What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?

A couple of months ago, I did a menu exchange with MyFriendJen. I was looking for ideas of stuff to have for dinner around here, so I asked her to write down everything her family ate at mealtimes for two weeks. I didn’t want recipes of stuff that you only make when you’re going to a potluck or on Thanksgiving. I wanted to know what kind of stuff she was making when she came home at the end of a long workday, and needed to feed three hungry kids fast, with whatever was in the fridge at the time. I didn’t care if she was making sandwiches or cereal or getting take-out — anything might trigger a new idea for our house, too. I kept the same record for her, and then we swapped.

It was a success, in that we both got some great new ideas and our menu has expanded. But now I find I’m looking for more ideas.

That’s where you come in! Comment on this post and let me know what you had for dinner last night, no matter how exotic or commonplace. If a recipe is involved, put it in there.

If this works out, I’ll do it again next week, too. I need ideas, people!

Oh, and I’ll go first to get the ball rolling: last night we had soup (canned chicken noodle for the kids, thawed potato leek soup from the freezer that I had made a couple of weeks ago, recipe available upon request). With our soups we had cheese slices and homemade tea biscuits (recipe upon request). Yummy.

29 thoughts on “What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?

  1. fame_throwa

    Well, to celebrate ‘s completion of his second-last school term, we went to The Works for dinner. But the night before that I made a stir fry. This is a new “recipe” for me. It started out as a broccoli salad with a dead-simple dressing. The dressing was so good and so easy that I combined more things into the salad and now it’s a stir fry. Here’s what I did:

    1. Steam a head of broccoli (or stir fry it)
    2. Stir fry chicken (3 breasts) cut into chunks with mushrooms (one container)
    3. Prepare some noodles. I just added noodles this time. I figured they’d soak up the dressing and retain some of its flavour. It worked well.
    4. Toast some sesame seeds (in the blessed toaster oven. So handy for this purpose.)
    5. Combine all of these ingredients into the wok or a bowl and toss with dressing.

    3 Tbsp rice vinegar
    3 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
    3 tsp sesame oil
    1 tsp minced ginger (you can get this in a jar)
    3 tsp sugar

    The ginger is optional. The original dressing doesn’t have ginger in it.

  2. fame_throwa

    Oh, I forgot. I also add edamame to the dish for extra protein. You can get edamame shelled or in the pod in the organic freezer section of any Loblaws. It’s a snap to prepare: stick it in a covered dish and microwave on high for 2.5 minutes. Awesome protein source with a mild, nutty flavour.

    And of course you could swap out the noodles and swap in rice.

  3. dramaqueen_23

    You just reminded me that I have edamame in my freezer. I’m going to make some for Drama Prince right now!

  4. rheostaticsfan

    We ordered in pizza. Sorry for the lack of imagination. I’m in love with dinners that require rice these days…I just got a new rice cooker and am using almost every day.

  5. turtle_head

    This sounds great. One thing I don’t have in my repetoire is a good stir-fry. A lot of the sauces out there are not safe for the Captain so making my own dressing sounds like a great first step. Also I’ve been meaning to try edamame for the kids for ages…I’m putting it on my shopping list right now!

  6. turtle_head

    How is it that you have such fabulous, perfect icons for every post? Do you make them yourself? They are amazing…this one makes me want to eat a big bowl of peas right now!

  7. turtle_head

    This is a good idea, though. We have spaghetti all the time, and you just reminded me that ages and ages ago, I used to buy PC meatless meatballs (so, so yummy) to have with it, but I haven’t bought them in a few years. Yet another thing to add to my shopping list!

  8. turtle_head

    What is red-salt? Did you make the fries yourself, or were they frozen?

    is a huge, huge fan of the grilled cheese, I really should give it a regular slot in the rotation.

  9. turtle_head

    Mmmm…pizza. Lately and I can’t agree on a pizza place we both like so we’ve just been limited to frozen. Where did you get yours from? We need to try someplace new!

    As for rice…we have rice as a side dish when I make PC frozen chicken balls — served with plum sauce — and veggies on the side. I also have a nice pineapple chicken crockpot/slow cooker recipe which is fantastic with rice, if you are interested.

  10. turtle_head

    is, and I used to be, but with the Captain’s many, many allergies (including eggs, milk, peanuts, nuts, and fish), we have found it impossible to get protein into his diet without resorting to meat. So the kids and I now eat chicken and turkey at least three or four times a week, but we’re still not a red-meat eating family.

  11. burrito19

    Simple Turkey Chili (original recipe here). I use a big can of crushed tomatoes and a can of tomato puree, make it hella spicy and usually add a lot of beans (mostly black ones) to it. By doing this you can make an entire vat of it and have it for days or freeze bits of it for later. I also put it over pasta and grate some extra sharp cheddar over the top. I made it on Saturday and finally finished it off today for lunch. We might be living on two incomes these days (after living for years on just one!) but I’m still pretty penny-pinching when it comes to food.

  12. turtle_head

    Mmmmm…I love chili on a winter’s day! We should have made some this weekend during the big snowstorm :).

    I’ll add this one to the list…great idea to serve it over pasta!

