What’s for Dinner?: Week of November 2, 2015

What’s for Dinner is a series dedicated to what real-life families eat.  Each week, a parent shares his or her menus for the week and talks about the food philosophy behind it.  Want to read more? Check out our WFD archives.

This week we hear from Shannon, an American mom living in France with her husband and 1-year old son.

Shannon’s Family Food Philosophy: 

We are an American family living in Lyon, France for over three and a half years. I grew up just outside of Philadelphia and my husband is from Boston. Ever since I was little, my brother and I were both asked to help in the kitchen, so cooking and baking was something we did together as a family. I think the awareness of what goes into preparing a meal – both the work and the food itself – is something that allows you to fully appreciate sitting down together at the table to eat. Until I left for college, my mom and dad made sure we sat down together and ate as a family just about five days a week. My husband and I have a 17-month-old son and this is a tradition I would like to continue with my own family as well.

The experience of living in France with a culture built not only around food, but flavorful, fresh, seasonal food has really changed our perspective on eating. I really enjoy cooking and trying new recipes and in Lyon, I have access to lots of great ingredients; almost every day of the week I can walk to an open air market where I can find, local fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and cheese. I also make trips to the grocery store about three times a week to pick up odds and ends. I feel very lucky in the sense that my husband will eat just about anything put in front of him and doesn’t ever complain about what we are having for a meal.

When I’m making something with meat, I usually include two vegetables as sides and sometimes add in some kind of grain like rice, quinoa or couscous. If I’m making a vegetarian meal, I just try to make sure it’s substantial enough that we both aren’t looking for snack an hour or two later. We also eat a lot of eggs as a source of protein, so quiche or omelets with a small salad are a quick go-to meal of mine. I keep fresh fruit around the house too, which is usually a breakfast or snack item.

What inspired this week’s menu?

Fall is in the air and I am finding lots of great vegetables at the market for different recipes and soups. I have a seasonal cook book I really like called French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier, and she also has a website. Cookbooks and Pinterest are where I find most of my ideas for cooking, but with my son running all over the house – and usually hanging out around my heels in the kitchen – I try to stick with simple quick recipes or things I can prep while he’s napping and finish at dinnertime.

So what’s for dinner?

Sunday: Rotisserie chicken from the market with a salad and roasted sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots and onions.

Monday: Couscous with vegetables, recipe from the French Market Cookbook. This recipe makes a big stew of onions, potatoes, carrots, turnips, celery, squash, zucchini and chickpeas in veggie stock poured over some couscous. It’s delicious and very filling and makes plenty of leftovers.

Tuesday: Salmon baked in the oven with lemon and dill, sautéed spinach, and a mix of rice.

Wednesday: Tacos (I buy beef with 5% fat) with lettuce, tomato, shredded cheddar cheese, salsa and greek yogurt (instead of sour cream). We usually use tortilla shells, but you could substitute with a lettuce wrap.

Thursday: Ham, cheese and red bell pepper quiche with a salad. I cheat and buy a premade crust most of the time and then use a mixture of milk and cream rather than all cream, so it’s a little lighter.

Friday: Slow cooker chicken pot pie soup. This is easy to throw in the crockpot and forget about until I’ve picked up a warm baguette from the bakery! Again, could mix in milk rather than the cream to make it lighter.

Saturday:  Date night out!

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