Before the coronavirus hit, how often were you eating out? Would you say 50% of your meals were fast food or restaurants? We live in a culture where food is everywhere. There is a restaurant on every corner. Our access to food is easier than ever, even in times of coronavirus. How many restaurants do you see offering curbside pickup or delivery? Even in times of quarantine, you can still choose to eat out as often as you want.
You might even choose on purpose to support local businesses even more. Which I think is a very good thing, however, we can and we should use this time to come on back to the kitchen. Bring the family together at the dinner table as often as you can over a homemade meal that’s satisfying, delicious, and healthy. Today I want to share with you 2 recipes my family loves to come back to the table for time and time again. Roll up your sleeves, dust off your spices, sharpen your chef’s knife, and let’s get started!
Do you hate to cook?
I hear from so many parents I coach, that they simply hate to cook. They hate spending countless hours in the kitchen, whipping up something that will be gone in under 30 minutes, then deal with the cleanup. Seriously, none of us like that. But what if there were a way you actually found joy in all of these tasks. Let me give you some ideas.
It’s all about mindset
Get your headspace in a place of “This is going to be fun”, instead of “I hate this.” Now, how can you make cooking fun? Let’s think about this for a second. How can cooking become fun to you? Let your brain come up with ideas. For example, maybe you love to travel and eat foods from other countries. You could create themed nights around those foods you’ve eaten. How fun would it be to dig deep and learn to cook something totally different than what your family is used to. Something exotic. Finding the ingredients might be half the fun. You’ll shop at different kinds of stores you’d never thought you’d enter.
I once went into a mexican grocery store in my hometown where my parents live. It was like entering another country. I never thought of cactus as a food. They sold pigs feet, chicken feet, cow’s feet, pig ear. All the things we just aren’t used to seeing in our grocery stores. Those chicken feet made the most excellent bone broth I’ve ever made in my life. I go inside that little grocery store almost every trip I make to see my folks.
Listen to Podcasts or music
Listen to a podcast episode while you cook. If you love reading books and learning all you can, catching up on a great podcast or audio book will have you looking forward to dinnertime and cooking in the kitchen. By planning this time intentionally, it’s like giving yourself a bit of “Me Time.”
Don’t like to listen to podcasts and books on tape? No problem, turn on the tunes, light some candles, dance in your kitchen as you cook. I personally love to turn on music from paris and pretend I’m cooking in a little french cafe. I’m completely transported. I’ve never been to paris, I only have a picture hanging in my house of a french cafe, and in my mind, I’m there.
Have the right tools ready
I have found over the years that having just the right tools to cook with in the kitchen, makes my experience all the more fun. Invest in a good chef’s knife and a good knife sharpener. When you have a sharp knife, chopping up food is actually enjoyable. The ease of slicing and dicing speeds up the prep time and brings a sense of satisfaction.
Get some good cutting boards. I have Norwex cutting boards and I love them. I simply couldn’t cook in anything other than my cast iron pans. It’s made all the difference in the way my food cooks. I love how hot they get, and stay hot when I turn the stove off. They cook my food evenly. These pans aren’t meant for weak wristed people. They are heavy, but you’ll strengthen those muscles if you’re using those pans daily, transfering them from oven to stove, then to sink to clean them up. If you are thinking of purchasing cast iron pans, be sure to include those cast iron handle pot holders, so you don’t burn your hand on the handle. I’ve done that before. Not good!
Now you’re ready
Okay, now that you have a sharp knife, some good cast iron pans, and the music turned on, you’re ready to cook. But wait…did you plan your menu for the week? This is another reason you hate cooking. You don’t have a plan in place for what you’ll eat. You don’t have all the ingredients ready and on hand. Everyone is hungry right now. What do you do? In my experience, it turns into breakfast for dinner, or a quick drive-thru meal. Cooking isn’t really that fun when you’re scrambling and have no idea what to eat.
Planning your meals in advance will save you so much brain juice. You won’t even have to think about it come Monday night. You’re on it. You’re ready to go. Be determined to make a plan and stick to that plan. Your experience in the kitchen will be night and day.
Let’s get cooking!
I’m going to share with you a family favorite, then I’m going to tell you what I did with the left overs. We love roasted chicken around here. Roasted chicken is amazing for many reasons. One of those reasons is you can use the entire chicken, including the bones to make broth. Use the organ meats and grind them up with some grass fed beef and make burgers. No one will even know, and they’ll get the nutrition from organ meats. I’ve made many a roasted chicken in many different ways, throughout my lifetime, but I always come back to this particular recipe from “The food nanny” cookbook. I tweaked it a bit, but it’s basically the same.
