Getting Personal - November 2013
For many of us, the holidays are a time when we put a little more effort into our meals, but what about the everyday celebration known simply as "dinner"? When I was a kid, dinnertime was a sacred ritual. Unlike my friends’ families, mine ate dinner together nearly every night. It’s a practice I insist on in my own home, with my own family. I won’t pretend we always eat something exotic or that I spend a ton of time making meals (let’s face it, I’m a working mom!), but I do make somewhat of an occasion of dinner every night and put concerted effort into making whatever I’m serving a little bit "special."
There’s always time for a tablecloth or placemats and cloth napkins (or my own version, terry kitchen towels). I set a mood with music and soft lights – even candles! In the summer I’ll cut flowers from my garden. Yes! I’m serious! And everything gets put in a serving dish with an actual utensil to serve it with, too. Sure, it creates more dishes, but that’s what I have a dishwasher for, you know?
Beyond that, it doesn’t even matter what I serve; I’m going for an experience here. I mean, let’s get real. I make a lot of frozen rice and microwave lots of frozen vegetables. Take & Bake breads and rolls are quite popular in my dining room, too. If you’ve seen my Dinner Tonight menu suggestions online or visited the Dinner Tonight kiosk in your local Kowalski’s Market, you have a sense of what I mean. Each menu combines fresh foods, basic techniques and simple homemade touches that a working mom like me can actually pull off on a Tuesday. They’re the only recipe I need.
This menu is going to be in heavy rotation this season in my dining room. It features our recipes for Akaushi Beef Tenderloin and Baked Sweet Potatoes with Maple-Jalapeño Sour Cream. Click menu to enlarge: