Having a little one changes your life in big ways.
We used to go out to eat for the experience – a leisurely drink at the bar before getting seated, an appetizer or salad preceding entrees, a perusal of the dessert menu and then trying with every fiber in my being to say, “No thank you, not tonight.”
We went out most every Friday and Saturday evenings pre-baby. It was, like…our thing. Our time. My kitchen was closed weekend nights and eventually, we got hungry enough to venture out for our “experience”. Date. Whatever.
Dining out with a kid is a whole new ballgame.
I’ve noticed that when you are with a little one, you may get seated in a different section of a restaurant. One of our favorite local places has the “kid corner” (or as I call it “the corner of shame”) in this dark, dank corner of the restaurant’s second floor. If it wasn’t bad enough to be shoved into the corner with all the other brave souls dining out with their kids, making us climb up a narrow staircase with a car seat, diaper bag, and who knows what else…uncool.
But, fine…sit us near people who will understand when more food ends up on the floor than in a mouth. Or that the next hour may be spent picking up the same toy 327 times from the floor. The actual worst part about dining out with kids is the rush. We may want to go for the experience, but the experience really turns into trying not to ruin the experience of others. Asking for the check the second the food arrives, for example, is damage control. No time for dessert menus and leisure, one has to be ready to jet and jet fast when little ones turn into pumpkins.
As my friends and I were discussing this weekend (they have a little boy just 2 1/2 months older than Shea), we should really opt to eat out on weekdays vs. weekends to avoid the masses and do some restaurant etiquette damage control. But, where’s the fun in that?
My weekday cooking has simplified and my kitchen has reopened on the weekends quite often (ugh). This weekend’s discussion with friends involved our key Google terms for cooking. Like, “fast good dinner”. BAM. Google does the heavy lifting. I might like to throw “healthy” into the search term mix, but I also love when people just tell me about really delicious, fairly fast meals…like this one. I like to call this “weeknight elegance food”. Or, weekend elegance. Whatever. Voila!
- 3 large portobello mushrooms
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ cup onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- ¼ cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Remove the stems from the mushroom, chop stems and set aside. Wipe the mushroom caps clean with a damp paper towel.
- Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add the chopped mushroom stems, onion, and garlic and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until tender. Add chopped shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp are just pink; add breadcrumbs, beaten egg, salt, lemon juice, basil, and the pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring as needed.
- Place the mushroom caps, stem side up on a baking sheet. Divide the shrimp mixture among the caps and sprinkle with parmigiano-reggiano.
- Bake mushrooms for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
- Sunday: Chickpea and Vegetable Tacos with Guacamole
- Monday: Three Cheese and Wheat Berry Pie
- Tuesday: spring mix salads with feta, almonds, and Strawberry Poppyseed Vinaigrette
- Wednesday: make-your-own pizza
- Thursday: leftovers or breakfast for dinner