Oh, my heavens thank goodness back to school week is over! I always hate to see my kids go back to school because to me, there is just something comforting about having them safe at home, even though Chad and I work all day. I never look forward to the homework, the worrying I do that they will be happy, have good friends, and do well in their subjects. I’ve learned over the years though that although my first instinct as a mom is to protect my kids, they are bright little humans that do need to be allowed to figure things out for themselves. They truly are capable of this, I know, just like I was.
But it’s sooooo hard! I don’t want to let go. Last year Mason started junior high and I think I called each one of my friends and cried. And when I say cried, I mean jagged, heart wrenching sobs. I think I was grieving his childhood, not to mention that I was absolutely terrified for him and there was nothing I could do about any of it. Well, he did get through it, and this year as he began eighth grade, I held it together quite a bit more, even when he chose to walk ten feet in front of me at back to school night because I’m the most embarrassing mom EVER.
Luke made it to the second day before he had to pull his card to YELLOW. It took me 20 minutes to pry out of him the reason why he got into trouble. Apparently he was told it was time to do something and he sighed very heavily and audibly causing a great big distraction. We had a long talk about not only doing what we are told and when, but about not sighing about it either.
So, with all this excitement, quick week night dinners are a must. I am trying to focus on getting healthier meals on the table as well, considering that according to my estimate, the kids ingested 226 bags of Doritos and 479 cans of Pepsi this summer. Tater tots and sloppy joes every night is just not going to cut it.
In comes my easy peasy Beef Sausage and Tomato Ratatouille.
What defines ratatouille is that one or more of the ingredients is cooked separately to bring out it’s natural and true flavors. In my version, the tomatoes are roasted for a short time in the oven until they become soft, sweet, and slightly charred. Then, fully cooked beef sausages and red onions are added and baked for a few more minutes along with the tomatoes.
Once roasted thoroughly, the dish is topped with reduced balsamic vinegar and fresh basil leaves. It’s served on top of simple, creamy polenta.
It’s not just a gorgeous dish, but so tasty, and so easy that it practically cooks itself. Besides, how cool will your kids think you are when you say they are having ratatouille for dinner? Ahem…well, I have to admit it didn’t help me appear more cool in the eyes of my teenager who just thinks I’m a REALLY BIG NERD with all my fancy cooking terms, but maybe you will have better luck with your kids!