In these days of quarantine, meal times can be tricky. At our house, we usually follow a meal plan for our nightly dinners, which means we buy all the necessary ingredients for recipes ahead of time. However, we’re going to the store less often these days, and we’ve found ourselves running short of needed ingredients more than once. Of course, this can happen even when you’re not in the middle of a quarantine. Sometimes life just gets busy!
Though this meal was inspired by our meal plan, we had to improvise to make it work. The lesson here is that meal times do NOT have to be elaborate to be full of love. Here we take some easy classics like meatloaf and roasted potatoes and add just a few touches to make them creative and fun. This was our Easter meal this year. Like so many of you, it was definitely different from our traditional fare. But we gathered around the table, thanked the Lord for our good blessings, and made memories. And that’s what matters most!
Our recipe called for fresh green beans, but we didn’t have any (thanks quarantine). I grabbed some frozen beans and cooked them up with some fresh Baby Bella mushrooms (which we did happen to have) and a touch of garlic, salt, and pepper. For some added color and kick, add just a dash of chili flakes. I love the way the mushrooms can transform a classic veggie into a deliciously earthy and rustic side dish.
These are a go-to in our house! Simply dice red or yellow potatoes, toss in olive oil, and add your favorite seasonings. A couple of our favorites are smoked paprika or Cajun seasoning. This is also a fun way to try artisan seasonings from your local Farmer’s Market. We’ll throw on a couple different kinds and then do a taste test to see which ones are our favorites! Throw the potatoes on a cookie sheet and roast on 450 degrees until tender. (Tip: I like to throw the broiler on them for last few minutes to get the outsides nice and crispy.)
We are un-apologetically a meatloaf family. I loved it as a kid, and I still love it today! But, there is no reason it has to be boring. Use your favorite meatloaf recipe (I love this basic one from All Recipes) and change it up by making mini-loaves. No need to use loaf pans – just use your hands to form the meat into mini-loaves and bake on a wire rack as usual. We added shredded smoked Gouda cheese for the last ten minutes of baking, which is a wonderful way to add some extra flavor and a bit of glamour. (ALSO: meatloaf is a great place to hide diced veggies like red peppers and carrots for your picky eaters).
The featured images are courtesy of Nicole Howe and used with her gracious permission for Cultivating and The Cultivating Project.
Nicole Howe is a writer, speaker, Bible study teacher, wife, and homeschooling mama to four kiddos. She serves as editor and regular contributor for the quarterly publication, An Unexpected Journal and holds a Masters Degree in Cultural Apologetics from Houston Baptist University, where she discovered the power of the imagination to restore awe and wonder to her floundering faith. Drawing deep insights from her ordinary experiences, Nicole is passionate about helping others discover the Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of Christ in broken and unlikely places. When she’s not devouring books, Nicole loves singing, pretending to be a chef, and performing Improv at her local theater.