Carolyn H. | the dinner shift
feeding a fam after 5 | fresh, unfussy, feel good food mom of boys | culinary RD | dinner realist |📍CLE, OH —————— 📩 MEAL PLANNING PRINTABLES

Rhubarb Blackberry Galette

My Recipes
Ezra, my youngest, requested Sloppy Joes for dinner next week (even though he will eat the filling with a spoon and bun on the side because he gets frustrated when it makes a mess 🤦🏻‍♀️) so it’s on the menu. Now that my boys are a little older, 7 and 4, it’s been fun to let them influence the dinner plan more often. They’ll pick things out of cookbooks or scroll through my IG feed for inspo. Kids these days. 😜 • This is my go-to recipe for Sloppy Joe’s. Less added sugar, a little extra veg, ready in about 30. ✔️✔️✔️ • Ingredients: 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey 3/4 cup finely chopped red onion 3/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper 3/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper 3 garlic cloves minced 1 cup tomato sauce (no sugar added) 1/4 cup ketchup 1 T dijon mustard 1-2 T brown sugar (start with 1 then add to taste) 2 tsp chili powder 1 tsp worchestershire 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon Kosher salt and pepper • In a large skillet, brown meat over medium heat, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic and saute 5 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft. Season mixture to taste with salt and pepper. • In a bowl, combine tomato sauce through cinnamon and mix well to combine. Stir into beef mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until sauce has thickened. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
Once you have a general method down for certain types of meals, you’ll never need to rely on a recipe for simple suppers. And that, on a weeknight, is the golden ticket. Fried rice is the perfect example. I don’t think I’ve followed the same recipe twice, but it always delivers (and is better than takeout). Here's the general method I follow, depending on what I prepped in advance or have lingering in the fridge. This week, it included half a small head of thinly sliced and chopped cabbage, which I will do again because it bulked it up without screaming “there are so many vegetables in this!”, i.e. my kids ate it without complaint. ?? • 1. Saute a protein, like diced chicken or shrimp. If it’s already cooked, skip to no. 2.* 2. Saute 1-2 cups raw chopped veg until crisp tender in olive oil or butter. Carrots, green onion and cabbage work well. 3. Add minced garlic and grated ginger and cook until fragrant. 4. Add 4-5 cups cold cooked brown rice. 5. Add any pre-cooked veg (like thawed frozen peas) and cooked protein back to pan. 6. Add seasoning (I usually add 3-4T soy sauce and a tsp or two of toasted sesame oil.) *if you like scrambled egg in yours, cook this first, then set aside and add back in at end.
If you’ve been following me long enough you may have noticed I have this thing with deconstructing recipes, or cutting unnecessary steps where it doesn’t compromise flavor. I have a major aversion to fussy food. ??‍♀️Every so often the mood will strike to pull out all the stops and commit to a recipe that requires patience, three pans, four bowls, and more than an hour, but these days those urges are fleeting, thanks in large part to, well, kids! ?‍?‍?‍? It’s the reason I am such a fan of discovering and developing recipes and shortcuts that keep me coming back to the kitchen after the weekday grind. Nothing is more of a buzzkill to my cooking mojo than cooking that makes me resent cooking. • So I cut to the chase and do things like un-stuff stuffed peppers and un-roll cabbage rolls, all the while discovering new family faves while maintaining my sanity. I’m giving you permission to break recipe rules, too. Like skipping the part about rolling meatballs for Italian Wedding Soup (??) in favor of a much less messy, much more efficient, but just as delicious version for any night of the week. The recipe is in next week’s Digest, along with my best tips and tricks for spinning labor-intensive comfort food faves into totally-manageable-on-a-Monday-at-6-pm food. Check the link in my bio for more info! ???
