Variety is the Spice of Life. February 4 2013
Variety is the Spice of Life.
We cook at home almost every night. I love nothing more than going out to a restaurant and being served a delicious dinner; then walking away with no mess to deal with. However, my children are 10, 7 and 4 years old which means that going out to restaurants isn’t generally a relaxing or economical option and hasn’t been for many years. If you have kids, you know what I’m talking about. So we cook.
I’ve gone through numerous iterations on meal planning and shopping. No matter how you slice it, it is a chore that has to be done. The more upfront planning and organization you put into it, the easier the execution usually is during the week. For awhile, we worked off a rotation of about a dozen meals that we cycled through with minimal variation. That made for ease of planning, shopping, and preparing; but eventually, even a rotation of 12 got pretty stale. Then, I went through a phase of trying to cook 1 new thing every week or incorporate a new vegetable every month, etc. That resulted in a lot of uneaten leftovers. So like everything, we’ve tried to find balance between the old standby junk burgers and a more exotic “labor of love” meal every once in awhile.
Recently, for a variety of reasons, my husband has been doing more of the shopping and meal planning. He uses the same cookbooks and websites and grocery stores that I do, but somehow mealtime has gotten a lot more interesting. Certain recipes peak his interest or a picture of a meal gets his attention. Often they are meals that I wouldn’t have given a second look. (I avoid recipes with certain ingredients or cooking techniques in them, regardless of how minor.) But faced with a meal plan, the ingredients, and the need to get dinner on the table; the recipe on the website or in the cookbook comes to life. Some have been better than others, but each has taken us out of the boring rut and added some creativity to the dinner table.
Interestingly, I remember the first time we were having dinner guests over that were “gluten free”. I didn’t have a single meal in my rotation that qualified and went to great lengths to figure out what I could serve. As usual, I was making it much more complicated than necessary, but it was a foreign concept to me. Times have changed significantly and now there are so many resources out there for paleo eating that boredom should never be a reason to stray. Here’s a link to the amazing eggplant bolognese from Everyday Paleo that my husband made this weekend and that I’ll be eating for leftovers at the shop this week.
Post to comments if you have other recipes or sites that shouldn’t be missed.