BellyGrowling, a week's worth of dinners

from Jan

Here is BellyGrowling #6, in a slightly different formatIt was a pretty good week for dinners, but is BellyGrowling what you need? Add a comment to let me know what you would like to see in our food posts.  Recipes, menu plans, store lists, videos, ways kids can help in the kitchen?  How can I make this post more COMFY?



I had good intentions of cooking this day, but we had gone to the "Steelers Café" to watch the 1pm game. We all ate so much yummy football food, that we weren't really hungry for dinner. The week will get better. I have some new recipes to try! 


Mushroom and leek buckwheat risotto with pork loin 

We've been experimenting with some gluten-free grain options lately and so I thought I would try buckwheat. I was hopeful that using a recipe with two ingredients we typically like, I was increasing our chance for success.  WRONG.  Buckwheat, as Joshua would say, is YUCK (I am not even including the recipe).  Fortunately, the pork loin with a garlic-pepper rub from Trader Joe's was YUM. 

How kids can help: Joshua cleaned the whole mushrooms and really enjoyed popping the stems off.  I'm still finding those stems in odd places about the kitchen!  With my help, he sliced the mushrooms. He also enjoyed measuring the water and buckwheat and stirring the pot while the buckwheat risotto was cooking on the stove. Joshua also takes great pride in being our official oven door opener/closer, so was very helpful with the pork loin.  


Hungarian beef stew 

It was a cold day and stew is just such a warming thing to think about.  We've eaten a lot of chili so far this winter so I was happy to find this recipe to switch things up a little. This recipe did not disappoint. It is one of my favorite kinds of recipes—throw it all in a pot and let it simmer! 

How kids can help: Joshua was in cutting, measuring, and stirring heaven!  With scissors, he cut the onion and pepper into bite-size pieces. (I had washed and cut them into slices earlier in the day.) He washed the potatoes and carrots. We sliced the carrots with a knife together. The potatoes were pretty small and I could not position us to cut them together, so I did those on my own while he was using scissors on the onions and peppers.  Then, the measuring and dumping began!  Some of the ingredients splashed, some sank or floated, and some smelled funny.  All, of course, went into our BIGGEST pot!  Once the stew was simmering and turned on low, I gave Joshua the responsibility of stirring it every once in awhile. A job he took very seriously and did very earnestly! 


Saigon-style eggplant over rice vermicelli 

A little something different from a heavy stew tonight! And, an opportunity for Joshua to have noodles. This recipe was tasty, but I did not use Japanese eggplants and I think, if I had, the dish would have been even better!  Also, I substituted soy sauce for the Bragg Liquid Aminos and skipped the peanuts. 

How kids can help: Joshua was not in much of a cooking mood this night and that was fine. I don't tend to push him into stuff unless it is really necessary.  Plus, this was an easy recipe for me to do on my own.  However, kids could easily, with the help of a parent, cut up the eggplant, fill the noodle pot with water to boil, and measure out and stir the liquid ingredients. Once everything was finished, Joshua did enjoy scooping noodles onto plates and topping it with spoonfuls of the eggplant mixture. 


Shredded pork and pinto bean tacos 

Mexican food is always a hit at our house!  I did not make the pepita slaw which is included in this recipe but opted for guacamole instead. The Strozer boys, my pork taste testers, said that the pork was good, but did not have a lot of flavor/spice to it. As we were cooking, it seemed like a lot of the liquid was cooking out of the pork pan. Had it not, I think the pork might have had some more flavor to it. 

How kids can help: Joshua helped get everything in the pan to cook the pork, but lost interest after a few minutes because there was not a lot of active cooking to do with that part of the recipe.  But, boy oh boy, was he in a mashing mood. Although it was a little different than the recipe, I had him mash the pinto bean in a separate bowl and stir them into the pork mixture after it finished cooking. He also mashed with fervor the avocados and additional guacamole ingredients. Since there was some downtime while waiting for everything to cook, Joshua decided to set our table "like we have a café." 


Honey-sesame glazed chicken 

This had been a tough day to get through that just quite suddenly got really good at the very end! We decided this would be a celebratory dinner and wow, was it YUM!  We did not have any leftovers. 

How kids can help: This meal takes a lot of measuring and pouring of ingredients. A great opportunity for kids to participate!  The chicken cooks on the stovetop, so it is easy for kids to watch and turn the chicken as long as it does not get too splattery. With the exception of one turn of the chicken (because it got too sizzly), I, very proudly, watched Joshua cook this entire meal. I did help him with the measurements, but he found all of the ingredients, got out all of the equipment we needed, VERY generously spray the pan with olive oil cooking spray, put everything together, and then served it all up! 


Joshua's favorite cousin visited us this day.  And, as part of his excitement decided he wanted to share one of his favorite cafés with her, so we went to Jason's Deli for dinner! 

What a successful week of cooking! We tried FIVE new recipes...and FOUR of them were yummy!