Monday, December 12, 2011

Working Mom's Recipe of the Week

This time of year is so busy and it seems like there is alway a party or event that I'm cooking for. This week it's two work potlucks, mine and Jeremy's, and Saturday it's Jordan's piano recital and cookie party. Thankfully I like to cook. But even with my enjoyment of late night baking, it's hard to muster the energy to also make dinner. Here are my recipes for healthy meals during the holidays:

1. Never underestimate the sandwich. Whole wheat bread, deli turkey, cheese, lettuce, mustard - done, dinner. Or get fancy and use rye bread, cream cheese and sweet pickled beets with the turkey - trust me, it's delicious. Or sourdough with pesto and sundried tomatoes. Everyone can have what they want and it takes about 15 minutes.

2. Pasta, pasta, pasta. Cook penne pasta according to package, skipping the oil. Choose a really good pre-made spaghetti sauce - something thick with garlic and basil. Bring it to simmer and add pre-cut mushrooms and a small can sliced black olives. Mix sauce with cooked pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Add salad-in-a-bag and you got dinner in about 20 min.

3. Quick Mexican. Saute a diced onion in olive oil. Add a can of drained corn and a can of drained black beans. Add a can of diced tomatoes and a small can of green Chiles. Sprinkle with cumin. Take a small bag of tortilla chips and crush into a grease rectangle glass baking dish. Scoop the corn/bean mixture over the tortillas. Sprinkle with a couple handfuls of pre-shredded cheese. Bake at 350 F until the cheese melts. It takes about a half hour start to finish.

4. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup. This winter standby is a go-to for us. Adult-up the grilled cheese by using gruyere instead of cheddar and adding deli-sliced ham. Have fun with the tomato soup toppers as well - we love gold fish crackers. This take about 10 minutes total.

5. Grilled Chicken Satay. Sounds way to fancy to be easy right? Wrong. Fire up the grill - yes, in the middle of winter. Cut the chicken in to 1-inch wide strips. Grill until done. While the chicken is grilling make some rice. Use a boil-in-a-bag or minute rice or other quick plain rice. Then, take 1/2 c of creamy peanut butter and add 1 T soy sauce, 1 T warm water, 1 tsp brown sugar and 2 T fresh chopped cilantro - whisk together. Taste and adjust to your desired sweet/salty preference. Adjust the saucy-ness by adding more water. Lay chicken over rice and top with a healthy dollop of peanut sauce. Total time is about 20 minutes.

When all else fails, order pizza. If you get thin crust, skip the greasy pepperoni and add a couple veggies, pizza is actually pretty good for you. Bottom line is to cut yourself some slack. All that matters is that people eat something somewhat healthy and hopefully spend a minutes together as well. If that means take-out, that's OK.

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