Our way of cooking has been evolving over the last few months, as the Kid is joining us more and more in eating.
First things first, I love dinner. I often have a coffee for breakfast and little-to-no lunch (not the healthiest way to be, I know), but come dinner time I really want to cook a meal.
The food is part of it, of course. Who doesn't like yummy food? But I love the process too. I think it's possibly because my day job is so much thinking. When I get home, I want to chop and stir and knead and drizzle.
When it was just the two of us, that worked better. I could tell Sweet Husband, "Grab a beer and a snack--it's going to be a bit." But when a 1 year old is hungry, you can't explain that the food will be ready soon. Dinnertime is when the Kid says it is.
So I've started getting better about doing a little prep right when we get home from the grocery store, which is where I found myself this evening.
I washed and chopped two bunches of greens (chard and kale) to be made into chipotle beans and a pasta dish later this week. I also cooked the beans themselves, because--even using the cheater's method--there's no way that would ever get done on a weeknight at our house. (And I love the dried beans so much better than canned....love them, love them, LOVE THEM...so I always make a double batch to have some for the next week.) Since the oven was on anyway, I tossed in a couple of beets to roast for this orzo salad, too.
As I was chopping greens, I considered what to do with a quartet of pears and some sliced up strawberries that we were gifted. We're not big pear eaters, but I remembered that we also had a suspicious bottle of brandy in the back of our cupboard (you know, the kind smells strong enough to knock you over and no one remembers bringing it into the house), so I googled a recipe for pear brandy. The strawberries went into a batch of "Happy Muffins" for the Kid to take to school.
And speaking of the Kid's lunch, that's another area we're working on, to put it charitably. I won't lie, last Friday his lunch was a pretty random assortment of what we could lay our hands on at five 'till eight that morning. As I said, lunch is not my strong suit!
To help keep that from happening again, in addition to the muffins, I made a frittata (eggs, a little cilantro pesto, milk) and some polenta fries. We'll eat part of the polenta fries one night this week, and the rest are going into the freezer (with the frittata and some of the muffins) to be pulled out in case of morning emergency.
It all sounds very corny and (insert TV salesperson voice) "You, too, can have dinner on the table in five minutes!" but pre-cooking just a little on Sunday nights has been our salvation as far as continuing to eat real food post-the-Kiddo.
And now I shall spend the rest of the night sitting in a chair with my feet propped up.