Thursday's Dish: A recipe for all

Let’s face it. As moms, we spend a good deal of our daytime hours in the kitchen. I’m not sure why that is, but is seems pretty universal that kids eat most of the day and if we’re not cooking, we’re preparing or cleaning up. So I thought I’d devote one day a week to talking about food and/or meals.

When my neighbors and I gather outside in the remaining hours before dinnertime, without a doubt, the one question that always comes up is “what are you making for dinner?” Then we stand there, causally swap recipes and quickly think how we could alter that to accommodate our particular family’s eating habits and/or the items we already have stocked in the frig.

In my former life, before kids (BK), I used to be a gourmet. I would buy cookbooks and watching cooking shows and experiment with strange ingredients. Obviously I don’t buy cookbooks anymore or watch cooking shows or experiment with anything beyond basil or onions. I don’t even think my kids will eat those. In an effort to resurrect myself after almost three years of being short order cook for kids less than two years apart, I have made a commitment that my children will try to eat normal grown up food that we eat. Yes, we still do chicken nuggets, pizza, meatballs and mac and cheese on those nights I can’t get dinner on the table fast enough, but I will teach my kids to eat normal food somehow. My plan is to make dishes where I know each child will like something on their plate. Even it if means I have to throw carrot sticks on there to satisfy our veggie quota for the week. (If Alex dislikes dinner, he will eat a million carrots in lieu of dinner, which is fine by me.)

My first recipe is one I believe I got from my mom and my mother in law. I think they each make a different version of it. It’s one everyone will eat most of or parts of, makes good leftovers, and takes less than 30 minutes.

Quick Sausage and Spinach Pasta
(Don’t let the spinach throw you off this one, my kids will eat around it and even occasionally try it.)

1 pound of any kind of pasta
1 package of sausage (we like the Garlic and Cheese ones from Trader Joes, but anything that’s not too spicy will do)
1 bag of baby spinach leaves
1 carton of cherry tomatoes (I’ve even used canned in a pinch or regular tomatoes)
Pine nuts are optional
Parmesan Cheese

Boil pasta. Cook sausage until done. Cut up tomatoes or slice cherry ones in half. Once the pasta is done, drain quickly. Once the sausage is done, slice. Put everything back in the pot that you boiled the pasta in—pasta, sliced sausage, tomatoes, and spinach. (Add in a little oil or some of the juices from the sausage.) The steam from the pasta will “cook” the spinach and just wilt it. If you like, you can cook the tomatoes and spinach in the same skillet as the sausage for just a minute or two to wilt them both a bit. Right before serving add cheese and pine nuts, if desired.

(Note: This makes a lot. My daughter inhales the pasta and some of the spinach and a few bites of sausage. My son will eat the sausage, a few bites of pasta and if we’re lucky will eat a bit or two of spinach. Feel free to add more to this, zucchini might be good too.)

1 comment:

Heather Whitman said...

Sounds great! I think we'll be trying this receipe very soon.