You know, that phrase we never get tired of hearing and always makes us feel good?
"I'll cook dinner."
I don't care if we're having beans - if I don't have to cook 'em, it tastes like luxury to me. Sadly, that doesn't happen nearly enough. Not only are there plenty of single moms out here on the hustle, but even among couples, women still do the lion's share of meal production, housework, and child care.
We became SuperWomen, but most men didn't keep up.
So! If you like coming home to dinner already done, the crockpot* is your best friend!
Hell, forget luxury. Getting home to an already-cooked-dinner after a long day of work and errands and being everything to everybody is a damn lifesaver!
If you can get it together just enough to throw some basic ingredients in the crockpot in the morning (and this is important, remember to turn it ON! Shut up, don't judge me!) by the time you get home in the evening.... dinner is done! That 15 minute investment in the morning pays off with 45 extra minutes in the evening NOT spent chopping, measuring, cooking, and cleaning.
Here are a couple of my go-to recipes -- thrifty, easy, nutritious, and yummy.
Crockpot Vegetarian Chilli
You will need: Beans - 2 cans, or about 3 cups pre-soaked (black, red, pinto, or whatever you like)
Tomatoes - 2 small cans, or 1 big can, or about 4-6 cups fresh cut up
Onion - 1 small chopped onion, or a teaspoon or so of onion powder
Chili Seasoning - 2 Tablespoons chili powder, 2 Tablespoons cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Optional - jalapeno peppers to taste (I always have the sliced, pickled peppers handy, and I like to throw in several slices along with a little of the juice. Fresh peppers are MUCH HOTTER!)
Put all ingredients into the pot and give it a good stir. Turn on LOW, put on the lid, and forget about it til you get home! Eat over cornbread, rice, or tortilla chips with a handful of shredded cheese on top. Yum!
Spicy Smothered Chicken - Thanks to Laurie Hardie at Coffee With the Coaches
Chicken - 2 or 3 chicken breasts, or 4 to 6 thighs
Cream of Mushroom Soup - 1 can
Water - 1 can
Taco Seasoning - 1 Tablespoon chili powder, 1 Tablespoon cumin, 1 teaspoon each salt, pepper, cayenne, onion
Garlic - 1 clove, or to taste
Give everything a good stir, making sure chicken pieces are covered by the soup and water mixture. Turn on low, and go to work. This is good over rice and with a salad. Any leftovers (not likely!) make a great base for soup.
*If you don't have a crockpot, don't sweat it. These recipes will still work in the oven in a good heavy pan on very low heat. Or, you can always post a request on Freecycle, check the year-end clearance sales, or try second-hand. I usually always see crockpots at the Goodwill, often still in the box. Put the word out that you're looking for one, and you may be surprised at what turns up!
The workday is over; the meal is done - now, make the kids wash dishes. Bliss!