Dear Jewels – I hate cooking dinner, because I have one girl who won’t eat meat, another who wants to eat the same plain burger every night, and a husband that is bored with our limited repertoire. You can forget about vegetables since both kids seem to have an aversion to anything green. I feel like a short order cook, and I’m exhausted from trying to please everyone with every meal, please help! – Frazzled Franny
Dear Franny – I feel your pain, it’s ridiculous to cook essentially four different meals nightly, and you shouldn’t have to. However, just as our tastes vary in music, fashion, architecture and million other things, so do our actual tastebuds when it comes to enjoying various flavors, textures, aromas, heat levels, and cuisines. Don’t fret, while one preparation may not fit all, that doesn’t mean one cleverly prepared meal can’t. It just takes knowing the habits of those mouths you feed with modicum of planning and ingenuity. Here are a few of my tips to make your cooking duties easier:
1). Variety in one meal: Use spice rubs or marinades cleverly. For example, throw a couple ribeye steaks rubbed with my Roasted Garlic & Chili Rub on the grill for you and your husband to satisfy his craving for variety, then with absolutely no added effort you can throw either shrimp, chicken, or tofu using the same robust rub on the grill for your none meat-eater, and perhaps a plain steak for your non adventurous daughter.
2). Dress those veggies up: Vegetables can have strong flavors that are hard for a young palate to get used to, but I do think half the battle is really in the mind. If your children have decided they won’t eat them on their own, try adding them chopped up smaller, to spaghetti sauces, shepherd’s pies, or combining them with other ingredients such as cheese sauces or a dressing or aioli to make them more palpable to younger palates. Over time their culinary horizons will broaden. I detested mushrooms growing up, although never realized they were often hidden in the steak pies I adored in England. One day in my twenties I just work up craving mushrooms on their own, and have been eating them ever since.
3). It’s all the preparation: The way a vegetable is prepared can vastly alter the pungency, texture, and flavor your children may be objecting to. My grandmother always used to steam Brussels Sprouts that stank up her entire apartment in a very off-putting way, and they seemed to have an equally strong flavor, but those same sprouts tossed in olive oil and garlic, then roasted in the oven yield a much milder and softer texture with a yummy gooey caramelization of the natural sugars during the roasting process – those Brussels Sprouts go down a treat in my household! BTW, the same is true of proteins such as tofu – on it’s own tofu is a tasteless, gelatinous mouthful of weird blandness, but marinated rubbed, and stir-fried in a tasty sauce can completely transforms it into sheer yumminess even non-vegetarians will enjoy.
4). The Personal Chef Approach of course! When you cook all your meals for the week in advance, you have the options of mixing and matching meals, or cooking added positions of one while cutting back on another. If Nancy won’t eat seafood, you could eat the Halibut Picatta twice in one week while she eats your portion of Spaghetti Bolognese as well as her own. Or, if you are unwilling to give up your variety – use the recipe scaler to alter your recipes easily, and make 5 servings of Spaghetti Bolognese and only 3 servings of the Halibut Piccata. That way you are not cooking additional meals, and Nancy isn’t forced to eat something she dislikes or go hungry.
The Personal Chef Approach is a win-win-win in so many different ways! Watch the video above to learn more, and enjoy taking our Halibut Piccata Recipe for a test run and join today! Cook once, enjoy homemade meals in minutes all week long (and the variety to please everyone with much less effort).
Even my fish phobic daughter will eat this yummy yet light Halibut Piccata recipe! It’s sophisticated enough to serve to dinner party guests, yet totally kid friendly too – making it a perfect family dinner entree to get you started. The Personal Chef Approach really is the solution to your resolution to eat heather in 2015!