I was out of town last week, which leaves the rest of the family juggling more balls on the home front than when I am there. This is not ideal, obviously, but got me thinking about some of the ways we try and make our lives a bit easier without succumbing to sacrificing things like home cooking. There are a few meals that we cook on a regular basis these days that require little effort, but are still delicious. We also tend to cook dinners that several double duty as lunches, to avoid paying for meals out.
With that in mind, here is a day of favorites. Bear in mind that all quantities are approximate because I cook by the force, not by book.
It still surprises me how many people roll out of their houses without eating anything before they get to work. This is a no go for me and I need to get some food before any work is getting done. We typically have a full breakfast as a family, but I can understand that this might not work for everyone. But, you DO have time to make a smoothie to at least get some nutrients into your system. All you need is to have some fruit kicking around, even in your freezer if that works better for you.
Dust off your blender and add the following:
One chopped banana
1/4 cup yogurt
1/4 cup each, of two other fruits (whatever you have that would taste good together; melon, blueberry; strawberry, kiwi; etc.).
Enough orange juice for everyone to get however much smoothie they want.
Blend everything on medium for 2 minutes. Don't cheat on the time unless you want a chunky that separates in 5 minutes.
Pour and serve. Done. You can even chop the fruit during the weekend and individually freeze the portions if you are really that rushed.
Well if you cooked extra last night, you don't need this. But, we find it helpful to keep a package of prewashed salad in the fridge. You can grab some greens and toss just about anything on top, from a can of tuna to whatever meat or starch you ate last night.
Get out your slow cooker! Place six chicken thighs, or if you want to get crazy, a whole chicken breast side down (remember to pull out the bag of bits in there), and add a jar of salsa. Put it on low in the morning and come home at night to half a meal ready to go. Bust out some cheese, lettuce (our washed salad mix makes another appearance), tomato, hot sauce and tortillas and you're ready to go. If you're day is longer than you want the chicken to cook, buy a cheap light timer (the ones people use to turn lights on and off when they are not around) and set it so that the crock pot will go on 6-8 hours before you get home.
The Speedy Mojito! This whole section will probably drive resident mixologist, Dr. Becca, into a rage, but sometimes you want a refreshing cocktail and don't have 10 minutes to make it. The only kicker here is that you have to have mint around, but if you toss some in your garden it'll be there for times like these. Pick the tops (about 6 leaves) of two mint plants and crush them a little in the bottom of a 16oz glass with the handle of a wooden spoon. Add clear rum to desired amount and some ice. Pour a whole 8oz can of
tonic club soda in the glass and fill the rest with... limeade. No melting sugar or trying to get the right ratio of sugar to lime, just let the good people of Newman's Own, or whatever limeade you buy, to do that for you.
Simple and tasty, that's the basic goal. Easy meals at home keep us from hitting take-out on the way home or ordering pizza every night. After a long day you may not feel like cooking, but if there's a meal waiting for you it is less likely you'll give in to less healthy options.
Anyone else have quick meal "recipes"?