Between busy schedules, budgets and an already acquired arsenal of trusted and loved recipes, it's hard sometimes for me to justify taking a chance on a new recipe. I seem to only try a new recipe about 1-2 times a month. But when I received the May 2011 issues of Better Homes & Garden, I couldn't resist. It helped that I was familiar with all of the main ingredients, so it was really going to be just a twist on the preparation.
Now please don't get me wrong, I don't regularly cook magazine worthy, picture perfect meals every night of the week. I've shared many of my easy, no fuss standbys, but this last week the stars aligned and schedules worked out nicely so that I was able to spend a bit more time in the kitchen. Following are my tips and tricks to making each of these recipes a bit more budget and kid friendly so the whole family can eat the same thing, keeping the weekly market specials in mind and adjusting some ingredients. When I create a meal plan for the week, I always try to make sure that each meal can be easily adapted for the kids to eat. The end goal is A) avoid becoming a short order cook, and B) continue to expose the kids to new tastes and foods. I was able to achieve those goals with all these recipes below. All photos via BH&G because mine never turn out this pretty :)
We had a whole tenderloin left over which served as dinner for a second night, and with just a bit leftover I made a yummy salad for lunch the next day of lettuce from our garden, cubed up pork, cannelini beans, avocado, cherry tomatoes and a simple olive oil and lime juice vinaigrette, with a dash of salt and pepper.
I usually roast my pork tenderloin with a simple dry rub of salt and pepper, but this ingenious method of grilling made the meat turn out phenomenal. Super moist and tender, I'll be cooking this dish all throughout summer.
To make the dish more kid friendly I served the fish by itself without the tomatillos and minus the taco shell. I served sliced mango, my Grandma's Spanish Rice and pinto beans on the side. The kids devoured the fish!
To serve the soup for the kids, I gave them the broth, chicken and sugar snap peas (neither of my kids will eat cooked carrots or celery but will eat them raw), and made little quesadillas as well. I have found that my kids will always be more apt to try a new dish if I make sure to serve something familiar with it, hence the quesadillas. They liked adding their own toppings of the cheese and tortilla too.
Overall I was impressed with the recipe planning of these meals because they all had overlapping ingredients, so you could make the most of what you had on hand. For instance all 3 of the above recipes called for cilantro, which usually goes to waste when I buy it for just one dish. This sort of planning helped me keep my grocery bill right at $100 for the week.
professed my love for these bars, but I just wanted to reiterate how ridiculously good they are! I ended up making them 3 times last week for 3 separate events we went to and they were a hit everywhere we went. To make the bars a bit more budget friendly, I went ahead and used cream cheese (as suggested) for the custard instead of the goat cheese. I made them both ways, and trust me, you don't notice a difference between the 2. I did make the shortbread with my hand mixer the first time, and the Kitcheaid the other 2 times and the Kitchenaid definitely does a better job of mixing the shortbread. It came out lighter and flakier when made with the Kitchenaid.
Do you have any tips on how you make your recipes more budget and kid friendly? Do you usually make separate meals for the kids if you're making a special recipe, or do you hold the philosophy that you get what you get?