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Awful Dinners the Whole Family Loves

June 23, 2015

Family mealtimes during the week were getting mighty bleak. Everyone had different food preferences, Mrs. Fussy included. It felt like we were down to pretty much two dishes and variations on those themes. Those were:

1) Cuban black beans and rice
2) Aglio e olio with broccoli (and sometimes chicken)

Then one of the kids got some kind of stomach bug and the smell of garlic and olive oil became entirely repulsive. And that’s fair, if entirely unfortunate.

I didn’t know what to do. I went to the grocery store, and asparagus was just coming in. So I picked some up, without any kind of plan as to how to turn those few slender spears of spring into a weeknight meal.

So I just threw some crap together in a bowl. Wouldn’t you know, it’s become everyone’s favorite dish. Well, everyone but me.

Today I’m going to share it with you, mostly because I hate it. I think it’s bland and awful. I think it’s lazy cooking. Really, it’s not cooking at all. And for the most part, I can’t stand it. Yet, I’ll continue to find some way to eat it. Mostly because the kids, who rarely take second helpings, will take seconds and thirds of this meal that’s largely filled with vegetables.

Ready? This is going to blow your mind.

1 pound of Trader Joe’s 100% whole wheat organic rotini
1 pound bag of frozen peas
1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch of some fresh vegetable, charred on the grill or in a cast iron skillet
Olive oil & fresh grated cheese to taste.

I char the vegetables, cut ‘em into bite sized pieces, and put them in a serving bowl.

Then I boil water, which is generously salted to cook the pasta. When the pasta is almost done, I dump in the whole bag of peas so they warm through. They also get seasoned by the pasta water. Drain and dump into the serving bowl.

Open the can of beans, rinse, and dump in the serving bowl.

Toss with olive oil and serve with some kind of hard cheese for grating. I also bring a shit-ton of red pepper flakes and black pepper to the table for me, in order to give this meal any flavor at all.

Why the kids love it, I’ll never know. But it’s gotten them to eat vegetables that they have historically despised. Summer squash was the biggest shocker. Both kids gobbled it up readily when it was tossed into this dish.

Maybe that’s because the pasta is such a bland flavor-suck that nothing could escape from its vortex of drudgery.

Anyway, I’m hoping against hope that this week I can find a way of making it a bit more palatable with the Bilinski chicken sausages. Hey, it can’t hurt. Wish me luck, because I’m going to need it.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 23, 2015 10:09 am

    That’s awesome, if the kids eat the veggies, keep that one for sure! I need to go pick up some of those delicious Biliniski’s meatballs…then perhaps my hubby will eat more veggies…

  2. June 23, 2015 10:53 am

    Everything is better with sausage.

  3. Laura K. permalink
    June 23, 2015 11:31 am

    Peanut noodles had been on our weeknight rotation until a stomach bug hit our 5 year old. They were perfect for meeting everyone’s preferences. I could put out a colorful variety of toppings – cilantro, cucumber, carrots, hard boiled eggs, quick-pickled red onions – and everyone would assembly according to their own taste. Alas, no more.

  4. Jean Patiky permalink
    June 23, 2015 1:44 pm

    Still wondering if the new favorite dish has Sufficient calories for growing kids???? Xxx

    Sent from my iPhone


  5. Jon in Albany permalink
    June 23, 2015 3:53 pm

    I’d say pull some of yours aside and toss it with chili oil or olive oil/Sriracha blend before the cheese. Lot more flavor than just pepper flakes.

    I feel your pain. We went through a long cavatelli with sausage and broccoli phase.

  6. June 24, 2015 3:32 pm

    This is hilarious, not because it’s funny, but because that’s exactly what my wife did on a recent Saturday evening.

    We had a bunch of veggies in the fridge that were on the edge of going bad. So she cooked them, and tossed them with pasta, olive oil, and a generous helping of greated Parm-Reg.

    Know what? IT WAS DELICIOUS.

    Now, the veggies in our’s differs from your’s significantly. If I remember correctly, it was roasted beets, broccoli, zucchini, and Vidalia onion.

    Next time we’re adding garlic, and it was a touch dry, so some pasta water will go in there too.

    • June 24, 2015 3:35 pm

      By the way, the beets colored the pasta a nice shade of pink, it was pretty, if a little strange looking.

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