Sunday, November 7, 2010

Potato Dinner

Thursday was cold, rainy and all around icky here. My morning activity with Jamie? Going to the mall so he could run around and therefore be more likely to nap, something he had refused to do for the previous three days. In a disturbing display of the effects of marketing on toddlers, Jamie spent much of the time running around pointing at stores shouting, "Pettsel!" This is toddler talk for "Pretzel" which we typically buy at Auntie Anne's (or is it Aunt Annie's - I can never remember) on our mall trips. Now that I think of it, maybe this behavior raises fewer questions about marketing and more questions about what exactly goes into those pretzels that an 18 month old knows they are a mall food.Yikes.

In any case, my plan worked and Jamie finally napped. Thank goodness! So I actually had some time to get things done without the soundtrack of an alternately chatting and crying toddler in the background. I could have used this time to cook up a delicious dinner for my family, but I didn't go that route. I decided to write in this blog, read the paper, fold laundry so I didn't have to do it after the bedtimes were done.

While this "me time" was lovely, it left me without a dinner plan. Then I opened a cabinet and saw the bag of russet potatoes that I bought at Trader Joe's yesterday. This discovery reminded me that I had seen a post on Dinner, A Love Story about a potato dinner. Don't you love the way my internet addled mind works?

Since I had potatoes, cheese, sour cream, cooked bacon left from last week's brinner, I had a dinner plan. And as a bonus, I would get to turn on the oven for at least an hour and warm up our kitchen on such a damp and dreary day.

Here is what we came up with: Kara and Jamie went traditional. Kara had sour cream on her 1/2 of a potato and Jamie went with some American cheese melted on top. I found a pack of shredded Swiss & Gruyere cheese, another Trader Joe's purchase, and smothered the grown ups' potatoes in this combo, plus some caramelized onions. A word about carmelized onions: Is there any food they do not improve? I had never considered them as a potato topping, but let me tell you, it was unbelievably good. If you are going to bother caramelizing onions, you might as well do a whole pans worth. They keep for many days and, again, are excellent on just about anything you can think of. I put some on our salads as well.  

Lest you think this dinner was a smashing success just because is was delicious, fast, mostly meat-free and pretty darn healthy, I will inject a little reality. Here is a picture of Jamie's plate after her finished his dinner.

That's right. After he "ate." Yes, my children were not quite as excited about the potato bar idea as I was. Kara ate more than Jamie, but only because I nagged her into it. But there is no nagging a toddler. Just keeping it real.

That being said, I would do it all again anyway. I think the wisdom is you have to present foods to kids up to 20 times before they may actually eat them. I am absolutely willing to give the potato dinner 19 more tries - especially if that means I get to have 19 more excuses to cover a vegetable with cheese and caramelized onions.



  1. I was so inspired by your carmelized onions, that I decided to cook some up with apples and a cider vinegar and bit of brown sugar to put over kielbasa. The protests from Luke and Catharine started the moment I added the vinegar - "this smells disgusting", exiled themselves to Luke's room to escape the odor and insisted I light the scented yankee candle. Only reinforced when Matt walked in and asked - what's that potent smell? It actually tasted really good. Maybe next time I'll skip the cider vinegar!

  2. Despite the drama, weren't you glad to have the yummy onions? It's always a good start to dinner when your kids run away! Kudos for sticking with it anyway. You rock!