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Cooking for Four

February 9, 2011
by seemichellecook

I’m a sucker when it comes to cooking for my family.  Years ago when my youngest, Alex hit 2 years of age, she became what we call a picky eater.

If you have children then you know what a worry it is when they don’t eat or won’t eat healthy food.  I have spent too many nights to even count on what I did wrong, or how I could fix her only to realize many years later that she wasn’t and still isn’t broken.

I don’t even believe anymore that she’s picky.  I now know that this kid just has heightened taste buds.  She is sensitive to salt, spice, heat, cold, smell and texture.    She needs food to be bland, simple and she also needs it to look ‘whole’, meaning not pulverized, blended or combined with anything else.  Just give her plain pasta with some salt and olive oil on a plate.  Rice done the same way.  Chicken sliced and not messed around with.  Just get rid of the fat and bake it plain.     Bread with no seeds and peanut butter smooth only please.   Mild cheese like mozzarella melted on crust with just a smattering of sauce…, her favorite meal of all time since she was 2.

Now 13 years later and almost no change in her diet, I still worry.  Only now she’s hitting 5’9″ and my fear of her not growing has passed since she now looks down at me.   I still nag her and pay attention to her diet but I understand her better now and can appreciate that she has different taste buds and has no interest in being a foodie or having food mean anything other than sustenance.

So although I still make 2 or 3 different meals a night at times, I don’t really mind and have learned a few tricks along the way to make it easier.

An example of turning one set of ingredients into 2 or 3 different meals is this Pad Thai.

Simple Pad Thai

I pkg rice noodles (I used wide ones)

1 large firm tofu (frozen and thawed)

1 large red pepper sliced into thin strips

bean sprouts

chopped peanuts

Pad Thai Sauce

2 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp ketchup

juice of 1 lemon

Pour hot water on rice noodles until soft.  Fry enough of the  tofu cubes and peppers for one serving until peppers have softened. Pour sauce over tofu and add noodles.  Stir well.  Plate the Pad Thai and add some bean sprouts and chopped peanuts for Josee.

Coconut Thai soup

the rest of the tofu (save 6 cubes and set aside)

the rest of the red pepper strips

7 cups of vegetable stock

1 can coconut milk (I used light)

5 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp sambal oelek (chili sauce)

2 hot peppers whole

1 tbsp brown sugar

juice of 1 lemon

Place all of this in a large pot and blend the following into a paste…

3 large garlic cloves

1/2 a red onion

2 inch piece of fresh ginger

Add this purée to the soup and simmer gently for 30 minutes.  Add left over rice noodles and serve with bean sprouts and chopped peanuts for Steve and I.

Bake the last tofu cubes with a bit of soy sauce until crispy and serve with some rice, olive oil and salt for Alex.

3 meals and plenty of left overs for tomorrows dinner.

See?  not so bad.

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