Cooking dinner has been the hardest challenge with returning back to work. I have been back to work fulltime 5 years now, and still, it can be a struggle. Finding the right balance is tough. I often get home right about 4:45 – 5:00 and sometimes the boys have scout meetings, ball practices etc that must take them right out again. No time for making a lasagna from scratch, or a stew.
Currently, I am on a kick of making several large meals on the weekend. This is when I have the time for multi-part meals, slow cooking of a stew or soup.. so I can make things like chicken enchiladas from scratch, or a veggie lasagna, and we can eat them for a couple of night during the week.
Today, it was a shepherds pie…
I made enough to make 2 large casseroles.. one went into the freezer, the other is ready to be heated for a weeknight meal. Each week I plan 2 such large meals, and several easy/quick meals, and one night of clearing out the leftovers. In addition, we can pull a meal from the freezer based on earlier efforts. We currently have one batch of enchiladas, one batch of stew, and one batch of meat and vegetable soup sitting in the freezer for this weeks freezer meal if needed. Planning ahead like this means less stress on me during the week.
This shepherds pie recipe is a Martha Stewart version. When I plan my week, I like to look at a couple of favorite places on line.
Everyday Food is a good place for balanced meals requiring less effort but big taste.
Tasty Kitchen is the brainchild of Pioneer Woman and provides lots of time tested family favorite meals from families around the country. We have enjoyed many of the meals we have eaten from those recipes: Apple Cranberry Pot roast; Healthy Macaroni and Cheese; Great Northern Corn Soup, etc. It is like having a collection of church cookbooks from all over the world at my fingertips.
Mennonite Girls Can cook always has no-fail recipes that are similar to what I ate growing up. Last week we enjoyed these Pulled Pork Sandwiches which are not a meal I would have had in my German Lutheran Texan past, but is part of my current North Carolina heritage. They were eaten quickly.
I love being able to look up recipes on line, make my plans, try new things… and food blogs are always inspiring too. What a world the internet opens up!