What’s for Dinner?: Week of December 7, 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 Aimee, who is a nanny for two kids in the Upper West Side of New York City.

What’s the family food philosophy?

I’m a nanny for a wonderful family of four, and my main focus is their 3-year-old, who isn’t a terribly picky eater, but like any 3 year old is developing their taste buds and exploring new, and old, flavors; one week he’s all about corn, the next week it makes him dry heave; you know, that sort of thing!

This family eats entirely organic, and we try to incorporate as many fresh fruits and vegetables into the 3 year old’s diet as possible, either independently, or mixed into meals; steamed kale, finely chopped and frozen into small quantities is a good one to have on hand to toss into sauces and stews!
I try and stick to a routine of meals that he’s used to, but I mix it up once in a while to introduce new foods and dinners, which sometimes are well received, and other times entirely rejected. It’s all a game of trial and error, really! I also recently took an Indian cooking class to introduce Indian spices and flavors to him, as they are an Indian family, and so far he’s taken to them pretty well! I aim for simple and healthy meals, slowly and steadily offering new flavors to his palate.
So what’s for dinner?
Monday:
Baked salmon, cous cous, and sweet potato french fries
Tuesday:

Taco Tuesday! 3 year old really likes my guacamole (2 avocados, 2 T cilantro, 1 tsp salt, 6-8 grape tomatoes, 1 large garlic clove, 2-3 T lemon or lime juice, olive oil) and I usually just mix some taco seasoning into some ground beef, with sauteed onions, and serve with grape tomatoes, Mexican cheese blend, and tortilla chips and guac.
Wednesday:
Baked chicken thighs and legs (SUPER easy and tasty, just coat both sides of chicken in olive oil, salt and pepper, bake on 400F for 30 min, lower to 350F and bake for 10-30 min more), rice, steamed carrots

Thursday:
Spaghetti with red sauce and homemade meatballs

Favorite easy meatball recipe: 1 lb ground beef, 1/2 c bread crumbs, 1/4 c milk, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2-1 tsp worcestershire sauce (more is better!), 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 small onion, 1 egg. Mix all ingredients together, bake at 400F in a glass pan, lightly oiled, 18-22 min.

Friday:

Pizza Friday! We either will order a pizza in and watch a movie, or make our own pizza together. We get dough from Fresh Direct, and will either do just mozzarella cheese and sauce, or experiment with things like Mexican cheese mix with some leftover chicken from Wed.
He particularly liked this Indian dish from my cooking class, Halibut with Onions and Tomatoes; enjoy!
3 T coconut oil
1 t cumin seeds
2 medium onions, thinly sliced (2 cups)
3 green serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced lengthwise (OPTIONAL)
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and julienned
3 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced (or I can diced tomatoes)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or Indian chili powder
1 T ground coriander
1 1/2 pounds halibut, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes (or any white fish)
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp salt
lemon juice to taste
Served with jasmine rice
Procedure:
1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Tilt the pan to form a pool and add the cumin seeds. When they stop sizzling, level the pan and add the onions. Saute until they are translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the ginger and chiles and continue to saute for another minute. Add the tomatoes, turmeric, cayenne. and coriander and continue to cook, mixing well, for another minute. Sauce can be made ahead to this point.
3. Add the fish cubes and cilantro, combining well. Sprinkle on the salt and about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water. Lower heat, cover, and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the fish is firm and cooked through. Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve hot.
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