I’m Tired of Being Fussy

I’m Bob and I’ve been a fussy eater all my life. My parents couldn’t break me of it. College didn’t change things. Even my time in the Air National Guard did nothing to change my fussy eating. My wife Linda (who loves to cook) has tried in the past and had limited success. Now I do most of the daily cooking at home. Due to health concerns in both our families, we have decided to try to eat healthier. That’s not easy when you don’t eat fruit or most vegetables.

Join me as I try to find new foods that I can eat. I’ll offer tips for dealing with your fussy eaters and you can make suggestions for me to try as well.

Meatless Monday – Rana Ravioli Cheese Forte

I’m not quite sure where my wife got the idea, although it seems to be a big thing these day – Meatless Monday. Generally we have meat every night, so it is a bit for a change for us. To be honest, I’m not sure how well we will hold to Meatless Monday. It certainly didn’t apply on Memorial Day.

Anyway, when we were in Price Chopper recently, they were offering samples of some bolognese sauce and ravioli. My wife liked the sauce so she picked some up along with the ravioli. It saw in the fridge for a while until we decided that Meatless Monday would be a good day to try it.

Rana Ravioli Cheese Forte

I was quite surprised at the cooking directions. This stuff literally cooks in 2 minutes – well, that and the time it takes for the water to boil. I wasn’t quite sure what cheeses were in it so I sprinkled a bit of Parmesan cheese over the top.

Ravioli Cheese Forte

 

I probably didn’t need to add any cheese. They were quite good and also rather filling. They will make an excellent addition to Meatless Mondays. They also are a great quick meal to prepare and to clean up after. I would definitely recommend these for younger fussy eaters too. If you aren’t a fussy eater, then add one of the sauces to create a less bland dish.

Italian Herb Chicken with Broccoli

I’ve become a little bit of a fan of the Land O’ Lakes Saute Express seasonings. I’ve made the Italian Herb before, but this time I decided to change things up a little.

So I decided to add some broccoli to the pan and I sauteed it up with the chicken. I’ve been tolerating plain broccoli florets for a while now so I hoped that adding them to the seasoning would give them a little more flavor.

Italian Herb Chicken and Broccoli

The broccoli certainly did get cooked in well with the chicken. I do think I may have added it too soon though. The broccoli got a little too soft.

Italian Herb Chicken and Broccoli with Noodles

I topped it all off with a little pasta and Parmesan cheese. It made for a great meal with some much needed greens. The broccoli was a bit too mushy, but it was a little more flavorful than usual. Perhaps it would be better to say it hid the broccoli flavor better. Either way, it gave me another way to eat broccoli.

 

The Problem with Purple Potatoes

Recently, my wife and I were shopping at the local Fresh Market and saw some purple sweet potatoes. We’d never seen them before. My wife loves the color purple and we enjoyed several sweet potato recipes, so we decided to pick one up.

We assumed that it could be cooked the same as a regular sweet potato and that just the color was different. So we decided to make grilled sweet potato fries out of it. We really enjoyed them in the past so it seemed like the perfect way to prepare them.

We’ll we were wrong. We forgot one thing about grilling sweet potatoes. It can be difficult to keep them from burning. That in itself isn’t so bad when you use a regular sweet potato because you can tell what color it is and tell when it is starting to turn black. That doesn’t work with purple sweet potatoes.

Purple Sweet Potato Fries

Purple sweet potatoes are very dark to begin with so it is nearly impossible to tell if the are burning until they are really burnt. Despite cooking a pretty reasonable number of fries, we ended up with only a few that were really edible.

Colonie-20130501-00260

The ones that were edible were just as good as the regular sweet potato fries. However, it was tough to pick them out. Sometimes, you thought you had a good one until you ate it. By then it was too late. If they were burnt, they were not at all appetizing.

In the future, if we cook purple sweet potatoes, I’ll try the baked sweet potato fries instead. I think they are too dark to try making potato chips since they tended to burn a little if you weren’t careful.

So I can recommend purple sweet potatoes if you like regular sweet potatoes, but you need to be a bit cautious in how you cook them so they don’t burn.

 

Ran Like a Mother, Ate Like a Dad

On Mother’s Day, my wife, youngest daughter, and I all participated in a charity 5K run called “Run Like a Mother”. It was the first 5K for all of us. My wife wanted to do it both for the charity Kelly’s Angels (which supports children who have lost their mothers), and also as part of her health and fitness journey. I did it for the charity (my mom died when my sister was only 7) and to support my wife.

The day started pretty early for a weekend. We had to be there at 7:30 in the morning and it takes a half hour to get there. I hadn’t preregistered, so I did so when we arrived. Then we each got our number. I was 602. I’m sure there were more people that registered after me.

The run started at 9:00 and we were a good ways towards the back of the crowd. My wife and I weren’t planning on running fast so we didn’t want to get in the way of others. Since we were so far back, it started as more of a walk until things opened up a little. Kate took off running at this point while I stayed with Linda. Shortly afterwards, Linda started jogging. We jogged a bit then walked a bit throughout the entire hilly course. Generally we walked uphill and jogged down. Around 51 minutes later we arrived at the finish line with Kate cheering us on. Apparently the numbers we wore were tagged in some way. Shortly after we finished, they posted the standings. Kate came in 218th. I was 444 and Linda was 445. According to the web page with the stats, there were 566 runners so we beat over 100 people. Not bad for our first 5K.