Take a whole organic chicken. Dampen a paper towel and dab at your bird all over. Drizzle with avocado oil, sprinkle all over top and sides with lemon pepper and seasoned salt. Place in 375* oven. Baste with your homemade bone broth every 15-20 minutes. This keeps the chicken juicy and moist during cooking time all the while your chicken skin is crisping right up. – While your chicken is cooking during the last 30 minutes (and it’ll take about an hour and 10 minutes to an hour and half – internal temp must be 175*), start cooking your carrots and potatoes. I simply just pierce 8 (red potatoes) and throw them in the instapot. I cut carrots in half, then lengthwise and lengthwise again. I sprinkle with salt and pepper, place them in tinfoil, and put on top of potatoes. Pour 1/2 -1 C. water into instapot and put on manual high pressure for 15 min. – Don’t forget to keep basting that chicken with broth along the way. If you don’t have an instant pot, just go ahead and throw the chicken in a broiler pan with the potatoes and carrots. You can wrap the carrots and potatoes in foil and place them in there.
Set a beautiful table for dinner or get one of your kids to help out with this. Dinner is probably about ready now. When your thermometer in the chicken reads 175* F. pull it out. Place the chicken on a platter and tent with foil to keep warm. Make gravy. Using the chicken drippings from basting, place that pan on the stove top over medium heat. In a mug, I mix 1/4 C. flour (can use corn starch or arrowroot too), and 1/4 C. broth. With the flour, it’ll make a paste. With the other two it won’t. It doesn’t need to. If you’re looking at the drippings and it’s not a lot of liquid, go ahead and add another cup of broth here, then add your flour paste and whisk until smooth. Once thickened after a minute or two, I simply add this to my vitamix and blend until smooth. I taste it and season it with more salt and pepper. I put it in my gravy container and transfer to the table.
Go back to the chicken and cut it up. No need to de-bone the bird until it completely cools down. Take out the potatoes. They should be fork tender. Blend them up in a bowl with butter, garlic, salt, pepper, and just a few tablespoons of milk. Get them to your desired consistency.
Put the carrots in a bowl with butter, salt and pepper and even a sprinkle of brown sugar if you want.
You’re all ready to eat a lovely meal together. That wasn’t so hard now was it?
Homemade bone broth recipe
Let’s not forget the beautiful broth we need to get making after dinner with the bones. Simply de-bone that chicken (save the organ meats for another night this week – we’ll process it into hamburger meat). Place all the bones into a crock pot. Add 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 1 onion cut up, and 1 T apple cider vinegar. Put in crockpot on high heat for 8 hours, then low heat for 8 hours. Done!
Your Second Meal
But what about those leftovers? I typically like to turn leftovers into a completely different meal for my family to eat. We had a lot of mashed potatoes, carrots and chicken left over. Here’s what I did with it. I made a comfort food soup out of it.
In a dutch oven pot, saute diced onion in a bit of grass-fed butter or ghee. Add diced celery. pour in 4 Cups of your homemade bone broth. Chop up the left over chicken and add it now. Add 1 can of great northern beans, drained and rinsed. In your vitamix or high speed blender, add 2 C. milk and all the left over garlic mashed potatoes. Blend until smooth and add to the pot. Chop up your left over cooked carrots and add to the pot. Feel free to add a can of corn here if you’d like. Season with salt and pepper and sit back and enjoy your comfort food left over soup. It’s delicious!
You basically got two meals out of one nights ingredients. Now you have leftover soup for the next day as well.
It’s truly a beautiful thing when cooking becomes a joy in your life. If you could wrap your head around the big picture of why this skill is so important, you’ll see that its a means to create memories for your family. It gathers your family together at the table (some of us need to work on this part). Having fresh, healthy meals provides safety and security for your children. They never need to worry about hunger. It provides ease for your husband after a long day’s work.
Cooking truly unites a family. It never need be fancy and time consuming. Simple and quick meals will be the perfect intro to getting you cooking in the kitchen more. I will for sure be back to share a few healthy dinner ideas you can tackle in under 30 min. My Texas beef tacos and Asian lettuce wraps are just a couple delicious and quick ones. Once in a while, I do online cooking classes where you can join me in the kitchen LIVE to make a delicious meal together. Just reach out if you’re interested.
Come get coached
If you’re stressed about meal times in your home, please schedule your 1:1 coaching session with me. I’ll help you lose all the drama in your brain that’s causing you to loathe cooking. Let me help you make the transition from eating out, to cooking at home. You’ll save not only money, but also your health. Are you ready to work together? Let’s do it.
Come on over to facebook “Healthy Families Rule“, and join us in weekly challenges that will motivate and inspire you to be healthier each day. This week’s challenge was a connecting one – “play a family board or card game each night.” When you are intentionally connecting with your children & spouse, relationships blossom. I want to encourage you to put focused time into connecting with each other weather it be through board games, or a nice meal at the table as often as you can make that happen.
Have a great rest of your weekend.
P.S – Product Spotlight of the week –
“The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner” – Cookbook
Norwex Microfiber Cloths – replace those clorox wipes.
In the podcast episode I mentioned my grandmother passing away. She was 96 yrs old. Here is a picture of us together.