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.
Friday, April 27, 2012
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb very ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 lb fusilli or farfalle pasta
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with a little of the oil, then place tomatoes cut side up in the dish. Mix breadcrumbs, cheese and garlic in a bowl, then sprinkle mixture over the tomatoes, making sure each one is covered. Season top with salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until just al dente, saving a little cooking water before draining. Toss cooked pasta with the tomato mixture, basil and olive oil. Stir in a little more oil or cooking water if necessary and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with extra parmesan cheese.
*Make your own breadsticks - I start with a thin prebaked pizza crust from the bakery section (look for the rectangular ones, not the bobolis), then brush with olive oil. Shake a little garlic salt on top, sprinkle with fresh parmesan. Bake at 400 degrees for several minutes or until toasty.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon curry
1 teaspoon oregano
3-4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup cream
1/2 cup sour cream
for serving: shredded coconut, salted peanuts or cashews, golden raisins, chopped scallions, diced banana/banana chips, chopped cucumbers, diced apple/green apple, diced tomatoes etc.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, salt, pepper, paprika, celery salt, curry and oregano in a large ziploc bag. Add chicken pieces and shake to coat. Melt butter in a large skillet and saute chicken pieces until lightly browned. Transfer to a casserole dish and add the cream. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in sour cream, then cover again and bake for 10 more minutes.
*I serve over basmati rice with lots and lots of warm naan. This serves about 4 people, so double it if you want leftovers. You can prep the chicken ahead of time.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
one eggplant (1 1/2 lb), halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lb bulk Italian sausage
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, or use some minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs or panko
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush or drizzle cut sides of eggplant with the olive oil and place cut-side up on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, then allow to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, brown sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat, then drain if necessary. Mix in garlic powder, Italian seasoning and pepper. Stir in bread crumbs, 1/2 cup marinara sauce, 1/2 cup cheese and beaten egg and mix until well combined.
Scoop the inside out of the eggplant halves to create two shells. Stir the eggplant meat into the sausage mixture, then use to fill the eggplant shells. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake about 30 minutes. Warm the remaining sauce and serve on the side.
*I often assemble these over the weekend and then serve on a weeknight; just leave yourself a little extra baking time. I think they'd freeze fine too if you wanted to make a big batch; I usually double this. Vegetarians could try it with spinach and mushrooms in place of the sausage...