I prefer to cook at home most evenings. We rarely go out to dinner on a weeknight…unless it’s Kids Eat Free at Skyline. You will find us there on an occasional Wednesday when I’m just too tired to come up with a meal.
I post my weekly menu on the blog for me. To force me to come up with different stuff to feed Andy and the kids. And I still rarely make the kids a separate meal. However, I always make sure there’s one thing on their plate that they like. And some nights they only eat that yogurt cup. But there are definitely nights when the preplanned menu meal is tossed out the window and we are all having a bowl of cereal. For real.
And one thing I love about Pinterest is I’m not losing great recipes I’m finding on the internet anymore. And people are posting comments on them – on Pinterest, on blogs, on Facebook. And if someone I know (in person or in blogland) has had success with something, I’m more apt to try it out.
But new recipes take time. Heck, cooking takes time, period. And for me, the witching hour is an absolute nightmare that I think every mom experiences but no one ever tells us about beforehand. The time between when I get home and when Andy walks in the door is a ZOO. I truly believe I pick up animals at daycare. They are tired. They’ve behaved all day. The are hungry. And now they are in full blown meltdown mode. So the last thing I need is a meal that takes 2 hours to prepare. I need it fast and on the table ASAP. All while being the lone witch-hour-whisperer.
So I try to pick simple recipes…with ingredients I’m familiar with. And I often look for steps I can do ahead of time. For instance, tonight’s meal: Cheesy Ham Pie and Blueberry Breakfast Cake. We big.fat.heart breakfast for dinner.
Some of the prep I completed yesterday. The Cheesy Ham Pie required slight prep – cut up broccoli and cook it. So I went ahead and got the broccoli cut and portioned. It also requires 1 cup cooked and diced ham. Well, after the Christmas dinner I cut and diced all of the leftover ham into 1 cup freezer bags specifically for this…so, bam…that only required pulling one baggie out of the freezer. Then I pulled out the pie pan and the non-refrigerated ingredients this morning and placed them on the counter with the measuring cups and spoons necessary. So as soon as I got home there wasn’t any hunting for anything…it was all there just as if I was a true chef walking into a tv kitchen studio with everything just waiting for me to put it together.
The Blueberry Breakfast Cake was even easier. (And the BFF said it was fabulous…she even gave me her leftover buttermilk and unsalted butter, so I was SOLD.) You can actually make the batter ahead of time. No joke. Many had tried it with success (I saw this thanks to all of the recipe comments). Even 24 hours ahead of time. So I made that at 9 PM last night. Right before I headed up to bed. And it was so great to pull out the pan and get it straight into the oven today. Well, it was good to have my mom do it since she was there watching Charlotte and could get it into the oven even earlier!