My son - AKA the harshest dinner critic of them all

Written by editors on 5/5/2010 4:40 PM | COMMENTS (20)

Mom, this is not a dinner!

That's what my 8 year old son said to me last night when I gave him a small bowl of noodles (whole wheat ones) with reduced-fat pesto sauce, a hard-boiled egg, cubed mango and carrots with hummus for dinner.

So I asked, what do you think dinner is?

And he said, when you cook something all together.

My response, well, this is a potluck dinner.

He then asked, what's a potluck dinner?

So I said, when you eat a bunch of random foods together.

His response, oh, okay then.

And that was that.

Now, the above mentioned meal is not my typical suppertime offering but we (myself and my three children) did not get home from soccer practice until late and baths and homework had yet to be done. Plus, there were some people working in our yard who needed my attention. So I took stock of what was in the fridge and made sure the meal had all the necessary components -carbs, a little fat, some protein, fruit and vegetables - and called it a day.

Sometimes when I know I'll have no time to "cook something all together" in the evening, I make sure to plan ahead and throw something together in my slow cooker that morning. Or I'll defrost stew that I've stashed in the freezer for nights like these. But yesterday threw me some unexpected curveballs and other than PB&J sandwiches (which my daughter says is a lunch food; not dinner - I can never win!), a potluck dinner was the best I could do.

I'm sure I am not the only one with nights like these so I wonder, what creative liberties have you taken in the kitchen to feed your family?

Leslie Fink, MS, RD

Categories: CookingFamilyFood

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  • Post Image mizzougirl97

    5/5/2010 5:19 PM
    When I'm running a bit low on points (<10 for dinner) and I don't feel like cooking, I have "Crudite Night". Typically, if I'm that low on points, I've fulfilled all my GHG's for the day already. So I'll have grape tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, and sliced red bell pepper with a 1/4 cup of low-fat hummus. I also do "3 S Night"--soup, salad, & sandwich and make some combination that works with the amount of points I have left for the day.

  • Post Image _sandra_

    5/5/2010 7:36 PM
    three words: Breakfast for dinner. Whole wheat blueberry pancakes with eggs and fruit for the kiddo and a (mostly) egg-white scramble chock full of veggies with fruit on the side for me. Our other go-to is tomato soup and grilled cheese because nothing's better than that!

  • Post Image superdeeduper

    5/6/2010 11:09 AM
    My MIL boils a whole chicken for me one night a week when she's over here watching the girls. We freeze some of that and use some the next day. She also bakes me a cookie sheet full of sweet potatoes cut long ways in half. This food is good for two meals - shredded chicken tacos and barbecue chicken sandwiches. I've always got frozen homemade black beans in the freezer and Paul Newman's salsa on hand.

  • Post Image j92007

    5/6/2010 2:21 PM
    During baseball season, I stock up on Trader Joe's foods like their Mandarin chicken (1 c. is 5 Pts), their 3 min. microwave brown rice, their stir - fry chicken and pasta (only 3 pts) and I throw in lots of extra veggies. I also buy their frozen pizzas - put them in for my kids and husband and then I will make a salad with a Lean Cuisine pizza, so I feel like I am eating pizza with the family as well. This stuff is not homemade, but for game nights, it sure beats fast food!

  • Post Image blp040852 (barbara a)

    5/5/2010 5:45 PM
    I keep Trader Joe's Fried Rice with Vegetables and a bag of frozen shrimp in my freezer at all times. When I'm running late - which is frequent - I know I can throw that in a pan, saute in a few minutes and there ya go - it's also low in points so I can eat and my football playing track running grandson gets the carbs and protein he needs as well!

