My love of wine and complete loathing of laundry is pretty well documented; however, I think it is time to start chronicling my annoyance with meal planning.
I love to cook. I like trying new recipes and using new ingredients. But nothing can kill your love for something like spending five hours in the kitchen trying to recreate the photo in an Ina Garten cook book like your children acting as if you have just served them a cow pie with gravy on top.
“It’s chicken. You love chicken. Just try it. Please!?!?!”
Last night my daughter had to choke down three tiny pieces of roasted potato. No sauce, no seasoning. Just a roasted Yukon gold with some salt, and she acted like a Survivor contestant trying to eat a live jungle maggot.
So, it’s no wonder that meal planning isn’t exactly my most favorite activity.
And let’s be real, the term “planning” is a bit generous. What I usually do is take the same four meals and shuffle them into different days of the week: we had spaghetti on Monday last week, so let’s have it on Thursday this week. Then I try to find one new recipe which basically consists of all the same ingredients that I always cook with.
Scrolling through Pinterest, I end up with 5,000 pins that basically boil down (pun intended) to 10 total ingredients.
So, how do I break out of this rut?
Even though my oldest wouldn’t eat the roasted potatoes last night, my other kids loved them, and this was a vast improvement from last week when I made them and no one would touch them. So, maybe it’s just a matter of continued exposure? I have absolutely no scientific background or evidence to back that up – but I’m going with it anyways.
My thought is that if I bring something new into the rotation, after a couple of weeks, it will suddenly be an oldie-but-a-goodie and they won’t even think twice about chowing down. Like the potatoes for example. Maybe next week my oldest will be able to actually put one in her mouth without gagging [insert big, long eye roll].
Now, I just have to decided which recipes I am going to try to pioneer with this new strategy?
They love tacos so maybe I start with fish tacos to ease them in: you have to walk before you can run, right? Then I can gradually work on more exotic or flavorful entrees. I am also going to play with different sides and vegetables. That way they aren’t disgusted by the entire meal, it would just be the side dish.
I’ll keep mac n’ cheese and spaghetti in the mix so they don’t completely lose their minds, and so I don’t completely lose mine. But I’m going to start pushing them. The goal isn’t to create tiny foodies who aspire to be on Master Chef Junior, but rather to make them more open to a wider range of foods in the hopes of making my own life a little bit easier and dinner more enjoyable for all.
I’ll let you know how it goes in a few weeks, and if you have any go-to recipes, please send them my way.
Cheers – Emily