I’ve mentioned before that I can kick Monday in the junk. Hard. It’s my best day of the week. Fridays I limp across the 3pm finish line. Sundays I weep (inexplicably. I have no idea why). But Mondays? Listen to me ROAR. (Harness your inner Katy with me, won’t you?)
The most recent Monday included both dinner and a soup of the week, as is my custom. The soup came out wonderfully on a new recipe try (score!) and dinner left us licking the bowl. Well, maybe not “we.” But “I” at least. And the kids had seconds.
What were the magical recipes? For dinner it was Roasted Chicken & Veggies
. I found the “recipe” on pinterest, but really it was chopping a bunch (8?) of red potatoes, snapping some fresh green beans, quartering an onion and peeling 4 cloves of garlic. I sloshed some olive oil on top and sprinkled with salt, pepper and rosemary. Roasted at 475 for about 30 minutes. And then I put 4 chicken thighs and 2 chicken breasts right on top and cooked it about 20 more minutes. I hardly qualify that as a “recipe”. It’s simply assembling and stirring, if you ask me.
Now, it was in the oven for about 50 minutes, so it’s not a walk-in ready dish. And I won’t forget the whole 5 minutes of chopping. But seriously, folks, this was an easier dish than a large percentage of what I see on pinterest if only because I use a hand crank can opener and I clock about an hour on all those crock pot dishes with the cream o’ soups.
But the Evil Monsanto (because that seems to be the face the hippies have given to Big Food Companies) wants you to believe that it’s just so much work to take 8 potatoes and 6 pieces of chicken out of the fridge and place it in a dish. Whew! Woe is me! We’re told it’s “easier” to combine 14 cans of pre-made something and call it dinner. Heck, even boiling pasta was more work than last night’s dinner.
The other lie, as my friend Kristy pointed out, is that it’s cheaper to eat the packaged stuff. Case in point: perhaps in the short term a $0.99 package of au gratin potatoes seems less expensive than the $3.98 I paid for 10 pounds of fresh (non-organic) Idahos. But the endless number of meals I’ll get from my motherload trumps the single serving of microwavable gratification. When purchased thoughtfully – with the help of a few sales, coupons or just watching for good timing – buying fresh or once-fresh (frozen) doesn’t have to break the bank.
I also used the afternoon to simmer a pot of White Chicken Chili
, courtesy of the Pioneer Woman. The recipe was anything but hard: I simmered 4 thighs (same package as from above: cost saver!) in water for 20ish minutes (or until I remembered). I sauteed onions and garlic and then put the broth back in the pot with a whole pound of uncooked beans. Fact: one pound of beans is the same price (or less) as a can of beans, but you get 4x the amount. What’s the difference? Adding water. Seriously. I’ve been paying a company to ADD WATER to my beans for years.
I’m such a sucker.
So I simmered the beans for a few hours, added the chicken and voila! Lunch for the week.
In the world of moms and those who dread the kitchen, it’s an unspoken belief that those who make really healthy meals “love to cook”. Not true. We don’t experience the luxury of enjoying the craft but rather the luxury of the time it takes to prepare dinner.
Cooking isn’t hard, it’s just time-consuming. Eating healthy and fresh isn’t expensive, it requires an investment. I spent far too many years believing I couldn’t cook and that I needed the help of my favorite middle-aisle companies in order to eat. I simply needed the time to learn, the patience to mess up, and the ability to measure water.
Now, for our evening of Mongolian Beef & Broccoli. Time to soak my rice in water to save a buck.