Cooking for My Parents

I’m back home in Columbus, visiting my parents, and I absolutely love coming home. I’m blessed with wonderful parents who I genuinely enjoy spending time with. They’re encouraging, they both have an amazing sense of humor, and I will always be in in awe of their wisdom. (Even when I hate to admit that they’re right.)

Growing up, my mom stayed at home with my brother and I, which meant she did most all of the cooking. And for that, I’m grateful. (Mom, I’m sorry for all the eye rolling. Thank you for making Tuna Noodle Casserole every time I asked for it.)

Anyways, I figured it was about time I make my parents dinner. Right? Right.

First of all, my mom has taken to this whole “healthy” thing quite nicely. She doesn’t eat a lot of meat anymore. She reads nutrition labels. She’s even gotten my dad doing a workout DVD with her. My dad is your classic meat-and-potatoes kind of guy. So I knew he would take a little more convincing on this vegetarian dinner I was dreaming up.

After sorting through some old recipes, I decided I’d make something healthy but easy. I wanted to try something that my parents could recreate on a weeknight, if they decided they liked it. So I used a few things I wouldn’t normally use: prepackaged lentils and quinoa. Normally I buy mine in the bulk bins, but I found a few packages at the grocery store that would speed up the process, and it would make it easier on my parents if they wanted to try this. You can certainly use lentils and quinoa from the bulk bins, just be sure to add some cumin, garlic, and crushed red pepper to this recipe.

This is very similar to the Lentil Stuffed Pepper recipe I made here, but I did make a few changes. The packaged lentils made them a lot spicier, and I think it was the cumin. I also didn’t use cheese. Pretty much everything else was the same.

spicy stuffed peppers

For the recipe, click here.


I wasn’t sure what to serve with the peppers, so I decided on black beans and quinoa, mixed with some sauteed onions and peppers, topped with avocado. The quinoa I bought had some spices in it, but you could just add garlic, cumin, and cayenne, if you want to spice your own. Toss in black beans, pepper, onion, and avocado, and you’re good to go.

How did they react? I think my mom was more on board with it than my dad. It was their first time having quinoa, and I don’t think they loved it, but overall, I think they liked the lentils in the peppers. I think my dad would have been happy if I had added some ground turkey or something, but at least I got them trying something different πŸ˜‰

Do you cook for your family?


  1. As an adult, it’s been weird getting used to having my parents to my house for dinner. Since I make so many recipes that are copy-cats, or almost copy-cats, of my mom’s, I usually try to make something totally different.

  2. The first time I made quinoa for my parents, my mom enjoyed it more than my dad. However they both RAVED about the first time I made roasted veggie mix. It was so cute, and they always bring it up!

  3. Aww fun! I love it when the people I love jump on the healthier eating wagon. I remember when my dad first tried quinoa…his facial expression was priceless. He was not a fan!

  4. You are a genius for using muffin tins to hold the peppers up in the oven! Totally genius move.

  5. So sweet, Liz! I’ve definitely tried making veggie recipes for my family before and I had a similar reactionβ€”my mom was more open to it, and my dad went along with it but would’ve loved some meat. Haha.

  6. I love cooking for my parents too! Sharon and Mike are pretty open to eating everything lucky for me, we were eating quinoa back in the 90’s which I still find so fascinating (go Mom!) Glad you fixed something delicious and healthy for your folks, even that they are open to trying new things is a fabulous start and so fun that you get to teach them about what you know! Hope you have a great visit home πŸ™‚

  7. Wow, I’m glad I stumbled on your blog. Although I am not strictly vegetarian I do try to eat at least two non meat meals a week. Can’t wait to check out more!

  8. Oh that’s such a good idea with the muffin tin!

  9. Oh my gosh, this is too cute!! i wish I could have been there to see their (especially your dad’s) faces. And I agree, your parents are awesome πŸ™‚ It all looks really good by the way, maybe you should try it with your brother πŸ˜‰

  10. Muffin tray for stuffed peppers? Genius!

  11. In all honesty, cooking for my parents is always the most nerve racking. My mom is very particular with her food so I always get super nervous cooking for her. Glad your parents at least enjoyed it. I find that I also eat a lot of different foods then my parents (being diabetic and living by myself) so it is a struggle findthing things we all love!

  12. You meal looks great! I love cooking for my family, mainly on special holidays like Christmas or Easter.

  13. It sounds like it went over pretty well! At least your dad was willing to eat quinoa. I should try and serve it to my dad without saying what it is. Maybe he’d be more likely to try it πŸ™‚

    Thanks again for meeting up for coffee! It was so nice to meet you πŸ™‚

  14. Anna @AnnaTheApple says:

    My husbands the same with quinoa. He’s suspicious of it. It looks too healthy. I did manage to clever conceal some lentils in a stew once though…

  15. That was really good of you to introduce them to some new things. Too bad they didn’t love quinoa. I cooked for my little brother all last week and he did pretty good without any meat. Although I took him out to lunch everyday so he could get meat if he wanted. He’s a pretty healthy whole food kind of eater so it was easy.

  16. What a great idea on putting the peppers in a muffin tray. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of that little trick before! Pure genius πŸ™‚

    I absolutely love cooking for my family. My dad can be a bit hard (he’s a meat and potato type of guy as well), but for the most part, they are usually very satisfied.

  17. Back when I lived at home I cooked for my family A LOT. My mom loved it because she is not much of a meat eater anyways, my dad was willing to try most anything but I am sure that he missed the meat, and my brother was definitely not into trying anything that I made with tofu, etc. For the most part, though, a lot of the dinners were quite successful and enjoyed by all :).

  18. I read that as Columbia at first and thought wow!
    That looks lovely; I love cooking for my mum after all those years of her cooking for me – but there’s no way in this world my dad would do a workout DVD πŸ™‚

  19. Looks delicious, I love cooking for my parents especially my dad as he has celiacs which means fun alternatives : )

  20. i love cooking for my parents and getting them to try new things! ps stuffed peppers in a muffin tin is super smart!

  21. Such a great idea to put them in muffin tins! I’ll have to remember that!

  22. i almost never cook for my parents! i sometimes cook for myself while they eat a different dinner if i’m there for an evening, but otherwise i get lazy and revert to my “im at my parents house, it’s like vacation and i dont have to cook or clean” mode. terrible, i know!

  23. how nice of you and loved how you chose a unique ingredient to introduce yet simple and delicious. I normally dont cook for my parents but that is something i would like to do as well, I am always intimidated because my parents are some serious eater and i dont know how skinny meals would fly with them.

  24. This looks absolutely incredible! Not sure i could get my crew to eat this, but it’s going on my meal plan for next week for shizzle πŸ™‚

  25. My dad is so not willing to change his eating ways! I try to push it on him however I possibly can haha. Hope you’re enjoying your visit!

  26. I love to cook for friends and family, and I too always deal with one person on board for healthy while the other just wants steak with potato!! Great job on the dinner πŸ™‚

  27. I LOVE going home and cooking for my mom and stepdad. My mom is super into try healthy foods–she made whole wheat pasta for us and ate Uncle Sam for breakfast before ‘whole grain’ and ‘flax’ were buzzwords–and my stepdad is a meat-and-potatoes guy who is openminded enough to try anything. When I get him to request a meal again, I feel quite awesome. πŸ™‚

  28. Love the tip for placing the peppers in a muffin tin…GENIUS! And that’s awesome that you cooked dinner for your parents AND also made an effort to make something that they could easily recreate! My family always gets super nervous anytime I say something about making dinner for them…they are definitely not as open-minded as I am about food. Boo! πŸ™

Speak Your Mind