The Daily Challenge

I get a fun task each day - trying to come up with something for dinner that my children will eat and that hubby and I will enjoy. My daughter is a terribly picky eater. She didn't start out that way - being a healthy breastfed baby and moving on to lovingly homemade babyfood, she ate everything we put in front of her. Then she turned two and apparently decided she had a mind of her own when it came to mealtime. Now my son is a great eater, but also a loyal follower of his big sister. So if Lil' Miss says something is yucky, you can rest assured that the Little Guy will follow suit. If my kids could have their way, they would eat mac-n-cheese (out of the box), grilled cheese sandwiches or peanut butter sandwiches every night.

I spend a great deal of time scouring the internet and and my many cookbooks for recipes I think everyone will enjoy. However, the online recipes that claim, "Your children WILL eat this," are not things I would put on a plate in front of my husband. They are dishes such as tater tots covered with cheese or weiner wraps or slices of bread baked under shredded cheese and milk. And I am most certainly NOT going to cook two separate meals for the kids and the adults.

So almost every evening, I say a little prayer, and proceed to prepare dinner. Each night is hit or miss. Some nights the kids are happy and hubby politely thanks me for dinner (we all know what that means). Some nights hubby raves about the meal and the kids refuse to touch it. And then there is the rare night that everyone actually cleans their plate. Tonight was one such night. I had taken the kids for a walk in the afternoon and was quite exhausted upon our return. I was convinced that there was no way I could cook dinner tonight and called hubby to see if he wanted to pick up some already prepared food from the deli at the grocery store. When I found out that he was no where near ready to leave work, I sat dejected on the couch while the children played. Then common sense kicked in and I realized that we'd spend way more money piecing a prepared meal together than if I just got my butt up and made something - especially knowing that I had plenty of time since hubby was still at his desk.

I pulled some chicken breast tenders out of the freezer and thawed them. I sauted a couple cloves of minced garlic, sliced up the chicken and added that to the pan, cooked it all for 10 minutes then added some soy sauce, brown sugar, ground ginger and chopped veggies. I let that cook for 5 more minutes and then added cornstarch to thicken. I boiled a pot of low mein noodles and served the chicken dish on top of the noodles, topping with crunchy chow mein noodles. It was a tad salty (too much soy sauce) but everyone's plate was clean by the end of dinner, save a stray noodle or mushroom.

There are only a few dishes that turn up successful results (defined by how much food is left on the plate) and I realize that I need to begin keeping track of them. A while ago I started a log of everything I make for dinner, so that I can eventually make a monthly dinner menu. However, the majority of things on the list are meals the kids (or the kid and her devoted apprentice) won't eat. Maybe if I just write down the things that everyone likes, I can ensure that all plates are clean every single night! What a miracle that would be. It would probably take me a year to build a month's worth of dishes liked by all! Oh well, I can dream can't I?


  1. I totally understand your "daily challenge." BTW, the food looks DELICIOUS!!! You are making me hungry! My problem is that I tend to make kid-friendly food when my hubby is not home for dinner. When I do that, I tend to not eat...b/c I don't want chicken dinosuars or mac-n-cheese. But, fortunately when I do make "real" food, the kids usually tend to eat it. I just need to cook as if hubby will be home for dinner every night...that way I will eat too! :-)

  2. I too understand your plight.
    With 4 kids who are teens and tweens, we still face the dinner dilemma. This dish looks so good and despite my dinner finishing up on the stove, I am now craving Chinese food. I make a dish similar to this with shrimp but will try it with chicken tomorrow.

  3. I actually wish I had your dilemma. Both the hubby and Baby Girl are extremely picky. I'm the one that ends up not eating, cause I refuse to make a third meal. Her diet consists of mixed veggies, fruit, hot dogs, and chicken tenders, and pancakes... that's it. I would break out into my Holy Ghost shout if she would eat some mac and cheese. And the spouse, he's almost as bad. So by the time I finish making his food, and then hers, I have no desire at all to cook anything else. LOL I'd rather eat out since I will eat just about anything (although I too grow tired of the child menu LOL)

    And by the way, that dish looked sooo good. LOL