Sunday, September 25, 2011

Family Dinner Month Day 1: Conchiglie with Peas

Blog For Family Dinner month (use #B4FD as the Twitter hashtag) starts today.  I've started following lots of folks who talk about family dinner, feeding families well, kid-friendly meals, etc.  So I started to see the #B4FD info in my timeline.

We are doing really well with Project Veg.  Between the cookbook my friend Jenny loaned me and the one she gave me as a Christmas gift, we had been doing pretty well.  But with starting back to my semester and trying to single handedly run a household into the ground, it's usually just easier to head down the street to my mom's for dinner.

I've been feeling a little down and overwhelmed lately.  I think it's mostly hormonal, and I have a doctor appointment scheduled. don't worry.  But I've been trying to think of little things I can do that will help me to feel better, and to better deal with the stress of ... everything I have going on.

So when I started thinking about Family Dinner Month, I realized that I really like the idea.  Honestly, I am incredibly excited about the idea of my kid and I sitting down together to dinner every night for a month at our dining room table, to a meal that I cooked for us.  Don't get me wrong, I'm very grateful for the nights my mom cooks dinner for us.  Also, my parents will probably join us for a number of our meals this month, and I'm sure we will end up at their house for a few meals also.  It just feels like this is one thing that I can do that I enjoy (I love cooking) that will help me bond with my kid, take good care of her, relax at the end of a long day, and be something that I can feel like I have some control over.

I didn't realize that last part until I was discussing it with my mom.  In the middle of explaining to her that I want to try to do meal planning and eat more dinners on our own or at least at our dining room table, I started talking about how overwhelmed and out-of-control I feel sometimes, and this is one thing that I feel like I can have (or would like to have) more control over.

So, this morning my mom took the Wee One to church to see Jesus (every time you say "church" she says "I go see Jesus") and I made a list of menus, went to Whole Foods, cleaned out the fridge, put groceries away, washed all the dishes ....  then took a nap with my kid.  (Hey, I said I was overwhelmed, leave me alone).

So here was our dinner tonight, the first night of Family Dinner Month, inspired by the kind folks at Blog For Family Dinner.

The inspiration for this meal came primarily from a recipe in The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen (the cookbook that I previously copyright violated talked about here) called Conchiglie with Green and Black-Eyed Peas, Pearl Onions, and Basil.  Only it ended up being more like Conchiglie with Green Peas, Garlic, and Oregano.  The other influence for the recipe was this recipe.

So here is how it was made.  Easy peasy (sorry, I had to).

In a big pot, boil salted water for the pasta.  When a rolling boil, add pasta.  Remember to look at the time for a ballpark on when your big pot of pasta will be done.

In another pan:
Put some olive oil in the pan.
Add some chopped garlic and stir.

Oh, yea, remember to turn on the burner!  (I told you this was how I made it!)
After it gets up to temp and you notice it has started sizzling, add 1/3 cup of butter and some frozen peas.  Stir periodically until the butter is melted and the peas look thawed.

Meanwhile, head out to the garden to clip some oregano.  Garden?  Why yes, I do have an herb garden (okay, ignore the great big weed in the middle.  Most of it is herbs, anyway.)

Chop a few leaves of the oregano and add to the peas/butter/garlic stuff.
Keep warm on lo heat until the pasta is done.

As I learned on Food Network, put the pasta in the sauce and let it finish cooking and soak up all the flavors in the sauce.

It was very yummy.  The toddler enjoyed it immensely.  Even more than the dish, I enjoyed a quiet conversation with my kid.  First she told me I was a lion and she was spaghetti.  Then she was a lion (I don't know what I had become, I was too busy enjoying her lion roar).  I found out that her favorite food is ravioli, but I think that's just her favorite food to say.  She does love her some peas, and crammed them into her mouth by the fistful. 

After finishing dinner, she wanted to visit her Nan and Grandpa so that Nan could try the dish.  We wrapped up the leftovers on a Dora plate and took it to Nan to try.  Nan scarfed the whole plate down and declared it delicious, much as we had done.

So Day 1 of Family Dinner Month was a smashing success: simple, healthy, toddler-friendly meal.  Bonding conversation with my kid.  Couldn't have a better evening at home.

Also: Aveeno Calming Baby Bath with the lavendar scent really helps get the smell of chopped garlic off your hands.  That's my hint for the day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the plate you and Cait brought to me. I am so delighted that she loves to share and thinks of others all the time. And I must say, you are a great cook!