For the last five months we’ve been living with my parents and my mom and I have been splitting up cooking duties. I haven’t had the time to experiment too much, but here is a round up of my favorite fast causal style meals that I’ve been making lately.
This is a family favorite dish, and definitely toddler approved. It’s from my friend Cassie and I’ve linked it on my blog before (it’s just that good!). I think my favorite part is the dijon mustard and the fresh thyme. Sometimes I make this as a side to grilled meats, but it’s certainly hardy enough as a main if you eat giant bowlfuls like we do.
I’ve really missed cooking these last several weeks while our house has been on the market. I still keep up my weekly meal planning, but the cooking we do is very simple, requires no recipes, and is often done in batches to reduce the amount of cleaning we have to do. The kind of cooking I miss is cooking from recipes with specific ingredients and measurements, but also the kind of cooking that is completely improvisational. I miss cooking on the fly—looking in my refrigerator and coming up with something that may or may not work out. I did both kinds of cooking a lot before my son was born.
Meal time back then could be a risk, an adventure of sorts, because the stakes were low. If something didn’t work out or I didn’t love a new recipe, oh well. Sometimes we didn’t even finish our leftovers. (Shh, don’t tell!) But now meal time is serious business. I want to get in and out of the kitchen quickly, I want a high yield, but I also want to not get so sick of leftovers that I feel the need to order a pizza. That’s asking a lot of myself as a cook, if I’m being really honest.
But I’ve been in a rut lately. We’ve subsisted on leftovers plus a rotisserie chicken all week. Yesterday I just felt tired and unmotivated. I had a pack of ground turkey and no ideas about how I could cook it that would make me excited to eat it. The menu plan called for turkey chili, but I also leaned towards turkey burgers since I had a handful of frozen buns. My mind kept wandering to a craving for meatballs, porcupine meatballs made with Rice-a-Roni, to be exact. I told myself all the reasons this was a bad idea: it’s not a quick meal to cook, I didn’t even have Rice-a-Roni, and the recipe makes a mess (or rather I do when I cook it).
I decided to go for it anyway and just make it up as I went along.