Mommy Chopped.

This post is written by Stephanie Parker and was originally posted on the Vancity Mommy D blog as a guest post, you can see it  HERE

Making supper every night is a struggle that is so real.  You may think that as a red seal chef it is a breeze, but I assure you it is not.  I have all the skills and tools to make the meal of your dreams, but in my own kitchen at 5:30 pm on a Wednesday evening when I crack open the fridge and look at the dismal gathering of ingredients, my ambition and creativity flee for their lives.  It’s like an episode of “Chopped” when you open the basket of secret ingredients and realize there is no way you are making a delicious and healthy meal out of ketchup, leftover cabbage rolls, sour milk and half a jar of olives.  I see endless posts on Pinterest about how to meal plan, and make perfect healthy meals on schedule and budget each day, but I can’t be the only one who just cannot pull that off.  So here is a post for the rest of you, the “how to make it happen when you really shit the bed on grocery shopping and the kids are hungry and your husband will be home in 15 minutes hungry as a bear” guide to pulling it off.

  • Big Dirty Hash browns:

Years ago I was working a huge wedding reception and after breaking down the buffet after dinner we started the prep for the next morning’s brunch.  We were 14 hours in to a 16 hour shift and had barely made it through the buffet from hell.  A cook I was working with started hacking apart the ends of the prime rib and tossing them on the flat top with a bunch of potato pieces.  Our boss looked over at her and said “Are you sure that is how you make hash browns?”  Her reply “hash browns are open to Motherf&$%ing interpretation!”  We all busted a gut laughing, but she was right.  They are open to interpretation and that makes them the best throw-together supper of all time.  Start by roasting up some potato chunks, and then add all manner of ingredients that you have lying around and roast it all together to make a delicious medley.  For example: russet and sweet potato chunks, bacon bits, leftover steak pieces, cheese, diced tomatoes, green onions, and red peppers.  You can really do anything, just be sure to add the things that cook the slowest first and add the ingredients that cook the fastest last.  I did a variation of this while camping and it had roasted potatoes, corn and steak from the night before, bacon, a few spices and at the end I cracked a few eggs in to it.  Delish and Easy.

Potatoes

{The start of some big dirty hash browns.}

  • Spaghetti alla Carbonerra

Don’t let the fancy Italian name fool you folks.  This dish is quick, easy, delicious and only has 6 ingredients {and in a pinch you can do it with 4}.  And who doesn’t love noodles {Or Noo-Noo’s as my nephew calls them}.  So here is a quick recipe for the fanciest, basic noo-noo’s you have ever had.

1 handful of spaghetti noodles

1 Tablespoon of butter or olive oil {I’m a butter girl at heart, the classic recipe calls for extra virgin olive oil, but let’s be honest we all have kids and that “extra virgin” just seems like an unrealistic brag to me.}

4 slices of bacon {Or cubes of ham, or bits of pancetta, or any pork variation you have in the fridge}

2 cloves of garlic, sliced {If you hate keeping and slicing garlic buy a little jar of the pre-minced garlic and keep it on hand.  It’s not cheating I promise}

2 eggs

Grated Parmesan {Or whatever cheese you have}

Boil the pasta until it is done, while that is going, cook up your bacon until crispy and pull it out, give your pan a quick wipe with a paper towel but don’t fully clean it, toss in the butter or oil, fry up the garlic, add the bacon back in, toss in the cooked noodles and crack the eggs in.  Stir once or twice until the egg is just cooked but not rubbery and grate the cheese on top.  Voila!  {If you want to do this with an extra step and make it fancy and nice for guests or just for fun, use pancetta, not bacon, and poach the eggs and place one in each bowl of pasta so each person can crack their own egg in to the noodles and stir it up.  Nothing yummier than some smooth egg yolk.}

Spaghetti a la carbonerra

  • The vast world of Pizza Variations

I have never met a kid who does not love pizza.  Or an adult for that matter.  Even gluten intolerant raw vegans like it…  Anyways.  If you don’t have a pre-made pizza in the freezer {because let’s be honest if you did supper would be in the bag and you would be watching Bubble Guppies with a large glass of wine} here are some pizza alternatives to try.

  • Pita pizzas: Take some pita breads and layer them with tomato sauce, a variety of toppings {cooked meat, olives, cut veggies, pineapple etc.} and top with cheese.  You can broil these in the oven for 5 minutes and boom, you’re done.
  • Tortilla pizzas: Same concept as above, but since a tortilla wrap is much thinner use smaller pieces of ingredients, and less of them or you will end up with a soggy torn “pizza” and a wailing toddler.  Another idea for a thin base is to brush it with oil, top with garlic and just a touch of cheese and then have a tomato sauce “dip”.  It will hold up better and not turn into a soggy mess.
  • If your kids are not set on the fact that pizza has to be round, you can slice a baguette or loaf of bread lengthwise and top with some light tomato sauce, deli meats, and cheese and bake or broil for a few minutes. Then you can even add some fresh greenery on top such as arugula or green onions etc. to make you feel better about the veggies portion of the meal.
  • If your situation is super dismal and you end up putting ketchup on bread with cheese wiz on top and microwaving it, don’t worry. I won’t tell if you don’t.

John eating pizza #cultivatingfoodies

And if all else fails and you really can’t manage any of this, feed them cereal.  They will survive.  Tomorrow is another day.

– Stephanie

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