Friday, September 25, 2009

I Finally Did It...

...I finally made dinner. Okay, okay this may sound silly but stick with me. This is sort of a running joke in my family and Mike's family: "Adrienne never cooks"- ha, ha, ha. And no it really doesn't bother me because 1) it's not that I can't cook, it's that I don't cook and 2) I'm confident enough to know that I'm very good at other things and 3) it's just not my thing, although I love to bake. Not cooking is kind of like my guilty secret along with my messy closets and messy car. People may think I have it all together but sadly, I don't.

So I used to cook before we had kids but once Ainsley came along and I worked full time I just didn't see how it was possible and then Harper came, forget it even more and then I stayed home. Then the pressure was on. I must cook for my family, I thought.(Let me just add that my kids get fed, I just haven't been cooking family meals) It was even my New Year's resolution last year. Well, let's just say after I found out about Bennett, at first I really didn't feel like doing much at all. And then I was just tired from being pregnant (making a lot of excuses aren't I?) And then, well then there was no then. I decided it was time, plus Mike was really getting on me about it and I've only felt guilty about it for almost 5 years now. So I started off simple but I must say it was healthy, it was good (even Mike said "this is pretty good") and it was served right when Mike was walking in the door from work (I felt like I was living in the 50's, the entire family is sitting at the table, the hard working father walks in from work and the wife sits his plate on the table and he sits right down-too funny)-even Ainsley was laughing at how strange and comical the whole thing was! Of course I took pictures to document this because this is kind of a first for me! Again to most of you, this is probably ridiculous but let me ask you, how do you do it? How do you find the time to make dinner every night? Is every mom making dinner every night for her family? Am I the only one that hasn't been? Now, before you rush to make a comment, this is what I need to fit in to almost all of my days and I'm not really willing to budge on anything:
  • Feed the children (this includes 4 bottle feeds that can take a long time)
  • Pump 2 times a day
  • Feed and take out the dogs
  • Take Ainsley to school
  • Play with Harper
  • Play with Bennett
  • Therapy for Bennett (2 times a week)
  • Pick up Ainsley from school
  • Exercise (this is a must for me)
  • Keep the house somewhat clean
  • Grocery shop (once a week)
  • Play dates (occasionally)
  • Actually sit down and come up with a meal (this is so hard for me!)
  • Relax (occasionally)

So I basically have maybe 20 minutes to fit in preparing a dinner as I see it. Any quick recipes for me that you can suggest? The one I did last night was simple but I need more ideas other than pasta dishes because I can do those. Mike has cooked for too long and don't get me wrong, he is a great cook, his steaks could rival any fancy restaurant's but he's tired and he wants to work out too and play with the kids and unless we both wake up at 4 in the morning, something has got to give. And I think that's got to be me. So I will leave you with the meal I prepared for my family on September 24, 2009 (everyone enjoyed it and Mike even said "I may have to blog about this one"lol!)

Baked chicken with ranch seasoning and bread crumbs

served with baked potato and steamed broccoli. (I know ya'll are totally laughing at my simple meal!)

Thought I'd throw this one in, Harper was thoroughly enjoying her pudding while I was cleaning up and I looked over and this is what I found!


  1. very good sister! You blessed your family in a new way!

  2. Looks fab to me! I cook every night, and I try to do things in the crock pot (so I can start it earlier in the day instead of during the afternoon/evening craziness). Usually when your broil things it is pretty fast (I like to broil salmon or chicken). I usually do steamed veggies as the side so I have more time to spend on the main dish. I would suggest signing up for Kraft's Food & Family magazine (it's free)and check out is one of my fave websites for new ideas. I also get Cooking Light magazine, but a lot of those recipes can be more complicated/time consuming. LOL,sorry, can you tell I love to cook??

  3. Oh, Adrienne, this post cracked me up! (In a good and loving way!) Great job!!!

    It is hard. Our schedule is pretty packed, too. I work two days a week and one night a week. Lucy has therapy six times a week.

