What’s For Dinner? COVID Cooking

What’s for dinner?  Dreaded words…  I like cooking but I do not like deciding what to cook.  When the family offers to cook for my birthday or Mother’s Day and then asks what to make – noooooooo!  It is the deciding that takes away the fun.  Here is our fun COVID solution.


I say COVID because Natalie came home to quarantine and then stayed.  In fact, I think this was all her idea.  This also works because Mark is not traveling and able to cook with us as he works from home. Two months ago we were sitting around discussing food.  This discussion turned into a fun activity which we still enjoy.  We pulled out eight cookbooks.  Four of my favorites and four less popular.  One by one we passed them around the room.   We would find a recipe we wanted to try and write it down… We wrote the name of the recipe, the book and the page number.  These were all later transcribed onto colorful paper and put into a container.  Each week we each draw out one meal to create for the rest of the family.  We check schedules, assign days and shop for ingredients.


I had to laugh at my first assignment which was a mushroom and corn casserole. It seemed straight from a church potluck in the 70s. Not very exciting.

Such fun.  Who doesn’t love good food?  I think the only meal that hasn’t been delicious was a lemon shrimp linguine.  It sounds great but as soon as I tasted it I remembered when I had made it before and not loved it… Speaking of shrimp… We all love shrimp and thought it was great during those first few weeks when so many shrimp recipes were showing up.  By the time the lemon shrimp rolled around we weren’t very excited about shrimp.  When we drew shrimp recipes the next week we broke the rules and put them back for later.  Who would have thought??

One other dread – chilled beef tongue.  One of us (Natalie) thinks it will be a fun dinner because we haven’t tried it.  I can hardly read through the recipe without gagging.  Mark has some childhood experience eating tongue and is definitely not excited.  So we have broken a few rules – we all agree that when it (chided beef tongue) actually gets chosen it doesn’t matter who chose it, the person who wrote it down (Natalie) will be doing the cooking.  Another admission is that it actually was chosen two weeks ago but popular vote put it back in for later.  (Or is it back in??)


The lemon shrimp linguine looks better than it tastes. We doctored the leftovers with cream and garlic

The primary purpose of our fun dinner plan was to help prepare Kimberly for cooking at college this fall.  Natalie also wanted experience with new recipes and techniques.  Mark has enjoyed being in the kitchen.  He has learned a lot and with his new confidence I think I may have a cooking partner when he retires.  The bonus for me has been hours of free time in the afternoon and sitting down to several meals each week that I did not prepare.


The peanut sauce in this chicken bowl was sooo good!

My excitement for trying new recipes has been revitalized.

I wonder how family quarantine has changed family cooking for others?


Mark made these yummy stuffed tomatoes. I will be making another stuffed tomato recipe this week. That makes twice in our marriage.


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