Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Managing my Weekly Home-Cooking

I look at other food blogs/magazines/cookbooks and sometimes groan at the thought of the complexity involved in their recipes. I realized, though, that my own recipes/menus may cause similar inward sighs in many people out there as well. How do I do it with two toddlers and a preschooler? A lot of planning, a lot of seizing the moment, a lot of flexibility, and a lot of leftovers.... I realize that I'm very fortunate to have a husband who will eat most anything, doesn't mind eating the same thing a couple of days in a row, and who doesn't expect a meat-and-three for dinner every night. While he appreciates a great steak, a good pork roast, and so forth, he's content with a good hot dog, a simple stir-fry, or pb&J--especially if it keeps the sanity down at the house.

But I thought it might be interesting (if anyone cares) to see how I multitask in the kitchen. I generally multitask like crazy and spend an hour or two in the kitchen on one day and coast for a few after that. The following are two real live scenarios from this past week and a half:

Scenario 1:

  • Day 1: Roast veggies for roasted vegetable side dish. AT THE SAME TIME, roast veggies for roasted vegetable soup (slightly different vegetables and different oven temperature--I split the difference). While the vegetables were roasting, I made a tomato sauce using some of the season's last tomatoes (this went into the freezer). Total time: 1 and 1/2 hours, including chopping and such. This was during a naptime after a very tiring morning for the kids (so I felt reasonably sure they would actually sleep).
  • Day 2: Roasted vegetables for a side dish (already prepared) helped round out a quick dinner of brats and corn on the cob.
  • Day 3 (which was a Saturday): Roasted Vegetable Soup and Cornbread--the soup came together in a flash because I'd already done the time-consuming part. I only had to throw in some beans, frozen broth, frozen spinach. The soup lasted us several meals.

Scenario 2:

  • Day 1: Harvest/ purchase a few winter squashes. Thaw chicken.
  • Day 2: Roast chicken and potatoes for dinner. AT THE SAME TIME, I cooked 2 butternut squash, 1 sweet potato squash, and 1 small pumpkin (yes, the oven was crowded). While all was cooking, I cut up some carrot sticks for hubby's lunches. After dinner, I threw the chicken carcass in a pot and made some broth. Extra pumpkin and squash puree went into freezer--we're looking ahead to an easier Butternut Squash Souffle.
  • Day 3: Butternut squash soup with roasted squash, chicken broth, and miscellaneous other ingredients.
  • Day 4: Chicken and Pasta with pesto sauce from freezer (using leftover chicken from Monday's roasted chicken).

No comments: