Family time around the table…

Every Saturday evening – I sit down with my family in the living room and I plan out our meals for the week ahead.  We do it all together so that we can all have a say in what we eat for dinners.  To be very honest – my kids would be totally pumped and satisfied if we ate Mac and Cheese, pizza, and hot dogs every night.  However, this does not fly for me.  They eat mac and cheese when we have a school function and a babysitter is in charge of dinner.  Sometimes we do make it for lunch on the weekends.  Red hot dogs with mustard and ketchup are my little man’s most favorite – when we go out to eat – this is what he orders.  I’m like – well…we could have stayed home for that!! I try to steer them toward the healthier options and I think we do a good job of putting balanced meals on the table.  They don’t eat everything on their plates and some nights it’s a struggle to get them to eat anything.

If I’m being totally honest – some nights dinner time is the worst part of my day and that really hurts my heart.  I’ve always been such a big pusher of sitting down every night together as a family  – no devices, no TV, and eating a meal – talking about the day.  Most nights – my boy is doing laps around the table and taking bites in between.  My girl is complaining that she doesn’t like the food and refuses to have more than just a bite.  At least my hubby and I can enjoy each others company for a moment when we excuse the kids from the table….maybe when they get older we can have a civilized meal??

Anyway…I realized that we were in a bit of a dinner rut.  Maybe the kids would eat more of the meals and be happier during dinner if I was making different stuff!  So – I have tried a couple new meals and I want to share one with you tonight.  As you know, I have been maintaining my weight loss and doing so by keeping a low carb and high protein diet.  Choosing meals that fit into my plan and work for the family is not as difficult as I thought it would be.  In fact, there are a ton of options out there.  I still refuse to make multiple meals – we have one meal and if I need to change something, I will for myself.  I am lucky that my kids will eat fish and pork – some kids are picky about that.  I make them rice, potatoes, and veggies – sometimes I have a couple bites of the potato or will make myself a half a sweet potato.  I have not gone back to eating rice – once in a while I’ll have a spoonful with my salmon – but I don’t really miss it.

This latest recipe has both shrimp and chicken – so it was a winner for my kiddos.  My hubby is about the least pickiest eater I know.  You only hear a complaint if it’s really not good.  I can pretty much put down anything on the table and he will eat it.  This is great for me because I really like to cook and experiment!!  I’ve made this twice and so far the family has given good reviews. So without further ado –

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Here are all the goodies you need for this delish meal.  Believe it or not you can find them all at the local Hannaford.  I did buy this bag of shrimp at Target because it was about three dollars cheaper and I had a coupon.  I love the Hannaford Inspirations brand chicken cutlets – they are thin and perfect for a meal like this.  They are not as cost efficient as chicken breast – but sometime you splurge for convenience!

Shrimp, Chicken, and Rice (Very Inventive – I know!!)

Chicken cutlets – you can also use chicken breasts – cut into small pieces

Shrimp – I use already cooked large shrimp

Can of diced tomatoes with green chillies

Package of Spanish rice – I use Knorr because they are slightly less processed

Red pepper

1/4 cup of chicken broth

thyme

1 chopped onion

2 cloves of garlic

3/4 cups of frozen peas

Salt and pepper to taste

 

In a large skillet have a splash of olive oil.  Add you chopped onion, read pepper, and chicken.  Season with your thyme, salt, and pepper to taste.  Cook until chicken is no longer pink and veggies are tender.

Next – add your can of diced tomatoes with chilies.  Make sure that you do not drain the can.  The meal is enhanced with all the flavors of the tomato juices.  Also add your chicken broth and finely chopped garlic.  Let everything come to quick boil and then reduce your heat and let it simmer for a bit.

 

At this point make your Spanish rice.  Follow the directions on the package.  I used olive oil instead of butter in mine.

Before you are ready to serve – add your shrimp and frozen peas.  Since I use the shrimp that is already cooked it only takes a couple of minutes and few good stirs to get the shrimp warmed up.  If you cook them for too long they will shrink.  The peas also are quick to heat up once they go into the chicken, veggie, and tomato hot tub!

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Everyone is in the tub and warming up!!

When your Spanish rice is ready – you are ready to serve!

The kids loved the rice package and so does my hubby.  I could and you might want to mix the rice into your chicken mixture.  I do not do this because of the carb issue.  I serve it on the side with a spoon.  They put it on their plate and put the shrimp on top.  It’s actually a very beautiful and colorful meal which makes it even more enticing!

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So much beautiful color and flavor.  I like to serve this dish with some simply steamed veggies.

I decided to just have mine on a bed of greens.  Up until late I’ve mostly gone for the baby spinach.  However, recently I discovered an amazing green mix that is baby spinach and baby kale.  It’s delish and adds some green kick to my daily diet.  I really like it.  The kale is not over powering and has a nice crunch

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Here is my baby girl’s plate.  She really loves shrimp and peas.  She isn’t wild about tomato – so she eats around them.  She really did like the flavors that this dish offered and was really excited about the rice.  Since I rarely ever used pre-packaged stuff like this rice package – I figure once in a while is OK.  When we have rice – I usually just take out the rice cooker and make brown rice.  I have made Spanish rice in the past – but I guess sometimes the junky stuff does taste the best!!

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Here is what I ate.  I really enjoyed it and it was nice on the bed of greens.  I did not miss the rice nor did I feel like I was missing out on anything special without having it as a part of this meal.

Sometimes trying to find a meal that works for everyone is tough – but this one fits our family!  It will become a part of the rotation for a while!!  I like that it packs a double protein punch with the shrimp and chicken.  It’s also so nice and colorful – it’s honestly pretty!  I am not sure that this meal will keep the kids at the table the whole time…but I’m not giving up on my family meal.  I’m hoping that my three year old just settles down a bit and embraces it.  I like that we have at least tried to make our dinners a part of our family culture.  I will admit it was a little bit easier when he just had the one kiddo and when the baby was a wee lad.  Now that he is agile and mobile all bets are off!!  Hopefully – soon enough – he will get the hang of it!

 

 

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