris.

In light of Christopher’s continued picky-induced malnourishment and the recent loss of two of his weak, decayed teeth. I am dusting off my copy of Deceptively Delicious, determined to give it another shot.

Have you tried the book? What’s your favorite recipe?

I am a dinner cheater

I don’t have time to cook. Seriously. I chase two young children around all day, haul a six year-old to school and back and a husband to school and work, I work from home, work away from home, serve at church, help with school, sew, craft, be friendly, keep clothes on people and the house liveable… I don’t have time to cook. Still, my family needs to eat. Or so they say.

For this purpose was the Crockpot invented. Oh, Crockpot, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…. At least half of our dinners come to us courtesy of my trusty Crockpot’s lovely warm belly. I have lots of yummy Crockpot recipes but I rarely use them because I am a huge unmotivated dinner cheater. I have a loose formula that I use for my Crockpot meals and it hasn’t failed me yet. To try it for yourself, here’s what you’ll need:

Meat. Any size, any shape, whatever you’ve got.
(dry beans or lentils work great too)
1 package of onion soup mix or some garlic salt and your favorite seasonings.
1 can of cream of mushroom soup and/or 1 C of matching boullion
optional: garlic, onions, celery or anything your heart desires

Cook on low all day or on high through the afternoon and go from there. If I have a beef roast in the Crockpot, I will add onions, potatoes and carrots about halfway through the cooking process. I served these pork chops (above) over rice. Chicken? Leave out the onion soup and mix a package of Stove Top stuffing into a can of cream of mushroom soup and craisins and spread over top of the poultry and boullion.

The possibilities are endless, the crowds are pleased and tummies are full. The only flaw is with that yummy smell wafting through the house all hours of the day, by dinner time you’ll be ready to eat and eat good!

Don’t cry over stinky root vegetables

With all of the genetic food modification going on, how do we still not have a no-cry onion? I love onions but I’ve almost stopped including them in my cooking altogether. Slice into one and first come the tears, then the burning and squinting, can’t open my eyes, mascara bleeds into eyes… Being solely responsible for three accident/injury/mischief-prone little boys I can’t afford to be out of commission for that long.

As if the odds weren’t already stacked against me, dinner prep falls smack in the middle of the witching hour. Moms, you know what I’m talking about: Baby’s ready for another nap, (which is out of the question if you want any sleep at night); kids are bored and starting to launch projectiles about the house and at each other. Then there’s the running. From room to room to room, sliding across the kitchen floor, little boy bodies piling up against the cupboards.

Oh, and Tupperware everywhere. The one bowl and wooden spoon you gave your toddler to appease his urge to “help” you cook lost their charm while you were squinting and blotting mascara off your cheeks so he unloaded the whole cupboard.

The no-cry onion… think about it. Write your congressman.