I am pretty sure that I could serve my kids just about anything and I would get rave reviews so long as there were mashed potatoes and gravy on the side.
It doesn't hurt if I serve some form of meat, too. My kids are definitely not budding vegetarians.
While walking the pup this afternoon, I took that opportunity to mull over my dinner options. I'm a terrible meal planner which means that I rarely have more than 2 nights of dinner planned and purchased at a time. Today was one of those days when I had no plan, minimal groceries and a family full of people wanting to eat.
There was no way around it. I was going to have to shop and I was going to have to cook. I do not know why this catches me off guard every. single. day.
Fortunately, the cooking corner of my brain was actually functioning today (it is often in a mildly comatose state) and I concocted a meal plan fairly quickly. I remembered one of my favorite Rachel Ray recipes that comes together quickly and contains meat which therefore meant it had been well received in the past.
The recipe is for Pan Fried Pork Chops with a Spinach and Grape Salad. Quite a tasty combination and one of my favorite ways to prepare and eat spinach, particularly in the summertime. Also, very low carb if you are so inclined to be watching your carb intake.
My children are not so inclined to be watching their carb intake. In fact, like any good red blooded American, they are quite fond of their carbs, especially when accompanied by meat (in our house we eat very little red meat so pork qualifies as "meat" to my kids).
Knowing their fondness for a nice carb-y side dish to go along with their meat, I quickly realized that the easiest plan of action would be mashed potatoes and gravy. And yes, because I'm not crazy, I do mean the store bought variety of mashed potatoes. I'm not peeling and mashing a thousand potatoes on a random Wednesday night just to earn the goodwill of my children. They wouldn't notice the difference or appreciate it anyhow.
Anyway, as expected, the pork and mashed potatoes got lots of thumbs ups and requests for seconds, while the Spinach and Grape Salad was tolerated and I think a bite or two may have been taken, at least by the boys. Annie might have been masterfully moving it around her plate in a classic 7 year old game of mealtime smoke and mirrors.
I did take a bite! See? Can't you tell?
So, even though the bulk of my children's dinner was meat and potatoes, the gravy seemed to provide enough cover for at least a few bites of spinach to make it into their mouths. I say, Victory!
I'm considering testing my new theory on some other less obvious mashed potato and gravy meals. There is a delicious sounding, packed-with-vegetables pasta primavera recipe I'm itching to try. Maybe a little mashed potatoes and gravy would finish that off nicely? Or, my favorite homemade Pad Thai recipe that no one else seems to be as fond of as I am. Maybe Pad Thai with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy has a more appetizing ring to it?
This could be the secret to my success. A never-ending string of successful meals that are met with nothing but cries of Yum! and Thanks, Mom!
All thanks to our All American friends- Mashed Potatoes and Gravy.