Dear JewelsI 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 Jewels

Dear Jewels

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:

Use the same rub on shrimp for another effortless meal in one go

Use the same rub on shrimp for another effortless meal in one go

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.

Dress this veggies up

Dress this veggies up

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.

Cheese Cauliflower

Cheese Cauliflower

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.

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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).

Halibut Piccata

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!

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

Halibut Picatta

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil divided
  • 4 filets halibut 6168 ouncesg each
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers drained
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
  • salt and pepper

Directions

Halibut Picatta

  1. Mix the flour, and granulated garlic on a plate; set aside.
  2. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, heat until you start to see ridges in the oil, about 1 minute.
  3. While oil is heating up, dredge the halibut filets in the seasoned flour, and shake off any excess flour before adding to the hot oil. Season with salt and pepper. Saute fish 3-4 minutes (depending upon thickness) until going light golden brown then flip to cook on the other side until just cooked through, an additional 3-4 minutes. Remove to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
  4. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan, then the garlic and cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Deglaze the pan with the white wine (add wine to pan and scrape up any brown gooey bits on bottom of the pan). Let wine reduce by half, simmering for about 4-5 minutes. Add chicken broth, and lemon juice, capers and lemon slices, cook, stirring occasionally for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, add parley and butter, and stir until melted.
  5. Pour over fish and serve, or cool and store.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with Parmesan Zucchini. If the sauce is too sour, add a pinch of sugar.

Heat To Eat

Vent lid of container and heat in microwave on 50% power for 3-5 minutes, stirring midway to distribute heat evenly; or heat in a large skillet over medium heat, turning once, until heated through, about 6-8 minutes.

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