Easy Peasy Dinner

Growing up dinner was promptly at 6pm. We all sat down together at the dining room table and shared a meal. Every night, no exceptions. And as much fighting as there was over who got to sit where and who didn’t want to drink milk or my youngest brother’s infamous gag, gag, barf routine; it is something I look back on happily and very much want to recreate in my own family.

And besides, don’t they say your kids are smarter or something if they eat dinner with their family? I swear I read that somewhere.

***

Before Luke was regularly eating, Jack sat in a booster chair pulled up to our island and Aaron and I sat on bar stools. Luke sat in a bouncy seat or a bumbo and half the time he was asleep. But slowly, over the last couple of months, Luke is now the one sitting in the booster seat and Jack has taken over a bar stool, which leaves us in a conundrum.

And while it’s tempting to just eat the crusts of my kid’s grilled cheese over the sink and call it a day, I’m fighting that urge (most of the time).

Which means it’s time for the dining room.

Last night was southwest chicken salad for the adults and chicken, corn, black beans and cantaloupe for the boys. I think Luke ate more dinner than Jack.

Tonight’s dinner was super easy and really tasty. I work two days a week and those days tend to be extra chaotic around dinnertime. I forgot to pull meat from our freezer to thaw and at the same time had a plethora of veggies that needed to be eaten.

Easy Peasy Veggie Pasta:

  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 sweet onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 head of broccoli, broken up into florets
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach (from the garden!)
  • 1 box penne pasta
  • 1/4 stick butter
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Halve tomatoes, spread on a cookie sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees until tomatoes are soft and begin to pop (15 minutes?). Boil pasta, when pasta is two minutes from being cooked, add broccoli and boil until just tender. Drain pasta and broccoli. In a pan, saute chopped onion until translucent, add garlic and saute for one minute. Add 1/2 zucchini and cook for a couple of minutes, until just tender. In the pot used to boil the pasta, throw in the butter, put the hot noodles/broccoli over the butter and stir to combine. Stir in tomatoes, zucchini mixture and fresh spinach. Stir in parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

This meal took 20 minutes to put together from start to finish. And amazingly, everyone ate it. Jack picked out some of the veggies but I expected that and Aaron even went back for seconds and he only complained once that it was vegetarian. Luke ate every bite. Success! (What my boys don’t know is that I try and sneak a vegetarian meal in on them at least once a week).

So tell me, what are you cooking lately?

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