dinner

Can This Marriage Be Saved? He Used To Be A Hunk. Now He’s A Whiner.

December 16, 2011 at 3:24 pm , by

Here’s a couple with a head-scratching dilemma: Glenn, 47, has never wanted anything more than to be a stay-at-home dad. And when his wife, Sheila, 45, had twins three years ago, he got his wish. Glenn quit his job to raise his kids, and Sheila spends her days as a business executive, but still dedicates time to cooking wonderful gourmet meals for her family. And Glenn is quite ticked off about that. Huh? Read on; it’s more complicated than it seems. And pick up our December/January issue for the full story, on newsstands now.

Sheila’s turn: All Sheila wants to do after a long day at the office is come home, hug her kids and cook her family a healthy and tasty meal. She wishes that Glenn would appreciate her efforts, but no. He complains that they’re spending too much money on food; Sheila thinks they’d be eating PB&J’s for dinner if it were up to her husband. When they got married, Glenn was intelligent, rugged and ambitious, but now he just whines all the time. Sheila isn’t sure he realized how overwhelming parenting would be, and it shows. The house is a pigsty, he makes lame excuses to avoid doing things he once loved (like mountain biking), and he’s constantly negative. Maybe he’s jealous that Sheila gets to be out doing fulfilling work everyday? Whatever it is, the tension is at an all-time high, and Sheila is losing her patience.

Glenn’s turn: Glenn really hates Sheila’s gourmet cooking habit, but not because he dislikes good food (duh). He’d rather she come home to chat and unwind with him, not spend two hours over the stove while he’s stuck parenting alone. He has long days too—kids aren’t a cakewalk!—and also knows they need to curb their spending on non-essential fancy meals and hobbies like his mountain biking. Now he just avoids his wife to avoid a fight, so Sheila thinks he’s always off sulking somewhere alone. Glenn’s glad Sheila’s given him the opportunity to watch his kids grow up, and is actually happy with his new job as dad, but still feels short-changed. He’s constantly making sure everyone’s needs are met, but Sheila only blows up at him when he mentions what’s bothering him.

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Dishing It: Lamb and Feta Meatballs

March 3, 2011 at 7:23 am , by

photo[1]For this week’s Dishing It, I made the Lamb and Feta Meatballs featured in the March 2011 issue of LHJ. I absolutely had to make these after tasting them on the photo shoot a few months back. I decided to test them out on Monday for what my friends and I call “Family Dinner Night.” We started this tradition a few months back when I complained that I wanted to cook more, but lived alone and had no one to cook for. So now every Monday I prepare dinner for two of my best friends and we watch a movie and drink old fashioneds. As I was at the grocery store after work I got a text from my friend saying he wasn’t going to be able to make it because he had to work late. Normally, I would have just left the store and gone home, but not tonight–tonight I was having lamb and feta meatballs!

I’m not used to cooking lamb, even though it is one of my favorite meats to eat, so I was a little nervous at first. But I thought, “How hard can it be, is it really any different from ground beef or pork? Nah!” This turned out to be one of the easiest dishes to make, and one of the tastiest. Basically, you throw everything into one big bowl and mix. Then you have the choice of cooking them up in a sauté pan or baking them. I’ve never baked a meatball before so naturally I just went with what I knew and threw them in a sauté pan. I think this probably wasn’t the best option. The lamb is a lot more tender than beef and I had to be extra super careful when rolling them over so they wouldn’t fall apart.

photo[3]photo[2]

So I cooked up a pan full but realized I had tons of extra meat mix (I mean it was just for me after all). So I decided to follow our food editor Tara’s tip and freeze the rest. Super simple: Just roll them into balls, place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and freeze. The next morning I put them in a Ziploc bag. Done and done.

When the meatballs were done cooking, I decided to go the healthy route and serve them on top of salad. I cut up romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers and kalamata olives, and crumbled feta on top. Then I just sliced up a few meatballs and threw them in. I topped it off with the yogurt sauce that Tara suggested, and voila! A healthy and super tasty meal. So even though I didn’t get to enjoy them with my Family Dinner Night crew, I did get to plop down and enjoy them with my Golden Girls marathon (don’t tell my friends but it was secretly just as much fun). And what will I be serving at next Monday’s Family Dinner Night? Well frozen lamb and feta meatballs of course. —Laura D’Abate


Meals Made For You: They’re Fast AND Healthy

April 20, 2010 at 5:36 pm , by

We’ve all done it: Nuked a few frozen dinners at the end of a crazy work day. As much as I’m sure we’d all like to live the ideal of preparing meals from scratch, sometimes it’s just not doable. So we talked to Dr. Susan Mitchell, PhD, RD, FADA, (the health and nutrition expert for Target) who gave us tips on how to choose the healthiest frozen or prepared foods:

Look for meals high in fiber with zero trans fat and low saturated fat. Fiber helps lower cholesterol and keep you fuller longer. It’s also important to watch out for the sodium content in packaged foods. Take a glance at the ingredient list to find flavorful but natural substitutions for sodium, like herbs and spices. “The ingredients should also appear closest to the way they occur in nature,” Dr. Mitchell says. Whole grains and real veggies and fruits are the way to go.

If you snack in between meals, be sure to check the labels—even for things you think are healthy like granola bars, which can often actually contain super-processed, less-than-healthy ingredients. Again look for whole, natural ingredients, and if your favorite bar has chocolate, steer clear of chocolate that’s been blended with high saturated fats like coconut oil.

Reading labels is a good habit to get into, but if you need a little help we made a cheat sheet of our favorite pre-packaged entrees. They’re tasty and healthy!

Target’s Archer Farms brand (our favorite!) has new “better for you” entrees. The Simply Balanced varities have zero grams of trans fat and no artificial flavors, synthetic colors or sweeteners. Curry Apple Chicken for the family or Cajun Style Beans and Rice are our top picks.
Amy’s Light in Sodium Organic Burrito is low sodium and comes in non-dairy or cheddar cheese.
Pacific Natural Hearty Artisinal Soup (5 varieties) is certified organic as a bonus. Savory Chicken with Wild Rice is delish and has only 120 calories per can.
Healthy Choice All Natural Entrees are high in fiber, low in fat and saturated fat, and have antioxidants to boot. The Portabella Spinach Parmesan is our fave!


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