Yesterday afternoon, my husband announced that he wanted to have leftover Corned Beef for dinner. Instantly, the malodorous stench flooded my nasal cavities. This St. Patrick’s Day tradition for Irish-Americans is a yearly issue in my home. Because I love my husband dearly, I gave in and knew that this was something I had to let go. Having said that, everything from the smell to the briny taste makes my nose crinkle and taste buds pucker.
Like a bee to its hive, I decided to beeline it to Big Y in a desperate search for an alternative dinner for the rest of us. My poor kids. They typically prefer my husband’s menu as it includes the delectable flavors of Italy or what I refer to as good ‘ole fashioned meat and potatoes. When Mommy creates the menu, they know they are in for a meal that will instantly cleanse their bodies!
I open up my phone as I pull my shopping cart next to the floral section. “Healthy Soup Recipes” it is. I begin scrolling with my finger at the various titles … Cabbage Soup. “Wait? Isn’t that why I’m here in the first place? Not a chance!” Alton’s Lentil Soup. “My daily lunch, gotta mix it up,” I think. Hearty Italian Chicken and Vegetable Soup. “Too much chicken. Mom makes chicken every day,” they whine. Spicy Bean Soup is next made by my husband’s favorite Food Network Chef, Giada DeLaurentis. Maybe if it’s her recipe, I could convince him to actually eat this as an alternative to his beloved Corned Beef and Cabbage.
Forty minutes later, my shopping trip is coming to an end. Two onions? Check! Celery, carrots, fresh garlic, red bell pepper, diced tomatoes, tomato juice? Check! Cannellini and Garbanzo Beans? Check! Spices at home? Check! As I walk out the door, I ring the bell for great service and slowly make my way home.
Around 6:00, I break out the ingredients and start doing Giada’s magic. As I read on, I think, “This sounds absolutely terrible! Broccoli, squash and tomato juice in a soup?” I shrug my shoulders and giggle while whispering, “Too late now.” As the ingredients begin to come together, my thinking shifts. The pungent smells of Corned Beef slowly dissipate and are taken over by sauteed garlic and the warmth of a homemade soup on a cold, March evening. Much to my surprise, my children all ate up a storm and even my twelve-year-old begged for more. Our nightly dinner table is typically the place where all opinions fly. A refreshing change last night that was welcomed by yours truly? “Mom-this is delicious! Can I pack this for lunch tomorrow?” and “Well done, Mommy! This one’s a keeper.” Even my husband chimed in-“I’m tossing this Corned Beef out” as he insisted it was a “bad cut”. I had to smile and think to myself, “Mission accomplished”.