Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Singing the praises of vegetarian chicken patties

Last night was one of those nights. My family had plans that didn't work out. Those plans included the post-vacation grocery shopping. But the car had other ideas, namely not turning over and being quite still in the driveway.

On grocery nights, my kids often eat TV dinners, only because (a) they like them and (b) after working all day and grocery shopping, there's not time or energy to cook. And that's what their tastebuds were expecting.

Plan B. I had some butter beans in the fridge from the farmer's market. The broccoli and cauliflower had held up fine, and there were baby carrots. That's a perfectly balanced, reasonable meal, especially with fruit and yogurt smoothies in the plan for dessert.

But my poor son. When he saw his plate, he literally wept. It hadn't clicked in his brain that we had to buy the TV dinners at the store, and we hadn't been to the store. Since I haven't seen the kids in weeks, I wasn't feeling stern; I didn't want to tell him to get a grip. He was disappointed, reasonably so, and I wanted to make him feel better.

So I opened the freezer, praying that I'd find some old TV dinner from months ago. Nope. But I did see vegetarian chicken patties. And that was enough to make him smile. And enough cooking time to get him to eat his vegetables while it cooked.

He didn't like the beans. He tolerated the broccoli and cauliflower. He deemed the carrots "too sweet." But he hugged me after he finished that chicken patty.

The carrots were delicious and made the house smell great. What did I do to them?

Cranberry Carrots
In a saucepan, pour 3/4 cup cranberry juice over 2 cups baby carrots. Add a few (5) whole cloves. Cook over low heat, covered, until the carrots reach desired tenderness. Serve.

Fruit Smoothies
Fill a blender with mixed fruit (I use the Spectrum brand that I find at Costco, which has a blend of peaches, melon, strawberries, blueberries and more, covering all the colors of's frozen so allow time for it to thaw). Add 1 cup fruit juice (I used the rest of the cranberry), 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt, and a banana. Blend until smooth. It's easier (and more fun) to drink this with a big straw (you can find them with the bubble tea supplies at most Asian markets).


nylonthread said...

Wow, that's amazing that your kids would be so affected by things that come out of the freezer! I guess those days may be ahead of us (I was raised on TV dinners, in fact). Right now, the kids barely know what the freezer is (might be ice cream in there, tho).

I'll bet your impromptu meal was fabulous!

Rianna said...

You write very well.