Confession time: I’m one of those moms. I’m forever trying to make every little thing myself. I make my kid’s lunches from scratch and package them in mason jars (so Pinteresty). I love green smoothies. I soak all the beans and roast all the beets. We eat quinoa. My kid likes chia pudding.
I love to cook from scratch. In a perfect world I would make every food item, raise my own chickens, compost, and grow all of our produce. But if motherhood has taught me anything, it’s that I’m not a superhero. I WANT to do it all. I CAN’T. And I struggle with that daily.
Sadly, while my husband Craig loves whatever I cook, he doesn’t love dealing with the aftermath. In fact, when I told him I was writing this post, the first thing he said was “I regret the you-cook, I-clean arrangement!” He also does not enjoy trying to corral our son who desperately wants to be underfoot while I try to cook gourmet meals at 5:30pm. Lindsey’s right–it’s the witching hour.
So, time for a compromise. How do I keep my family healthily fed in a timely manner, without “using every dish and utensil in the house to make a dinner for 2.5 people”? (Craig’s words.)
Enter my new friends: Crockpot, Pressure Cooker, and Icebox.
As a clean eating enthusiast, I was slow to embrace my crockpot. So many recipes seemed to involve Cream of Something, or Dr. Pepper, or an entire bottle of barbecue sauce. I was terrified of the pressure cooker as a child. And until I discovered freezer meals, my icebox was for my stockpile of frozen bananas and other smoothie mixins.
But thank goodness for Pinterest and its endless supply of recipes! I’ve found so many good “slow food fast” dinner recipes there. I also found Once a Month Meals through Pinterest, which is now one of my favorite recipe resources.
So now, instead of scrambling to make dinner every night, I like to cook in batches. I make a big batch of something in the crockpot at the beginning of the week–this Turkey Chili, or Tortilla Soup for example–and BOOM! That’s three weeknight meals taken care of.
Then it’s casserole time. Right now we really love these Avocado Enchiladas. I use corn tortillas and just layer everything like a lasagna. And speaking of lasagna, I’m a huge fan of the Engine 2 version. You don’t have to be vegan to love it, and you’ll be packing your sweet mouth full of vegetable goodness.
If I’m feeling super organized, I’ll prep TWO batches of something and freeze one. Works for smoothies too. This is how freezer meal hoarding begins.
If those don’t get us through the week, a pot roast in the pressure cooker can be done in 30 minutes. And if all else fails, it’s time to dig something out of the icebox. Maybe a freezer meal from the previous week…or maybe frozen fish that can be dressed up with miso and thrown together with rice & a quick broccoli or kale/avocado salad. But it’s just as likely to be a frozen pizza.
This all sounds so organized, right? Oh, it is so Not. Even. Close. I’m incapable of remembering to make school lunches before 9pm. I sometimes forget dinner altogether and have Craig pick something up on the way home. I made a meatloaf last week and forgot about the leftovers…until the odor in my fridge demanded my attention. And I could write a whole other post of Pinterest recipe fails!
But for the most part, this system is working for now. The chickens and composting and making-my-own-ketchup will have to wait the little dude is older, or until I’m more organized. Which could be never!