When I first met my husband, I thought he was an adventurous eater. He happily accompanied me to Indian and Thai restaurants, and suffered through my disastrous first attempts at cooking (anything other than boxed Mac & Cheese and chicken nuggets). We started dating soon after I was back from a trip to Thailand, and I was eager to expand my somewhat limited repertoire of teenage recipes (by the way, I STILL use my Clueless in the Kitchen cookbook on a regular basis. It's amazing for simple, go-to recipes).
However, I later discovered that my husband was, in fact, just trying to woo me, and really had little interest in the alternatives. He was raised on meat, potatoes and veggies, and his favourite meal is still barbecued chicken breast with some kind of sugar-laden sauce gooped all over it. Over the years, he has had to endure my commitment to buying only humanely-raised local meat, sourcing a cow for raw milk (and attempting to make my own cheese, yogurt and butter), and cooking with copious amounts of legumes. And he has been very supportive...truly.
It's tough, however, to spend a lot of time on recipes and meals that are not enjoyed by the whole family. Hubby eats my forays into vegetarianism and veganism to be polite, but darling daughter doesn't even bother. While I'm moaning and oohing over the tasty things I throw together, husband is blandly picking away at his plate, and daughter is throwing hers at the wall.
It's been a REAL struggle trying to find recipes that please us all, and most of the time I just fail - I often end up making my own dish, and pairing it with a hunka meat (local, pasture-raised) that's been thrown on the bbq. However, there is one dish so far that's been a winner for the whole family. Every time I make this, we all gobble it up!
Warning: You must be open to eating lotsa butta if you want to try this recipe. I strongly feel that, unless you have dairy allergies, butter should be part of a well-rounded diet. It's silly to shun all saturated fats, especially in favour of chemically-laden margarines (ick!!). However, if you DO need an alternative, check out Earth Balance. They don't work as well in this dish, but it could certainly be a substitute!
Pasta with Red Lentils and Spinach
(taken from Didi Emmons Vegetarian Planet)
1 lb whole wheat pasta (or your fav gluten free variety)
8 tbsp of butter or butter alternative - don't even think about skimping here!!
2 garlic cloves, smooshed
2 inches of ginger, cut into thin strips (hubby detests big pieces of ginger, so I've sometimes resorted to using 1 tsp of dried ginger or pre-processed mashed ginger)
1/2 tsp dried sage
3/4 cup red lentils
1 cup water
3 cups spinach, packed
salt and pepper to taste (I personally find I need at least 1/2 tsp salt for this dish)
Cook pasta, and set aside. In large skillet, melt butter over medium heat, just until it begins to brown. Add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant. Next, add sage, lentils, water and salt. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer (covered) for 10 minutes or until lentils are just tender (they can still be slightly crunchy). Stir in spinach and cook until wilted. Add pasta, and cook until heated through. Season with pepper and watch with pleasure as your family devours it.