Thursday, May 02, 2013

finding ways around a challenging schedule

After getting married, John and I decided to move into "his" house -- the house he purchased years ago, long before we even knew each other.  (It's really kind of a no-brainer, since there are so many advantages to living in a house!)  The one drawback, (and it's kind of a big one,) is that our house is located on the far east side of St. Paul, which is about 23 miles away from my work!  Since we only have one car, I spend a LOT of time on the bus.  :(

Getting home at 7:30 PM most evenings means we eat a lot of leftovers during the week.  However, I have been using my crock pot more than ever, and getting really good at prepping meals in advance so we can have a fresh meal at least once or twice during the work week.  Here are a couple of meals we've enjoyed this week:

Moosewood's Black Bean and Chipotle Soup:

This is my favorite black bean soup EVER, and it transitioned well to the crock pot.  I love the hearty flavors, brightness from the little bit of orange juice, and heaping piles of healthy veggies.  Typically, I like to serve this soup with cornbread, but to save on time, we enjoyed local, organic corn tortilla chips this time.  Mmmmm . . . who doesn't like scooping up black bean soup or chili with tortilla chips?

And who doesn't love kale and sweet potatoes together?

Real Simple's recipes have to be some of my favorites, and this one for Quinoa with Sweet Potatoes, Kale, and Pesto was another hit.  I prepped the kale and made the quinoa in advance, picked up some prepared pesto (as basil isn't in season right now anyway,) and pre-toasted/chopped the walnuts for the topping.  Speedy!  Delicious!  Healthy!  Vegan!

What are some of your favorite solutions to get dinner on the table in a hurry?  I appreciate any and all advice, as I'm going to have to find more ways around this challenging schedule.


Emily said...

You could try batch cooking on the weekends...and then a few nights could have meals from the freezer...?

Catherine Weber said...

Emily, good idea. That might work for evenings when my husband is home - he could preheat & pop in some type of casserole before I get home. Yay!

Carrie™ said...

Oh I hear ya on the bus situation. I bused it for about 7 years. Just recently I got a car and although it's not as environmentally friendly, it's SOOO much more convenient.
Cooking a lot on off days and freezing is a good option. I do some stuffed pasta shells that freeze really well. Then you just remove as many shells as you want.
Another is tofu that gets to marinate all day; it's quick to fry or grill. Stir-fries are good. If you have time to prep the ingredients in the morning, then just throw it all in the pan when you get home. They cook up quick.

Eileen said...

We definitely do lots of quick pastas--pasta fagioli is especially good if you have cooked beans around--and fried rice. Salads with seared tempeh are super fast if you marinate the tempeh the night before. And stocking the freezer! I would totally freeze a bunch of casseroles and containers of chili, so you can just stick them in the oven whenever.

Vic Robinson said...

super impressed with your slow cooker skills! I have been experimenting with one recently and it seems that everything come out looking brown at the end! suggestions?