From One Pot Meal to Four Course Dinner

I am over a week behind on my post. For the Dark Days Challenge, we were to make a one-pot meal. I planned a soup for our meal. However, after the week we had with our mountains of laundry, I felt the need for some order. On my trip to the store, I got to thinking about how to mentally overcome the chaos in our house. Our soup suddenly became a four course meal, complete with candles and china. It must be noted that it was a Saturday, so we had more time than usual. I proposed my idea to the boys when I got home, and they seemed open to the idea. While I started cooking, I had the boys help set the table. They set the table with my Great-Grandma’s china and glass goblets. I have recently come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter if a plate gets broken. What’s the use of having the dishes if we don’t use them?

Fancy dinner with the boys in regular Saturday clothes.

Our first course was locally made cheese and Honeycrisp apples from Wisconsin. I suggested we should dress up for our fancy dinner, but my idea was ignored. The boys sat down and quickly went through some cheese, apples and crackers (not local). The most exciting part about this course was that the boys got to drink sparkling pear juice in “fancy glasses”. As soon as they had their fill, they asked to be excused and went off to play.

The second course was a salad with spinach, lettuce, Honeycrisp apples and a homemade vinaigrette. Between courses, the boys discovered our costume stash. This was our Superhero course. We ate with Superman, a Knight, and Spiderman. It was awesome. The greens game from my recent local food find. I started a winter CSA share from Rock Spring Farm in Iowa. Technically, it is 153 miles from me, but the extra 3 miles seems like a reasonable exception.

Course three was the soup I had originally planned as our one-pot meal. It was Beet and Braised Beef Soup, with some substitutions. I used the turtle beans from a previous week instead of lima beans, and omitted the scallions and celery root. I could have gotten local celery root, but it wasn’t available at the store that day. The soup was tasty, but the beef wasn’t quite as tender as I’d like, due to me rushing the soup. It was getting late and we’d been dragging out dinner long enough. The leftovers were even better.

Our last course was a total cheat on the local food front. I gave myself permission on this one because it was the day before my birthday and when I saw the dessert at the store, I had to have it. The store cleverly displayed shortbread, marscapone and blueberries together and it looked delicious. With the marscapone, I added some milk, lemon zest, lemon juice and a bit of sugar. Yum! My husband also served me one for breakfast in bed on my birthday with a cup of coffee. Best birthday breakfast ever!

So was the four course meal worth the time and effort? In my opinion, yes. My boys thought the special meal was fun (especially the costume changes), and because it was a drawn out meal, it was more time spent together without any screen time interrupting our conversation. We’ll try to do it more often, but don’t know that I have the energy to do it on a weekly or monthly basis. Maybe once a season. Best of all, my Great-Grandma’s dishes and goblets survived the experience and I can feel good about using them.



1 Response so far »

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    […] Treats for our next challenge–Honey Vanilla Ice Cream! Be sure to check out her One Pot to Four Courses post and the problems of Menu Planning, something that everyone runs up against when they start to […]

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