When we got back into town, we stopped in for breakfast at a local cafe. The coffee wasn’t great, but my Challah French Toast pretty good. After breakfast we went home and chilled out most of the day. Later on, I went to the store to pick up some steaks. Earlier in the week, I had seen a new seasoning I want to try at BJ’s Wholesale Club, but I didn’t want to spend $7 on a huge container of it. Well, as luck would have it Hannaford had a small packet.

Brown Sugar Bourbon MarinadeI don’t drink bourbon, but I do like brown sugar so I wanted to give it a try. I seasoned Linda’s steak with the usual garlic powder, onion powder, and Nature’s Seasons, but I used the new marinade on mine. As it cooked, it appeared that some of the marinade may have come off. The steak looked great, but I didn’t think the flavor was very strong. It was good, so I am definitely going to use the rest of the packet on my next steak.

Brown Sugar Bourbon SteakOverall, we had a great Mother’s Day. We ran our first 5K and had some great steaks.  I ran like a mother and ate like a dad. Who could ask for more?

Flat-bread Pizza

It’s no secret that my wife and I love pizza. It was our first date meal (pizza, Con Air and The Rock – how that that miss?). It’s our typical anniversary meal. It’s our go-to fast food. Unfortunately, pizza isn’t exactly the healthiest thing to eat. Well, we’ve found a way to at least push things a little more in the right direction and that’s flat-bread pizza.

Most pizza has a thick crust. Even the thin crust pizza is far thicker than a piece of flat-bread. That’s a lot of unnecessary carbs and calories. So take a piece of flat-bread and spread a small amount of pizza sauce on it. Don’t use spaghetti sauce –  no matter who tells you they are they same, they are not and a fussy eater can certainly tell the difference (and probably an Italian too). Now take some 2% mozzarella cheese and cover the pizza. We like pepperoni on our pizza, but it isn’t really healthy. We figure that it’s still better than we would order from a pizzeria. Just go a little light on pepperoni or other unhealthy toppings.

Flat-bread Pizza Prep

 

OK, so maybe we didn’t go that light on the pepperoni. Like I said, it’s still better than pizzeria pizza. Get over it. Not everything I eat is going to be healthy. You do need some comfort food. If you can make it healthier than it was before, you are still helping yourself out overall.

Once the pizza is prepared, pop it in the oven at around 400 for around 8-10 minutes depending on how you like your cheese.

Colonie-20121216-00104As you can see, I like my cheese just a little bit browned.  It’s nowhere near as good as the local Vintage Pizza, but it is pretty close to a Newman’s Own. If you are looking for a way to eat pizza and not get all the carbs and calories, give it a try. It gets this fussy eater’s stamp of approval. What about your fussy eater?

 

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs Recipe

My wife has often commented on how we should cook chicken thighs since they are generally much cheaper than chicken breast. I tended to think they probably weren’t very good if they were so cheap – besides, they are kind of small too. Well, she found a recipe that changed my mind about them even though the recipe does include garlic powder.

Spicy Honey Brushed Chicken Thighs

I’m including the recipe as it was listed. However, we did stray from it a little.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat.
  4. Place chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray.
  5. Broil chicken 5 minutes on each side.
  6. Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well.
  7. Remove chicken from oven; brush 1/4 cup honey mixture on chicken. Broil 1 minute. Remove chicken from oven and turn over.
  8. Brush chicken with remaining honey mixture. Broil 1 additional minute or until chicken is done.

We couldn’t find boneless chicken thighs so we got them with the bone. That was both good and bad. The good thing about the thighs with bone is that they are a bit bigger. I’m not sure if there actually is more meat on them than if we used boneless, but it gives the appearance of more. On the other hand, they seemed to take a lot longer to cook than the recipe calls for. They say 5 minutes  per side, then brush with honey and do one or two more minutes per side. I think we ended up cooking them around 10 minutes per side.

Spicy Honey Brushed Chicken Thighs - Plated

Regardless of how long they may have taken to cook, I must say they were absolutely delicious. I would never have guessed they were made with garlic powder if I hadn’t read the recipe. The honey made them nice and sweet and the red pepper gave them some kick.

With this recipe, my opinion of chicken thighs has been changed forever. It definitely meets with this fussy eater’s approval.

via Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs Recipe | MyRecipes.com.

Land O’ Lakes Saute Express – Lemon Pepper Chicken

Land O' Lakes Saute Express - Lemon Pepper

We finally had a chance to try the Lemon Pepper variety of the Land O’ Lakes Saute Express seasoning. As with the Italian Herb, it is a mix of butter, olive oil, and seasonings. Simply melt it in the pan and saute the chicken until done. It’s a great way to create a tasty meal with little effort. Perhaps I shouldn’t have said tasty though, since it got mixed reviews from my wife and I.

Land O' Lakes Saute Express - Lemon Pepper ChickenBelieve it or not, Linda was the one who didn’t care for it. She thought it was too lemony for her taste. Personally, I thought it had a nice lemon kick to it. I do think that it would be wise to pick the proper side dish to complement the chicken. We had  yellow rice. I’m not sure it really went well with the lemon. The chicken had a pretty strong lemon flavor so I’m not sure what would work best as a side dish. Any ideas?

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