Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Replacing Convenience Foods

As all parents know, sometimes getting kids to try new dishes can be challenging. Especially for my kids, any kind of combined food seems to put their sensors on high alert. Now they eat a ton of fresh raw veggies and fruits and good proteins, so there's no nutritional concern on my part. But sometimes it's nice to sit down to a family meal where, say, we all eat the same thing!

So there have been a couple of occasions where the kids have tried a sample of a combined food at a place like Trader Joe's or Costco and actually liked it, and then asked to buy it. This leaves me in a bit of a quandary, since these prepackaged combined foods are usually lower in nutrition, higher in undesirable ingredients like corn syrup and soy products, and also come at a much higher cost to the environment with their packaging and shipping figured into the equation, as well as to our pocketbook.

So I've developed the following standard response, which seems to have worked out very well so far: "I'll buy this one package, and then we can figure out how to make it." Recently, this happened with the Teriyaki Rice Bowls available from Costco (horrifyingly, they each come in their own disposable plastic bowl!) I bought a box, and vowed that we would experiment until we could produce a reasonable fascimile, and voila! This week we had the "Mom-aki Rice Bowls" for dinner, which were really great.

So, rather than take my kids' request as an opportunity to lecture on environmental responsibility and deny their newfound tastebud venturing, instead we made it into an occasion where I could demonstrate to them our ability to experiment and discover how to create such things ourselves. We looked through the ingredients, bought fresh veggies from our local area, and created a really yummy family dinner that we'll look forward to having again.

Our Mom-aki Rice Bowls have:

Teriyaki sauce (either prepackaged or make your own with soy sauce, pineapple juice, ginger, and garlic)

Sauteed in the sauce are:
diced onions
minced garlic
sliced carrots
red peppers
broccoli florets
sliced celery

The adults added chicken, pre-soaked in Teriyaki sauce and cooked separately. Serve over rice.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Excellent Idea! I find myself doing that with the occasional restaurant dish that is particularly enjoyable too.