Isn’t it amazing how freaking hard it is to change a bad habit? I’m sure you know what I mean, as you sit there on Day 3 of your “No Junk!” New Year’s Resolution physically aching to polish off what’s left of your daughters’ French fries. If you read our resolutions post yesterday, you know that not only every year, but every month I come up with some cockamamie scheme to force myself to drink more water (buying fun bottles, spiking my water with lime, cayenne, or ginger, calling it “tonic”) but before long am back to convincing myself that the ice in my vodka tonic totally counts towards that Magic Eight Cups a Day. If this annual behavior is not exactly a testament to willpower, I like to think it’s at least a testament to optimism.
I am not completely hopeless, though. A few years ago, when, stuck in a pizza-pasta-chicken-nugget dinner rut, I vowed to expand our dinner repertoire, reignite my love of cooking in spite of young kids who didn’t always love my cooking, and make something new every night for 30 Days straight — new to the kids, new to me, new to Andy. Book readers have already heard the details and recipes from this challenge, but I can’t endorse the strategy enough — especially to people who are looking to kickstart a Family Dinner ritual in 2013 or to people who are just interested in busting out of a culinary rut. Not only did this little experiment introduce us to new dinners, it got the kids used to approaching the table with a sense of adventure, and forced us to really get back in the habit of mapping out our meals in the beginning of the week. It should also be noted that I give this experiment 100% credit for laying the groundwork for the whole Dinner: A Love Story enterprise.
In this spirit, I’d like to launch a mini sequel to “30 Days, 30 Meals” called “7 Days, 7 Meals.” Beginning the week of Sunday, January 6, every recipe we make in the DALS house is going to be brand new. Because I’m older than I was back then, and because I want you guys to do this with me, I am going to be flexible on doing it seven days in a row. Let’s give ourselves fourteen days to make seven new things. Does that sound manageable to everyone?
I’m going to start with a list of recipes that have been earmarked as doable and DALSian, and that I’ve been meaning to make for a while. Please add recipes ideas to the bottom of this post with suggestions (links, cookbook pages, your quickest go-to weeknight recipe, other blogger’s go-tos, whatever!) and we’ll all keep each other posted on our progress either through comments below or on facebook. The goal here is easy weeknight cooking, so try to keep your suggestions simple and accessible. (Acceptable: 4-ingredient Sweet and Spicy Shrimp; Unacceptable: This.) I’ll summarize what looks good (and show you my own shopping list), then we’ll all hit the store with our collective family dinner plans and stock up on what we need to make it happen.
Some recipe ideas I’ve been kicking around (besides that shrimp):
-A replication of the Salmon Teriyaki platter the girls devour at our local Japanese place (including those sweet chunky carrots cut on the bias)
-Some kind of new meatball recipe that can be baked and frozen and easily reheated on a weeknight
-Mediterranean Salad with a lemony-oregano dressing and pita toasts
-Pretty much anything pictured here (but most likely the tofu tacos)
-Chicken “Carmesan,” which I think is chicken with caramelized onions and maybe cheese, but you’d have to ask Abby because the whole recipe (down to the name) is her vision
-Something with chicken and that bottle of pomegranate molasses I was told would change my life. Maybe two things if I’m going to justify the purchase.
-That crazy “taco pizza” at Antonio’s, that was about as good as things got at 2AM after a college bender
-Orrechiette with Country Ham and Peas (For my pasta hater: Country Ham Sandwich with a side of peas)
Whaddaya say…Are you with me or against me?