Excerpt from dinnertime most days at our house. Feel free to swap out chicken for anything else that might have some nutritional value.
“Chicken again?!” C groaned.
“Chicken is disgusting. Yuck!” G chimes in. I clench my jaw, take a deep breath and remind myself they are little. Little terrors, especially around dinnertime.
“Dip it in ketchup!” Me.
“Three bites or no dessert.” Me again.
“Mac and cheese please!” G. The boy could eat mac and cheese 3 meals a day, everyday.
“Just eat it!” I yell.
Insert no dessert threat here.
They acquiesce because, just like me, they have a sweet tooth. After a bite of grilled chicken they gag. This is where I give up, offer them a small dessert and eat chocolate alone in our pantry. Where is my mother-of-the-year award? And so it goes. Dinnertime is a bust most days at our house, except of course when we have mac and cheese.
Put the chocolate down and make a plan!
In an effort to keep my weekly meals fresh and to serve less chicken, I’ve adapted meatless Mondays and taco Tuesdays. Oh and I’m bringing back wheatless Wednesdays. Yup, wheatless Wednesdays was a thing. In fact, meatless Monday and wheatless Wednesdays started during World War I. Read more about here. Thursday through Sunday? Anything goes.
Before meatless Monday rolls around again, I peruse one of my favorite healthy food blogs: The Sprouted Kitchen. With zucchini now popping up at the market, I choose Sarah’s recipe for roasted zucchini, black bean and goat cheese enchiladas, a meal that is warm, cheesy and, if I’m lucky, kid-friendly.
Latest excerpt from the witching hour that is dinnertime.
While C and G play in the backyard, I make dinner. N busies himself with our pots and pans. I try to ignore the loud clanging sounds that are slowly giving me a headache. Stay focused! Make dinner!
The zucchini roasts for 30 minutes and I set it aside to cool. The black beans, goat cheese, green onions and cooled zucchini are gently tossed together. I fill each tortilla with a heaping 1/4 cup of the zucchini mixture and placed seam side down in my baking dish. I pour store-bought enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle it with a few handfuls of feta cheese. (Cotija cheese will work as well.) I pop the dish in the oven and bake it at 375F for about 25 minutes.
I do all of this without any interruption. My kids play independently, never argue or do anything dangerous. They are angels. I wish! I am interrupted constantly and it is frustrating, but occasionally one will say: “It smells good in here Mama,” and they are back again to angel status.
I pull the enchiladas out of then oven. The sauce is bubbling, a sure sign the dish is ready. I place it on the counter, grab my camera and snap a few shots. I hear splashing and turn to see the baby playing in our dog’s water bowl.
I have a choice here: ignore the splashing or take the bowl away, continue to take pictures or wrap up for the day. I let him play and finish shooting. After my last shot, I remove the bowl and he looses his mind. Hoping food will emotionally soothe him for a moment, I offer him a bite of the enchilada. Grunting and gesturing for more, N eats the meatless enchilada with the same gusto as he eats meatballs.
Maybe the delicious smell of the enchiladas lured C and G into the kitchen or maybe it was N’s loud, incessant grunting. Either way they sat down, lifted their forks and took a bite of something new, and they didn’t complain or gag, because it wasn’t chicken. However, they did ask: “when can we have mac and cheese again?”
Roasted Zucchini, Black Bean and Goat Cheese Enchiladas
recipe barely adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen
4 medium or 3 large zucchini 1/4′ inch dice (you should have about 4 cups)
3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
4 oz. soft goat cheese, crumbled
1 oz. crumbled feta cheese
10-12 whole wheat or corn tortillas depending on much you put in each tortilla
12 oz. red enchilada sauce, store-bought
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
squeeze of lime
Greek yogurt or sour cream
Pre-heat your oven to 425F and place diced zucchini on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and 1 1/4 teaspoon of garlic salt. Toss with your hands to coat. Spread zucchini, one layer, using another rimmed baking sheet, if necessary. You don’t want a crowded pan because the zucchini will steam instead of roast. We want to roast. Roast for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool and lower your oven’s temperature to 375F.
Using a large mixing bowl, add the finely chopped green onions and black beans. Crumble 4 oz. of goat cheese in the bowl. Add cooled zucchini and gently toss everything until well combined. Set aside.
Lightly char each tortilla over the oven burner, about 1 minute each side. (You can skip this step if you are running short on time. If you do have time, go for it! It adds a nice texture to the tortillas.)
In an oven-proof 9×13 pan, pour 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce covering the bottom of the pan. Take one tortilla and fill it with 1/4 cup of zucchini filling. Roll it up and place it in the pan seam side down. Continue with the rest of the tortillas, placing seam side down. (You may need to squeeze them in and that’s ok!) Brush the remaining olive oil over the tortillas. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the tortillas and sprinkle with 1 oz. of crumbled feta.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Serve warm with chopped cilantro, sliced avocado and a squeeze of lime. A dollop of salsa and Greek yogurt is also nice. The leftovers re-heat well and are great the next day for lunch or an easy dinner. Enjoy!
5 Meatless Main Links
I recently discovered the food blog Foodness Gracious written by a stay-at-home dad with a ton of love for food. Gerry’s recipe for sweet peas with linguine and parmesan is on my must make list.
If you love portobello mushrooms, check out The First Mess recipe for banh mi with portobellos and pickled vegetables.
Grill your bounty of garden vegetables this summer and make Pioneer Woman’s grilled veggie burritos.