feeding five fun food

What’s Cookin’?

We cook and eat a lot. And we’re determined to introduce as many produce options, spice combinations and culinary delights to our kids as possible before they move out. So we know when they help cook they’re more likely to give something new a chance, which means they may like it…and who knows? Maybe they’ll find foodie love in unexpected corners of their plate. Every recipe on here can be multiplied easily.

In the meantime, that means a LOT of prep work. Dave and I get home around 5:30 on a good day and have to get dinner made, homework done, the kids fed and tucked in by 8. So meal planning is key. Here’s some of our favorite time savers.

  • We meal plan, using pinterest and Anylist to save our sanity. I upload almost all of the recipes I gather to pinterest, where everyone in the family who might be cooking can find them. Then I map out the week in Anylist, which allows me to import recipes from anywhere (typing one in from a cookbook only takes a minute, and then it’s stored forever; almost anything from pinterest can be imported in seconds). The app also multiplies recipes and automatically adjusts the ingredient quantities, so when I need 6 or 7 times the quantity for a recipe that serves two, I don’t tear out my hair. Finally, I just check off the quantified ingredients in the recipe I need to add to the grocery list, and my work is done. I’m in love with Anylist. Then Dave does groceries for the week on Saturday with the list. Only caveat? Not Android friendly. We’re a divided house, so I email or print the list.
  • If you’re like me, you have lots of pretty, maybe even practical, cookbooks that never get pulled off the shelf. Eat Your Books digitizes indexes, so you won’t forget about that amazing Roast Chicken or Chocolate cake you made back when you had free time. It only took an hour or so to process my formidable collection, so it’s worth it!
  • Our freezer is full of dishes we made too much of, meat and frozen veggies, and a few party dishes we doubled to stock up on for unplanned socializing. Each of these has saved us on multiple occasions.
  • Anything that comes in a can, we chop with kitchen shears in the can before using. Fresh herbs? Kitchen shears.
  • Toast or individually sized breakfasts get made in the oven, not the toaster. It’s so much faster. Same for reheating pizza or throwing together quesadillas.
  • We are the rare household that uses our food processor for a weeknight meal. My goal is to lean heavily towards veggies. As we tend to do meals for 14-16 for the right amount of leftovers, that’s a lot of veggies. Getting used to the settings took a very brief adjustment, but now we can julienne carrots, puree sweet potatoes, or slice potatoes thinly in a flash.
  • An immersion blender can handle our whole vat of soup at a go. Is it as silky as it would be in the blender? No. But we don’t have to do it in 10 batches and destroy the kitchen, so we can live with it.
  • If you’ve got a random half pepper, four mushrooms, or 1/2 cup of broth extra when cooking, just throw it in. It won’t really affect many recipes, and then you don’t waste them when they drift to that dark corner of the fridge, to mystify you a few weeks’ hence.