It's not that I hate cooking--sometimes I even quite enjoy it--I just prefer to eat out. Plus, as most of us know, feeding kids is not that much fun. They don't appreciate the effort that goes into preparing a meal as much as, well, other people who prepare meals on a regular basis. But, one of my New Year's resolutions is to have more meals (with extended family and friends) around my dinner table, which means I'll be cooking more. These are some tried and true tips I've come up with.
1. A salad can turn a easy meal into something fancy. Chili, spaghetti and meat sauce, burgers: all pretty easy to make. But if you want your guests to think that you put a lot of time and effort into the meal, add a fancy salad. Particularly one with some sort of nuts or seeds. Compare: Chili, salad, and buns. OR Chili, Spring Greens with pomegranate and pecans topped with a raspberry vinaigrette, and soft rolls. See what I mean?
2. Always add an extra ingredient into pancakes. Pancakes are extremely boring, especially if you think that syrup is the one of the most disgusting food ever invented. And I'm not talking about vanilla or cinnamon, I mean you should chop up some apples and throw them into the batter, or make the batter with chocolate milk instead of white, or throw in some chopped up ham and cheese, peanut butter, pudding, bananas. Give it a try; let me know what you come up with.
3. Adding a can of mushroom soup to tomato sauce makes it taste way better.
4. Apparently, peanut butter sandwiches and popcorn is not a balanced meal and you shouldn't try to serve it to guests unless your guests are kids because they'd actually appreciate that more than a fancy salad.
5. Make your kids make dinner. But make it sound like you're doing them a favour by giving them the opportunity to learn how to cook before they're out on their own and eating nothing but Kraft Dinner and frozen Big Macs bought two months ago when the two-for-one coupons were expiring.