It’s no secret that while I am all about organic, all natural, locally grown foods, I don’t like cooking. It’s a quandary, really. I want to feed my family healthy foods, but I don’t want to be in the kitchen. I want to nourish my body without any significant effort to do so.
My two oldest kids have begun pitching in with the cooking and cleaning, which is great. (My 9-year old makes a mean grilled cheese. And she peels potatoes faster than I can.) But as soon as the baby realizes someone gets to do something, screaming and crying ensue. When the baby was younger, handing her pots and pans did wonders to keep her busy while I cooked. But now that she wants to use the Super Sharp Knife to cut veggies, just like her eldest sister does, it’s harder again. So I often have to kick the big girls out of the kitchen to play with her, leaving myself in the kitchen to do dinner.
Jackie linked to a piece in the New York Times where a writer confessed he can’t manage to get food on the table with a job outside of the home. But I’ll confess to you, though I stay at home, I still struggle to get dinner on the table. You would think this wouldn’t be the case, but it is. If the kids are busying themselves with homework or playing, I’m writing. I don’t make a move to the kitchen until twenty minutes before I know the kids will be starving. It’s my own fault, but it is what it is.
So during the week– not much cooking gets done. We do eat at home, we just eat quick easy meals. Here’s a rundown of what we do, if you are also cooking challenged.
1.) Soup in a Crock Pot–
At all times, I have leeks, celery, minced garlic, carrots, green onions, and when I remember, fresh parsley. This is my veggie stock. I have trained my children to eat soup year round. I have also trained them to eat leftovers three nights in a row. Leftovers are our fifth food group.
Either Sunday night or Monday morning, I chop above veggies. The next day I throw them in the crock pot with water, sea salt, pepper, and whatever the soup is. Sometimes it split peas, sometimes it’s mixed beans, sometimes it’s potatoes or tempeh. I’m generally not a fan of tomato based soup, but the above veggies for a stock taste amazing.
We eat from this soup Monday and Tuesday night, and on Wednesday I either freeze the leftovers or we eat from it again. To change it up, we’ll eat it over rice or on top of whole wheat crackers or in a flour tortilla or with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
2.) Grilled Cheese & Raw or Steamed Veggies
This is dinner once a week for us. I buy my whole wheat bread from a bakery that uses only 5 ingredients, and buy really good cheddar cheese. We usually eat this with raw or lightly streamed broccoli and/or cauliflower. Sliced onions and tomatoes taste great in a grilled cheese.
I know I’m going to get a huge groan for this, but yes, I still use jarred pasta sauce. I KNOW it’s easy to make it on my own, but I just don’t want to. I buy a low sodium, low sugar, all natural, organic CHEAP pasta sauce at Whole Foods (their 365 brand). Yes, making it from scratch would taste better and be healthier, but my way is quicker with less clean up. You can try to convince me all you like, to make my own. I’m telling you now…I won’t.
When we don’t use jarred sauce, we use olive oil and parmesan cheese (hey– at least I don’t use parmesan from the green can anymore), halved grape tomatoes, chick peas (canned), and lightly steamed broccoli. It’s a delicious and quick meal, and I use two boxes of penne pasta so we have leftovers for the next day.
Scrambled or over easy, whole wheat toast, sliced apples, cantaloupe, grapes. Spinach & feta cheese quiche. I love eggs.
5.) Amy’s Frozen Pizzas
Target sells these delicious pizzas really cheap. Their Margherita is wonderful. We eat them almost every Friday, when all the neighborhood kids are hanging out at our house and I have extra mouths to feed.
6.) A Totally Uncooked Meal
Sometime my husband is at a dinner meeting or working the late shift, and I use this as an excuse to not cook at all. Ants on a Log (celery sticks, crunchy peanut butter, raisins) with cut up cheddar cheese on whole wheat crackers, and watermelon. Or carrot sticks dipped in humus with fresh whole wheat tortillas dipped in Greek yogurt. (I buy my tortillas at the bakery that makes them fresh every day.) Apple slices with crunchy peanut butter is another quick favorite.
7.) Veggie Dogs or Burgers
About twice a month, we have these with baked french fries and carrot sticks and celery or cucumbers.
These are my standard quick-meals-that-get-us-by. During the week, we are minimalist. It gets us fed, it gets us full, and it’s decently healthy.