I Made Dinner

O: The whole kitchen smells delicious, like real food. 

Please don't misunderstand.  My children have had dinner each and every night, but since I've been running back-to-back shows, it has generally been made by someone else. I'll leave instructions for the baby sitter regarding quesadilas or buttered noodles or some other sure-to-please-a-picky-tiny-person type of dish, but two nights ago, for the first time in weeks, I had the night off and I was in my own house, with my own kitchen.  

So I had a beer, made scrambled eggs for dinner, and went to bed at 8:30. 

There was beer and there was bacon, dinner of champions.

There was beer and there was bacon, dinner of champions.

But the next night, I made dinner, nothing fancy, just some steamed broccoli and fish.  It felt good, to all be eating the same meal.  It was nice to spend some time in the kitchen.  It felt really good to make dinner, and even better to eat it.

Baked Halibut with Brown Rice and Steamed Broccoli

Serves 2 adults and 2 furiously hungry small people

(This recipe works beautifully with any mild white fish. I generally try to only buy wild caught and fresh, as in never frozen, which will drastically limit your choices most days if you are at a regular market.)


Three 6 ounce fillets of halibut

One cup brown rice (the girls prefer short grained)

One crown of broccoli

For the marinade (full disclosure-I never measure, I eye-ball, pinch, and approximate so feel free to taste and adjust)

1/4 of a of cup soy sauce

1/8 of a cup of rice wine vinegar

1/2 tsp of honey

Two cloves of garlic, pressed

1/4 tsp of fish sauce-if you haven't cooked with this before, you should start, but know a little goes a long way

 1/4 of a cup of olive oil

1/2 tsp of dijon mustard 

Put the rice on.  I use a rice cooker, but there are great stove-top directions here. Pre-heat your oven to 300. We have a cool, funky, antique, gas oven that works great, but heats up the whole kitchen, so when I can, I use our toaster oven, which handles this dish perfectly.  

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the marinade.  Rinse and pat fish dry. Place in a small baking, dish skin side up, and pour the marinade over. You may want to reserve a small amount to drizzle over the dish for any adults you happen to be serving.  

Clean and prep broccoli, cutting into small florets.  

Breathe and pour yourself a glass of wine. You are almost done.

Put fish into oven, checking for doneness every five minutes or so. Fish is done when it appears nearly opaque and flakey.  These particular fillets took about 10 minutes at 300. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fish, but remember that they will continue to cook in the hot pan when you pull it out, and while you can alway stick it back in for a minute or two, you can't repair an over-cooked piece of fish.  

I usually cheat and throw the broccoli florets into the rice cooker, on top of the rice, when the rice is about 3/4th done, but you can also steam or sauté them the traditional way.  

Cheater cheater, broccoli eater

Cheater cheater, broccoli eater

Serve the fish atop a bed of brown rice with the broccoli on the side, or on a segmented, plastic, zebra-themed plate. 

just like this

just like this

or this

or this







French Fry Party

O: Momma, my brain bone hurts.

K: Maybe you should rest when we get home.

O: No, that won’t help. The only thing that will fix my brain bone is a French Fry party.

In order to share this with you I have to confess some things first, some dark secret things about my parenting.  My kids don’t always eat organic.  I don’t personally prepare every morsel that enters their sweet tiny mouths.  They have eaten boxed mutant orange macaroni and cheese, sodium-laden canned soup, and a shade of pink not-found-in-nature bubblegum ice cream.  They have had refined sugar, GMO produce, and gluten.  We eat at restaurants.  We order take-out.  And, wait for it, we sometimes drive thru and get, gasp, fast food.  There.  I said it.  I feel better.

The reason we drive through, however, is a special one.  After an especially long day, we will on occasion have a French Fry party. The best thing about a French Fry party, other than the delicious golden crispy goodness of drive thru french fries, is the spontaneity.  We don’t plan it. We can have one regardless of the weather, the time of day, or the number of tantrums. I guess, if I’m being honest, I also like that it feels a little bad, that we have to hide that fast food bag at the bottom of the trash or make sure that none of the other preschool moms see the detritus in the car. 


This, ladies and gentlemen, is what a French Fry Party looks like

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what a French Fry Party looks like

Someone will suggest it.  We’ll all get a conspiratorial smile.  We sing the French Fry party song.  We find a drive thru.  We do have our preferences, but I’m not going to start a french fry debate here.  French Fry parties are about love.  One medium french fry, please.  I am instantly the conquering hero.  My strengths and abilities at procuring this delicious treat are lauded at top volume.  P would eat them all in the car.  O, the planner, wants to save each and every one until we reach our destination and we can really enjoy them.  I wield the power, the greasy bag riding shotgun on the seat beside me.  I love French Fry party days.  

Do you have anything you’d like to confess?

What’s your family’s version of the French Fry party?