Thursday, August 14, 2008


Here's the problem:
Since my wife is very pregnant I have been in charge of cooking for at least the last week or so. Here are the pertinent data about our family:
We like...
...healthy foods.
...homemade foods.
...a wide variety of foods (at each meal).
....flavorful foods.
We also have some rather picky eaters. And even the adults don't always agree on which flavor should go into the flavorful foods.

My solution:
The most popular meals I've come up with for our family are the build-your-owns. We've had build-your-own-quesadillas, build-your-own-pasta, and most recently build-your-own-chef-salad. Bailey has suggested that I do a build-your-own-pizza. Good idea! I'll put it on my list.

Anyone else have a build-your-own to suggest?


Evelyn said...

Jon and I often have build-you-own breads and spreads:
Breads: pita, other flatbread, crackers
Spreads: hummus, eggplant dip, olive spread, whipped feta (blenderized with a bit of lemon juice)
Veggies: tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, bell peppers, sprouts
Other: pickles, olives, cheese, olive oil, some spicy sauces

We assemble sandwiches and/or salads from the ingredients, and since Jon likes things spicier than I do, he can spice it up as much as he wants. It's a really quick, easy meal, and since there are so many ingredients, it'll usually last for a few days. It's pretty flexible, too. Pretty much any spread would be a good addition. You could add deli meat or roasted chicken if you wanted.

The eggplant spread we make is really simple and good: Roast an eggplant at 400 F until it's all mushy. Scrape the flesh into a bowl and mash in as much olive oil as it will absorb (1/3 cup for 1 1/2 pound eggplant the last time I made it). Add a little lemon juice and salt if you want. The recipe says that a little sugar is good, too, in case the eggplant is bitter, but I usually forget to do this.

Jamie said...

Awesome! We are definitely going to try this! Thanks for the spread recipe. Do you have any hummus recipes to recommend? I've never made my own hummus, but I would like to start making my own. The kitchen item that I'm thinking I have to buy next is a mortar and pestle.

Marie said...

We do hawiian haystacks, which are build your own.

Evelyn said...

Online recipes are usually pretty good but often have way too much tahini. If it lists tahini in fractions of cups instead of tablespoons, you should probably cut the amount a lot.
My "recipe" (I taste and tweak as I go):
1 can garbanzo beans (or about 2 cups cooked)
1-2 cloves of garlic
1-2 tbsp tahini (I've heard that you can substitute peanut butter instead, but I haven't tried it)
juice of 1-2 lemons
enough olive oil to get it to blend easily, maybe 3 tbsp? I often find I have to add more after I start.
cumin to taste (I love cumin, so I put in 1/2 tsp ground and 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds.)

I just put everything in the food processor until it's mostly smooth, but I'm impatient, so sometimes there are pretty large chunks of garbanzo beans. That's OK with me.
You can add a roasted red pepper, some sun-dried tomatoes, chipotle peppers, olives, or pretty much anything else you want, but I like just plain hummus.

I don't know if your kids like olives, but I love my olive spread:
1 can (8 oz, I think) small black olives, drained
10ish Kalamata olives, pitted
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp pine nuts or 1 tbsp peanuts (for texture)
enough olive oil to get smooth

I just throw it in a food processor until it's smooth.


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