Recently, a friend came over to
my house. It was four o'clock in the afternoon and I had a chicken roasting
in the oven. She exclaimed, "Wow, that smells really good. You
are the only one that I know that really cooks anymore." While,
I know that the statement was not entirely true, more and more the busy
lives of our children cause way too many stops at fast food restaurants.
Even I, who pride myself in trying to make things from scratch, have
made my Italian-born grandmothers turn over in their resting places.
Yes, shamefully, I do the fast food drive-thru more that I'd like to
Whatever life choice a mom makes,
whether it's stay-at-home job or a part-time or full-time paid career,
making dinner can cause anxieties. Sometimes if dinner is not planned
by morning, it just does not happen. The kids after school activities
take me outside of my cozy home usually between 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
four out of five nights a week. Then, because I am a volunteeraholic,
there are Girl Scout, Religious Education, PTA meetings and the much
needed occasional girl's night out. So my solution is what I call "Marathon
Marathon Cooking is taking advantage
of a few consecutive hours that I happened to have free. Sometimes I
do it on Sundays; sometimes on a quiet morning that is free of meetings
and other obligations. While I am making dinner for that night, I make
two or three other meals. I chop, sauté and bake to my heart's
desire. I choose things that stay well for a few days. Soups, stews,
lasagna, and casseroles work really well. These types of food also freeze
well. Remember, though, if a soup has pasta in it, don't add until the
day you eat it. Re-heat, then add the pasta and cook until desired tenderness.
Another tip: if you happen to make roasted chicken for dinner, use the
remains to make chicken stock. Throw the carcass into a pot with onions,
carrots, celery, garlic, and peppercorns and cover with water. Cover
and cook for a few hours, strain and discard vegetables and carcass.
My thought that is while the kitchen
is a wreck, I might as well go for it all and have a freezer full of food. The incentive: the next few
days graced with home cooked meals ready and waiting and a gleaming
kitchen to go with it.
So on your marks, get set, cook! Use that freezer.