Easy Peasy

January 24, 2018

You probably already figured this out, since I haven’t posted here in a month, but having twins does not make for good food blogging.

I thought I would pop on here though and list the meals that I’ve discovered in this crazy season that are a) easy b) delicious and c) easy.  Most of the time I am cooking with a baby in the Bijorn or on my hip so I am low on pics. Let’s think of this post as word-of-mouth recommendations, shall we? There are different seasons in life and in the kitchen, and I subscribe to the idea that part of loving food is embracing the season you are in and not trying to fight it, or else you will be miserable. I know there will be seasons down the road where I will be creating recipes again. Maybe you have found yourself also in a season of needing quick dinners and easy ideas. I’m sharing the shortcuts I’m finding just in case.

One thing I am LOVING is that my local grocery delivery service (Peapod, run by Stop & Shop) has put up on their website meals that you can click on, and then they pull up all the ingredients and you add them to your cart lickety split. This is a much better (and cheaper) option for our family then Blue Apron or Hello Fresh. Plus I often have some of the ingredients in the pantry and don’t need to buy all of the ingredients. I think its genius and I’m so happy they started doing this (I may have emailed them the idea last year, so I’m biased, and no I don’t think that they listened to me or anything).

I am trying to be healthy, and chose real foods that are not processes and are good for a nursing mom. But I’m not killing myself either. I can do that when they are sleeping through the night and I join Insanity or stretch my running times to longer then 30 minutes. My motto right now is to enjoy this period, go easy on myself, and these dinners have allowed me to do just that.

1. Lemon Chicken – this one was a winner. There was something so comforting about this huge pot of juicy lemony chicken and potatoes that picked up all the drippings as it roasted. Bonus points that you get to cut up a whole chicken, which you have never done it is oddly gratifying. Here is a tutorial if you need one. Also lots of people asked me what this veg is and it is just sautéed Brussel Sprouts with pancetta – it is the only way I can get my kids to eat Brussels sprouts since they love it!

2Thai Chicken Wraps –  There are a number of recipes on the web and I actually feel like I pull up a different one each time I make this. This one has a dressing I really like because you can throw all the ingredients in a blender and it tastes great. I am intrigued by the idea of collard greens to hold more then butter lettuce or Romaine leaves, but we just used Romaine leaves. Also, I used rotisserie chicken and skipped the first half of this recipe. You will notice there is NO cooking in this recipe if you do that. Yup. Dinner came together in 5 minutes, and I was like  what will I do with all this extra time? Answer:

3. Mini Turkey Meatball Soup –  You might have seen me make this on InstaStories. It is so so good. I double this and have lunch made for the week. While you are on her site check out her Instapot Mashed Potatoes. They cook in 10 minutes! It has me thinking generations from now everyone will cook using the Instapot and will talk about the times before we had it as ‘the olden days’.

4. Ina Garten’s Beef Tenderloin with Mustard Horseradish Sauce: The twins had their Christening this weekend and I made this for one of the dinners we had with family in town.

I also made this for Christmas Eve and we turned it into sandwiches for Christmas dinner. (The link above shows how to make it into sandwiches, we eat it either sliced with sauce on top or as a sandwich). It is fancy and delicious and takes 5 minutes to prep and cooks in 22-25 minutes. If you are looking to impress someone with a dinner but are scared to bite of more than you can chew, this dinner is for you. The scariest part will be paying $60-$90 for the beef but it feeds 10-15 people and is worth it. It is so, so good and melts like butter in your mouth. Take the time to trim and tie it (again here is a tutorial). And this sauce? You need it in your life. I have come to mixing together a mini-version for my sandwiches instead of mayo and mustard.

5. Ski House Bolognese I got this cookbook around the time we got a ski condo, but it is chock full of comfort food that is easy. I love their version of bolognese AND their suggestion to freeze half of it so you have a delicious dinner waiting for you that just requires a box of pasta.

6. Oven Roasted Sausage, Peppers and Onions – I have discovered a new love of this easy dish by roasting it in the oven. The sausage skins crisp up into a lovely, crispy but juicy texture. They are great for a crowd, too, since you can really bulk it up with rolls, good spaghetti sauce and provolone. Meatballs are good too but there is nothing to do for prep work with sausages except slice open the plastic wrap and put it on a tray. Bonus if you find pre-sliced peppers and onions.

7. Pioneer Woman’s Pulled Pork – Leave it to a rancher to tell you how to cook your pork. Not that they have pigs on her ranch. Do they? I don’t even know. Anyway, she makes a yummy pulled pork. I have made pulled pork many different ways lately because our au pair loves it, and because big roasts are cheap and last for days.

In a pinch I have just placed a hunk of whatever pork is on sale in a slow cooker, seasoned it with salt, pepper and garlic, and added a few cups of bbq sauce, and it was…pretty good. I have also made it by seasoning the pork, adding a can of root beer, and once it is shredded, adding sauce. This was also lovely. But I really love the seasonings in Ree’s recipe, and so did the other 50 people we fed with this over the weekend. Just know you can’t really go wrong if you are cooking it low and slow and it meets salt and bbq sauce at some point.

Here it is coated with the rub which I like to put ontop of a thin layer of mustard to hold the rub to it. Then let it hang out for 30 minutes to marinate. Then pop it into the slow cooker for 6-8 hours. (Note: I did try to make this in the InstaPot, but I have to say the meat came out more tender in the slow cooker.)

8. Mushroom and Goat Cheese Mini Frittatas – These mini frittatas are HEAVEN. I made a huge batch when my very healthy neighbors came over and plowed my driveway when my husband was traveling to thank them. I also doubled the egg/milk/sauteed onion mixture and made a second tray of them by putting diced canadian bacon and cheddar cheese on the bottom of the mini muffin tins, then pouring the mixture over. Both were amazing! And you can see that they are super easy and you can use any ingredients. But the mushroom and goat cheese one felt so decadent and luxurious, and I lived on them all week. I have been in a huge frittata kick lately, because it feels like all the work of making scrambled eggs or omelet but I have seconds and thirds in the fridge for later, saving me time and pots and pans.

Well, here is hoping you find something new to add to your repertoire on this list! I hope to share the next bunch of recipes I find with you here because, let’s face it, I am not eating out much in the near future.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

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