Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Domestic Diva: Weekend Warrior Edition, Part 3 (?)

Continuing on with my (languishing) series about my quest to become a domestic diva on the weekends, I wanted to share some of the things I've been doing lately. This past weekend, I made a little pact with myself to ensure that I do a bit more cooking, especially for Samantha. Our meals consist of whatever's frozen and easy to make, and that's all for a very good reason - because it's easy, and we're lazy busy. But I'd like to try to find actual recipes that I can make that are just as easy, but fresher, (potentially) healthier, and more memorable.

(By the way, have any of you noticed that I've gone nearly a whole week without including any photos of Samantha?  Definitely just an oversight...I'm sure I'll more than make up for it soon enough.)

I know this is not a cooking blog, but because I don't cook, I get pretty self-congratulatory when I actually do. And my high fives and kudos and pats on the back need to be shared. With you, you lucky people. But, in all honesty, I know that you all benefit from it, too. You're just as "busy," right? So I'll do the test driving, then share my results, and you can all take from it what you will.

My requirements for recipes: 
  • Must be easily adaptable to hide include vegetables
  • Must have inexpensive ingredients that are easy to find, or, better still, in my kitchen cabinets already
  • Must have short prep times.  I hate prep.  Defeats the purpose of being labeled easy if it requires the peeling and chopping of 15 different vegetables, creation of sauces, or putting together fancy pieces of kitchen equipment that have too many parts and take too long to clean afterwards
  • Must use a minimal number of pots/pans/utensils/etc.
  • Must have easy instructions

Simple, right?  We have about 300 cookbooks in the house.  But Googling "One Pot Meals" is a great way to find something quickly to fit the bill.

This weekend I made 2 new things.  First was on a whim.  I had bought a quarter of a watermelon at the store, knowing that Samantha likes watermelon.  However, every time I offered it to her, she didn't want any.  Yeah, my kid doesn't really dig fruit all that much...  Worried that it would just sit and rot in the fridge until it became a liquified puddle of goo covered in Saran Wrap, I thought I'd look up a recipe for watermelon ice.  This is the recipe I found: Watermelon Ice

I made a few modifications, such as using a seedless watermelon (no seeding required!), adding a chopped mango, adding a handful of mint from my back yard, and using orange Jello because it was the only gelatin I had in the house.  Also, I highly recommend cutting the sugar back by about half of what the recipe calls for, if not removing it altogether.  Prep time was about 10 minutes, and by morning I had the perfect desert to serve to guests (uh, if we had any guests...guess I'll keep this under my belt until...well, until whenever). 

Photographed with another cut-up mango.  Missing a frou frou mint sprig for full-effect...  :-) 

I also made not one, but two huge dishes of baked ziti.  I've never made it before, but found this recipe that was too easy and too delicious to pass up:  Baked Ziti  Of course, I modified it (recipes are only ever guidelines to me, meant to be fixed) to include chunks of chopped zucchini and ground sausage (a 16 oz. roll of Jimmy Dean sage sausage). 

Coincidentally, I was approached last week by eFoods Direct who asked me to review some of their convenient, easy-to-prepare meals.  I haven't tried them yet, but can't wait!  I should have another post for you about it next week sometime.  Seriously, it sounds pretty fantastic, and if this means that I could actually have cooked, non-microwaved meals at my fingertips without expending any effort, I'm in!  EFoods' mission is to provide, in addition to delicious food, "food security" in the event of natural disaster, storm, or even financial crisis, like the loss of a job.  Their food packets store for as long as 15-25 years (!!!), and require minimal storage space.  How many of you actually have a disaster plan?  I know we don't.  Maybe it's time to start...  Check out this page for some fascinating information about their product:  Why Choose EFoods?  In remembrance of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, they're offering bloggers and our readers two special emergency preparedness offers, one for 50% off a 7-day pantry pack, and one for 40% off a 16 serving soup and entree pack.  Visit eFoods Offer to order and redeem. 

Stay tuned for my next post on this topic!  And in the meantime, I'll keep on with my quest for Domestic Diva-hood...


Becky said...

Funny...I am a terrible cook and my husband will be the first to tell you. :)

Lisa said...

I'm trying as well! Too many nights of hot dogs & spaghetti in this house. One of my good friends has a food blog and she has a ton of easy but great recipes.
One of our favorites is the crispy buffalo chicken breast - Cate love them and I just substitute bbq sauce for hot sauce for Lucy.
Of course I ended up cheating and getting a delivery from Dinner A'Fare so my freezer is now stocked!

Team Lando said...

Crockpot!!!!! My dinner is cooking right now!

Angel said...

UGH! The what-to-have-for-dinner problem is so hard at our house too. We are trying out a once a month cooking thing this month. It is going pretty well. Less eating out anyways. ;) But it is still so much darn work, and with picky eaters, some nights it doesn't even seem worth the effort to serve more than a bowl of cereal and some yogurt. ;)

Laura said...

I struggle with cooking too! I really wish I enjoyed it!

Rochelle said...

You crack me up! We love baked ziti but yes I add stuff too!

Cindy said...

I laughed over the 'easy' recipes that have 35 ingredients and 30 minutes of prep. I'm with you, I HATE prep. I hate cooking altogether (why do you think we met at a restaurant?!)

I look forward to your reviews!

Jess said...

I went through a time period where I cooked every single meal using only fresh ingredient. My whole day was spent cooking! Not to mention how expensive it was. That only lasted a few weeks. lol I am now learning to find recipes based on what I have in my kitchen. It takes me a while but I eventually figure it out.

ChaCHA online said...

The watermelon ice looks delicious! Now I need to go make something yummy in the kitchen too.

Jane@flightplatformliving said...

lovely to find you, hi from your newest blog follower hopping across from the cannon chronicles xxxx