Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Food #4

Two points to this post:

  1. Break the monotony of dinners every now and then by having a themed dinner.
  2. Don’t be afraid to make up your own recipes.

Sometimes it’s fun to base your dinner around a specific theme. It’s a treat for kids AND adults! A couple months ago, we had an Indian night. I made Indian food and we all gave ourselves Indian names that we had to call each other during dinner. The kids got a huge kick out of it! This week on St. Patrick’s Day, we had a green meal—asparagus, edamame, salad, and pasta with green sauce.

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That’s Berkeley’s plate—it looks like a lot of food (that is a regular size dinner plate) but she ate it all! It’s kind of a random assortment of items, but they are all things we love and all worked great for the theme of the evening!

I used to be a lot more hesitant about experimenting with my own creations in the kitchen. Over the last year or so, I’ve been getting a lot braver and have come up with some things that work really well. For example, I knew I wanted to have a green sauce on the pasta, but wasn’t sure how I was going to make it. We had some leftover roasted broccoli and green peppers that were extra pizza toppings from a couple nights ago. I tossed that in the blender with some vegetable stock to thin it out. Then I added a tiny bit of soy milk to add a little creaminess. I had some fresh parsley that I needed to use up, so I tossed that in as well. I grabbed a couple handfuls of the baby romaine lettuce that is in the picture above and blended that in to stretch it a little farther. Then I adjusted the spices with a little salt and some dried basil (would have used fresh if I had it). Once it was all pureed smooth, I heated it up on the stove till it was warm and then served it over the pasta with a little Parmesan cheese on top. A couple years ago, I would never have tossed together something like that. Just a bunch of things I happened to have in the fridge and it turned out really yummy! The girls thought it was cool that it was a green sauce and scraped their plates clean. I fed it straight to the baby (without the pasta) and she gobbled it down as well, along with some leftover split pea soup (seen below) from a few nights ago. I couldn’t leave her out of the theme for the evening!

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Have you had any successful theme nights? Do you like to experiment in the kitchen?

7 comments:

Ransoms said...

wow...you are amazing! your green dinner looks delicious

Annie said...

i like to make "monster spaghetti" with a green sauce made out of spinach (fresh or frozen), chicken broth, parm. cheese and plain yogurt - YUM!

Karen said...

Meredith, you are truly a genius with food and you are doing your girls such a great service. I have always tried to be a healthy cook, but in comparison I was just fooling myself! Brennan(17!) is still picky enough that we secretly hope he goes somewhere on his mission where he will be forced to eat more 'daringly'. I'm not sure he would have touched one thing on Berkeley's plate, sigh.

Rose said...

Yum! I'm inspired to do a themed dinner now . . . what will it be? I love the green sauce too.

jessica, jessie, or jessi said...

I WISH I could get the boys to eat salad! They love their veggies, but they refuse to eat them raw! Only steamed/cooked will do for their picky palates. How did you get the girls to start eating raw veggies?

As for 'theme' nights we have, 'Mexican night' and, 'Pizza (homemade) night' every now and then, but we've never thought to come up with theme names! LOL!!

So what were all of your Indian names??? ;)

The Dahle Family said...

Oh yeah, experimenting/ inventing is what makes cooking fun!! I've concocted similar green sauces, and they're never the same twice. I recall pureeing a soft tofu in a similar sauce once, rather than the soy milk you used, but same effect! I find that Aaron prefers not to know everything that's gone into the mix. Unless we grew it in our garden, and then he loves knowing the secret hidden ingredient!

emilyaaa said...

i've been meaning to ask you abou this since i read it months ago--why did you leave the pasta out of what you were making for your baby? do you give her that stuff now?