Every once in awhile I get discouraged about dinner. This happens because I have picky kids who aren't afraid to voice their opinions, a husband who won't eat soup because "it's not manly" (thus eliminating an entire food genre), and my own quirks (I don't like fish or seafood...thus eliminating another genre). All the drama makes me blue; the result of said discouragement is that I quit trying for awhile. We exist on bagels and Eggos and cold cereal, bean burritos and scrambled eggs and maybe, if we're lucky, hash browns. Then I eventually realize that my fridge has only condiments, cheese, milk, and some wilted carrots. I take a deep breath and put my big girl pants back on and wade back into the fray.
The past ten days or so haven't been happy food times at our house. Someone who shall remain unnamed said something like "not that again" and, coupled with all the other complaints rambling around in my head, it was just enough to push me into Discouraged Dinnerland.
We ate a lot of tacquitos.
But then Monday came around, and I noticed a recipe on my friend Sophia's blog, and I decided to return to the Land of Cooking. Jake was at work (where he can also eat, as he works at a pizza restaurant), and Haley had already eaten with her boyfriend, but the four of us liked this. The opinions went like this:
Kaleb: ate it with only mild complaining and somehow didn't notice the green onions. (Any actual green food is usually entirely unacceptable.) (His plate was, of course, bereft of lettuce.)
Kendell: decided that he liked it well enough, but isn't sure he wants it once a week or anything. (His opinion tempered by the fact that there's no cheese involved.)
Nathan: One bowl with meat, one bowl without, another with. ("I ate so much my stomach hurts.")
Me: "Must. Stop. Eating. No, just another bite. Wait, one more bite. Holy cow this is delicious." (I ate so much my stomach hurt, in other words.)
So I'm adding this to the rotation!
Asian Beef "Wraps"
(modified from Sophia's recipe)
(also, modify amounts to fit your family. I tripled-ish the recipe; we had left overs.)
3 lbs extra-lean ground beef
1 red onion, diced fine
4 garlic cloves
a bunch of grated fresh ginger
salt and pepper
In a large skillet, cook ground beef with onion, garlic, ginger, and salt & pepper. Drain grease thoroughly. Add:
2 T sesame oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup almond butter (use peanut butter if you don't have allergies at your house)
3 T honey
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tsp garlic chili sauce (this is in the Asian foods section) (also, it's HOT!!!)
Stir until everything is mixed. Add:
5 diced green onions (dice them small enough & no one will notice!)
1 can water chestnuts, drained and diced
1/2 cup diced cashews (or less if you're the only one who doesn't bitc complain about how nuts shouldn't be in any food except caramel, fudge, and ice cream)
diced romaine lettuce
The quotation marks in the title are there because this is supposed to be served as a wrap: keep the lettuce leaves whole and use them like a tortilla. But as I was eating by myself and wanted to read while I ate (without dripping stuff out of the bottom of a wrap onto a library book) (I am STILL dragging myself through Sweet Tooth and I'm only finishing it because it might sully my Serious Reader credential if I didn't), I tore the lettuce into pieces, put them on my plate, and then layered rice, meat, and a sprinkle of cashews on top.
The original recipe called for ground chicken. As ground poultry gives me the shudders and I had no defrosted chicken but some hamburger, I switched the meat. I think this would be equally as delicious (and much healthier) with diced chicken.
Kendell was doubtful when I bought the big package of romaine lettuce at Costco. (Since I had, alas, tossed out some deteriorating broccoli and asparagus that same day.) Just to prove him wrong, I made Asian chicken salad with the rest of the romaine for dinner tonight. (Well, by "made" I mean "opened up the Asian Salad Kit and stirred everything together.")
Which means that for two nights in a row, no gratuitous carbs have been consumed at my house.
Perhaps we have finally traveled out of Discouraged Dinnerland.
(Just as long as no one complains tomorrow!)