Post-Thanksgiving polpette

Dad_Fries_Polpette_IMG_3011Traditionally, my dad and Shane make Polpette Frite (fried meatballs) on the day after Thanksgiving. This year, my dad couldn’t make it to NYC due to his recent knee surgery, so the Polpette had to wait until Saturday.

They were just as well-received as ever. Rose dove in and took three straight away. We froze the rest for an easy weeknight meal. Sid and I stuck with pasta and red sauce.RoseDivesIn_IMG_3014Polpette_IMG_3013

 

 

Thanksgiving favorites

Thanksgiving_IMG_2982I always have trouble processing Thanksgiving because there is so much food. I don’t mean volume, which of course there is too, but rather variety. There are so many different dishes that they all kind of meld into a big Thanksgiving blur in my taste memory.

So, instead of telling you all about everything we had—and I assure you it was all delicious—I’m just going to tell you about the carrots. Company Carrots, my personal favorite Thanksgiving dish.

My grandma Lillian (or Didi), the Italian one, used to make these carrots for holidays. Truth be told, I didn’t like them as a kid and teen, but now I love them. I wish I could have loved them when she was still alive.

The carrots are baked with mayonnaise and horseradish, then topped with breadcrumbs and parsley. It’s an oldey-timey kind of a dish, but shouldn’t be dismissed for that. I have no idea the source of the recipe, but I’d guess a woman’s magazine.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Please post in the comments.

• Company Carrots •

2 bunches (2.5lbs) carrots, peeled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon horseradish
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup bread crumbs
paprika
parsley

Heat oven to 375. Cook carrots in boiling, salted water for 20 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Cut carrots in half and then quarter lengthwise. Arrange in a shallow square or rectangular pan. 

In a bowl, combine reserved carrot cooking water, mayonnaise, onion, horseradish, salt & pepper. Pour evenly over carrots, top with bread crumbs, dot with butter and sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered until lightly browned. Top with parsley and serve.Recipe_IMG_4445

Weekends are easy, sort of

Weekend_IMG_2940Weekends seem easy these days, at least this one did. With pancake batter in the fridge*, long baby naps, no stomach viruses, and staying home, it’s like we’re on the verge of having time on our hands, but not quite.

We did manage to get dinner made (twice), and the work week menu planned and shopped for. Some major achievements up in here.

On Saturday we had Salmon & Leeks Baked in Parchment, Risotto alla Milanese, buttered string beans with fresh mint, and some unbelievable homemade parmesan and almond crackers.

On Sunday, we had Kale, Cabbage & Farro Soup (the veg version, without pancetta or chicken broth), pork chops, and roasted potatoes.

Personally, I think Kale, Cabbage and Farro Soup is a meal in itself, and a perfect pre-Thanksgiving food (more on that here). However, when I told Shane I was making it for dinner, he looked as though I’d said I was planning to poison him. Thus the pork chops and potatoes.

*Thanks mom.

 

And that’s a wrap

FryDaddy_IMG_2920The Fry Daddy came out of storage tonight, and that can only mean one thing. You guessed it, Steak Frites.

SteakFrites_IMG_2929Sid fell asleep in my arms right before dinner, so that eliminated the screaming baby factor.

SteakFrites_IMG_2931Rita made bok choy with orange zest and a very delicious sauce.

And just for fun, here’s a photo of the chef on his way out to buy ice cream for dessert. What a guy.
SteakFrites_IMG_2935And that wraps up a successful week of meticulously planned meals, and a much more pleasant mealtime experience for all.

For the record:
Monday – Garlic Shrimp with White Beans and a simple salad
Tuesday – Pizza from Otto
Wednesday – Free Night
Thursday – Veggie Garden Lasagna
Friday – Steak Frites

 

Thursday: vegetable garden lasagna

VeggieGardenLasagna_IMG_2919Tonight was Vegetable Garden Lasagna, made by my mom last weekend, from the New Basics Cookbook. This lasagna takes forever to make but it totally worth it if you have the time. You can find the recipe here.

We served it with a very simple salad but you don’t even need a salad, it’s so chock full of veggies (or as Rose calls them “green things and vegetarian stuff”).