  13. mel_0_drama

    I had leftover chicken and rice in the fridge, so I fried up some garlic and onions, then added vegetables (broccoli and red pepper last night), then the chicken and rice. At this point, I took some out of the pan for the kids (they gobbled it up), then added soy sauce to the rest of it for the grown-ups.

  14. daddyorandy

    It’s unusual for us to pick up food on a week night but we’ve been busy preparing for Xmas and I’ve been working later than usual. Straight from C-Wood to our table – yum.

    ChanceDog had Eukanuba: lamb and rice IIRC!

  15. smokingtoaster

    From a newspaper article in the KW Record that my mom-in-law gave to me. It’s a weekend meal, not an after-work one, due to the amount of prep time (we had the leftovers from the weekend last night):

    3-4 shallots or onions, sliced
    1/3 cup olive oil
    Four skinless chicken breasts
    5-6 large white mushrooms, thickly sliced
    2 cloves finely chopped garlic
    1/2 cup white wine (I skipped this, added more stock)
    1/2 tsp dried thyme
    1 bay leaf
    1 cup chicken broth
    2 cups canned, chopped tomatoes with their juice
    1 cup black olives
    Juice of one lemon
    2 tbsp brandy (I skipped this)

    1. In a large frying pan, brown onion in olive oil on medium-hight heat. Remove and set aside, leaving as much of the oil in the pan as you can.
    2. Brown chicken in remaining oil and place in slow cooker. Brown mushrooms (add more oil if required). When mushrooms are done, add the garlic and fry for just 30 secs. Pour in the wine and stir the pan briskly as it bubbles: then pour it all in the slow cooker over the chicken.
    3. Add the thyme, bay leaf, broth, tomatoes, olives to slow cooker. Stir, and cook on low heat for 8-10 hours.
    4. When you’re ready to serve dinner, remove chicken, mushrooms and olives onto a serving plate to keep warm. Strain the rest of the cooking liquid into a large pan and add the brandy and lemon juice. Boil sauce until thick and glossy, about half of its original volume.
    5. Pour the sauce over the chicken and mushrooms and serve with rice. Makes four servings.

    Mr. Excitement ate the chicken and rice, but we didn’t give him the olives. Try just a little lemon juice or the kids might find it too strong. Also, you may want to use low-sodium stock and tomatoes to keep it healthier.

  16. turtle_head

    This sounds great…as I was saying above, I think stir-fry is something I really need to explore. Plus, totally allergy-friendly! If you have other allergy-safe ideas, I’d love to hear them. Do you make your own breads? Or do you buy them in a health-food store?

  17. turtle_head

    Chicken platter…sounds interesting! We can’t do most fast-food places due to CJB’s allergies, but I will check out the A&W — we’ve never eaten there before. Thanks for the idea!

  18. turtle_head

    Sounds interesting…what, exactly, is “marengo”?? I love mushrooms and I don’t think we have a single mushroom-friendly dinner in this house, so it’s a go!

    I’m totally into crockpotting these days, so I’ll add this one to my list. Wednesdays are crockpot days here. I wish I could do it more often but I find our kids are really resistent to eating slow-cooker dishes — they don’t like the mixture of foods, like many kids, they like their foods separate at all times. We can usually get Gal Smiley to try stuff, but CJB is locked up like a vault when it comes to new foods.

    If you find more slow-cooked stuff that MAD will actually eat, then be sure to pass it along!

  19. hardcormier

    Brainslie and I went out to the Barley Mow on Bank St last night (great food) but the last thing we made was lasagna with Veggie ground round in the sauce and one layer with pan-fried baby spinach and cottage cheese.

  20. fame_throwa

    Totally. I can’t believe how often I go there. Usually I’m a stickler for variety, but I guess with The Works there is so much variety at the place that it never gets old. And those sweet potato fries… DAMN!

    Actually this month they had a special milkshake available: gingerbread man. It was awesome.

  21. hardcormier

    You’ve never been to A&W? Where have you been!? When I was a kid they used to have these baloon meals where the box that your food came in looked like a gondola and was attached to a balloon. The fries are terrible but the root beer is so good.

  22. daddyorandy

    The chicken platter was just some grilled chicken that came with the greek salad, all of which was from the greek fast food place at C-wood.

    Tonight, we has real home prepared Caesar salad with a purchased lasagna from Parma Ravioli on Richmond Rd.

  23. turtle_head

    Mmmm, I love lasagna. But the Captain doesn’t like tomato sauce, so it’s a tough sell.

    Lately, though, I’ve been making whatever the heck I want for dinner, and if the kids don’t eat it, tough for them. I figure they will never learn to eat a variety of foods if I coddle them by never making it.

    What’s your recipe?

  24. mel_0_drama

    I’ve been known to make my own bread, but I usually buy it at the grocery store. Good thing my son doesn’t have a gluten allergy, because he loves bread and pasta (though he’s going through a no-sauce phase). He tends to be a bit picky, but I partly blame myself for that because I used to give him the same things over and over, just because I knew they were safe. Lately, one of his favourites things is chicken fingers, which I make with Shake & Bake.

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