Meals You Know By Heart

When Boy Wonder started eating real food, Bex and I agreed that we wanted him to eat healthier than we do, but why? The plan was to raise him as a “flexitarian”. That meant mostly fruits and veggies, some meat, and limited refined sugars. Our diet is mainly meats, some veggies, and lots of junk food. I don’t feel so Incred-ble writing that last thought.

Spend five minutes with me and I’ll tell you how I’m trying to eat healthier. I’ll tell you all about how I want to try a vegan lifestyle and how I almost did a couple of times. In the end, I settle for eating more vegetables because I’m not completely insane. Cheese pizza has been my longest adult relationship and I am not about to throw that kind of commitment to the curb.

Then again, maybe that’s just the lie I tell myself other people.

Laziness is the real culprit here.

As a millennial man with a smartphone glued to his fingertips, I know a thing or two about instant gratification. Grabbing for a slice of pizza, nuking some nuggets, or driving to Taco Bell is easier than cooking a balanced meal. Even when I know it’s not good for me, I still grab for the junk because it’s easier. Just ask the unopened bag of spinach I bought last week. It’s still sitting in the refrigerator 

But why should I have to change? Pizza and I have been doing this dance for thirty years now. It suits us just fine, except that eating this way makes me a raging hypocrite. If I expect my kid to have all the colors of the rainbow represented on his plate how can I sit there and just eat the color brown?

Blending my laziness with healthy eating won’t be easy but an Incredi-ble idea inspired me halfway through a bag of cookies. Actors have monologues they can whip out for a last minute audition. IncrediDads have stories and songs they rely on to soothe a crying baby. And musicians have songs they know by heart. The same idea can apply to healthy eating at home.

I didn’t dust off Mastering the Art of French Cooking for this one. Instead, I thought about meals I know, really know, how to make – without a cookbook in front of me. These had to be things I could cook through the hurricane of a toddler temper tantrum, preferably one armed because we are in the “Hold me! Hold me! Don’t put me down or I’ll scream phase.”

Some of these instructions were so hard to write because I quickly go through the motions without thinking about them. 

Bex and I brainstormed a bunch of ideas and . . .

Here are two we came up with:

David’s Spinach Omlette – 

  • Crack two eggs in a bowl and whisk them together. (Can be done one handed if you practice enough)
  • Warm your skillet over high heat. You’ll know it’s hot enough when a splash of water dances across the pan. 
  • Pour your whisked eggs into the pan and lower heat to medium/low. 
    Add a little butter to the pan and swirl it around as it melts.
  • Pour your eggs into the pan and immediately grab the handle and start shaking the pan towards you. Do not stop. Eggs will cook in under a minute. If you want to add any fillings, I use spinach, now is the time.
  • Continue to shake the pan, your omelet rolls over. Keep shaking the pan until your omelet has rolled to one side of the pan.
  • Tilt the pan and slide omelet onto a plate.

Bex’s Beef Ribs

  • turn broiler onto low
  • put a layer of tin foil on the bottom of your roasting pan, spray Pam or spread butter on the roasting rack so ribs don’t stick.
  • make sure ribs are thawed
  • season both sides of the ribs with garlic salt and Lawry’s Seasoning Salt. (it doesn’t matter how you put on, but I tend to add more to the bottom side of the ribs.)
  •  put the ribs onto the pan bottom side up. 
  • leave them to broil for about 5 minutes, then flip them and let the meat side broil for another 5 minutes.
  • make sure to keep an eye on them, depending on your broiler they might burn quicker.
  • transfer pan into oven set at 375 
  • set timer for 25-30 minutes
  • at about 20 minutes take the pan out to check ribs, cut into the thickest rib and determine how much longer to leave in the oven.
  • once timer goes off, take ribs out and cut them apart from one another and let cool for about 5 minutes
  • serve ribs 🙂

There were a bunch of other ideas we came up with too like burgers, baked pickles, and salads for all seasons. It was kind of fun to riff on things too. For instance, ribs can be shredded and made into sandwiches and I can put anything in an omelet or a salad. They are the perfect start if you want to get creative and add some variety. There are fruit salads, beat salads, Caesar salads, and omelets of every shape and kind. the possibilities are endless. 

One thing we’ve learned is that we don’t mind repeats. You don’t need to have 75, 50, or even 20 recipes like this. Five or ten really good ones, that the whole family loves, will do. We find ourselves looking forward to rib night or lentil taco lunch.

The go-to meals help at the grocery store too. Looking for the ingredients I use most often, I can move through the aisles with purpose rather than freezing in the fifty-yard stare. IncrediDads know how to get the most out of every second when we have our sidekicks with us. Time is always of the essence.

I may not be the Manly Martha Stewart but healthier eating and cooking at home just became a more achievable goal for this Incredidad. And what about my laziness, the fat man’s kryptonite? It’s becoming another poster in my defeated Rogue’s Gallery.

I’m sure you have meals you know by heart. My mom has a Bisquick quiche that she makes on Sunday mornings. Bex’s dad can whip up a pie without thinking about it. Every IncrediDad out there must have some go to recipes and we’d love to hear them. Share them in the comments below!

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