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Have 5 mo old, working pt, & pooped...what to cook?

My first post, so please be kind...

I'm sure that there are other posts with wonderful suggestions about this topic, but I can't seem to find them. Here's my dilemma:

We have a 5 month old at home and I'm back to work part-time. By the time my hubby gets home, we're both so pooped that we end up eating sammys or something grilled. I miss cooking and I'm getting sick of both, so I ask you all for suggestiosn for quick, healthy, and tasty meal ideas. Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. A few things I do:
    - next time you have the grill fired up, grill a mix of veggies (I usually do mushrooms, onions, peppers and sweet potatoes that I've marinated in something tasty). I then use those all week...some get chopped up and added to an omlette, some go into a quick pasta sauce, some go on a sandwich with goat cheese.
    - make something bigger on one of your days off and plan to use it up all week...a roasted chicken turns into soup, empanadas, chicken salad, bbq chicken sandwiches; chili gets eaten as is, then put over pasta one night, then put over nachos another
    - i cook breakfast for dinner OFTEN. even a frozen waffle and some eggs are better than most takeout

    4 Replies
    1. re: CeeBee

      In stormy winter, you can also roast veggies in the oven.
      Simple cut 2 red and yellow peppers, 3 or 4 zucchini, 1 large red onion, 12 sections of garlic clove (about 2 whole cloves, peeled).

      (I found the best garlic peeler is this style (open ended silicone tube)
      See, http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

      )

      place veggies In a large stainless steel bowl (16 Qt., (aprox. 17 in. diam.)
      (see, http://www.chefdepot.net/mixingbowls.htm

      )

      add 1/4 Cup olive oil, salt and pepper to taste (1/2 tsp ??? each)

      Line a jelly roll cake pan with tin foil (just helps with clean up)
      (See, http://www.target.com/Jelly-Roll-Pans...

      )

      Spread veggies in single layer on the pan.

      Roast at 350 degrees for about an hour.

      (recipes vary in temp and time)

      Have a look at these

      http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/oven...

      http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,1826,1...

      http://teriskitchen.com/vegetable/pep...
      "There are so many uses for roasted peppers. It can be a side-dish. It can be used as a sauce for pasta. It makes an easy and delicious appetizer when topped on Bruchetta or Toasted Pita Triangles. It is heaven in a sandwich of crusty Italian, French or Pita bread with a good sharp cheese, such as Provolone or Asiago. It can be used in place of the peppers in the Italian Sausage Sandwiches."

      1. re: kc girl

        I like to make leftover roasted vegetables - or even just leftover vegetables - into soup. Quick and easy - add some chicken broth, simmer a bit, puree, season, maybe add some fresh herbs and some cream/milk, and you're done.

        1. re: MMRuth

          OMG, the best soup I ever made was with a mix of roasted vegies (left overs), then just as you said, chix broth, puree, season - then I added small cubed leftover steak. It was the only chunk in a creamy vegie soup. I couldn't believe how good this was - I don't make soup that often, not my thing although it's becoming my thing. :-)

          1. re: lexpatti

            So true. My granddaughter (age 9) had just completed a week's course at Sur la Tab. To show off her new skills she cooked a dinner for her family. One of the recipes was roasted veggies to include a butternut squash and a proportionate amount of other veggies.
            Both her mother and I made a good amount of soup from those . Simple soup from canned chicken broth and some herbs. It was great.

    2. Welcome! What are your weekends like? If you can cook up a large roaster chicken on Sunday for dinner, then use it for leftovers in a variety of ways during the week, that might help you...after your roast chicken dinner on Sunday, you could do chicken chili or enchiladas, maybe chicken soup or stew, stir-fry, etc. during the week. That might be one way to tackle the problem.

      1. I have a 9 mo old, and am a WAHM, so I know exactly where you are coming from.

        We eat a lot of pasta. Pasta with veggies, pasta with sausage, pasta with cheeses, whatever. Not necessarily Italian, or even in any way traditional anything, but just pasta with whatever looks good in the fridge that day.

        I also make soups a lot, and the crock pot is my friend.

