Thursday, January 8, 2009

Changin' Up the Menu

One of my goals for awhile now has been to vary our lunch and dinner menus. The Husband is an extremely picky eater, not to mention the two 5-year-olds I have to cater to. Oh, did I forget the toddler? She's actually the easiest to please if that gives you any indication as to what I'm dealing with here. Seriously, my husband only eats pizza, plain cheese burgers (that's just meat and cheese), a touch of spaghetti with meat sauce, lasagna, or manicotti, and the occassional sub sandwich. It's not exactly bliss for my palate. I remember those days long, long ago where having pizza each Friday night with my mom and brother was awesome, and I never seemed to tire of it. Now, if I never see another pizza in my life, it'll be too soon. Par example, when my mom died, The Husband and I stayed with my step-dad and brother for about two weeks to get everything settled. Daniel ordered a pizza from Tiffany's every single day for lunch and dinner. (Best pizza in Monroe, Michigan BTW, if you're ever in town...) The first couple of days my step-dad and brother found it a bit odd but were game. After five days, they were wondering why I was with this guy. :-) They thought for sure he'd give up after one full week of pizza, but no...

But I digress. I was talking about our current menu. Being in my third trimester now, the tomato-based diet was absolutely killing me. The heartburn... Ugh. So I decided to look around the web and see what other people were eating, how they planned their menus, etc. Eventually, I decided to take the super-duper-uber-easy way out and use the weekly menus put together at Every Day with Rachael Ray. Some of you will know her from her 30-minute Meals gig. Not all of the dishes in the offered menus can be prepared in 30 minutes, but I'd rather have slow food anyway. As I looked around at the menus, they did a fairly good job of keeping things seasonal, and most of the ingredients are already in my very limited pantry. If I have it, I bet you do too!

Unfortunately, as easy as the dishes have been to prepare, they haven't all been big hits around here. Not by a long shot. The first recipe we tried was the Pumpkin Ravioli with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds. I traded the wonton wrappers for homemade ravioli following Rhonda's tutorial, and as I was rolling out the pasta dough sans pasta machine (yikes!) I kept thinking how many of these ingredients could be homegrown and/or homemade. A few chickens would cover the eggs, pumpkin puree is simple enough, even I've done toasted pumpkin seeds before, cream and parmesan cheeses can be homemade even by folks without their own dairy animals, and the butter could at least be home churned, right?

And then I took a bite of my ravioli. The ravioli that took me hours to make. And it was DREADFUL. I barely choked down one entire ravioli and couldn't manage a second to save my life. It wasn't the pasta part. That was good and light, even being hand rolled. The filling though? Blech. It was like I cut open a pumpkin and started chowing down. I like pumpkin, but this was a bit too much for me. Perhaps I didn't cook the ravioli long enough, though they were all floating when I began spooning them out. Needless to say, the kids wouldn't eat it either. I think The Bean ate one or two raviolis, but that was it.

I'll admit that after all the time I spent on this dish, I almost gave up completely on the Every Day menu. Very luckily, though, the very next day produced a meal as fabulous as this one was horrid. But that'll have to wait for another post. ;-)

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