It’s the holiday season and that means that these are busy days because life doesn’t slow down so that we can enjoy making memories with our families. We still have work, school, laundry, errands and chores to do. And we also have cookies to bake, ornaments to make, songs to sing and stories to read. As much as I enjoy spending time in the kitchen, I’d rather spend that time baking our favorite cookies with my kids over making dinner this time of year.
But the kids have to be fed. Darn it. And sometimes my husband and I have to eat too. I might make some sacrifices but we’re not resorting to fast food, takeout or processed foods. So, we’ve found some solutions to help us cut corners, and not quality.
- Cook once, enjoy twice (or more) – Our freezer is now full with meals that freeze well and go right into the oven. Think lasagna, enchiladas (to save even more time, I make enchilada casserole instead of rolling individual ones), meat loaf, soups and stews. I’ll often buy a Costco-sized pack of ground turkey and brown up one batch with Italian herbs, one with Mexican herbs, etc. then turn them into various meals to freeze.
- Make Sunday Sauce – Growing up in an Italian family, Sunday meant the entire family gathering over pasta and our family “sugo” (sauce). My mom always made many times more sauce than we needed so we’d have meals throughout the upcoming week. Make some this weekend, enjoy and freeze the leftovers for those busy weekday dinners. You can also use the sauce for lasagna or baked pasta to freeze.
- Get to Love Your Slow Cooker – Ours is a high-demand appliance year around but doesn’t even get put away this month. We have the family-sized slow cooker and make many of those “cook once, enjoy twice” meals like chili, stew and soup in ours. An easy recipe is Tuscan Beans (white beans, pancetta or sausage, garlic, onion, herbs and greens tossed in before served over rice) but my entire family has a favorite that I’ll gladly make a couple times each month: Hearty Turkey Chili.
What are your favorite healthy comfort foods that you can make in a jiffy?