As I’ve said before, I LOVE to cook. And Benjamin and I both love to eat fabulous food. We used to spend a lot of time in the kitchen whipping up delicious dinners and trying new recipes. Since Owen came along, my love affair with cooking has been a little hot and cold. On again, off again, if you will.
When Owen was teeny tiny and staying up until after our normal dinner hour, we did almost no cooking. It was the last few weeks of summer so I didn’t want to turn on the oven and heat up the house, and frankly, we had our hands full with our squirmy baby during that lovely early evening “witching hour”. I remember eating a lot of salads. We still ate pretty well because we planned for meals we could throw together in a few minutes, but it didn’t really satisfy my urge to get in the kitchen and create something wonderful. Once we started putting Owen down to sleep much earlier (6:00pm – 7:00pm), I reclaimed my time in the kitchen. I loved being able to put Owen down for the night and then have some time to just… cook. The last few months we’ve gotten into a nice routine where Benjamin preps things for me while I’m doing bedtime with Owen, so that when I come down we can cook it up and eat together. I love it.
That said, I still design my meal plans for the week based on whatever is easy and quick and doesn’t create a lot of dishes. Not exactly the relaxing, indulgent time of bread making and roasting and creating meals that I used to have. It’s possible I should just kiss those days goodbye, since I’m sure it doesn’t get any easier as the kids get older and go to bed later (or you have more than one!).
Last night Benjamin, Owen and I came home from an afternoon of house hunting to find that our house smelled glorious. Like the inside of a warm, steamy Italian restaurant. Garlic-y. Buttery. Holy YUM. It was a blessing and a curse. The smell was fantastic, but it wasn’t coming from our kitchen. It was coming from our tenant’s kitchen on the 1st floor of our house. We breathed in the deliciousness and joked about how we were going to their place for dinner.
And then we made a lame dinner of frozen ravioli and tomato sauce.
It made me realize just how much I miss that time in the kitchen I used to love so much. Don’t get me wrong; we cook every night. And I enjoy it. And we eat very well. But I can’t remember the feeling of flipping through a cookbook in the morning, picking out a new recipe to try, going to get the ingredients and losing myself in chopping and stirring and tasting.
Roast chicken and veggies is one of our favorites, since I just throw everything into one pan and stick it in the oven while we do bathtime and bedtime, and it’s ready when we’re finished. I’m also learning to love my slow cooker. The other week I made an Italian white bean soup and today I have a corn chowder bubbling away. It’s kind of the lazy man’s way to get that “cooking all day” smell. Any other suggestions of delicious but relatively quick dinners that could be made after the baby’s bed time?