Simmering on Dinners Past
Feb 08, 2017
Dinner is probably one of the biggest challenges that I face as a parent. My mom was a stay-at-home mom and made a home cooked meal every night. That just isn’t an option for us. By the time we reach midweek, our family is functioning on autopilot. All the plans I made over the weekend have succumbed to exhaustion. If I can make good choices on Wednesday and Thursday, I can usually make it through with minimal fast food damage to my crew.
When I was a kid, I distinctly remember the wait for dinner. The time from after school until dinner seemed endless. At a certain point, I would discard my toys and lay on the couch, wrapped in a blanket, and nod off waiting for my dad to come home from work. In the distance, I would hear the calming sounds of my mom chopping things, opening and shutting kitchen drawers, and listen to the pitter patter of the plates and silverware being placed on the table one by one (side note to my siblings: yes, these tranquil memories happened before most of you were born. I am sure this is just a coincidence).
If I shut my eyes I can still smell simmering dinner, the back door would slam, my dad’s voice greeting my mom, and I would listen to the murmur of laughter and chit chat until my mom would call, “Supper!” All was right with the world.
Great childhood memories can be a blessing and a curse. They can make us question what we are providing our kids. Long ago, I accepted that just because my kids do not have the same experiences that I had does not mean we are not making great memories, just in a different way. This is something I need to remind myself often.
For us, this has been a very busy winter. I have tried to look at what we can cut out, and I am not coming up with much. Swim lessons? I don’t want to be in a constant panic at the pool all summer and cannonballing in to save my daredevil child. Drums and piano? My non-athletic son loves music. The only reasonable thing to cut out is our dinner, because of course cutting out good nutrition to sustain us throughout the week is no big deal…
As we all long for warm summer nights, I continue to strive to enjoy the fragmented time we do have in the evening. As a shout out to my childhood memories, I wanted to give you a recipe that can simmer on the stove without you having to do much at all.
I asked myself, am I cheating by leaning on a premade sauce? And the answer is sure, but who cares? As I was looking for a quick and easy sauce recipe there was always that one ingredient I did not have. No, I do not happen to have a lemon sitting around. And I can’t add a dash of “spice I have never heard of before”. At this point, I don’t want to give you easy options that end up not being easy. The majority of ingredients I use I tend to have available. And if I have them available, that pretty much means most people, other than college students with a mini fridge and Keurig, will also have these things on hand.
So, here is what I am suggesting this week:
Sweet & Sour Chicken Skillet
1 lb. Chicken Breast
Campbell’s Skillet Sweet & Sour Sauce
Sides: Hawaiian Bread Rolls, Applesauce
Super easy directions:
Cut chicken and cook in the skillet, add broccoli or any other vegetables you have handy and then add the skillet sauce. While sauce is simmering, cook rice or quinoa (I choose microwave for time purposes). Serve chicken, broccoli, and sauce over rice/quinoa.
Picky Eater Alert:
Remove a portion of cooked chicken and broccoli before adding the sauce and these kids can eat these items separated on their plate. I actually used a Broccoli steamer bag because that is what I had on hand and separated out some florets before adding the broccoli to the skillet.
If you have picky eaters you might want to hold this option back and see if they will eat the skillet meal to ease them into dinner with a little more flavor. My kids will always eat applesauce and LOVE Hawaiian rolls, so this is a good peace offering to balance things out with things they love and maybe something new. I don’t think there is a kid on this planet that doesn’t love Hawaiian rolls. Let me know if I am wrong on this!
My kids may not be relaxing before dinner, but we still manage to squeeze in some childhood memories before bedtime. My youngest will snuggle close before falling asleep, tell me about his day and say, “I love you Momma, you are the best cook.” Even though that isn’t even close to the truth, to him, that is what he will remember, and that is all that matters.
A Marketing Mom Striving to Get out of the Fast Food Lane and into the Grocery Aisle.