What’s for Dinner?: Week of November 23, 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 Tara, an American mom living in France with her husband and toddler.

What’s Tara’s Family Food Philosophy?:  

In one sentence I would say our food philosophy is – simple vegetarian meals. I’ve been a vegetarian nearly my whole life, and even though my French husband isn’t vegetarian, we have chosen to raise our son on a vegetarian diet (considering I’m the cook, they don’t have a lot of choice in the matter, they both like everything I make regardless). The meal needs to be fairly easy to make though. No hard to find ingredients or complicated steps. We are both working parents, and I have about 30 minutes to get dinner made in time for my son at night. Which is why I like to have a lot of simple ingredients on hand to throw anything together, like; canned beans, quinoa leftovers, packages of tofu, and pre-made tart crusts are a huge help (France has great ones available everywhere!). Usually a simple meal also means I can make a large quantity. My husband and I both like to take leftovers for lunch at work. So even though our main course would be the opposite of typical French cuisine, we do still follow a few French eating habits. We ALWAYS start the meal with salad, have baguette throughout, and end the meal with cheese and yogurt (I think my husband would die if he didn’t have cheese and yogurt at the end of his meal!)

What inspired this week’s menu?

Whatever comes in our CSA basket! Usually every week there is a vegetable I wouldn’t normally buy, which does help me stay inspired to try new things. Pinterest is great for recipe ideas. Although I usually just get inspired by recipes and adapt them to whatever I have on hand.

So what’s for dinner?


Mexican beans and rice – canned black beans are impossible to find in France. Unless I’ve made a big batch (which I freeze into individual portions), I use kidney beans instead. This week I was out of black beans, but the kidney beans still work well!

Tuesday: Cabbage and cauliflower stir fry with garlic tofu. Can you guess what I got in my CSA basket?

Wednesday: Fennel Gratin with seitan steaks. I’m really not a huge fan of fennel, but not wanting it to go to waste I decided to cook it like the French, which means simmering it in bouillon until its mush then covering it in béchamel sauce – it turned out ok. If you don’t know what seitan is, it’s basically fake meat, made from wheat gluten. I bought it in a spur of the moment decision at the health food store (it was the first time they had it). It tasted pretty good, but I’m a little weirded out by seitan. I prefer to get our protein through beans, lentils, chick peas, eggs and dairy products.

Thursday: Pumpkin pizza! With a premade pizza crust this was really easy. I used roasted mashed pumpkin as the sauce and sautéed apples as the toppings! I used shredded compte and fresh mozzarella as cheese…mmm (this was my fav dinner this week.)

Friday: Vegetarian Chili – wicked easy to make and a great way to use up any vegetables that need to get eaten.

Saturday: Onion and tomato omelets with avocado toast. (We thought we may go out for dinner, but our son had other ideas).

Sunday: Couscous – roasted pumpkin, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, onions and chick peas. And I like raisins in our couscous! Plus I made a quick tahini sauce with tahini paste, lemon juice, and olive oil.

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