Friday, July 16, 2010

Mmmm...that 30 minute meal sounds great; too bad I don't have any groceries.

I'm a foodie. I love to cook, and I love to eat. I used to make a lot of things from scratch--salad dressings, pizza dough, pasta sauces, pesto, granola, different types of rubs, salsa, and I made most of my daughter's baby food. It was my hobby, and I'd laugh at the Sandra Lee/Semi-Homemade way wondering who in their right mind would use taco seasoning mix. Ha! I've recently discovered that taco seasoning mix can help me make some good and fast fish tacos.

My evenings have gone from cooking something wonderful and sitting down to late dinners with my husband to managing to get something on the table as close to 6pm as possible. My daughter's head starts to spin around by about 6:15pm, and there's no cheddar slice or apple wedge that will tide her over. The girl knows the difference between a snack and a meal. It's in her blood.

I know I'll eventually go back to making more from scratch, but for now I’m in dinner survival mode. What can I make that's nutritious, good, different, fast and easy? And what do I have in the fridge and pantry? When did actually making it to the grocery store once a week become such a challenge?

As I’m figuring my way through the “semi-homemade” way I’ve learned a few tricks. Here’s a quick list of a few things I’d never buy before but that have now found their way into my world and onto my grocery list…whenever I can actually make it to the store.

1) Frozen pizza dough (especially Real NY Pizza Dough) is good, and you just need to set it out before you head to work.
2) Paul Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette isn't the goodness of homemade, but it'll do.
3) Prewashed lettuce/salad bags are a must. (If you ever want to eat a salad again it’s worth the extra cost.)
4) Frozen cheese and spinach ravioli (Did you know you can use this to make a quick lasagna? It’s true!)
5) Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain Ready Rice (90 seconds in the microwave really beats an hour on the stove.)

I love the quote: "Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life." Right now, my time is better spent outside of the kitchen.


  1. Kennedy's are BIG users of #3 and #5, but then again... we always have been.

  2. Cool! Be sure to check out #1 and #4. I'm not sure how we ever lived without it!! Hope you guys have a great weekend!

  3. I've given in to cheeks are flushing as I type! Plus, I also make a bunch and freeze it--something I never did before!

  4. Freezing extras is a great idea, Ashley. I need to get on board with that. I also need to get over the idea that casseroles are more fall/winter foods. What type of casseroles are you making?

  5. I cook. I've come up with a few things I can make ahead of time. I've found that meatloaf freezes well in individual servings in Glad containers. I've also found that my wife and I can't tell the difference between "real" mashed potatoes and the better instant brands. It helps to have a 15 cubic foot freezer in the basement, though...

  6. Hey, Greg! Thanks for the tips. We actually just bought an extra refrigerator/freezer for our basement. Since we seem to have trouble making it to the store we figured we'd better stock up when we're there. Just the thought of instant mashed potatoes hurts my heart, but hey, I'm willing to give them a try. I'll let you know. :)