As a full-time working mother I know the stress associated with getting dinner on the table every night. Although fast food is quick and easy it’s also full of fat, sugar, and sodium. So that means fast food and many ready to eat foods you find at the grocery store are out. Don’t fret, Your Resident Gourmet is to your rescue! This week’s Your Resident Gourmet Newsletter has great practical and easy Kitchen Shortcuts For The Working Parent and I’ve even included 2 tried and true time-saving recipes!
Kitchen Shortcuts For The Working Parent
As a full-time working mother I know the stress associated with getting dinner on the table every night. Although fast food is quick and easy it’s also full of fat, sugar, and sodium. So that means fast food and many ready to eat foods you find at the grocery store are out. With all of our hectic schedules, coming home after a busy day and cooking a meal from scratch is out too-unless you’ve done your homework. By homework I mean prepping as many ingredients ahead of time as possible.
For example, when roasting a chicken for dinner, I always roast two so that I can use the second in stir-fry, Chicken Noodle Soup, or even Chicken and White Bean Chili. I will often boil double the amount of whole wheat pasta I need for that night’s dinner; rinse it, toss it with a bit of olive oil, and use it as in add in for salads, soups, or served with our favorite pasta sauce.
Don’t forget your freezer-one of your most important time saving tools. Most cooks know that stews, casseroles, and sauces all freeze beautifully. But what about soups, cooked greens, and beans? They do too! So when you’re cooking a pot of collard greens or kale; pinto beans or black bean soup remember to put half in a freezer safe container, allow it to cool, and then place in your freezer. All you have to do before you head to work is, pull it out of the freezer and put it into the refrigerator to defrost. Dinner is half way done when you get home!
Another great time saving tip is to grill or roast fall and winter vegetables like zucchini, squash, kale, eggplant, onions, tomatoes, and broccoli whenever I have to roast and grill other items. I feel like I’m getting double the ingredients cooked in half the time and using half the fuel. Try some of these roasted vegetables as a side dish or puree with a little olive and sesame oils for a tasty and nutritious alternative to fatty sandwich spreads. I also like to pre-chop my ‘everyday vegetables’ like onions, bell pepper, and celery. That way I have them on hand to add to recipes requiring chopped veggies without having to spend time after work chopping them up!
Here are two great time saving recipes that will cut down on your after work prep and allow you to serve your family a tasty and nutritious meal every night of the week; Roasted Vegetable Spread and Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup.
Roasted Vegetable Spread
This Roasted Vegetable Spread has an intense smoky flavor and is a great on hot or cold sandwiches.
Recipe by Chef Jennifer Hill Booker
Yields about 4 cups
1 medium eggplant, peeled
2 small crook necked squash
2 small zucchini
1 red bell pepper, seeded
1 red onion, peeled
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 large jalapeno or Serrano pepper, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Preheat the oven to 400* F.
Cut the eggplant, squash, zucchini, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes.
In a large bowl, toss with the garlic, Serrano pepper, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Spread them on a baking sheet.
Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft; stirring once during cooking.
Cool slightly and place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, add the lemon juice and tahini, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend.
Adjust taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer to a bowl and add the chopped parsley.
Store the Roasted Vegetable Spread in an air tight container, for up to 1 week, under refrigeration.
Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup
This healthy Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup is a great way to use up leftover roasted chicken.
Recipe by Chef Jennifer Hill Booker
Yields 6-8 servings
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 cups cubed peeled potatoes
1 teaspoon Sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups cubed roasted chicken breast
2 cups uncooked egg noodles
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
In a large stockpot, heat olive oil and sweat the onion, carrots and celery for 10
minutes or until tender.
Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer.
Stir in the flour, oregano, thyme and rosemary until blended.
Gradually whisk in the broth until smooth.
Add the diced potatoes, salt and pepper; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
Add diced chicken and noodles and simmer an additional 10 minutes or until noodles are tender.
Stir in milk, reduce heat and bring to a simmer but do not boil.
Garnish with chopped Italian parsley right before service.