My cooking habit has long been time-consuming complicated recipes, especially favoring French and Italian cooking and their many layers of flavors. For years I’ve been saying I wanted to learn how to cook some faster, easier things. But, other than a foray 15 or more years ago into Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals, I’ve never developed a repertoire.
As I’ve figured out stocking the kitchen and thinking through what that means in terms of meals, I’ve been studying and trying quicker, easier meals to fix, especially since I”m now providing many more meals for my mother than I used to. I’m grateful not only for a slowly building repertoire of easy, but I actually love some of the things I’ve found.
Baking and freezing potatoes, both Russet and sweet, has already become a standby. Two of my faves:
(1) Mash a sweet potato or two with a couple of dates, 1-2 T of maple syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon. For breakfast, heat 1 to 1-1/2 cups in a bowl, add a spoonful of almond butter and a handful of homemade granola and stir up.
(2) make a batch of spiced garbanzo beans with spinach or kale, stir up a sauce of greek yogurt, fresh squeezed lemon juice and a T or 2 of honey or maple syrup, defrost a sweet potato, heat with a helping of the beans and then drizzle with sauce.
Yum to both. (and both recipes will be going up on the Scribblings blog).
Rachael Ray taught me on my long ago journey that chicken tenders are a great friend for easy cooking. I’ve been making a quicky and easy pesto chicken recipe using skinless tenders for a few years and now I’ve added a baked lemon chicken with asparagus thrown into the pan halfway through.
Still looking at recipes and making plans for expanding the list of easy go-tos — especially looking for toppings to pair with either kind of baked potato. My stores include gluten free pasta as well as jarred sauces and frozen vegetables–which I never used to keep. I’ve learned it’s easy to make a batch of meatballs to store in freezer and then just cook up some pasta with veggies steaming in basket above, thaw and heat some meatballs and tada. So looking at more pasta sauce possibilities.
It feels a bit like a burden lifted as I’ve felt I “should” cook more but have not had energy to do the former norm of elaborate meals. This new path of cooking easy and fast recipes means I’m cooking much more often than I’ve done in years and I’m really loving having more control over ingredients, choices, etc.
Another way in which the odd circumstances into which Covid has thrust us has paid off in a positive way for me.