Here’s some truth: lately, I feel like I’m kind of kicking ass at life, at least as far as time-management and getting things done goes. Over the past eight or nine months, I’ve been on a Swedish Death Cleaning blitz. (Although I didn’t know it was called this until just recently; I’d been referring to it as just “getting rid of crap we don’t need anymore,” which isn’t anywhere near as cool or sexy as Swedish Death Cleaning.) And I’ve whittled down our household belongings to pretty much only the things we need, want, and cherish. This is proving to be a very good thing as we prepare to move in a few weeks. Also, I already have holiday gift lists for Jackson and Joanie, which I will happily send to Santa, my parents, and any other family members who ask. The kids got their flu shots yesterday, and I’m about to get mine. I’m already working on the sixth annual DW holiday book drive, and I’m pretty sure I have the perfect new dining table picked out for our new house (that we close on in a few days, eee!). But, as awesome as I surely sound, there is something that never fails to throw me off my game:
The week might start off ok — I’ll plan a few dinners — in heavy rotation these days is this chicken dish; slow cooker pork chops; chili or a white bean stew; a rotisserie chicken with roasted brussels and sweet potato fries; and “breakfast for dinner” (the kids’ fave) — and swing by the grocery store and get the necessary ingredients. I’ll defrost meat in the mornings, do some prep work around lunchtime, and by 5, 5:15, I can bring the kids in from the playground and throw everything together and have dinner on the table by 5:45. But by Thursday — which is today — I have no clue what we’re doing for dinner. Not a clue. Actually, that’s kind of a lie. I will probably run by the gourmet grocery place in a bit and pick up their fancy marinara sauce (which is actually the same price as a jar of the generic stuff at the supermarket) and some of their yummy ricotta cheese that I’ll mix together and throw over some cooked pasta and sautéed carrots and zucchini. Lately, I’ve been doing this once every other week or even every week because it’s delicious, it takes about ten minutes to “cook,” the kids will actually eat it, and we have leftovers for another dinner or lunch.
Lately, on Fridays we’ve been going out for tacos. And tequila.
All of this sounds fine, I guess, but I feel like I’m in a bit of a rut. We’re eating the same things over and over, because they’re fast to put together and I know the kids will eat it without too much fight. (Except for the chili. On chili night, they get chicken nuggets and apple sauce.) I’d like to add some more dishes to the rotation though, ideally kid-friendly dishes that can be made with minimal prep work or cooking time (I did make these easy enchiladas this week which checked all the boxes and were delicious to boot). I have an instant pot my parents gave us for Christmas last year that I’ve only barely experimented with. Does anyone have any recipes they like for the instant pot? Any quick weeknight recipes they recommend? I found this post recently and thought I might start working my way through it (the pork fried rice sounds especially good). What are your weeknight standards? Do you feel stuck in a rut? Maybe if we all share a couple of recipes we like, we’ll all have a bunch new ones to try out…