What’s cooking today?

Trying to decide “what to cook” occupies a substantial part of my day. I usually have a plan, and I am used to cooking after I come home from work. With the arrival of the kids though, I have more pressure… We leave work by 5:05pm, and we are usually home by 5:15pm (did I say, Memphis was a very easy city to live in?) With 2 toddlers getting into everything, I start preparing something. I need to serve food for the kids by 6:00pm. My husband helps with controlling the kids, they are in the pantry stealing rice crackers, then they throw potatoes, then they grab the dogs’ food from their bowls and put them in their water, then they get into the recycle bin and try to drink diet coke from old cans… One by one, we tell one to quit something, then the other finds the next adventure. It’s always the same routine though. Toddlers, just like dogs, love routine. So as soon as A enters the kitchen, he looks at the dogs’ bowls, if there is food in it, he grabs a handful and puts it in the water bowl… M is always in the pantry, fishing for crackers, cookies or something of that nature…

In the meantime, something is always cooking on the stove… Pasta, brocolli, meatballs, peas, beans are frequently on the menu. Just last month, I broke down and allowed some frozen food to enter the menu. It gets more and more complicated as I try to make everything from scratch. It is how we were raised in Turkey, but it just doesn’t fit with the American way of life. The grocery stores are just not as easily accessible, we don’t have help at our homes, we don’t have fresh fruit/vegetable bazaars, and we don’t have butchers that we can call for home delivery… It was just too much pressure and too many screaming babies for me to make everything from scratch for every meal. We already have 90% organic meals in our home and I thought some frozen precooked meals weren’t going to hurt anyone. I bought potstickers, panko-breaded tilapia, meatballs and whole wheat chicken nuggets from Costco… and I highly suggest them for mothers who are looking for healthy and easy to make foods. They have 0 transfat in them and no preservatives etc…
Still, most days of the week, I am in the kitchen after the kids go to bed. It’s easier to cook, and a lot more fun when I don’t have to stop hands from getting into trouble… I usually cook or prepare something that I can put together in 15 minutes for the next day… So here’s one of my secret weapons. I always have 2 whole chickens in my freezer. When I run out of ideas, I put one out before I go to work and it’s thawed when I get home. I put it in a pressure cooker with veggies and it is ready in 15 minutes. It is so tasty and versatile I can make at least 3 main dishes with it the next day… I use the stock for soup, usually chicken noodle. Then the meat is either eaten just as it is, or baked for 15 minutes with tomato sauce, or used in chicken salad. Tomorrow we are having our favorite Chipotle Chicken Salad. -chipotle is a smoked Mexican pepper-. Finally I use the fat and remaining stock for rice, and the liver and other cutlets goes in the dogs’ bowls.

Pinto beans cooked in olive oil

Pinto beans cooked in olive oil

I also made Turkish Pinto Beans tonight. I don’t make this dish a lot, although it’s one of my favorite. I never saw frest pinto beans in the US, but my brother in law found them dried a while back… he boiled some and put them in the freezer. He is also a great cook and helps me a lot in the kitchen. I just thawed the beans out, added potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, lots of olive oil and it’s ready… For those of you Turkish folks living in the US, you can buy dried pinto beans… Most people buy kidney beans thinking it’s the same thing. Although kidney beans and pinto beans look similar when they are cooked, the taste is very different. And uncooked, kidney beans are red, and pinto beans and speckled…

I don’t need to think about food tomorrow, and that is big weight off my shoulders… When my family eats healthy, I am happy…

So what did you cook tonite?? -trying to get some ideas here 🙂 –


2 responses to “What’s cooking today?

  1. kofte (meatballs, turkish style) cooked in the oven, mashed potatoes with stemead peas and carrots. a big salad. i always have some kofte in the freezer for rainy days. optum cok.

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