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kid & husband pleasing dinners?

I need simple dinners that'll please my husband and 10 month old daugher.

I like to cook in the morning while DD naps or plays in the playpen. That way I can cook, clean up, and shower before she's up and ready to play.

Looking for meals that can be fully prepared in the morning or prepared to the point that I can pop in the oven right before dinner. Soup, eggplant parm, baked ziti, baked chicken cutlets, tacos... all work out well.

A few restrictions..
- we keep kosher (no pork, shellfish, meat + dairy)
- no egg based dishes (baby might be allergic)

Any ideas are truly appreciated. I'm getting so bored cooking (and eating) the same things over and over!!

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  1. I find, with your restrictions, that a slow cooker works well. Use a higher fat cut of meat w/ more collagen (eg chuck roast/pot roast, chicken thighs, short ribs). Season/dredge w/ flour and sear on the stove. Add meat to crock pot. Saute vegetables in pan; deglaze w/ wine or stock. Add more stock and let it cook down some. Add to slow cooker. Turn on. If you want potatoes, add them about 2 hours before you want dinner, or serve over pasta/rice. You vary this by your seasonings, from curry to ketchup( favorite of my son) to basic salt/pepper/etc.

    1. Casserole-type dishes will probably be your best friends - meatless lasagne, black bean enchiladas, tuna-noodle casserole (prepared with a dairy-free sauce instead of canned soup - maybe a rice milk bechamel?), etc. You might also want to look at large cuts of meat that can be cooked low-and-slow for a long time, and then either served hot as a main course or made into other things easily. Brisket comes to mind - roast one and served it sliced with pan gravy and a couple of side dishes one night, the next night use the leftovers, shredded, to make tacos, BBQ beef sandwiches, beef and barley soup, etc.

      4 Replies
      1. re: biondanonima

        I like the brisket ideas. Only thing is that brisket is super expensive ($13/lb) and the pieces are about 4-5lbs.

        Made tacos last night using ground beef and beans. Was a winner. Baby loved it as is and husband added hot sauce.

        Would you have a recipe for beef barley soup? I've made mushroom barley before, but the one time I made beef barley soup, tasted like watery shoe soup.

        1. re: cheesecake17

          Do you have a Costco membership (or something similar, like Sams/BJs)? Brisket is $5-6/lb here in NYC at Costco - I can't imagine paying $13/lb!!!! A 4-5 pound piece may sound like a lot of meat, but it's very versatile and can be frozen (raw or cooked), so I wouldn't hesitate due to the size of the cut as long as I could find it for a reasonable price.

          Unfortunately I don't have a trusted recipe for beef barley soup - it's not something I make frequently. Perhaps another Chowhound has a suggestion?

          1. re: biondanonima

            I haven't tried the recipe, but Ina Garten made beef barley soup on one of her shows. i remember she used oxtails.

            1. re: biondanonima

              it's $13-15 lb depending on the butcher. We do have a Costco membership, but they stopped carrying fresh kosher meat. There's empire chicken and some meat in the freezer section, but it's the same price or more than buying fresh from any of the local butchers.

              For tonight's dinner I defrosted some vegetable soup and I'll make ravioli with sauce. Also roasted some beets and turnips.

        2. I hate to sound like a broken record, (scratchscratch) but roasted chicken, w/ roast veg. and salad. Kosher, re-warmable and delicious. Pulled beef or chicken is nice, and you can slowcook those and serve on buns with a vinegar coleslaw. Breakfast for dinner: maybe you can make some blintzes to freeze, and serve with meatless sausages or soyrizo patties. Chili is always a winner; with some cornbread and salad. Bean soup that you simmer all the livelong day, with excellent bread. Any soup, for that matter, same sides. Soy-sauce chicken, with a side of green onion pancakes that you can certainly re-warm. Can they handle a salad dinner? Best-quality tuna, lemon juice, diced onion, salt and pepper. you can roll this in lettuce leaves, and it's wonderful.

          1. When I was a busy young mother (eons ago) I got into the rut of too many casseroles. All the things you mentioned sounded like main dish ideas. Perhaps try some mixed rice or grain recipes and keep the meat part very simple (i.e. grilled or baked chicken).
            Here's my favorite rice, orzo and vegetable pilaf. I'm not familiar with kosher rules so I hope you can make a substitution if an ingredient is not allowed. This could be made ahead of time and re-heated for dinner.
            Lunberg sells a wonderful package of mixed brown rice. Brown rice is healthy but takes so long to cook (50 minutes). Again, it's something that can be re-heated. I like to saute onions and mushrooms, add the rice and water for almost the full cooking time. But about 10 minutes before the end, add some frozen pea.s

            1 Reply
            1. re: dfrostnh

              Thanks for the brown rice idea... I used to make something similar very often, but haven't made it in a while.