        Hang in there momma, you're doing great. And pretty soon, the babe will be eating food to, remember you don't have to feed them anything special. He/she will be most happy just eating what you eat.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tzurriz

          Yes, the crock pot !
          It has been given a bad rap because of uninspiring recipes and recipes that require a lot of prep. I have found that many meat dishes are enhanced by the slow cook method; the meats get more tender, the sauce gets more intense, deep flavor. And, it's easier clean up than slow cooking in a pot on the stove or oven roasting. You'll see.

          Maybe start a thread on finding incredible crock pot dishes. I have made delicious Pozole, beef short ribs in spaghetti sauce, tri-tip roast, cassoulet, bbq chicken, pork with chili verde sauce, corned beef, and French onion soup. But, there are some really incredible recipes to be found.

          You'd be surprised how a simple jar of commerical spaghetti sauce or enchilada sauce or chili verde sauce can be wonderfully improved in flavor by adding braising beef ribs or pot roast and a few choice herbs or spices. Four or five hours later, the juices blend and the spices infuse into a sauce that tastes like an Italian mama from Tuscany came to your kitchen to cook for you.

          Get some pre-made polenta at the grocery store. It is in the deli section in a cylindrical roll. (Careful, some pre-made polenta is nasty tasting). Cut into discs and spoon over it a stewed meat and sauce.

          I have found that the little $1 packages of regular flavor Ore-Ida instant potatoes are great when made with half milk.

          Bisquick is wonderful also. So easy for a homemade taste. Make chicken and dumplings with crock pot and top with Bisquick bisquits.

          Steamed veggies are fast and easy in the microwave (though some people don't care for the radiation of a microwave). Broccoli is easy prep, and Trader Joe's has inexpensive packages of pre-cut veggies.

          And, having the right tools in the kitchen make meal prep much easier. So, when you get a chance, invest in some quality step-saving products like mandolin, food processor, micro-wave steamer, etc.

          If you want my recipes, I will post. But, a thread on crock pot recipes might already exist on the website. Choose those that appeal to you taste.

          Go to the small print "Search this board" to the direct right of the words "Home Cooking" at the top of this board.

          See, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/559697

          Open http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/552986 and do a word search (Ctrl-F) for "crock pot" to find the one.

          See also, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/495121

        2. Everyone has different tastes, so I'd start by thinking about what you and your hubby like to eat and what you'd like to cook, and then try to identify recipes you can modify and other ways you can make that happen quickly and easily.

          As Ceebee said, when you do have time to cook, make extra of some basic components (grilled or roasted veggies, meat or chicken, carmelized onions) that you can use later in the week (or even freeze and have for weeks). Stock your pantry and fridge with good-quality convenience products -- by that I mean good canned tomatoes and/or pasta sauce, dried pasta, maybe some quick-cooking grains, chicken broth, your favorite condiments, some good cooking cheeses (parm, goat cheese, mozzerella, etc.).

          You can take the same ingredients and have a different dish simply by changing the seasoning. For example, last week I had some ground buffalo, so one night I made taco salad (cooked the meat with some onions, garlic and diced squash, added some jarred salsa I had in the fridge and some cumin and put it on a pileof lettuce with some tortilla chips). The next night I cooked basically the same ingredients but used canned crushed tomatoes and some Italian herbs and served it over pasta with fresh grated parm. Neither meal took more than 20 minutes door to plate.

          1. I know your pain! Full time working Mum here too with a toddler. Our go-to middle of the week meal is: two cans of oil-packed tuna, mixed in with just-cooked white or brown rice, chopped vegetables that have been par-boiled 2 minutes (green beans, sugar snaps, carrots, zucchini...whatever's in your fridge), a can of mixed beans, some chives/peashoots/sprouts, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 2 Tblsp. of soysauce. It's good cold as well and one of us usually takes it for lunch.

            Assuming you have a rice cooker....this is 25 minutes, from start to finish. Rice goes on, boil water for the veggies that need par-boiling, slice and dice everything, open up the can of beans...and quite tasty for a super fast no-brainer