The dinner philosophy at our house is “you get what you get and you don’t get upset”. I learned the phrase when my first son was in preschool and haven’t stopped using it since. I’m often told, when placing dinner in front of my kids “I didn’t want that”. My response: “Who asked?” I know it sounds harsh but I don’t subscribe to the philosophy of “kid’s food” or the practice of making separate dinners for the boys and then for my husband and I. Simply because I just don’t have time to make two dinners each night. Who really does?
The kids generally adapt. I won’t sit here and tell you they all eat everything I put in front of them every night. I do modify their plates. For example, if I make beef stew with potatoes and white rice, Jeremy with have the beef, without the sauce, potatoes or veggies and white rice on the side, Jarrett will have the beef and potatoes with no rice and Jake will eat all of it piled on top of his plate. Plate modification I will do, separate dinners, I will not. At least not on a regular basis.
The fall out is that we don’t usually go too far outside the box with our meals and there is probably more repetition than I’d like. About once or twice a week, if I make something really spicy or adventurous for my husband and I or if it’s a crazy night and I don’t really have time to cook a proper meal, I will go into my chicken nugget and french fry stash or break out the organic hot dogs. Quick and easy is still a necessity.
This side dish, arroz con guandules, is one which generates a lot of excitement at our house. 4 out of 5 of us absolutely love it. Jake and Jarrett beg for me to make it every week. They just love the rice with bacon and little beans. Jeremy is not digging it. Does that surprise you? He’s my plain white rice guy. He’ll come around eventually. I just know it.
- 4 strips of bacon
- ½ onion, diced
- ½ red pepper, diced
- 1 large clove of garlic, chopped
- 1 15oz can, Guandules Verdes (Green Pigeon Peas), drained and rinsed
- 2 cups rice
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 3 cups water
- 1 packet Goya Sazón
- 6 sprigs cilantro, plus more for garnish
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Cook bacon strips in a large, straight-sided sauté pan over medium heat, turning occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, about 5-7 minutes and remove to a side plate lined with a paper towel. Crumble into pieces when cool.
- Add onion, pepper and garlic to pan and cook in bacon fat until onion is translucent, about 6-8 minutes
- Add all remaining ingredients, except the cooked bacon, to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir once, cover pan and reduce heat to low. Simmer until rice is tender and water is completely absorbed, about 20-25 minutes. Fluff with fork and top rice with crumbled bacon and fresh cilantro, if desired. Season with additional kosher salt, if needed.