Once upon a time, when I had fewer and calmer children (as in, before the boy), I was better at trying to do crafty things with the kiddos. Not good, mind you; as awesome as my mother and sister are at crafting, that’s not so much my thing (I’m better with reading to and baking with them, although they’re good at that as well). I was better, though, and we went through a phase where we made pasta pictures with various pasta shapes. (You know–you put glue on the paper, and the child arranges the pasta on top of the glue? With the option–sometimes–of painting said pasta when the glue is dry?) We even kept them for quite a long time, before bowing to reality, taking digital pictures of them to preserve for posterity, and throwing them away.
Anyway. This is relevant because, when I was looking for easy dinner ideas and my sister suggested Mel’s Skillet Taco Pasta Shells, I knew I’d have to use a different kind of pasta. (All of the non-jumbo shells in my house got crafted with, so to speak–although to be fair, I don’t know that I ever had medium.) That’s not exactly a major change, however, and neither were any of my other ones: I subbed black beans for the pintos (personal preference), was a bit generous with the salsa verde (my sister’s recommendation), and added some extra water (because it really needed more liquid). Other than that, I followed the recipe (unless you count being generous with the cheese, but really, who counts that? In my world view, being generous with the cheese equates to driving 5 over the speed limit). And I enjoyed it.
I’m not necessarily saying it was earth-shattering, you understand. It made, however, an enjoyable and (blessedly!) quick-and-easy meal on a school night, and that’s no small thing. Middle 1 didn’t love it, but she’s never loved Mexican food; Middle 2 (formerly known as the boy) ate some of it himself, which means he certainly liked it some, and the oldest was okay with it (skillet meals are not necessarily one of her very favorite things). If it were a pain to make, I wouldn’t bother–it’s not memorable enough–but as it is, it’s going in my arsenal of “I need something quick and easy to make for dinner tonight!”
Which is what every day feels like at the moment. Ah, life with a two-month-old!