I will just admit it – I am a horrible cook. I hate grocery shopping, planning meals, prepping meals, cooking meals and really, if truth be told, I don’t really like eating meals all that much either.
I am not a foodie. I am married to a foodie and I have foodie children, but I am fairly certain that I could live off ten foods. Actually, five.
Because I have children, that obviously need to be fed, I learned, not to cook but to be creative. If you have some easy cooking tips – please share. My children will thank you.
Cheating in the Kitchen with Chicken
Monday for dinner
- Go to the grocery store and buy 2 already roasted chickens
- Serve one of the chickens for dinner with boiled corn on the cob (children to shuck), something green (like frozen peas) and broiled buns with butter (and garlic if you like).
Tuesday for lunch
- Using the left over chicken, make a wrap with your favorite veggies. Kids like rolling up their wraps with cheese.
- An alternative is layering the chicken, with veggies and cheese (and some mayo) on a Panini and grilling the sandwich. So yummy!
Wednesday for dinner
Still have leftover chicken? Make chicken salad and either serve as a sandwich with a cucumber salad or in a bowl with a side of veggies. Here is my recipe for a delicious and easy (and quick) dinner:
Leftover chicken chopped into small pieces
Minced red or sweet onion
Mayo (or yogurt for a healthier option)
Juice from half a lime
Freshly cracked pepper
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. As much of each ingredient as you like.
- Serve in a bowl, on toast or warm buns
- Mix one English cucumber thinly cut (width wise) and half a thinly sliced red onion in a mixing bowl
- Cover with two parts olive oil and one part red wine vinegar
- Sprinkle with sugar, oregano, and salt
- Add cracked pepper
Absolute Silence Pasta
Sometimes I just need quiet. My ears are essentially bleeding from the noise and the chaos of the day. This is my fall back when the kids are crying that they are starving, the baby is pulling at my legs and I just want to collapse on the floor and join them.
3/4 Package of small rotini pasta (or whichever you desire)
¼ cup of butter
Enough parmesan cheese to cover the pasta
- Cook the pasta according to the instructions. During this time, when hunger is at its height, the boys devour any veggies that I put in front of them.
- Drain the pasta and pour into an oval corning wear dish.
- Generously sprinkle parmesan cheese over the pasta. Leave it to the side.
- Place the ¼ cup of butter (or more if you are in a Paula Deen mood) and crank the heat to high. Let the butter simmer, boil and burn.
- Remove the butter from the heat when it is brown and bubbling.
- Pour the hot butter over the pasta and cheese
- Mix together and serve
- Enjoy the silence that comes over the table
You could add shrimp or frozen peas to the mix, but if your kids are like my middle one, they might not like “fings” in their food.
If you are making this for adults or a gourmand kiddo, I would suggest drizzling truffle oil over the pasta. To. Die. For.
I also really don’t love the whole cooking thing. my goal is to serve something decently tasty without a ton of prep work or cleanup. Here is an easy recipe that you could use with some of those chickens you buy. I also buy the blue menu frozen sliced chicken breasts, which saves time too:
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream
of mushroom soup 1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
6 (12 inch) flour tortillas
1/4 cup milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking dish.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and saute the green onion until tender (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the garlic powder, then stir in the green chiles, cream of mushroom soup and sour cream. Mix well. Reserve 3/4 of this sauce and set aside. To the remaining 1/4 of the sauce in the saucepan, add the chicken and 1/2 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese. Stir together.
3. Fill each flour tortilla with the chicken mixture and roll up. Place seam side down in the prepared baking dish.
4. In a small bowl combine the reserved 3/4 of the sauce with the milk. Spoon this mixture over the rolled tortillas and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly
You can add hot sauce if you like it to be a little bit more kickin. Overall though, they are delicious.
Thanks, Melanie. This is something that I am sure the boys would love.
I’m the exact opposite. I love food and cooking and playing in the kitchen (even attended Chef’s school for a while) but am married to and have all boys who could live on 5 food or less. It’s got its own sets of frustrations. My older son once went 8 days without eating ANYTHING other than a small cup of milk each day. My Grandmother finally caved and gave him an oatmeal cookie. One of his favourite meals is Naan pizza. i basically buy the PC Naan bread and put tomato sauce and mozzarella and bake it until the cheese is melted. My younger son will eat a few more things so I add veggies and other good stuff. It takes no time and the Naan is a little sweeter and MUCH higher in calories than regular pita or English muffins. When your 4-year-old only weighs 25lbs calories are a big deal 🙂 It also keeps well for travel and now school lunches and still tastes good when cold.
Another surprising favourite is any sort of pasta (I use the Catelli Smart for the fiber and calories) mixed with pureed sweet potato and turkey. This was a favourite baby food and seems to “hide” well enough with the pasta that they both will eat it. Am attempting to try this with other puree options but so far this one works the best with my guys.
My husband lives on cereal and watermelon so I leave him to his own devices 🙂
I’m going to try that Naan pizza. (My niece asked her mother the other day to buy more of that not-bread that she’d had at grandma’s. “Not bread? Not bread?” her mother couldn’t figure it out. It took a few days, then the penny dropped: non-bread=Naan bread.)
Jen – my boys would love eating with you! Maybe we need to do a swap for mealtimes?
The Naan pizza is one of my easy recipes and the boys like to take over the prep for this one. We bottle our own tomato sauce in the fall and have a decent stash that takes us deep into the winter. I just crack open a jar and the middle boy ladles the sauce on the bread and the eldest grates the cheese. They each take care of additional toppings – World War Three could erupt at any given time if done otherwise.
Just out of curiosity, Beth-Anne, which five foods?!
You’ll have to guess 🙂
Ok, I am a foodie and love to cook but cooking for children who have five things in their “like” list has defeated even me. I will make a 12 course meal for anyone any day as long as they clean up after me… everyday if they wish… as long as they eat it. Thanks for the great blogs you four amazing women…fun to read…and think about. Thank goodness for the person who started the roasted chicken in the grocery store… Cheers, S
Thanks for the lovely comment!
Naan bread pizzas are great on the barbecue too.
P.S. Although hearing that they’re much higher in calories is giving me pause for thought… None of us in our house are looking for extra calories, and some of us (um, that would be me) really don’t need them!
I hear you, but like Jen, I have a boy who needs to gain weight and all three have hollow legs. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I had just stood up to clear the table after dinner last night when one said, “I’m hungry.” I shudder to think what it will be like when they are teenagers. My mother-in-law, who had five boys, said they’d get up after dinner and make a few sandwiches.
Like you, Beth-Anne, cooking is not my great pleasure and frankly, most days, I barely have enough time to throw together a bowl of cereal if I don’t prepare in advance!
To that end, I have a super-easy and yummy chicken recipe that is a go-to for us…and you can pre-prep it and freeze for later. My kids love it with pasta or rice and broccoli.
Slice 2 – 3 chicken breasts into 1/2″ thick strips
Marinate for a minimum of 20 minutes in:
2 TBSP Lemon Juice
2 TBSP Soy Sauce
2 TBSP Vegetable Oil
1 TBSP Dried Basil
Bake @ 350 for 20 minutes
You can freeze the marinated, uncooked chicken and then defrost and cook at your leisure. I always have a few servings of this in the freezer for easy dinners.
How crucial is the soy sauce? We have an allergy here – otherwise, sounds like something I can handle!
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