How to avoid the constant repetition of dinners
February 5, 2016
Variations of family favourites is a great way to try “new” meals that you know your family will enjoy. I am a little drained of meal time inspiration at the moment. We have a glorious abundance of fresh produce coming from the garden to use and enjoy. In summer it is not just a case of the usual vegetables, there is that but there are LOTS of them. After getting to meal number four using the same ingredients in different ways it can be a challenge to come up with something else.
I know that a big percentage of mums, or dads, who are charged with “dinner duty” suffer from lack of meal inspiration, it is the thing that makes online food sites and blogs, food magazines and cookbooks so popular. They solve that issue by providing inspiration. I know that it can feel like there is a constant repetition of the same meals over and over and over and over again – because they are safe. Because you know the kids will eat them, because you know you will not have to deal with or listen to complaints and whining at the end of the day when you are already tired.
For those of you keeping track, I have previously posted a recipe for Lamb Kebabs, they were made with diced lamb rather than lamb mince which I used in this recipe and they featured different flavours. Same, same but different…..
These lamb skewers were created with one thought in mind – I need to use more cucumber and zucchini, and in a way that is different to how I have served it every other night this week. I served this recipe with a side dish of raw zucchini and cucumber dressed with lime juice, olive oil, fresh mint and a pinch of dried chilli flakes. This meal led to another cucumber and zucchini leaving my kitchen bench top and that is a great thing in the midst of a constant bounty being added each day.
Anyway, the point I hoping to make is that kebabs are something that are enjoyed in our home. They are a quick and easy meal that any side dish can be added to. You can use whatever you have on hand. By using combinations of familiar ingredients that you know everyone in the family enjoys it is easy to introduce new variations. Not only does this allow for the introduction of some new flavours and additional vegetables for fussy eaters, it provides the opportunity to add a another family favourite meal to your collection. For example, if you make a pie recipe with chicken and vegetables and a cheese-based sauce try making it with red meat and a tomato based sauce instead. You may be surprised at how much your family enjoys the new flavours.
You will know if a recipe you want to try is a risk. I try to minimise the risk by simply adding something different to an already accepted combination. For example, if you know your kids love bacon and cheese quiche, try adding carrot next time. If they accept that as an addition you have a bonus vegetable added to their day. This is all easy to add to “paper” but as a mum with one fussy eater I do caution you from messing with already “perfect” recipes so be warned – there are some recipes that you are “famous” for and should not be messed with. Let them shine and have their glory and be the backstop to your regular menu plan.
I have a disclaimer to add to this recipe – I almost didn’t post it here because:
BUT… they tasted so so great that in reality there is nothing wrong with the recipe. I should not have tried to keep them on the skewers. I had an image in my mind of what I wanted the recipe to look like when it was cooked and it didn’t quite work out that way. If I was not going to photograph it I wouldn’t have cared about that at all, or given it a second thought. The mint pesto is perfectly matched with the lamb. If the kids were not going to eat it I would have added some finely chopped fresh chilli to it.
My suggestion is to make and cook little meat balls (or patties) instead of trying to keep the meat on the skewers. If you cook them as small balls in a pan you can then add them to skewers if you really want to once they are cooked.
Do you mess with family favourite combinations to create new recipes ? Have you made any great discoveries that you have now added to you family favourite list?
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