A Working Mom's Meal Plan
The hardest part of my day is when we get home and everyone is immediately hungry. I love to cook and prefer
home-cooked meals, but I don't like to cook much during the work week. And yet, dinner has to get on the table...
My solution: make-ahead meals, freeze-ahead meals and recipes so easy that I'll make them on a Monday. I cook
mostly on the weekends, always doubling recipes, and rely heavily on my extra freezer and a decently-stocked pantry.
This cooking style saves me time and money, and it makes my life simpler—so I can actually enjoy sitting down
to supper at 6 with my family. I hope these recipes will make the witching hour a little better at your house too.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
14 oz can pumpkin puree
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
12 oz bag chocolate chips (look for bittersweet or Special Dark)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins with cooking spray and set aside, or use paper liners.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, oil and sugar. Add pumpkin and stir until well blended. Stir in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, then mix in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each tin about 2/3 of the way. Bake for 18 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched.
*I also made mini-muffins, which are always good for snacktime at school. Bake mini-muffins for about 10 minutes. These freeze well, and the recipe makes a nice big batch you'll appreciate all season.
Friday, September 23, 2011
olive oil for baking sheet
2 tablespoons honey mustard
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 lb ground chuck or ground beef
1 egg, beaten with a fork
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
coarse salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Mix honey mustard and ketchup together in a small bowl.
Combine ground beef, egg, panko, 1/2 cup cheddar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; it's easiest to mix this together with clean hands. Form into four small loaves on the baking sheet. Top each with a few spoonfuls of the ketchup mixture, then sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake about 15 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through.
*Good on the side: Cut fingerling potatoes into chunks, toss in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in a pan alongside the meatloaf, stirring every once in a while. I'd start them a little earlier so they get crispy.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
4 slices bacon
3/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 lb summer squash, chopped
1 lb bag of frozen white and yellow baby corn kernels, thawed
2 1/4 cups lowfat milk
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
shredded sharp cheddar, for serving
Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove from pan, leaving about 2 teaspoons of the drippings in the pan. Crumble bacon and set aside. Add 1/2 cup scallions, celery and squash to the pan and saute for about 8 minutes or until veggies are tender.
Set aside one cup of the corn. Place the rest in a food processor or blender with 1 cup milk and process until smooth. Add remaining milk, thyme, salt and pepper, then blend until just combined. Pour mixture and corn into pot with veggies. Reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until hot. Add salt to taste. Top each serving with crumbled bacon, scallions and cheese.
*Serve with Serena's Sour Cream Muffins: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 2 cups of self-rising flour, 2 sticks melted butter and 1 cup sour cream and spoon into muffins tins. Bake about 25 minutes.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
fresh pizza dough, leave it out for a bit before starting
1 cup salsa
one pound of ground chicken, beef or turkey
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups shredded monterey jack or cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cook the ground meat with the taco seasoning, then mix in the beans.
Press the pizza dough into a lightly oiled pan with your fingers. Spoon salsa evenly over dough, then sprinkle with the cheese. Scatter the meat/bean mixture over the top (you probably will not need it all—use the leftovers to make tortilla pizzas or quesadillas another night). Bake for 14-16 minutes or until bubbly, then top the cooked pizza with scallions and cilantro.
*Omit the chicken/beef/turkey and add extra beans plus diced mixed peppers or roasted corn to make this a great Meatless Monday meal.