Category Archives: Efficiency

Insta…Yes!

Ok fine, George was at work for 24 hours and I will admit I was going to have Kraft Mac-n-Cheese for dinner with frozen veggies of Sweetpea’s choice.  This was after one of those stereotypical evenings that are supposed to break you down.  I dumped Elle’s milk for the next day on the counter, dropped two eggs out of the fridge (I wasn’t even using eggs…how did that even happen?)…and now Elle’s screaming (shrieking?) for more food was starting to really get to me.   So it was crisis mode.  I needed meat now.   Just because I have an instapot pressure cooker does not mean that I have seventeen hours to chop, grind, prep for the perfect dinner.  I need dinner NOW!!!!!!

zoey_wanting-to-be-part-of-it-all_santa_tms_dec-2016
Someone is DETERMINED

Chicken NOW by me

Two large chicken breasts

1/2 – 3/4 cup barbecue sauce (you can make your own if you’d like!)

20 oz can of chopped pineapples with juice (do fresh if you can…I couldn’t today!)

  1. Place chicken in the pot
  2. Pour in BBQ sauce
  3. Dump pineapples, pineapple juice in and stir
  4. Press the poultry function (it will say 15 minutes but it takes another 15 minutes to pressurize up…so it’s not completely instant but while it was cooking bananas, rice, green beans were eaten)
  5. De-pressurize naturally or vent (be careful!)…I vented
  6. Check internal temp of the chicken (yup I threw in frozen chicken this time and it was perfect temperature wise)
  7. If you have a minute more, you can make a sauce out of the pineapple/BBQ sauce mixture that cooked under pressure.
    1. Either use the Instapot saute function(with the lid off) or place about 1 cup of the liquid in a stovetop pot.  Separately, stir 1-2 Tablespoons of cornstarch in a small cup with another 1/4 cup of the liquid to dissolve the cornstarch. Pour the cornstarch mixture in with the 1 cup you put in the pot (or left in the Instapot) and stir on medium heat.  Cook until you have the right consistency.  (Add more cornstarch if you want a thicker sauce or add more liquid to thin it).  These days I have been serving dinner with rice and veggies as well.

Oh and yes Elle inhaled it.

What Comes Next?

Just Trying
My Effort to Build Daily Structure

In an effort to make the most of my third move in the last month, I find that having a simple goal for each day can be helpful.  That and I’m realizing I like things to look pretty.  So I imagine the next few months will be about parenting, organizational tools, and cooking!

I intend to change the three stock photos and keep yellow stripes.  I’m thinking my next house will have some version of yellow, blue, raspberry, and cream as inspiration.

Cheers!

Pumpkin Pancakes and Chicken Carnitas

While I was making pumpkin pancakes this morning (BECAUSE IT’S AUTUMN!!!!!), I thought I’d throw together a slow cooker recipe.

They were delicious...
They were delicious…

Yes, I love cooking with my daughter. She and I threw (literally) together our pumpkin pancakes this morning. I love that she wants to “help”. Anytime I’m in the kitchen, she’s asking to “heeaaallllllllllllpppp?” I love learning play!! I try to say yes! Get right in and up here. Cleaning up can easily happen and I can always make the recipe again if it all ends on the floor. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pumpkin-Pancakes/ (I did add about an extra 1/2-3/4 c milk to thin them down…as George said…not a fan of pancake bricks…I’ll take the pancake version).

Anyhow, while the pancakes were cooking (on very very low) we put together the spices and juices in the slow cooker while we defrosted the chicken in the microwave (on the defrost function). 8 minutes later I put the chicken in the slow cooker and turned it on for 6.5 hours.

Helping!
Helping!

Recipe compliments of Closet Cooking: http://www.closetcooking.com/2014/04/slow-cooker-chicken-carnitas-tacos.html

1 1/2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken breasts or thighs
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
4 t prechopped garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder I used cayenne (I’m apparently out of chili powder)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

The recipe went on to say broil it and crisp it up but if you don’t have time…don’t!

Confessions of a Cook-aholic

Ok, fine.  I like to cook.  This past week or so, I made the decision to go anti-paperless.  I made a binder for the house divided into tasks, menus, trips/vacations/and other such goals….only to realize having something written in the …written form apparently helps me get things done.  

With that being said, I pulled out this month’s Food Network Magazine and Cooking Light and began cutting out recipes for my newly created binder.  After selecting 10 menus, I put them into my pretty plastic page covers and smiled.  Such organizational pretty-ness.

Anyhow, I keep feeling that recipes that say “40 minutes to complete” lie.  They never take 40 minutes.  Maybe that’s because I keep adding onto the meal??? Anyhow…this one went fast and was definitely delicious.

Mediterranean Cornish Hens -- The Food Network
Mediterranean Cornish Hens — The Food Network

I didn’t have Israeli couscous but the regular couscous were great!  I roasted the zucchini to add flavor to the couscous but everything else was exactly as written: Food Network Magazine: Mediterranean Cornish Hens.   

Any(?) Mom’s H*ll: Dinner

Source
No frills required i.e. I just don’t do 50 ingredients or over complicated these days

I enjoy eating. Sorry but that’s out there. Ever since Sweetpea marched into our life, that thing called ‘free time’ has slightly decreased — imagine that?! In an effort to “have it all” and not eat cheesy fries daily, I made the inevitable decision to give up my 1-2 hours cooking routine (particularly when George works the 12 hour night shift) and find a reasonable solution. I have a few things that limit my day: a 2-3 hr commute (door to door), I make George’s lunches every day, and I value quality time with our lovely little lady.

Drum roll……..AMAZING DISCOVERY: FROZEN CROCKPOT MEALS MADE AT NIGHT!

I am testing several recipes and will share the results but for now here are some of my finds:

1. Crock pot liners: streamline cleaning…just throw out the bag after you remove your dinner
(such as reynolds slow cooker liners but oven bags work fine as well)

2. Cook your dinner at night!
Most days I’m gone for greater than 8 hours. The crock pot we have is programmable with a manual or temperature probe dependent (Hamilton Beach® 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker $49 from Bed Bath and Beyond). The issue with long hours is after the 8 hour cook time the crock pot kicks to warm, which still cooks the food READ: dried out dinner. So I usually am home in the evening for atleast 8 hours (including sleeping) so… a) Cook at night b) refrigerate in containers during the day and c) warm up at night.

3. Make a huge thing of rice for the week or if you get sick of rice use Seeds of Change (http://www.amazon.com/Seeds-Change-Quinoa-Brown-6pack/dp/B00GRT9PZY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1389587597&sr=8-2&keywords=Seeds+Of+Change)

4. Use microwavable veggies or steam fresh veggies in the microwave (http://www.amazon.com/Sistema-1103-Large-Microwave-Steamer/dp/B005D6XZ4O/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1389587700&sr=8-7&keywords=steam+container+microwave)

5. Have everything delivered! But I’ll write about that one another day.