My Romance Writers Weekly Crew is shifting up their blog approach this week and talking about something pretty much everyone can relate to:
When life gets nutty (or should I say nuttier than usual), how do you get dinner on the table in fifteen minutes or less?
Before I dive in, I have to wave at the folks visiting from Susan Scott Shelley’s site. I’ll try to be on my best behavior and not rattle you with my wild ideas and orneriness too much.
Now for the question–which, sadly for me, is going to turn into one of my embarrassing Mommy Confessions. (You can search for more of those by clicking the mommy confessions link at the top of this post if you want more of my public disgrace. 🙂 )
I was raised in a family where dinner was served promptly at 5:30 and hit all the necessary food groups. We’re talking salad, protein, bread, vegetable, and sweet tea every single day. Anyone else remember Green Goddess salad dressing?
So, when I popped out my first kiddo, I decided it was time to take a run at the domesticated thing like dear old mom. I quit my job, donned my apron, and started putting dinner on the table at 5:30pm when hubster got home.
Apparently, I’m not a bad cook, because hubster and I both started putting on weight. (Okay, so maybe I should clarify and say I’m good at comfort food. Who the hell wants to spend time cooking for steamed cauliflower?)
Then I started working from home and the time available to cook shrank rather drastically. I started asking myself if it was even healthy to put so much emphasis on eating.
So I mad a decision to a) quit cooking up the yummy stuff, at least for day-to-day consumption, and b) make dinner a little less formal.
The result: A combination of free-for-all nights, ready made dinners, and baked potatoes.
Yes, those are my fifteen minute meals and they happen almost every Monday through Friday.
Free for all night is when I have zero time to plan and I rush in from work and shout, “What does everyone want for dinner?” The crew calls back their favorite Lean Cuisine/Healthy Choice/Smart Ones/Campbell’s Soup Order and I knock it out before I jump on the elliptical. Shit you not, I can work a microwave like no one’s business.
Ready Made Meals require I actually think about dinner sometime before 4pm. Sometimes it happens, sometimes is doesn’t.
Seriously, I should buy stock in Stouffer’s and Hormel.
Baked Potatoes are another family staple. Again, this somewhat healthy though terribly imbalanced meal requires I think about food prior to 4pm so they have time to cook. (Yes, I know I can cook ’em in the microwave, but they just don’t taste the same. A girl’s gotta honor her old-school background somewhere, right?) Still, the girls love ’em, the calories are reasonable, and the amount of time involved is limited to pre-heating the oven, cleaning the spuds, and dropping them in to bake. Easy, peasy.
So, there. Those are my daily fifteen minute go-tos–embarrassing though they might be.
I’m sure my fellow Romance Writers Weekly comrades will offer more nutritious and crafty options for you, but if you’ve ever succumbed to the slacker dinner routine I’ve outlined, I wouldn’t mind a little moral support in the comments section. 😛
Check out Fiona Riplee and see what she has to offer next.
Jo RichardsonAugust 5, 2014 at 12:32 pm
Hey, I happen to LOVE Stouffers meals! And baked potatoes are definitely a great fast one – 8 minutes in the microwave, is all I’m sayin’. I love this Rhenna! And your story is a great one. Who doesn’t feast on comfort food here? (Not me!) XOXOXO
RhennaAugust 5, 2014 at 2:36 pm
Yeah! Another Stouffer’s fan! Their lasagna is pretty damned good!
Collette CameronAugust 5, 2014 at 12:56 pm
Grinning here, because dinner time comes around here and my nose is almost always pressed to the computer screen and I don’t want to stop writing to cook.
I was just telling hubby yesterday that I was craving a loaded baked potato.
RhennaAugust 5, 2014 at 2:35 pm
Well, you’re a nicer gal than me. I just don’t want to cook period. Dishes. Yuck.
Christy CarlyleAugust 5, 2014 at 12:59 pm
I love the idea of baked potatoes for supper! My husband is a Scotsman and thinks meat is an essential component in any meal, but back in England, I was quite content with a sweetcorn and tuna jacket potato (as they call them) for dinner. Great post, Rhenna!
RhennaAugust 5, 2014 at 2:34 pm
Thanks for stopping by, Christy. The nice thing about potatoes is that I’m FULL when I’m done. Probably not the best choice carb wise, but oh well. 🙂
Susan Scott ShelleyAugust 5, 2014 at 1:49 pm
Sometimes for me, dinner is a bowl of cereal or a bowl of soup, so I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who makes a meal decision on the fly 🙂
You are so right on the baked potato — out of the oven is way better than out of the microwave.
RhennaAugust 5, 2014 at 2:34 pm
I love cereal for dinner! Or breakfast of any kind really.
Veronica ForandAugust 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm
Sounds like my house! We have too much Mac and Cheese (Gluten free for the youngest). I’m trying to incorporate salads into every meal, but it doesn’t always happen. My best friend is the crockpot. Throw the stuff in and let it cook itself. If it didn’t make into the pot, it’s not on the table.
CJ BurrightAugust 5, 2014 at 5:04 pm
I start out with the best intentions of cooking dinner on Mondays, but by Thursday, it’s pretty much fend for yourself. I always have some chicken cooked up, so my fast favorite is chicken enchiladas–roll up some fat free cream cheese, diced chicken, chopped green onions and salsa in a gluten-free tortilla and bake for 25 minutes. Yum!
RhennaAugust 5, 2014 at 6:06 pm
Hahaha, that sounds like me CJ. I could go for those chicken enchiladas though anytime too.
Gemma BrocatoAugust 5, 2014 at 5:37 pm
I was looking for Green Goddess dressing at the store the other day! I love free for all nights, but breakfast for dinner nights are my favorites. I can whip out an omelet in next to no time. Thanks for the great post, Rhenna.
RhennaAugust 5, 2014 at 6:05 pm
I love breakfast ANYTIME. Especially with bacon. 😛
Veronica ForandAugust 5, 2014 at 7:10 pm
My comment disappeared bc me and my computer are in the process of a divorce, so if there are two comments by me….enjoy?
I love your response. I live on the run as well and my top three meals are take out, mac and cheese, and frozen meals. (although rotisserie chicken- very good option!)
Mishka JenkinsAugust 6, 2014 at 8:10 am
Awesome post and those Gifs had me chuckling! 😀
Culinary Confessions | Rhenna MorganAugust 7, 2014 at 7:29 am
[…] this week, the Romance Writers Weekly crew posed the question, “What’s your best 15 minute meal?” I answered, but it ended up being more of a mommy confession than offering up anything creative in […]