              We eat meat typically once a week and chicken another night during the week.

              Should have mentioned that fish is out of the equation- I don't eat it, husband eats it almost every day for lunch, DD can't have it yet.

            2. There's a lot of excellent can be made kosher recipes online for the crockpot 365 crock potting a day.

              Tuna Casserole-try using the imagine brocoli cheese soup I believe its pareve my MIL uses it

              chicken thighs do really really well in the crockpot you can make bbq sauce and add some onion into a 4 qt crockpot and let it go for 6 hours (I used to do this all the time and there are some recipes online with more specific directions if you are interested)

              One really easy recipe I used to make with my crockpot was browning some beef (or ground turkey-which I would then add a little chicken consomme to for flavor) then taking some jarred pasta sauce (barrilla I believe is kosher) adding whatever veggies I wanted and I would have a nice meat sauce right before you are ready to serve you can add frozen ravioli or kreplach for the last 20 minutes till its cooked or boil some pasta to add.

              Also cholent without the beans is delicious during the week....;)

              1. I have a 13 month old and my wife and I have been making all of his food. It is important to us that he eat the same thing or style that we do (and makes things easier).

                Beans are a MAJOR staple in our home, both culturally and simply because we love them. We rotate all sorts though: cranberry beans, cannellini beans, red beans, pinto (family-like) beans. Some are served simply with some avocado and a squeeze of lime. When our son was smaller, we would puree his portion and he would clean the bowl. If we were ever worried about higher salt content, we'd simply add more avocado to cut down the overall sodium per serving for him. Now that he has his teeth, he'll eat the beans whole, pick at them himself, or we'll lightly crush them with a fork.

                Hummus... holy moly my son devours this, and eats the bread too. I like that he is accustomed to the garlic taste too.

                Lentils are also great. For something quicker and easier for my son and for us, I'll use red-lentils with simple aromatic vegetables, and it lasts a long while and is an easy go-to. My favorite lentils are more like the "French green" type where I make a stew with a tomato-sofrito type base, some potatoes, and finish with cilantro and more avocado.

                Pasta! Now that my boy likes to pick at food himself, we'll easily grab some short whole wheat pasta (for example, fusilli), toss with some garlic and tomatoes, and he will feed himself.

                My next venture for him (which I haven't tried out of pure laziness) is polenta, I think he'll totally dig the flavor and texture.

                1 Reply
                1. re: nasv

                  Thanks for the bean ideas. Last night she ate whole chickpeas and loved them. I usually make beans or lentils in some type of soup, because it's easy to prepare in the morning and heat up a portion as needed. I've made (pureed) white bean and rosemary soup, kale and cannellini bean soup, sweet potato/black bean, red lentil, noodle/lentil, 16 bean and veggie.

                  Chili is also a nice dinner for us. Bean, turkey, beef. Husband likes all and baby will eat it too. Cornbread comes out very well with soymilk. Or I make sweet potato fries for us and baked sweet potato for baby. I throw lots of veggies in the chili..you'd be surprised at what you can hide!

                  If I make the chili spicy for my husband, I brown the veggies, onion, beef/turkey in a large pot and then transfer his portion to a smaller pot. I make the larger pot non-spicy for me and baby and the smaller pot spicy for him.

                2. I don't know if your husband would eat rice and beans (mine wouldn't!) but I have been making this for my kids since they were small. I use chicken or turkey sausage and I would imagine that there are some kosher ones out there?


                  What about meatballs? Or one of my favorites...Indonesian Ginger Chicken.


                  Regarding brisket, I am guessing the price is so high because you buy kosher meat? I buy it at Costco (but not kosher) and it's around $4.99/lb.

                  I have many more suggestions since I am forever trying new recipes for my family, but I am at work...I will look for some this evening.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: valerie

                    Oh, thanks for the meatball suggestion. It reminded me that you can also put raw meatballs into red sauce (either on the stove or oven) or in the crockpot and you get nice tender meatballs and a flavorful sauce.

                    1. re: chowser

                      meatballs.. good idea.. thanks.

                      Sundays I boil a box of wagon wheels or mini shells to use as snacks all week. Perfect to go with meatballs in tomato sauce. For husband and I (we eat after she sleeps) I can put up a pot of fresh spaghetti.