  • Post Image digliomc

    5/7/2010 2:08 PM
    Those curveball nights are almost always pasta nights. Sometimes, if I have the right pantry ingredients, I can do something creative with tuna or beans. Or I defrost some ground beef quickly in the microwave, brown it with either some taco seasoning or tomato sauce (5 -10 minutes at most) and have it with pasta, or a microwaved potato, or rolled up in a tortilla, on on a roll or bun

  • Post Image taylorsmom0806

    5/6/2010 10:58 AM
    My husband grills a couple meats (chicken, pork chops, steaks) on Sunday. We eat one of the meats on Sunday and then cover the others and eat them during the week sometime. It makes it so I can just heat the meat in the microwave or oven and then put a steamer bag of veggies in the microwave.

  • Post Image hot4mustard (holly)

    5/6/2010 3:29 PM
    I make things that we can eat in shifts, you have to make things earlier in the day, but it is worth it. I make the chicken fried rice from ww and put it in the fridge, it warms up nicely. The kids just grab what they need in a bowl and throw it in the microwave. I put out cut up fruit and vegtables, or applesauce. We have hot roast beef sandwiches (in the crockpt), the baked beef ziti from ww also reheats wonderfully. The white turkey chili works wonderfully for those basketball games to.

  • Post Image en.igma

    5/6/2010 10:18 AM
    My favorite is a 'Smashed Potato'. Take a baked potato (left over or nuked fresh), cut it in half and brown in a non-stick skillet flesh side down. Flip it over and top it with any thing and everything leftover. I've used left over steak, assorted lunch meats, any kind of cheese, left over veggies, cover the pan and heat on low to warm thru. Top it with what ever sauce is hanging out in your fridge: sour cream, salsa, hot sauce, guac, whatever. It's cheap, filling, uses leftovers and is FAST.

  • Post Image rarichard (rachel)

    5/6/2010 10:39 AM
    I tell my husband to figure it out. (tee hee)

  • Post Image witecastle

    5/11/2010 2:34 AM
    I like to whip up quesedillas, burritos or omlettes.

  • Post Image maineveggie66

    5/15/2010 3:24 PM
    I'm not picky about breakfast foods for breakfast, supper foods for supper. Often I eat egg whites and toast for supper and leftover supper foods for breakfast! And I also have 'pot luck supper' often, I hate to waste foods, but I don't like to cook. Your supper sounded good to me! TAMMY

  • Post Image jess_chatterton

    5/26/2010 2:27 PM
    It sounds like you are doing a fantastic job. Honestly, most busy moms don't even take the initiative to put together something that is balanced. It is easier to heat something that is frozen, high in calories, and unhealthy than to come up with something balanced. Also, kudos to you for working to keep your kids healthy so that they know what a proper meal looks like. You should be proud of your efforts and pat yourself on the back.

  • Post Image jess_chatterton

    5/26/2010 2:29 PM
    As far as something quick, I will typically throw a bag of frozen steamfresh veggies in the microwave and grab some leftover meat. Then, if I have the points for it I'll add a min microwave package of wildrice and some fruit for dinner.

  • Post Image karendesjardin

    5/12/2010 7:37 PM
    I like Jaime Oliver's stir fry...goes together real quick! (and the family loves it).

  • Post Image healthysnacks

    5/7/2010 8:28 PM
    For a quick dinner for myself I cook some whole wheat penne rigate and toss it with steamed asparagus and zucchini. I use a brand name zip and steam bag and pop the asparagus and zucchini in the microwave; done in less than three minutes. Sometimes I'll even just do the whole wheat pasta with olive oil and grated parmesean cheese or just small portion of ricotta cheese.

  • Post Image blatzlb

    6/7/2010 6:20 AM
    I go with "night breakfast" also. Or grilled cheese and soup

  • Post Image kfajardo

    6/9/2010 4:57 PM
    Breakfast for dinner is always a hit!

  • Post Image lbh629

    6/2/2010 8:24 PM
    When we're in a bind for time, the only answer in my house is: 'Night Breakfast!'

  • Post Image dzinergrl2004 (jennifer)

    3/22/2012 10:09 AM
    I love this idea some of the best dinners my bf & I have had were a few slices of a good cheese, some briny pickles & spicy olives. Some times we even have some rolled up turkey or crackers & pretzels.


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