First of all, for Pea. She is a picky eater and her eating habits consist of:
- Hot Dogs
- Chicken Nuggets
- Fish Sticks
- Macaroni & Cheese
- and French Fries
if she feels like it and not necessarily in that order. She will, on any given day, refuse to eat whatever it is that I’ve cooked. For that, I have perfected making Pea something to eat in about 15 minutes or less thanks to:
Fish sticks and chicken nuggets, frozen and ready to be thrown into the toaster oven for less than ten minutes are always on hand- always. I never run low. If they even look like they are running low, I restock. Also on hand for Pea- Easy Mac and turkey hot dogs.
I am all about shortcuts in the kitchen. I love to cook and I really love to eat, but I love sitting in my sweatpants in the evening watching tv with my family even more. Therefore, the less time that I have to spend cooking on the weekdays, the better. So, I shop with convenience in mind- what is going to take the least amount of time possible to cook?
When I need something to accompany my meats I may reach for one of the three items pictured above.
- Suddenly Salad- I mean the name says it all. Suddenly… there’s salad! And Hallelujah for that.
- Boil in a Bag rice- I love it more than my rice cooker. The rice cooker takes about 25 minutes. Boil in a Bag rice? Ten minutes. Easy choice.
- Instant Mashed Potatoes- Do I even need to give a reason?
Individually wrapped chicken breast is the new next best thing. Am I going to pay maybe 1 or 2 dollars more to have that extra plastic? The answer is yes. That extra plastic, already wrapped around the chicken saves me slave labor after battling it out at Walmart for an hour. I no longer need to separate fresh meat, bag and freeze it. Cause some genius already did it for me. The grilled filets, I don’t eat, but my husband does. And on days that I don’t want to cook at all? I pop those bad boys in the microwave and bam! Dinner.
Judge all you want, but any and all froze and canned vegetables are welcome in my home. They are especially welcome on the days that I
make love to use my slow cooker to produce dinner- I toss in my canned or frozen veggies along with other assorted items, cover and go to work.
More things that make my life easy. I love the McCormick seasoning packs. I just do. Especially the ones that you throw in a bag and then throw the bag into the oven. I also use these in the slow cooker to create magnificent concoctions. For example, the White Chicken Chili should be cooked on the stove top, but tomorrow I will put the white beans, diced tomatoes, corn (all from a can), chicken breasts and the McCormick seasoning in my slow cooker and watch the magic happen.
Did I mention my love for canned goods? I live in the canned goods aisle.
I love meatballs. I really do. More importantly, I love Fosters Farms turkey meatballs. No one else makes this deliciousness in a frozen bag. On weekends, I may make meatballs from scratch. During the week? These awesome meatballs can be thrown in a slow cookers, popped in the microwave, or put on the stove top in your favorite pasta sauce- they are pre-cooked, so they don’t take all that long to heat up. LOVE. THESE. When Costco started selling these in bulk, I think I wet my pants a little.
While I’d love to come home from work (usually after 5 or 6 pm), throw on my apron and throw down in the kitchen like Betty Crocker, it’s just not reasonable for me. If I want to hang out with Pea, the husband and watch tv and decompress and grade papers? I need to cut corners while still producing a delicious meal.
I’ll save my inner Paula Deen for summertime when school is out and I have more time on my hands.
What shortcuts do you use? I’m always looking for more.
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