Thanks Mom.

“Free night” Wednesday

FreeNight_IMG_2914Another successful—read peaceful—dinner around here. Shane had dinner on the table by 7:00 and there was no screaming or freaking out.

On the menu*? Free night (aka Mexican, aka any assemble-it-yourself meal).

For tonight’s version we had: beans, tortillas, quesadillas, cheese, avocado, 2 salsas and one hot sauce, shredded lettuce, grilled chicken and sour cream. But you know, it’s free night, so you can do it however you want.

*In case you haven’t been following, this is our first week of running our household like a ‘military operation’. To be honest, our version of ‘military’ is pretty loosey-goosey, but it’s still much more organized than we’re used to. You can read all about it here.

That went well

GarlicShrimp_Salad_IMG_2895The first night of our more organized life was a success. We ate at 6:45, the baby didn’t scream, the big kid didn’t freak out, everyone was nice and polite. We all got to relax and enjoy Monday’s meal: Garlic Shrimp and White Beans with a simple salad.

After dinner, we even had time for dessert and a nice game of push the scooter. Not to mention a blog post.

Tomorrow is Pizza Tuesday, in case you’re keeping track.
PushTheScooterIMG_2901

Falling apart

MealPlan_IMG_2894When a stomach virus ripped through our household like a tornado this week, knocking 6 of the 7 in our household down, it became clear that we had fallen apart, and not just physically.

This virus was bad, all stomach bugs are, but this one had some extra kick. One minute you’re fine, the next you’re really, really not. I’m talking the delirious, crawling to bed kind of not-ok.

The only one who escaped was my dad, who’s recovering from knee replacement surgery and wasn’t exactly fit to nurse us back to health.

In it’s wake, the virus left some of us in a dark, contemplative, wholly-unpleasant headspace which I’m hoping will prove to be a catalyst for change. What’s become clear over the past few days, is that things are not working.

As if to drive that point home, on the first night in many that we were more or less able to eat, we all sat down to dinner together and had a horrible time. Sid started screaming 5 minutes into the meal, as he does, which set Rose off, as it does. Dinner devolved into a chaotic noisy mess of shushing, threats, reprimands and general unpleasantness.

But it wasn’t just that we weren’t feeling well, this is what dinner has been like for us all the time lately.

We have 7 people in our household now. The four of us, plus my mom and dad, and my aunt Gail (the saint) who has come to help out during my dad’s convalescence. When you have 7 people under one roof, you need to get organized, and that’s what we’re going to do.

The morning after the “bad dinner”—it was actually an excellent dinner, food-wise, which Shane totally rallied to get on the table—my mom called a family pancake breakfast meeting. It was agreed that things are messed up and we decided to do the following in order to fix them:

  1. We have to eat earlier so the baby doesn’t freak out causing the big kid to get all hyper which starts the downward spiral towards a terrible mealtime experience for everyone.
  2. We have to plan our meals ahead of time, so we’re not scrambling, and so that we can eat earlier.
  3. We have to be nice and polite to each other at the table.

Three things. We can totally do this.

I am not going to be able to cook on weekdays and I have to accept that. When I get home, baby Sid wants me. He wants to be held by me and no one else, and he will not tolerate being put down for one second. And I get that. Poor kid is thinking his mom has been who-knows-where for the past 11 hours and he wants some physical contact, dammit. Fair enough.

After our breakfast meeting I sat down and made a meal plan for the week, and my mom started the two-day process of making elaborate vegetable lasagnas to freeze for busy weeknights.

The good news is that weekly meal planning is not entirely new to us. We went through a similar overhaul (which you can read about here and here) when Rose ramped up her gymnastics training last year.

This time around, the weekly plan is a bit more complex since I’m no longer working from home and there are many more adults and caregivers in the picture. The matrix for this week shows meal times for each day, and has a space to fill in who’s responsible for shopping, cooking or ordering pizza, there’s a list of ingredients for each meal as well as recipes and instructions.

Below is a preview of Wednesday’s meal. I’ll let you know how it goes.
LasagnaPrep_IMG_2889LasagnaPrep_IMG_2892