And thankfully, I really love to cook.
And I like a different variety of foods.....Japanese (duh), Chinese, Indian, Greek, Italian.....yum.
And, I want my children to love those foods too.
I used to think that I wasn't talented enough to cook ethnic foods in my own kitchen, so my Sweetie and I would go out to restaurants to partake in these delicacies.
And when the children were smaller and could share the kiddie meals, we would take them too.
That day has come and gone. Now, in that once in a great while when we do take our entire clan out to eat, it is something of a monumental occasion, seeing that restaurants with six hungry stomachs, can cost an arm and a leg.
(One thing to make clear here; we could go out more often with our kids, but we have chosen to not spend our money that way, except for special occasions.)
So what to do?
I decided a few years ago to bring the restaurant food to our table. Not take out, but my cooking, (for the most part), these fun meals.
And the other day, we had an Indian Feast.
There is this little hole-in-the-wall restaurant near our house that serves Indian food that my Sweetie and I had been to on a couple of dates, and after describing the food to the kiddos I was inspired to try to create the meal.
I perused a couple cookbooks, looked online, and visited a nearby Indian grocery store.
On the menu:
Chicken Korma Curry
Indian Spiced Lentils
Madras Tomato Chutney
Lots of food, but I love leftovers.
And the other thing that made this otherwise daunting menu easier, two of the dishes were in crockpots.
First thing, in the morning I got my crockpots ready.
This was the Indian Spiced Lentils.
I got this recipe from the A Year of Slow Cooking blog. The only thing I do differently is to double the spices, and, because I already had 2 chicken dishes planned, I left out the chicken.
The other crockpot dish was the Chicken Masala. (At the link the recipe title is different....I have Stephanie O'Dea's cookbook and in the cookbook she calls that same recipe Chicken Masala.) This had the most amazing spice mixture in it, garam masala. That stuff is heavenly. Again, I doubled the spices.
This is what my counter looked like after the crockpot lids went on....
.....spices really make me happy.
So does this....
.....two less dishes to cook in the afternoon!
About an hour before dinner I started the Chicken Korma Curry.
I bought this package of spices at my local Indian grocery (when I bought the garam masala), and have made it before. Very easy; just add the spices, water, and chopped raw chicken, and let simmer for an hour.
I have never been served roasted vegetables at an Indian restaurant, but at our house, I feel kind of funny not having anything veggie-like at a meal. So I cut up whatever veggies I feel like and roast them. Today it was sweet potatoes and white potatoes, but I have been known to include green beans, carrots, onions or whole garlic cloves.
These get tossed on a baking sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper, and are put in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
The rice is cooked in my trusty rice cooker....I buy the Basmati in the bulk foods section of my grocery store.
The last things to do are to open up the chutneys that I bought at the Indian grocer, ($2.49 for 3 of them!)
...and heat the bread. In the past I have bought Lavash at Trader Joe's, or even gotten fresh Chapati bread from the Indian store, but today it was warmed tortillas on the stove.
You just gotta have something to dip into the chutney.
The roasted vegetables come out of the oven, the crockpots are brought to the table, and everything is ready.
This is my plate....
..... I kind of kept with the traditional Thali meal by separating the different tastes into different dishes.
And the kids?
As you can see, they loved it.
So don't be scared of cooking different things for your family.
Eat in. Try new things. Laugh lots around the table.
Your family will love it.