We do not get many evenings at home these days. Between baseball and football, we are running all over town and most of the time resorting to crockpot meals (which aren't my favorite) or eating out. But last night, we were all home without any plans for the evening, so I made dinner a little extra special.
My original plan was to make a Fallish salad for me and Patrick and then pasta / chicken for everyone. As I was preparing the ingredients for the salad, I realized my kids would eat those, but not really as a salad... so maybe I could display it on a board and let them pick out what they wanted... then one thing lead to the other and I ended up displaying the whole meal on this big cutting board.
And let me tell you, it was a huge hit. Tripp kept reaching for more and more food and Blaire Alice ate almost all of the apples and pears. I normally have a good bit of leftovers for Patrick to take for lunch, but last night we had almost nothing left.
And I really think it is because of the way it was displayed. So - you can bet your bottom dolllar, I am going to do further research on this little theory and see if serving food this way entices my kids to keep reaching for all the good things!
Tonight's Menu: (And I apologize for not taking pictures. I don't know how someone has time to make dinner AND take pictures at the same time.)
I marinated the chicken for a few hours in this marinade plus a little bit of brown sugar. The chicken turned out so tender and delicious.
I have been really into squash and zucchini lately, and I like to keep my onions chunky. These were sauteed in olive oil and I only added salt and pepper.
I found this box of pumpkin bread mix from Trader Joes and it turned out so yummy. In fact, I just had some for breakfast. :) I love adding sides like this (blueberry muffins, banana bread, etc). It feels a bit like dessert and also makes a good breakfast option the next day.
The salad: I mixed up honey and dijon mustard for my dressing! YUM. I just eye ball it and taste it until it is good. I drizzled pecans in maple syrup and a little bit of salt on one side of the pan and then I laid out prosciutto on the other side. I put that in the oven on 375 for not very long at all.. maybe 4 minutes - I don't know. Just keep checking it because they were on the verge of burning! The salty sweet pecans plus the crispy prosciutto added some much flavor. I’ll definitely do that again very soon! Then I added apple slices and pears and parmesan crisps. My kids loved this part.
As for the pasta... 4 garlic cloves minced. I saute those in butter very low because you know garlic likes to burn. Then I added about 3/4 cup pine nuts and I let that simmer for a minute or two (still on low heat). Then about 3/4 cup white wine. Then I added the cooked noodles, parmesean cheese, salt, pepper and parsley. There wasn't a single noodle left!
Anyway, I am excited to try more meals like this! I love, love, love cooking, but I love it even more when my family raves about the meal. Based on the reviews last night, we will be making each of these dishes again soon.