Well, this past weekend we decided to dive into painting our kitchen and doing a few finishing touches including a new pantry layout and finishing the back splash we replaced almost a year ago. I told you, its always an adventure around here. While I am thrilled that the kitchen is finally looking finished, rather than painted several different colors from samples, and having a wall paper border around the top it is never fun when the kitchen is ripped apart. I mean what on earth are we supposed to eat and what am I supposed to do when I get the urge to cook or bake.
Lucky for us we do almost all of our work on the house so there is never working around other people and we never completely destroy an area without having some sort of back up or overflow room we can use in the mean time. I also prepare for times like these by having easy meal items on hand. I put together a list of some of our favorite quick and no fuss meal ideas. These come in handy whether its a week night and we have things to do, or we arrive home late from work, or we simply having been working all day on the house and are just plain worn out, or in times like this where there isn’t much to work with in the kitchen. Now we certainly do resort to the occasional take out pizza, or freezer meal from Trader Joes but we often prefer to make things work with what we have at home.
Eggs are something we always have on hand, fresh from our chickens. They are also incredibly versatile in terms of what you can do with them. Some of my favorites are fried eggs w/ siracha, egg sandwiches, scrambled eggs, scrambled eggs with veggies or sausage mixed in, and omelets. Really the list goes on and on. I love that I can come home and make them incredibly fast and I almost always have some extra roasted veggies from previous nights dinner, or from the garden this summer. We always have some sort of cheese on hand as well if omelets are the route we choose. Add some fruit or vegetable and perhaps a piece of toast and you have yourself a quick and satisfying meal.
2) Freezer Cooking
This past summer I cooked and froze a lot of food items from the garden. We had a VERY prolific zucchini plant that I did not want to go to waste, so I made everything I could think of with zucchini that would freeze well. Roasted vegetable mac and cheese, zucchini cheddar biscuits, and then I froze a ton of shredded zucchini that I have used in soups and other thing (pictured below).I also make soup quite often which I always make a large batch of and freeze a container or two. Which in time adds up to a stock of soup in the freezer to pull out for quick dinners or lunches. I froze a lot of other vegetables this past summer as well such as roasted tomatoes, roasted eggplant, and roasted Anaheim peppers. As well as diced jalapenos, halved plum tomatoes, green beans, and blanched collard greens. All so I can pull them out and quickly add them to dishes as needed.
I often cook a little bit extra each night, so that we will have leftovers. If we have something else on hand for lunches I will freeze the extra or once a week I’ll do a leftover night depending on what is in the fridge. I almost always cook a big batch of roasted vegetables at least once per week so that I can throw them into lunches, salads, or omelets as a quick dinner.
4) Crock Pot
I’m really not a huge Crock Pot fan. The timing doesn’t work well for me with how long we are gone for our work days, and I much prefer fresh fruits and vegetables. I definitely understand how wonderful it is for a lot of working families. I do like the Crock Pot for meats and I often throw some in there on the weekends so it can cook all day while we work around the house. For this past weekend I simply threw some chicken in the crock pot with some chopped onion, and peach BBQ sauce and let it cook on the floor in the dining room all day. When it came time for dinner I took a few rolls out of the freezer and reheated some left over roasted brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes. Come Sunday, I cooked pork chops in the crock pot all day and then roasted some broccoli and thawed some homemade applesauce to have on the side.
Hopefully you see the trend, planning a head is key to having things on hand to get dinner on the table quick! There is nothing worse than getting home from a long day and then having to think about what dinner is going to be, so I highly recommend having a few of these ideas on hand for such nights. Everyone gets fed a good healthy meal, and you can still get everything done!