Fitting cooking for you and baby into your busy schedule


Cooking doesn't always fit into our busy lives. It takes time and energy to cook and there are some days you have it and some days you don't. No one should feel bad about ordering takeout or using Trader Joe's frozen meals (or jarred baby food). But making a home cooked meal can be easy and quick (and cheap!). There are so many resources on the internet to help you find that "30 minute meal" or simple go to dishes. For example, tonight I didn't really have the energy to cook and stood in the middle of the kitchen looking into the fridge, while Karina jumped in her jumper, wondering what I was going to make for dinner.

I like hearty meals. I'm definitely a meat and potatoes gal. I hadn't defrosted any meat and didn't have my usual bag of frozen shrimp from Costco in the freezer so couldn't figure out what I was going to do. I was thinking it was about to be a Mac-n-Cheese night when I saw it! Kielbasa! I bought it the last time I was at the grocery store thinking I could use it for a quick meal then forgot about it :) That left the starch...Sweet potatoes! I bought them to cook for Karina. Then I "googled" kielbasa and sweet potatoes and looked at a couple of recipes on cooks.com, which also called for apples, which I didn't have but I ended up making a new favorite meal! Here's what I did while Tim gave Karina her dinner (veggie burger made in the toaster oven with cheese and cooked carrots we had for dinner the other night).
  1. Microwave 3 medium size sweet potatoes for about 9 minutes.
  2. Cut potatoes in half, scoop out middle and put into my Kitchen Aid mixer. [saved 1/2 of one sweet potato to use for Karina for meals]
  3. Add a little garlic (I buy the garlic in a jar already minced, saves time), ginger (from a tube), low fat yogurt, 3-4 tbsp butter, salt, pepper and apple juice. Then I let the mixer do the work.
  4. Slice up the kielbasa.
  5. Spray Pam olive oil spray into a brownie pan.
  6. Spoon the mashed sweet potatoes into the pan and cover the top with the sliced kielbasa.
  7. Bake covered at 425 for 15 minutes
  8. Take cover off and bake for another 7 or 8 minutes
While it was baking I made a tomato and cucumber salad with dill and red wine vinegar. This only took about 30 minutes. Some nights this works and others it doesn't. I'm trying not to get fixated on a schedule because I will just end up frustrated. Some nights we're successful and eat with Karina, so she gets used to that, but other nights we eat after her or after she goes to bed.

Karina's dinner was really easy (Thanks Adriane for the tip!). I just put a Boca burger I had frozen in the fridge, into the toaster oven, then melted some cheddar on top of it and cut it into bite sized pieces. She ate about 1/3 of one. The other night when I some friends over for dinner and had the oven on, I squeezed a pan of carrots into the oven to cook for Karina. I roasted them whole and then just sliced them and cut the larger pieces in half. Great finger food! Karina didn't seem too keen on the carrots, but LOVED the veggie burger with cheese. Of course she's my daughter, so she LOVES cheese. Her lunch today was leftover grilled chicken (cubed), cheese (cubed) and some cantalope (cubed). She also has been enjoying yogurt with bananas or blueberries and biltong (a South African beef jerky...mmmm).

I started to give her pasta as well. I bought some smaller sized pastas (mini farfalle, mini penne) and rigatoni (which I cut after cooked into bite sized pieces). One of Karina's new favorite meals is cubed grilled chicken with butternut squash (I still have some purees in the freezer) and shredded parmesan. If my husband liked butternut squash, we'd be eating that for dinner too. Now Karina and I outnumber him though, so maybe we will starting having it more once she can state her preference:)

We shared another meal together last week: Grilled chicken and rice. Easy and quick. I think I'm going to have to try to get an indoor grill for the rainy fall, winter and spring here in Seattle.

Another great food I discovered recently (thanks to Chris!) are Zwieback Toasts. They are a great finger food for the little ones. It looks like biscotti and just melts in their mouth, so lessens the danger of them biting a piece off and choking. It is messy, but keeps Karina entertained for a good 20 + minutes. Which is helpful at a restaurant or just for us to be able to eat in peace and quiet at home.

My next ventures for Karina are going to be ground turkey and salmon...I'll let you know how it goes. We have her 9 month appointment this week and I'm going to ask her pediatrician some questions and then I will hopefully feel less inhibited by what I can give her :)

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