The other night I proudly served dinner to my family. I had put some time and effort into this meal. We had the afternoon free and I took time and care making this for them, because, after all, cooking for me is how I show love to my family. It wasn’t an overly ambitious or creative meal, just sloppy joes, which in my mind is about as kid friendly as you can get. So I expected no objections. That was my first mistake. Because when I walked to the table, plates in hand, my daughter looked at me with her beautiful freckled nose wrinkled in disgust and said:
“Eww, mommy, that smells like feet.”
And then she proceeded to con her older brother into making her an egg sandwich so she didn’t have to eat the apparent gruel that mommy had made for her.
And that, folks, in all it’s glory is real life dinner at my house.
Because, despite being a food blogger and managing to create meals that I tout as “family-friendly” and “kid-approved” sometimes my kids flat out hate what I put in front of them on the table. And in full honesty, I’d classify 2 out of the 3 of them as picky eaters. You’ll never see a “10 ways to get your kids to eat their veggies” post from this blogger because I couldn’t get my middle son to eat a vegetable if it was smothered in chocolate and deep fried. Pasta nights in my house find one child wanting plain with butter, one wanting just meatballs and one that wants both meatballs and pasta but with butter, sauce and cheese. No matter how I prepare chicken, my oldest inspects each tiny piece individually, instantly rejecting any that has even just a fleck of pepper, spice or herb. One of my children subsists almost exclusively on squeezie applesauce, cheese and bread sandwiches and go-gurts. And I just don’t know how any of them don’t have severe nutritional deficiencies.
And this is not for lack of trying. When my kids were babies I worked overtime to try and expose them to all of the food groups. This was pre-Pinterest, mind you, so I read actual books and obsessed over articles that told me that if I just started out right my children would be exactly as I wanted them and eat everything that was put in front of them. I even diligently made their baby food. I was smug in my belief that I was building the foundation for a life-long love of the foods of the rainbow. I would watch parents with older children in open-jawed disbelief as they short-order cooked for their multiple children, believing that they clearly had failed as parents.
Well hello humble pie.
Because fast forward 9 years and I absolutely do not have my act together. Yes, I do have some meals that are big hits with the entire household. My latest quick and easy recipe round-up is not a joke. Those meals will get eaten without complaint every, single time. But that’s SEVEN meals, friends. Seven. That leaves a lot of other meals for me to strike out with. And strike out, I do. Dinner at my house might as well be entitled “you can’t please all of the people, all of the time.” And I’ve made peace with that. I’m sure that there are parents out there, maybe with toddlers right now, judging the heck out of the things I feed my kids. And that’s ok. Maybe you’re a better parent than I am and have a ton more energy to fight the good fight. I just don’t. And I think that’s ok too. But I also think that there are alot of other parents out there right now reading this who are breathing a quiet “Amen, sister. That’s dinner in my house, too” sigh of relief. And if you’re one of those parents, I salute you. I’m sorry if I ever judged you. I was so very wrong and so very smug. Parenting is hard because, newsflash, God made each kid with an awesome personality all of their very own, with likes and dislikes that you can’t often control. They’re people. Just like you and me. And as long as we love them and do the best we can, I see it as a win. Even if they do eat corn dogs every night of the week.
That’s why God invented the multi-vitamin, right?
So tonight, I’m throwing a dinner Hail Mary, this sausage and tortellini soup. I’ve been making this meal for years. I first made it when it was just Jeff and I, years ago in our little apartment in Atlanta. I don’t know where I got the recipe, but I do know it was one of the first meals I ever got right (probably because it’s so easy) and one of the first meals to become a regular in our family of two. And today, now that we’ve expanded to a family of 5 it’s still in our regular rotation. Jeff likes it for the kick from the spicy sausage, the kids like it for the little cheese filled tortellini, and I like it because it’s a cinch to make and I always have the ingredients on hand. I can’t guarantee that your kids will love it, I’ve learned enough in my parenting to life to never EVER utter those words (unless talking about candy). But I can guarantee that it’s tasty and easy and, given a chance, it’s very possible that this can become a regular for your family as well.
Spicy Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup
- 1 lb Spicy Italian Sausage (casings removed)
- 32 oz. Chicken Broth
- 1 can Diced Tomatoes with juice (even better if you have the diced tomatoes with Italian Seasoning)
- 2 cups Cheese Tortellini (can use fresh pasta or frozen)
- 1 medium zuchinni, halved lengthwise and then sliced
- Step 1 In a large pot, brown the sausage, breaking up as you go.
- Step 2 Once browned, add in the broth and the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Step 3 Add in tortellini and zuchinni and cook until pasta is done, about 5 minutes. It will rise to the top when ready.
- Step 4 Serve!