I don't always have as much time as I'd like. (Okay, yes, I might have more if I interwebbed less, but whatevs.) There are plenty of great shortcuts that allow you to put a (semi-)homemade meal on the table & still have time to do fun stuff like this:
... and still get through the shower before bedtime!
Two recent success stories for us:
- Spinach Tortellini with Peas & Pesto - That's right. Prepared tortelli (in this case, spinach pasta with ricotta filling), frozen peas, prepared pesto. We had it with Caesar salads, by which I mean - romaine lettuce from a bag + lite Caesar vinaigrette & Parmesan shavings. Munchkin's new thing is "more salad?" --- Enough to melt a dietitian mama's heart.
- Beef Stir-fry - I chopped an onion, sauteed it in a bit of olive oil for a few minutes, then added lean "stew meat" (the stuff pre-cut for you) and cooked till it was mostly done. Then I added a bag of pre-chopped stri-fry veggies. I poured over all that a "sauce" I'd made while the onion cooked (approx: 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 2 big squeezes honey), but you could certainly use a marinade or salad dressing. I served it over 90 second Uncle Ben's whole grain medley. This I actually took a second to photograph:
No one said it was a good photograph.
Another thing about my cooking? I tend to take recipes as suggestions or inspirations, rather than strict instructions. If I don't have this, that or the other, I improvise. Here are 2 recipes I recently took great liberties with, either by choice or necessity.
- Roasted Butternut Squash over Farro by the Vintage Mixer - I saw the picture on Pinterest and thought it looked delicious. I read the title, decided I'd toss in some spinach & my own spice ideas. I further decided to use barley, because I had some & because I wanted to try ...
- Slow-cooker Barley Risotto by Dietitian on a Mission - In this case, I started cooking and realized I didn't have a number of things I thought I did. I knew I didn't have a shallot and used a third of so of an onion. I thought I had far more chicken stock than I really did --- I used extra water with plenty of salt.
Take home messages:
- There are healthy short-cuts out there. Keep looking till you find ones that work for you. Then take variations on them to avoid "taste fatigue."
- Don't be afraid to experiment. What's the worst that will happen? No one will like it? You & they will either suck it up & eat it. Or you'll make PBJs or have chips'n'salsa or somesuch.
- Eating at least moderately well doesn't have to cost a fortune or exhaust you. It only requires a little thought on the front-end.
- I made the following analogy to a patient today: I have a basket of clean laundry waiting to be put away. If I took the 15 minutes one evening to just do it, it would save me the 5 minutes every morning looking for socks (by which I meant underwear).
- That basket is still waiting ....