I try very hard to make sure my family has a home cooked meal for dinner. When I was growing up, if it didn’t come from a can, box or some other processed, pre-packaged method, then we rarely got it. Now, this is no reflection on my parents… they were hard working and they did the best they could with what they had. But now that I’m a parent, this is a choice I make to try to cook as fresh as veggies as I can, with lean meats, and I try to make it somewhat healthy.
Eli has done well trying new veggies and foods, and he’s often not at all excited by my supper time offerings. I’ve found things that he likes, and I do try to make those often, but I also try very hard to get him to continue to try things he says he doesn’t like. This is mostly any fresh veggies that I cook. I know I’m not the only parent with this challenge, and I know his pallet will develop over time. Hey, I consider it a win that he likes black olives, especially since I do not.
My nephew visited a while back and I asked him what he’d like to eat for dinner, and he said, “hamburger Helper!” So, I got a box of it, and some how we never did get around to cooking it. It’s been holding a lovely corner of my pantry ever since. A conversation with some friends over the weekend brought us around to Hamburger Helper, and Jay asked me why I never fix it. Well, thinking back to my “home cooked” philosophy, I just figured it wasn’t as healthy as fresh meats/veggies. But, that being said, it’s ok to have such things once in a while, right? So, I decided to cook it.
I made the Beef Pasta variety of Hamburger Helper, and it was easy enough. When I served it to Eli, I put some on the plate with green peas and apple sauce (again processed and from a can, but hey, I added some color to this plate, so give me a break!) Again, Eli has never, ever had this (to my knowledge).
Eli takes the first bite and just smiles the happiest smile I’ve seen since he first played a video game. The sound from his mouth was, “MMMMMMMMM”. I watched as he chewed not knowing if I should cry or laugh. The second bite was followed by the exclamation, “Mom, this is wonderful!” With each bight his delight grew, along with my inner conflict. I want this to be something he enjoys, but I also want him to realize that this is something we can’t and will not eat every day.
Finally, I got some relief… Eli says, “Mom, is this a healthy food?” My boy has been listening to my lectures on eating healthy, and I explained that while it wasn’t the healthiest, that in moderation, we could add it to our menu. Again, delight.
After a second helping of Hamburger Helper, Eli cleared his plate, and cleared his dishes when he was done. Our conversation had shifted to the next night’s dinner, and I explained it will be left over night. Eli shouted, “I want the left over Hamburger Helper!” No surprises there.
So, we have a new menu item in the Jones household. Hamburger Helper, thank you for bringing my son so much happiness.