Getting into a “meal rut” happens to us all. And it is one of the easiest ruts to get into. You try a new recipe and the family loves it. Or it was a big hit with your Shabbat guests. And it was so quick and easy to make. What more could you ask for? Next thing you know you’re making it so often your family groans when you serve it.
The “experts” will tell you that the key to avoiding meal rut is meal planning. If you’re one of those who just can’t plan ahead, don’t worry about it. Sometimes children go through a macaroni and cheese or hot dog (or some other food) phase where that’s the only thing they’ll eat. This usually doesn’t last long, however, and when that phase is over they don’t even want to look at that formerly favoured food. There are also those families where Tuesday night is meatloaf night and Thursday night is spaghetti night. If your family doesn’t mind this you’ve got it made!
But if they do object, try to watch that repetition and try to vary your meals. Even if you’re not an experimental cook, promise yourself to try one new recipe a week, or every other week – and don’t make the same food so often that your family gets tired of it. If you always make Shepherd’s Pie from the leftover brisket, this week make barbecued beef with the leftovers. (Simply slice the meat and pour a bottle of barbecue sauce over it and reheat.)
Here are two dishes that I think your family will love
MAPLE MUSTARD HONEY STYLE RIBS
This is a great dish to make on a day when you’re going to be busy. Put it all in your crock pot and come home at the end of the day to a delicious hot meal.
1 large onion, cut into 1/4 in. slices, separated into rings
1/3 C. maple syrup
1/4 C. Dijon mustard
2 1/2 to 3 lbs. beef short ribs, trimmed of fat
Place onion rings in 4 qt. crock-pot.
In small bowl, combine syrup and mustard; mix well. Spread evenly on ribs. Place coated ribs over onion. Cover; cook on low setting for at least 8 hours or until ribs are tender. If desired, serve with additional mustard. (Makes 4 servings)
6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts
salt and pepper
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. dried tarragon, crushed
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups flour
1 cup coarsely shredded carrot
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups pareve milk or chicken broth
Preheat oven to 400 degree. Arrange chicken in a 13 x 9 x 2 in. baking pan.
Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear; set aside.
In a medium saucepan combine 2 tbsp. of the oil and chopped onion. Cook and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in peas, the 1/3 cup flour, and tarragon. Add chicken broth all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.
Cover and keep warm while preparing cobbler topping. For cobbler topping, in a medium mixing bowl stir together the 2 cups flour, shredded carrot, sugar, baking powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Stir in pareve milk or broth and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil until combined.
Place chicken back into the baking pan and pour warm sauce over the chicken. Spoon topping over sauce. Bake for 25 minutes or until topping is golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted in the centre of topping comes out clean. (Makes 6 servings)