I’ve been out of the kitchen for a very long time. Aside from the occasional meals, I’ve mostly let Z handle the kitchen. Him being a whiz at cooking, also helps. I remember the last time I cooked was when we had just moved in our current house, when I was almost 6 months pregnant. We had an awkward layout. But I loved coming home, and prepping and cooking. Since I believe in mostly simple dishes, it wasn’t a chore. But then after a lengthy kitchen remodel, bebu’s arrival I’m an occasional sighting. And now even when I do cook, something is always off. It’s either the pace, the spice, or something else. But most evidently, it’s me. I’m off my game. Way off!
But now I’m looking forward to venture back in. Add to the mix the fact that we’ve to have everything ready before bebu’s 7pm dinner schedule. This is different than what my mom had to deal with. She cooked atleast 3-4 dishes every day after she got home from work at 7.30pm. But, in India we used to eat later than 7 for sure. So I’ve been brainstorming about how can I get things done. Things like freezer meals don’t really fit in with how we eat. But meal prep is something that I can get onboard with. The first time I read about it was on Shutterbean. I’ve been trying to search for more tips. So far I’ve nailed down the approach to the following things:
Grocery trip staples every week:
– Bread (bebu is a huge fan of all things bread. I see a lot of bread consumption in our future)
– Chicken (this is our preferred meat)
– Frozen shrimp (I really hated frozen seafood of any kind, but I was blown away by how good the Argentinean shrimp from Trader Joe’s was. Also, they are peeled and deveined. Sold!!)
– Fresh veggies (think carrots, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli)
– Fruits (I’m bad at eating fruits. But I realized that I eat a lot of fruits if it’s already cut. Lazy much?)
– Soups (Chicken noodle, broccoli, lentil soup, tomato to name a few)
– Dosa/Idli (this just needs some prep. And I’ve done it two weekends in a row, so I think I can do it again. And this works so well for dinners or weekend breakfasts)
– Boiled potatoes something (When I was pregnant, I craved potatoes in my first trimester. Z actually used to have boiled potatoes in the fridge)
– Boiled eggs (I’m usually skip breakfast. So this might help with some of that. And if not just boiled eggs, I like the idea of a tuna salad with egg)
– Pasta (I’ve made pasta just once or twice. But Z is really good at it.)
– Some kind of dal. Since Z generally skips the heavier stuff in favor of dal, this is a no brainer.
– Pancakes for weekend breakfasts (this wasn’t a thing in India when we were growing up. But I want this to be a part of bebu’s weekends)
Some of the recipes that I’ve on my to-make list:
– Alton Brown’s pancakes
– Pioneer Woman’s butternut squash & kale
– Minestrone soup
– Chicken Avocado lime soup
– Some kind of tomato sauce. Once a coworker gave me this amazing tomato sauce which resulted into one of my very rare pasta dishes w/ mushrooms.
We’ve always used a pressure cooker. But it was a problem if we had to use it when bebu was asleep. So we got Instant Pot last month after reading about it on NomNomPaleo. I’m a fan! So far we’ve made Sambar, Pav Bhaaji, Kale & Spinach Chicken and Mutton curry with fantastic results. I’m looking forward to using the slow cooker function. I’ve never made any slow cooker recipes, so this is going to be interesting. In a good way!
I also like Tracy’s (from Shutterbean) idea of making something to drink. I’m addicted to soda. I need my glass of Coke everyday. But this is a good way to cut that out of the picture.
Growing up we had lot of greens as part of our meals. I’m still thinking about how can I make sure that bebu also comes to love them. She’s a pretty good eater and I’m looking forward to broaden her tastes.
I realize that to succeed at this requires a lot of organizing skills. Applying them at something like meal planning is something new for me. But I think this is worth a shot.