Two Weeknight Dinners for When You're NOT Eating With the Kids

Two Weeknight Dinners for When You're NOT Eating With the Kids

We eat dinner with our kids maybe 28 days out of the month? Most of our dinners involve some form of food-throwing, five-plus trips back and forth to the kitchen, and often, a time out. It's not exactly pleasant. So, why do we eat dinner with our kids every night? We're in it for the long haul, mostly. We strongly believe that this hard work now will pay off and provide for adventurous, curious, healthy eaters down the road, and, hopefully, happy, consistent dinnertime conversations. Fingers crossed... (Also, it's simply easier to eat one meal and clean up after one meal.) There are those two or so nights a month, however, where we either cannot stomach another tumultuous dinner or we just want to eat something different. 

Enter these two recipes. There are far more adventurous recipes out there that we love to make when we're cooking something special, but most nights, we don't want to add another hour-plus of cooking on top of what we've already cooked and cleaned up for our kids' dinner. So, we want something simple, flavorful and healthy. These fit the bill. 

Chickpea Shawarma Salad

Shawarma is my comfort food. Perhaps it goes back to my college days when I studied abroad in the heavily Moroccan-influenced Granada, Spain and I was first introduced to shawarma. We would often end a late night out with a stop at a shawarma stand, devouring a pita wrap. Mmm, it makes me smile just thinking about it. Today, good takeout to me is defined by good Middle Eastern food (Zankou chicken, anyone?). This salad from The Minimalist Baker is a the best at-home shawarma flavor combination I have found. And it's simple enough to be a weeknight recipe.

The kids like to snack on the chickpeas, but the salad is not enticing enough for them to make it a meal. I find that when I cook this, I want to cook the chickpeas a lot longer than the recipe calls for. I like mine crispy! Her recommendation to dry the chickpeas is essential - they need to be fully dried to absorb the delicious spices. I have tried to speed through that step and have regretted it every time. It's worth the extra few minutes and the dish towel. 

Crispy White Beans with Greens and Poached Egg

Whenever I pull together my favorite recipes, I surprise myself at how many of them are vegetarian. The thing is, I don't eat red meat (and haven't since I was a teenager). I would love to eat fish more often if good quality fish were more readily available, but for practical reasons, we eat chicken most nights. Other nights, it's a vegetarian meal. 

To my mother's dismay, I also dislike most beans (she wanted me to have the protein). This recipe is an exception. If the description doesn't immediately call out to you, I encourage you to go into this meal with an open mind. It's worth it. The flavors come together to be a powerful combination. The textures of the crispy beans, chard and soft poached eggs, are so interesting, and the lemon, Za'atar and pepper flakes are an amazing combination.

If you don't have Za'atar at home, you can find it online here or you can make a homemade version using sumac.

One note on poaching the eggs: We're not that great at it, but one trick we've found to be helpful is to crack the egg into a small cup or saucer and then pour it into the boiling water. It makes for a smoother transfer. 

 

What do you eat when you're cooking for two?

Images: The Minimalist Baker, The Kitchn

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