In a food funk

I've not had alot of luck with new and different recipes when it comes to feeding my family lately. I can bake anything and they will eat it, but when it comes to meals, it has been very miss and miss lately. So this post is about some of the misses I've had, leading up to dinner tonight.

Last month I made two recipes in one night for dinner, one from memory, having seen it on Barefoot Contessa but not written it down or found it on FoodTV, for zuchinni gratin. I paired it up with parmesan chicken, which I had long ago bookmarked from Elise over at Simply Recipes. I didn't end up blogging about these simply because I came down with the flu the day after I made them, and by the time I was feeling better, it seemed a little late. And I had other things to blog about by then.

The chicken bites of parmesan were well received by everyone in the family. Crunchy, juicy and full of wonderful flavor, these were popular. There were no left overs. That was the good news.

The bad news was no one but me would eat the zuchinni gratin. Filled with pieces of zuchinni, sliced onions, a light cream sauce and covered in cheese and breadcrumbs, I found them to be a wonderful accompaniment to the crunchy chicken bites. They were soft and mellow, though still with a bite of texture to them. It was comfort food, a healthy side to the not very healthy chicken.

This dish ended up being brought over to my neighbours house to try, where it was liked by everyone, and a copy of the recipe was requested. Too bad I didn't actually have one and was just trying to remember what she had done!

Then a week or so went by where I didn't cook at all, being sick, being competely uninterested in food in any form. When I was better, I wanted to make up for being unable to cook, so I started out with spaghetti and meatballs (not pictured.)

Spaghetti always goes over well, meatballs are another hit and miss item. This time the children decided they were a miss without trying them. They worked for me, and for my husband.

I followed that meal up with another family favorite, baked ham with Poppa's sauce. Only I couldn't remember where I had put Poppa's sauce recipe, so I went from memory: gingerale, crushed pinapple with juices, brown sugar, honey, mustard and corn starch. I'm sure the preportions weren't exactly right, and I didn't bother measuring, but the sauce came out pretty close to the original created by my father-in-law and tasted very fine on the slow cooked, bone in ham. The biggest ham eater of our family, my husband, agreed, and ate alot of it between dinner that night and left overs for lunch. The children informed me they didn't like that kind of chicken and declined eating it. (Too bad I hadn't made chicken.)

There were a few days of left overs: left over pasta (thumbs up), left over ham and sauce with scalloped potatoes instead of mashed (thumbs down from children, up again from spouse.)

Then there was last night, moroccan chicken. This received several big thumbs up from my neighbours, including a phone call from her little girl telling me how much she loved the chicken I had made (which I thank her very much for, I was really needing the good review by then,) since they were the recipients of most of this meal when my family again declined to eat it.

I'm tempted to go on a creative cooking strike (again) but the last time I did that, I ended up frustrated from being unable to cook, and my family was completely happy eating things that came out of a box or a can.

Instead I have decided to creatively cook for myself. I will attempt to cook items for my family that they are likely to eat, and I will make something separate for me. Or I will cook and they either will or won't eat it, but I won't stress about it. I'll have lunch left overs instead.

With that philosophy in mind, I ended up at my local grocery store after school with two children who wanted to go home to play. Too bad, it was time to figure out what to make them for dinner. They surprised me; they were offered samples of linguini noodles with alfredo sauce, and both of them inhaled it.

Sounded good to me, so premade alfredo sauce in the cart, linguini noodles as well. Husband won't like it, but we had jarred sauce at home that he could have with his pasta instead, though I did decide to make some mild Italian sausages for the children and spouse as well, making the pasta with alfredo the side dish instead of the full meal. I had the feeling that the children would be unable to eat too much alfredo.

Sausages, however, were not what was on the menu for me. I wanted seafood, something I rarely get to eat because, again, I am the only member of my family who will eat it.

I love my fishmonger. He is friendly, knowledgable, and understands that I don't often buy fish when the rest of them won't eat it, but I frequently visit his department, both so I can see what is in, and because the kids, despite not eating it, love to visit the fish and see what new and funky things he has. Today he had bay scallops and shrimp for my alfredo. (And talapia fillets which I plan to make into "fish sticks" tomorrow for dinner.)

I'm sure some purists are shaking their head in disgust that I would use premade alfredo sauce, as well as having a jar of pasta sauce in my pantry. Oh well, too bad. I wasn't going to make alfredo from scratch, not with all the warm reception my cooking has had lately (and they had just tried the Farm Boy sauce and were willing to eat it at home, so let's not mess with what little works with them.) And jarred pasta sauce is a great emergency staple, one that is available for oops last minute meals. Beside's, I wasn't going to eat it, I was eating the alfredo, loaded with the scallops and shrimp, extra parmesan cheese mixed in and topping the pasta. Yum!

I hope everyone else has had an easier time feeding their families lately. Guess I should go find some outlets to my creative needs in the kitchen through my stand mixer. Wonder if I have enough flour?

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