My mind lately has been on some special meals that are coming up: the Super Bowl, Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, and St Patrick's Day. It's one thing to plan Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, but what about those meals that, while not as BIG on the radar, are special in their own way? Why can't we make a little extra effort, create some mini-traditions in the midst of an ordinary week, and have fun? At least, that's been my thinking.
So I decided to share with you what I've got planned in case you'd like to do some thinking ahead too.
The Super Bowl: I like to put out an assortment of appetizers for the family to snack on. With it being a school night we usually don't go to or throw Super Bowl parties, but we can still make it fun while we watch as a family. This year I'm thinking about sausage balls, chicken wings, french bread pizza, and this walking taco casserole made with corn chips, taco meat, and cheese. Easy. I'll put it all out and let them go to town and probably have some sort of dessert too. If I was super adventurous I'd make these. (Won't happen.)
Mardi Gras: I'm planning to make Slow Cooker Jumbalaya and King Cake. I found the recipe for King Cake in the most recent issue of Taste Of Home, one of my favorite magazines, and am excited to try it. We are not cajun and have no ties to New Orleans, but I still think it's good to plan a themed meal and have a little fun on what would otherwise be an ordinary Tuesday. Maybe we'll invite our friends who actually are from New Orleans. Only if they promise not to laugh at my paltry attempts to make a Mardi Gras worthy meal. And bring his famous pralines.
Valentine's Day: I have written before that I make the same meal every Valentine's Day. It started as a one-time thing, but if there's one thing I've learned about kids, anything you do once you better be prepared to do again in the name of "tradition." So every year I make a red meal: spaghetti and red soda (usually Cheerwine or Cherry 7Up or you could always make this) and serve chocolate fondue or a heart-shaped cake for dessert. It takes away the need to make fancy dinner reservations and spend a ton of money. Curt and I like being all together and celebrating the love around the table, since that's the point of the holiday.
St Patrick's Day: I've still got some time to think about this, but I usually make Irish Stew and Irish Soda Bread. And I serve some sort of green dessert. Maybe this? My kids love anything that involves pudding and Oreos.
So that's what's on my mind-- probably should be writing but this is much more fun!