My husband likes to eat. He is a meat ‘n potatoes kind of guy. Fancy, vegetarian, ethnic, soup/stew, seafood are not his idea of a meal. Beef, pork, and the occasional chicken next to a starch and a vegetable is about my normal plate. He can’t boil water and doesn’t want to try. The last time he tried (re-heating leftovers) the Great Dane nudged the baby out of the room in case he got a wild idea to give the baby food. Obviously, making him cook isn’t going to happen. Yes, that was my solution too. How can I make interesting, healthy dishes? – Some Like it Hot, Las Vegas, NV

Julie Anne Rhodes with actor Rupert Everett and her non water-boiling ex husband, Nick Rhodes

Okay, I think I’ll break your query down into two parts. Part one is how do I deal with a picky eater while I’d like a little culinary adventure at mealtime?

The Personal Chef Approach™ will help you avoid becoming a short order cook to please differing palates at the same dinner table in two ways. First, many recipes can be easily adapted to give you the variety you crave while keeping his more basic tastes satisfied too. For example, you could make my apricot lamb chop recipe, omit the cinnamon on his lamb chops, and remove his from the pan before adding the sauce. Then package, cool, and store them separately. He gets his plain meat and potatoes, and you get a more sophisticated dish with virtually no extra effort. The same goes for anything on the grill or broiler – just cook his plain seafood, poultry, or meat next to your lovely marinated piece.

Curry Rub for Grilled Lamb Chops

For recipes that are harder to separate like soups and stews, keep in mind that the PCA™ means you will have a variety of meals already prepared to choose from. You could eat both portions of the Chicken Marrakech Stew in the week, while he eats both portions of the Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken.

Use the recipe scaler to easily alter the number of servings you want up or down to suit your specific needs

Or, you can easily adjust the number of servings with the recipe scaler on the new website of each recipe you plan to make that week. If you know he won’t eat the Crispy Ginger Tofu make only enough for yourself, and add a portion of one of the recipes you know he will enjoy to cover his meal that night. You can also make extra portions of his favorite meals to freeze for a later date, or a stash of more exotic recipes in the freezer for yourself. Then when you prepare something he won’t eat – you defrost and heat something he will (or vice-versa), without having to cook an extra meal. In fact most nights you won’t have to cook at all!

Jewels giving advice

As for the second part of the question, both the “build your own menu plan” tool and my weekly menu plans come with easy to follow heat to eat instructions. He will be able to get dinner on the table. In fact, we even coached a husband (his wife thought he was incapable of boiling water too) through preparing an entire week’s worth of food in the forum last year when his wife fell too ill to cook for the family! He can do it, and you both can be satisfied at the same dinner table without driving yourself crazy trying to keep everyone happy.

My Crispy Ginger Tofu recipe is both a member and client favorite. Try it, and if you like it, join to unlock all the fabulous recipes, menu plans, and get advice directly from me and the wonderfully supportive community. Stop worrying about dinner and start enjoying it! What’s your favorite PCA™ recipe?

CRISPY GINGER TOFU LETTUCE WRAPS

When Tatjana and her friend Leah gobbled these lettuce wraps up before I could cool the recipe long enough to store it, I knew I was onto a winner. This scrumptious, low-carb, vegan dish can also be adapted for you meat lovers out there too!

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

Crispy Ginger Tofu Lettuce Wraps

  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil divided
  • 1 package firm tofu drained well and crumbled (see note below)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup carrots shredded
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions sliced
  • 8 ounces water chestnuts drained and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce plus more for serving
  • 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 head lettuce separated into leaves (iceberg or romaine is best)

Directions

Crispy Ginger Tofu Lettuce Wraps

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon of peanut oil in a wok or large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the crumbled tofu and brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the tofu onto a plate and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining peanut oil to the same pan, and heat for 1 minute. Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes, Cook until fragrant, stirring well, about 1 minute. Add the shredded carrots, mushrooms, and green onions, stir well and cover for 2-3 minutes to soften. Stir in the water chestnuts.
  3. Add the peanut butter, and stir until melted and mixed in, about 1-2 minutes. Add the hoisin sauce, teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar, stirring frequently. Add the tofu, and stir gently until sauce is incorporated and all the ingredients are coated nicely, another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Take a lettuce leaf and drizzle with hoisin sauce (optional), then top with a spoonful of crispy ginger tofu

Serving Suggestions

Lemon Basil Jasmine Rice or Five Spice Sweet Potato Fries.

Variations

Try with ground pork, turkey or chicken instead of tofu. In addition to browning – make sure the meat is cooked through, until it is no longer pink.

Notes

The trick to getting a ground meat like texture from the firm tofu is to freeze it, and defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Small crystals will form during the freezing process that create little caverns in the tofu when defrosted and drained. Be sure to squeeze out any excess liquid before cooking.

 IS OUR VERSION OF THE SYNDICATED COLUMN “DEAR ABBEY,” ONLY ON KITCHEN WOES RATHER THAN THOSE OF THE HEART. SEND US YOUR COOKING DESIRES, QUERIES, AND CATASTROPHES TO DEARJEWELS (AT) JULIEANNERHODES (DOT) COM.

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  • November 2, 2012
    10:26 am

    Is it just me or is the lemon chicken recipe missing? I’d love to try that.

    • November 2, 2012
      10:47 am

      The Lemon Garlic Chicken recipe is in the recipe library on my website Rene. Members have access to all of my recipes, menu plans plus my advice and a whole community of support in the forum. http://www.personalchefapproach.com/recipe/lemon-garlic-roast-chicken/

  • November 7, 2012
    11:24 am

    I’m severely distracted by the gorgeous necklace you’re wearing in the photo with you in the purple shirt. TOTALLY off-topic, I know but I can’t help it.

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