I don’t know what centers me more, my daily sesh with the @calm app, or meal prepping. ??‍♀️ Back in the saddle (kitchen?) to keep me less stressed and us all well fed this week. • I picked up a rotisserie chicken @heinens this weekend because I wasn’t in the mood to handle raw poultry. ??We’ll make easy meals of it, like in fried rice and salads. I also wanted the bones for broth. I’m totally hooked on slow cooker bone broth because it’s super simple and makes quick weeknight soup taste like it’s been cooking for hours. (Method below) • Whenever possible, I try to coordinate recipes so I can prep the same ingredients for multiple meals. Other weekend prep included salmon patties, veg for fried rice and soup, and bell pepper sticks to curb hunger until dinner. • Slow Cooker Bone Broth I put the bones/carcasses from about 3 rotisserie chickens into my large (6qt) slow cooker. (I keep carcasses in my freezer for up to 3 months, until I’m ready to make a batch.) Toss in whatever other veg I have in the fridge, like a couple carrots, celery stalks, and a halved onion. Other mix-ins include a few whole garlic cloves, any fresh herbs, peppercorns, and bay leaves. I also add 1-2T apple cider vin. Cover with water, about 4 quarts. Cover and cook on LOW for 24 hours. Strain and skim any scummy stuff (technical term) off the top. Chill, spoon off the top layer of fat (optional, but otherwise can be greasy/filmy) and freeze in 3-4 cups batches or refrigerate up 4 days.
I am craaaavvving our routine. Yesterday was the last day of winter break and I think we’re all equal parts ????. The weekly grind has never sounded more blissful. • I’m turning a deaf ear to most talk of resolutions this year because they’ve always left me hyper-focused (to a detriment) on the future or feeling inadequate. Instead, let’s chat about intentions and living in the now. “Intentional daily action” are my personal focus words for 2018. Whether it’s staying committed to my 5:15am wake up to slowly sip coffee and read or signing out of all social media for most of the day to avoid mindless scrolling, I want to make more meaningful use of my daily 24. • Dinner time is the one hour (er, 30 minutes) of the day when my family is together in one place. I’m committed to keeping up with my meal prep because it means I’m much less stressed at dinner time. We’re also banishing all tech from the table. I’m so dedicated to creating more joy at mealtimes that I created a 2018 Meal Intentions worksheet (type A ??‍♀️) for us, and you! Make the action plan your own or write in personal mini-goals. Use it to guide your daily and weekly choices around cooking for you and your people, and watch what happens (info in bio). #intentionalliving #happiermeals • P.S. More easy all-in-one salmon dinners in our future.
You guys like dinner on sheetpans. You are my people. ?❤️
When you’re suddenly hit with the symptoms of your kid’s bug, and then remember you froze leftovers last month. ?? Here’s to more of that forethought in 2018. ✌?Wishing you a happy, healthy holiday weekend, friends!
If I’ve learned anything as a parent trying to feed my family after the daily grind, it’s that done is better than perfect or 5 star. Oftentimes the simplest meals are my favorites because they’re reminders that it doesn’t take much (ingredients, time, or money) to feed my people and my soul. ? In the midst of the hustle of the season, simplifying is my way back to home base. ? • The recipe for this Simple Baked Chicken and Rice is more a general technique than recipe, contains 6 or fewer simple ingredients, and is completely open to your interpretation. • Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet or shallow Dutch oven and sear seasoned boneless chicken breasts on each side for about 2 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and add a pat of butter, followed by 1 cup of white or quick cooking brown rice (I like @traderjoeslist Quick-Cook Brown Basmati) and any fresh or dried herbs you like. Stir until you can smell the butter browning. Add about 3 cups of chicken stock, a large pinch of salt and the florets from one pound of broccoli (save the stalks for salads or ricing). Return chicken to pan then transfer pan to oven to bake at 425 for about 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Let stand, covered, 5 min.
How do you feel about snacks for dinner? Indoor Picnic: Sheetpan Style is exactly what I’m advocating you write into your dinner plan during the upcoming holiday weeks (or any week). No cooking or utensils required, use up fridge orphans and party leftovers, goes well with wine. ‘Nuff said. (This looker plus other holiday week meal planning tips in the next Digest, 12/21!).