I have to admit it...I have been in a terrible cooking rut. When I think about it I realize this happens towards the end of every season...I get tired of all the same choices and am uninspired. The idea of making something new seems daunting in a way that it never does at the beginning of the season. I feel like I have been out of ideas for weeks now but thankfully spring is here and all the beautiful produce will begin to appear. Hopefully that is all I need to get back on track.
In addition to my lack of motivation, the fact that I can never please all the kids while still serving a healthy meal really gets to be a drag. After one too many nights of arguing about eating vegetables I decided it was time to try something new. Although my kids are all pretty good eaters, generally speaking, they do not agree on veggies. Regardless of what I make, someone is always unhappy, and making dinner only to be greeted with complaining does not help when the cooking rut sets in.
I was afraid that this effortless meal might cause an all out revolt but much to my delight it made all the kids happy, and they all ate a plateful of vegetables without a complaint. I think the magic of it was the fact that they love to have control. I put out lettuce, green beans, sugar snap peas, pommegranate seeds, figs, carrots, cucumbers, feta, and made a good mustardy balsamic dressing. To make sure the dinner was filling, I also added a nice garlicy goat cheese and whole wheat crackers, a loaf of bread, and some chicken tenders (our favorites are Bell & Evans - they are real pieces of chicken rather than reconstituted bits and are a great save when I really cannot bring myself to cook.) Besides throwing the chicken onto a pan and sticking it in the oven, the only cooking I did was to blanch the beans.