Disclosure – I am participating in the Old El Paso Blogger Campaign by Mom Central Canada on behalf of General Mills, and received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.
A common phrase used when talking about cooking is being stuck in a “meal rut”. Have you ever found yourself in one?
In fact, when I do something, I like to go full-board with it. We don’t just get stuck in a meal rut; instead, I like to drive right off of the road and crash into a meal ditch. A big one.
This isn’t the case all of the time. For a while, we’ll be doing really well. I’ll be printing out recipes and things that are interesting and trendy and featuring the words “quinoa” and “kale” will show up on the table. And then… something will happen. Like summertime.
Squeee……..!!! My meal creativity slams on the brakes and we’re suddenly sitting in the middle of a meal ditch. And so I reach into the glovebox and start thumbing through the take-out menus.
Some of the problem lies in the fact that my kids – like many kids out there – are picky. If it’s weird, they’re not going to eat it. If it has leaves, they’re not going to eat it. If I say, “This is something new and exciting”, they immediately start to suspect something. And then they won’t eat it.
New and exciting = not what I’m used to. Where are the grilled cheese sandwiches please?
And so I get comfortable with a small repertoire. One that focuses on a main ingredient:
So sue me. I like chicken.
But Mr. Suburble says that if he eats any more chicken, he’s going to cluck.
If he could lay eggs in the backyard, then I’d stop hounding him for a flock of my own Barred Rocks. But until that feat happens, I’m going to have to broaden my horizons and start adding some variety to our meat food group.
I know that I can cook. I can bake, too. The trouble lies in around 4:30. We will be bike-riding, mud-pie-making, playing, or I will be elbow-deep into a craft, when I have a realization: “What are we going to have for dinner? And how on earth am I going to make it in under an hour?!!”
This 4:30 panic is why I have joined a group of fantastic bloggers and have become an Old El Paso Ambassador. Over the next couple of months, I will be sharing new and inventive recipes, but in ways that will appeal to you harried workers/crafters/moms/sand-castle-builders. Mexican food is a great way to create a colourful meal (don’t tell the kiddos, but those are veggies in there!) while still satisfying the palate.
The tow-truck has arrived to pull the Suburble family out of the meal ditch.
I’m looking forward to sharing my recipes and stories with you! (And I’ll tell you if the kids eat it)
And Mr. Suburble is looking forward to meals that don’t have chicken. Though I can’t promise that. Baby steps, people…
Check out the Old El Paso Facebook page and gather some ideas to add some flavour to your meals.
But before I go, I have to ask: what is your go-to meal when you just have to whip something up for your family? Is it *gulp* a meal involving chicken? Or is it something else?
Mine is something we call “Chicken Bake”.
Yes, it is that inspiring.
Follow Along! You don’t want to miss the Suburble Tow-Truck of Awesomeness!
Kirsten @ One Tough Mother
Girl, I’m parked right next to you in that big meal ditch. We can share the chicken nuggets leftover in the back seat. Got any fries?
Your pictures are hysterical, by the way. I’m really looking forward to your meal ideas (not involving chicken!) – I get home between 6-6:30 every night and we’re lucky to sit down to eat dinner by 7:30. Quick and easy rocks my socks. Spaghetti is my go-to quick meal, but we do get burned out on it, for sure!
Kirsten – I’ve got some fries and this leftover pizza I found over here under the seat. You want?
I feel like I need to update my arsenal of quick and easy meals. Like you said, spaghetti is a popular one, but then you get burned out on the same-old, and suddenly you’re spinning your wheels in a rut.
Now that summer is slipping into fall, I feel like we can’t get away with the careless meals I’ve been putting before everyone. It sounds weird, but I think that the colder months require more substantial meals.
Hahahahaha! Love this post! My older son used to live on air…really! I think he got most of his nutrition through his skin (meaning food on his cheeks rather than in his mouth!). He was always tall and skinny and I don’t think he was ever actually hungry until he went through puberty. Now, there’s almost nothing he won’t eat! Anyway, I’m looking forward to your upcoming posts! 😀
It’s so hard to find things that the kids will eat and enjoy that is actually healthy! I’m really hoping to marry both “healthy” and “tasty” in my upcoming recipes. 🙂
So, I’m just going to repeat everything Kirsten said. The panic hits around 6pm, when you realize you haven’t defrosted anything, and whatever, your kid isn’t going to eat anything you make anyways. Can’t wait until baby arrives, and the meal rut becomes a sinkhole…
I so hear you when you say, “Whatever, the kid isn’t going to eat anything you make anyways…”
That’s the way I feel a lot of the time. Can I please the kids and myself when it comes to meal-making? That’s a tough one.
Yep I’m the same if I had the organisation my many meal planners suggest I’d be Martha Stewart but sadly I hate cooking especially dinner, I’ve been known to say on many occasions “didn’t you eat last night” after laundry least favourite thing to do…but baking I love to bake!
