One of the number one questions I get is, how do you have the time to cook for your family and does Sterling eat what you cook. Here is the low down.
Cooking is my passion, it makes me happy, so I make time for it in my life. I most certainly do not cook every night but I would say 2-3 nights a week I try and whip up something tasty. On the weekends we usually order pizza one night and then Matt helps cook something the other night, usually grilling out etc. My happy place is in the kitchen whipping up something delicious and sipping a glass of wine. Its how I unwind plus it gives me sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when I create a really awesome meal.
GROCERY SHOPPING AND MEAL PLANNING
I am lucky because Sterling is in school everyday from 9:45-12:45. Usually after I drop him off I take Frances and we head to the grocery store. I still have not mastered the whole meal planning thing and truth be told I actually enjoy going to the grocery store. It gets me out of the house and I love browsing. We go almost everyday depending on what I need for our meal that night. This week I actually cooked all four nights, but that was rare. Usually I don’t cook that many nights in a row but I was bringing a friend food who had a baby so I doubled it for us.
On the menu this week:
Monday- Gwyneth’s Siriachia Lime Salmon + Quinoa, Mushrooms and Arugula + Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas
Tuesday- Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Meatballs + Arugula Salad
Wednesday- Ground Beef Tacos
Thursday- Simple Baked Lasagna + Arugula Salad
You may wonder about leftovers. If there is any type of meat leftovers Matt takes them for his lunch the next day. He eats lunch in his office everyday and welcomes the leftovers. The salad stuff I eat, for example I had the quinoa and roasted cauliflower the next two days for lunch. I also usually always make a batch of Tuscan Kale Salads for my lunch during the week. If you need a quick easy salad we just toss arugula with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Then we add fresh Parmesan. It is a simple light salad we make often.
WHAT DOES STERLING EAT
As for Sterling, I do not cook him separate meals any more, and yes he is a picky eater. That being said on the nights I don’t cook sometimes he will eat chicken nuggets, cereal, or whatever I have in the freezer. We try every night to sit down together as a family. This is hard because Matt doesn’t get home til about 7 or later most nights. We usually wait and eat with him unless he is going to be later than 7:30. I think family meals are are so incredibly important. It is a time where we all sit down with no interruptions and I think as Sterling and Frances get older these dinners will be even more important. Sterling must take one bite of everything on his plate, after that if he doesn’t like it he doesn’t have to eat it, but he is not getting anything different to eat. If he eats well he gets to choose a dessert. There are many nights he takes two bites of something tells us he hates it and goes to bed hungry. Eating is a struggle but I do feel like slowly this approach is working as he is starting to eat more things than he used to. I give him a multi-vitamin and probiotic everyday to help with nutrients.
WHEN I COOK
I wish Matt had one of those jobs where he got home at 5-5:30 and could help with the kids while I cook but that is not the case. I am in charge of dinner and bath which can be tricky (not to mention exhausting). I usually try and make meals that can be prepped early and then just popped into the oven or stove. Luckily for me Sterling still naps most days and if he doesn’t he still has to sit in his room quietly and play with the ipad or read. Most of the time nap time is when I get down to business. I do laundry, get our meal started, straighten the house, and work on my blog. I cram alot into 2-3 hours. The morning time when he is at school is usually spent running errands and hopefully soon working out again! While Sterling naps I will get dinner at least started and do most of the prep work so when he wakes I can spend some time with him, Around 6 I will start to finish up our meal. This is when I allow Sterling to turn on the TV and watch a show or two while I finish up dinner (and drink a big ole glass of wine). I usually put Frances in her swing during this time. While dinner is cooking we will go do a quick bath although lately Sterling has been showering in the mornings with one of us which opens up some time in the evening. This way since Matt gets home later, when he gets home dinner is ready so we can sit down and eat and the kids are ready for bed.
I wanted to highlight a few of our favorite go to meals. They are all relatively easy to prepare in advance or quickly. I try and make at least one new recipe a week for blog purposes and because I love testing new things but these are tried and true favorites!
|| MEXICAN RICE BOWLS ||
You can precook your rice and have all the toppings pre-diced so all you have to do at dinner is cook the meat or you can go totally vegetarian and leave off the meat.
|| SPICY BLACK BEAN, GREEN CHILE + MANCHEGO ENCHILADAS ||
You can assemble this whole dish pretty quickly since nothing has to be cooked. I assemble at nap time then just pop in oven to cook.
|| ROASTED SALMON WITH TOMATO BASIL RELISH ||
All you have to do for this is pre- make the relish, it is better the longer it sits anyways. Then just cook your salmon. Under a 20 min meal. Sterling loves salmon or as he calls it pink fish- although we serve his without the relish.
|| CHOPPED GREEK SALAD WITH SHRIMP ||
Such a quick easy salad and the shrimp only take 5 mins to cook.
|| VEGGIE RANCH PIZZA ||
You can pre-chop all the veggies and then just assemble at dinner time. Sterling loves this pizza, it is one of the only ways I can get him to eat broccoli and cauliflower.
|| SLOPPY JOES ||
These really only take 30 mins max to whip together, best sloppy joes ever. We serve with box mac and cheese for an easy weeknight dinner.
|| SIMPLE BAKED LASANGA ||
I actually just made this this week for my friend who had the baby. As far as lasagnas go it is fairly quick to whip together because you use no bake noodles and only make one sauce and it is so good. This can be made at nap time and just popped in the oven.
|| CHOPPED MEXICAN SALAD ||
Another easy salad you can per-assemble and put in fridge like this and then just toss together and add meat at dinner time.
|| BUTTERNUT SQUASH, ARUGULA + BACON QUICHE ||
I love any variation of a quiche they are always a quick dinner and one that Sterling will eat too.
I would love to know any favorite weeknight meals you have!
Have a fabulous weekend.