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Friday, December 17, 2010

In which I launch an audacious plan

So here's the thing. I make dinner for my family a lot. I make dinner almost every single night. I make entrees, side dishes, salads, soups, sometimes even breads and desserts. Sure, we have the occasional pizza or once in a while a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, I mean those are staples. However we almost never go out to dinner unless we are on vacation or something. This as not always the case mind you. When I was working full time and my husband was in law school we were "regulars" at our local Mexican place. We kept stacks of what we called "emergency back up pizzas" in the freezer. We routinely cadged meals from my in-laws after work/school and ate at more fast food restaurants than you could probably even easily name.

Since then I have had the time to really teach myself how to cook and even though there are still those nights that I want to wave a magic whisk and have dinner appear magically on the table, (or you know, call out for some Chinese food) I have come to really (mostly) enjoy the process. I am a Stay at Home Mom, which helps FOR SURE, but I too have to have dinner on the table quickly. Those hours from 5 to bedtime go by awfully fast for everyone, and with dance classes and after school activities and PTO meetings and church and homework it is essential for everyone to be on their GAME in maximizing that time. In fact some of my best dinners have been inspired by having "something come up" and I suddenly have only 20 minutes.

Of course you can make a meal with all day to cook and a full refrigerator. What do you make when the cupboard is bare and you have literally no time (or often) no money to run to the store? That's my inspiration right there! A moment of grace as life teeters on the edge of catastrophe...

So for the next year, starting January 1st, I plan on cooking dinner for my family every night. In fact, if you stay with me on this journey of culinary self discovery, we can learn together the answers to the questions, "What makes a good weeknight meal?'" "How long does it take to make pot roast?" "Leftovers, again?" and "Who put the ram in the ramma lamma ding dong?". I have a lot of fun ideas!

I plan on making Lent (the 40 days leading up to Easter) into a vegetarian period for my family, excepting the fish on Fridays tradition I was raised with. And of course kicking that time off with a real New Orleans style crab boil on Fat Tuesday! Cinco De Mayo will bring us an entire week of Mexican food; favorites from my family, as well as recipes that I have never tried. St. Patty's day we will travel beyond the realms of Corned Beef and Cabbage and try some authentic Irish cuisine; sweets for Valentine's Day, a simple anniversary dinner, and of course what to feed your little ghouls and goblins before they go out to Trick or Treat! I'll bake bread, I'll toss salads, I'll flambé a dessert or two. Perhaps even some intentionally! And along the way I am hoping you guys chime in with your favorite recipes, trick and techniques to getting the food on the table.

Disclaimer: **Some restrictions apply, offer not good in the District of Columbia** I am reserving a total of 14 days to not cook dinner. There will be one (glorious) 5 day period where I am going to be in a hotel room in Washington D.C on vacation with my family. We will be making simple breakfasts that week since we will have access to a refrigerator and a microwave oven. The rest of the days I am reserving in case I come down with Bird Flu or Swine Flu or One Flu Over the Cuckoo's Nest or something. There will be pictures, there will be recipes, there will be jokes made at the expense of myself and others. Join me, won't you? Please? Pretty please? I'll make you dinner!