Friday, August 29

Dinner Menu

This should be so easy for me, but truly, it is not! Our household helper, Rosalie, has asked me to come up with a weekly dinner menu that she can follow. Obviously, it would make grocery shopping easier & would solve the 4 o'clock dilemma of wondering what in the world we are having for dinner every evening.

I actually used to follow a very simple dinner menu back in Texas. The only problem is that so many convenience items on that menu cannot be found here in the Philippines:

* Breaded Fish Fillets or Fish Sticks - Not here! You can find the real deal here anywhere you look, but we like the masked taste of fish that you find with Gorton's breaded stuff.

* Frozen Raviolis - There is not a large freezer selection of foods here like in the states. Apparently, it is difficult to keep frozen & refrigerated items here... well... frozen & refrigerated. So, they don't even attempt it.

* Pork Chops - We've decided we're not big on pork in our family. Except bacon. My kids could probably eat a whole pig if it was fried up like bacon!

* Popcorn Shrimp - Not available. Huge shrimp that you have to clean & peel & de-vein & get all slimy, they do have. Little cute breaded shrimp pieces that you buy frozen in a Gorton's box, they don't have.

Okay, after looking at the entire menu again, I realize that most of the items are available after all. With a little tweaking here & there, I can make it work.

But, I still would love to have some new, fresh dinner ideas from all of you. Keep in mind we can't find the following items here in Subic:

* Refrigerated biscuits/croissants/pie crusts of any kind (I miss Sunday morning cinnamon rolls & my sister's chicken pot pie recipe)

* Water chestnuts (Which I have surprisingly needed a lot of lately. Mom, I was gonna talk to you about that...)

* Sausage rolls, like Jimmy Dean's stuff (Kelley, I really, really miss your delicious sausage & artichoke stew!! Mmmmm...)

* Any canned items that differ from the norm - Mexican/Italian style stewed tomatoes, etc. (It's a hit or miss issue. Sometimes you can find it. Most times not.)

* Fresh salmon (Which is a shame because we love salmon!)

So, if you had someone willing to cook dinner for your family during the weeknights, what sorts of meals would you include on your menu? That 3 & 6 years olds would also enjoy? (Just narrowed down the selection quite a bit, didn't I?) Let me know because I am definitely looking for some yummy ideas!


kikas_head said...

How often do you guys get down to Manila? Is is often enough that you could do a monthly shopping excursion for canned goods and bulk (assuming you have a pantry and large freezer)?

Frozen ravioli (cheese filled only) can be found at S&R as well as some breakfast sausage (links, not rolls) and the frozen pie crusts. In addition, if you have a big freezer and could do a monthly trip to S&R the have tons of bulk frozen fruits that are either impossible to get here or psychotically expensive.

Best selection in Manila of odd canned goods can be found at Unimart in Greenhills (canned Hormel chili, the stewed tomatoes, enchilada sauce--both red & green, canned chili peppers, refried beans).

Chicken enchiladas are a meal that most kids like (since you are from TX, I assume your kids are used to this--I grew up in San Francisco where Mexican food--like in Texas is a staple). Unfortunately I have never found soft corn tortillas (nor corn flour to attempt to make my own) so I have to use flour tortillas which I can find in the frozen section of all groceries here. Also kids always seem to like tacos especially since they can chose their toppings and hard corn taco shells made locally are easy to find.

Homemade mac & cheese is easy (although the cost of cheddar compared to the states is staggering) and is very quick to make. Same with baked macaroni.

Chicken tenders are great and kids often love (assuming you can get ranch--I have yet to find buttermilk here to make a dressing or dip) as well as the basic roast chicken with mashed potatoes and fresh or canned corn.

Do your kids eat meatloaf? All the ingredients should be easy to find although I have never used the local breadcrumbs and imported can be hit or miss to find.

Just remember, your house helper is probably really good at deveining shrimp and if you had them precut (into bite size pieces) and frozen then you could just yank 'em from the fridge, bread them, and fry!

jdonnell1938 said...

Amberly, I remember well the problems of refrigeration the last time I was there...1946. There were no cows there and it couldn't be shipped from the states due to lack of refrigeraqtion. Our parents tried other milks on us...water buffalo, goats, etc. That didn't work at all for your uncle Carl and I. There was a canned drink called Toddy that worked...don't recall the ingredients...but we drank that as a subsitute while we were there.
Love, Dad