Isn’t that funny? I love love love to bake, and while I like to cook, it’s not with the same passion that I have for baking.
Laundry is my number one nemesis. I’m terrible at it.
Ha…really cute, loved all the captions on the photos! Can’t wait for all the recipes! 🙂 🙂
The captions are pretty close to real life! 🙂
I’m excited to share my recipes!
amy @ one artsy mama
Hahaha…those cartoons are the BEST! Seriously. Thanks for the giggle…and here’s hoping the Mr. doesn’t have to start clucking. lol.
Oh, I’m sure he’s clucked once or twice. Chicken is SUCH a staple ’round these parts. And why not? It’s so easy!
I am stuck in a serious meal rut, myself. Thanks for the motivation…and the giggles. Your girls are so sweet (and so are you!)
I think that many of us are jammed into that “meal ditch” around this time of the summer. It’s so hard to have the drive to make incredible meals all while being outside and getting that last little bit of summer into the schedule.
I’m so glad you enjoyed the photos! (And thank you for the compliment! 🙂 )
I can totally relate! Great thought bubbles!
Oh thank you! I imagine it’s what my children are REALLY saying. 😉
Haha! I have a little one like that, too!
Where eating is up for negotiation? Oh yeah… we’re there MANY nights!
Amanda @ Serenity Now
Love the captions! 🙂 I’ve definitely been in a meal rut…my go to is spaghetti!
Spaghetti is a popular meal in our house too. I feel like our meal ruts come in waves. It will so good for a while then….. bam! Pizza, spaghetti, and grilled cheese. Sigh.
We definitely eat a lot of chicken, but a cheap and easy meal I like to make is rigatoni with sausage and broccoli. It has an oil, garlic and lemon sauce topped with Parmesan cheese. My 12 year old loves it (more than the hubby) and my 3 year old is like everyone else’s. Every once in a while she’ll eat a little bit, but she mostly likes the Parmesan cheese.
Susan – that meal sounds delicious! Both Lila and Mr. Suburble LOVE sausage – mixing it up with some veggies and pasta would be a great quick-and-easy meal for this house. Lucy would just want the pasta and the parmesan cheese. Though we call it “stinky cheese” in our house! 😉
I get stuck, too, especially mid-week. BTW, those pics are stunningly adorable!
Thank you so much, Alli! Mid-week is a bit tough, isn’t it? I think it’s because everyone is losing a bit of steam!
When i’m in a rut…it’s either tacos (any mexican really) or BLTs. Like you..I’m always too late in thinking about it! Funny, funny pics by the way!
BLTs are great! It’s not chicken, so Mr. Suburble would approve!
(I’m glad that you liked the photos! They were fun to make!)
“Meal ditch” made me laugh. I am right there with you. How many times we have had cereal because I do not want to cook. My go to meat is pork chops though. I’m sure my husband could oink! I love this idea. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!!
I’m BRUTAL with pork chops. I cannot cook them properly for some reason. They’re always too dry! (How do you do it?)
Well, we could put our husbands together and we’d almost have Old McDonald’s farm. 🙂
My mom used to cook pork chops like that too. I was in my late 20s before I knew they weren’t dry. The trick is to not be worried about not cooking them enough. Or, use a meat thermometer (which is what I often do with chicken because THAT terrifies me).
Amy of while wearing heels
What adorable pictures with such funny captions. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.
Thank you so much, Amy! I’m looking forward to sharing my recipes!
This is a great post! My go-to dinner is gnocchi and red sauce. The fam loves it!
Malia – you don’t make the gnocchi from scratch, do you?
If so, I bow down to your cooking prowess.
(And I also want the recipe!)
Adrianne at Happy Hour Projects
Hahahahaha – I LOVE this post! I can’t wait to see what kinds of recipes you share. And what those cuties have to “say” about them. 😉
chicken is so good and versatile, what’s not to like Mr Suburble, geesh, just be happy when there is food made 😉 haha
My go to’s
Tacos – ground beef, avocado/guac, yogurt/sourcream, salsa, cheese and shells. I’m going to start adding spinach to it for some vegetable matter haha I love pulled pork tacos too, a pork loin in the crockpot with some Mexican flavorings and some diced tomatoes (or you could simply use some salsa), cook it on low, shred it and devour.
BBQ’d Cajun chicken with some sort of vegetable side (whatever we have on hand, preferably roasted) also delicious with Caesar salad
Frozen salmon fillets, topped with a mayo, lemon juice, herb and garlic sauce, sprinkle some panko crumbs on for a nice crunch if you wish. Also delicious with cheese in the sauce and ontop of chicken like this http://hforhappyhour.blogspot.ca/2013/04/recipe-oh-so-easy-and-oh-so-tasty.html
thai yellow curry – store bought yellow curry paste, whatever vegetables you desire and chicken, and coconut milk, rice on the side.
PS that picture of the girls in the chariot, OH MY, when they loose those baby faces *tear*