I get some version of this email all. the. time:
Hi, Jenny. Here’s my dilemma: I am a full-time high school English teacher with a major meat-eater for a partner, a twelve year old who is STRICTLY vegetarian, and her twin brother who is a fickle eater who has just lost three pounds and whose doctor wants us to make him eat. My dream would be to live on an organic farm, write books, keep a tidy house, cook meals everyone gushes over, and even entertain people once in a while. But mostly I am leaning over a counter in whatever managed to wear to work that day, minus the work shoes, add the tattered Ugg slippers my puppy loves to chew (while I’m wearing them!) trying to make a meal everyone will eat, because I refuse to make three meals and scrounge the leftovers for myself. I’m tired and frazzled. How can I work around everyone’s dietary needs and still create a gracious space for all of us to break bread and just love each other? —Dana
The DALS Prescription:
Burrito Bowls with or without Chicken (Shown above: the veggie version) I think I’ve gone at least two hours without mentioning the magic word, so I feel OK using it again today: DECONSTRUCT. Instead of mixing everything together, separate out all the possible toppings for burrito bowls and have each diner assemble his or her own.
Soba Noodles with or without Meat Scroll down to the bottom for the ponzu noodle recipe. Tip: throw in some spinach to the pot right before the noodles are done.
Split Personality Pizzas Sometimes the most obvious answer is sitting right in front of you. Keeping your “tired and frazzled” brain in mind, I recommend using store-bought pizza dough.
Freezer Quiche If you have time, make one on the weekend (topping one side with sausage crumbles and leaving the other side vegetarian) then freeze. To reheat straight from the freezer, place the quiche in a cold oven (covered) and bring temp to 350°F. Once the temperature reaches 350°F, bake for 60 minutes or until the tip of a knife inserted in the center feels warm to the touch.)
Grilled Thai Steak Salad, page 182 in Dinner: The Playbook
Hope this helps and if you have any recommendations, please feel free to share. Thanks for writing, Dana!
As always, send dinner dilemmas (and triumphs!) to firstname.lastname@example.org.