    I think one of the things that works for me is organization. We have a few tricks that work for us. I keep all my recipes in a box and I have several cookbooks. Usually on a Saturday or Sunday, Mark and I go through and make our menus for the week. Using that to make my grocery list means that I have every ingredient I might need for the meals we'll be having that week. It also means I don't have to think about what to have each day. I have a list of the meals we chose and just have to pick from there. (Side bonus, I spend less shopping because I'm not buying food we don't need.) When we're making our weekly menu, we also keep in mind our schedule for the week so we pair easier meals with busier days.

    And honestly, when all else fails, a busy Mom's bestest friend is the slow cooker!! Yesterday, Lucy had PT at 7:30 am, then I worked until 5, got home around six, and we still ate a fantastic mango chutney curry dinner! That little crockpot is a life saver!

    Bon appetit!! ~Courtney

  4. You are not alone! I rarely cook a full sit down dinner. My kids all eat cereal the minute they walk in from school and then don't really care to eat what I make. I figure it is way too much time and mess for kids that don't care otherwise. But Gavin really likes home cooked dinner and it is his biggest complaint in our marriage. So I know I need to do better for him. He doesn't cook and gets overwhelmed just trying to put grilled cheese and tomato soup together.

  5. I should probably add that I didn't cook for a LONG time following Miss B's diagnosis and birth--and I even LIKE to cook, so you are doing great trying while Bennett is still so little! And, I am horrible at cleaning everyday--I keep it picked up, but actully CLEANing is not my thing. So if you have any tips on how you accomplish that everyday, send them my way!

  6. I cook everyday, but I love to do it. I got in the habit of doing so mostly out of necessity. My oldest was dx'd with a severe peanut allergy when he was 11 months old. I didn't trust the pre-packaged processed food to be completely safe for him (this was before companies started really labelling things) so I started cooking everything from scratch. I have a good teriyaki salmon recipe that the kids love and I also have cooked some meals on the weekends that I freeze in portions that I can pull out on nights where I'm more crunched for time. Soup is also a good standby. I made a ton of different ones recently. I put the soup in a 1L mason jar, and stuck it in the freezer. I pull it out and microwave it or keep one in the fridge to thaw over a day or two. I know soup is messy for kids, but I have found my kids will drink just about anything if you give them a straw. I put soup in a cup for them, or a fancy mug, give 'em a straw and they go to town. Of course this works best with the pureed kinda soups. I've got a good carrot soup, and a roasted root vegetable soup that are really yummy and you wouldn't really know it's good for you!

  7. Adrienne, I work full time, and am a single mom four nights a week (husband is in school) and have been looking for a way NOT to cook. I know you feed your kids, but what? What is your secret to getting around this? Because I feel myself running ragged these days, I'm always looking for a simple meal to fix for myself and the kids and try to stay away from the prepackaged sodium-laden boxed meals. I think the meal you prepared looks wonderful and YAY for simplicity!! Don't shoot yourself down for that! You covered the major food groups and it looks yummy!

    And I agree with Courtney - the crock pot is great to have around. There is nothing like coming home to dinner already done.

    A REALLY good (and easy - I LOVE easy) crock pot recipe that you can do many things with is Salsa Chicken. Put 3 or 4 frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot, cover with 1 can cream of mushroom soup (healthy request preferred), sprinkle 1 package of taco seasoning (low sodium preferred) and top with 1 jar of salsa. Cook on high for approx. 4 hours and the chicken falls apart just by stirring it. You can put the chicken in tortillas with lettuce, tomato, cheese, etc for burritos or tacos. My favorite is after the chicken is done, add chicken broth, a little extra water, can of black beans, frozen or canned corn (drained) and cook to boiling. Pour over tortilla chips for the BEST tortilla soup ever. Top with cheese and sour cream if you prefer!

    Happy cooking!

  8. If you have a crockpot a simple, delicious meal is White Chicken Chili. You can actually cook it in a regular pot but I like to throw it all together and forget about it until meal time.
    1 48 oz jar Randalls Great Northern Beans
    1 jar salsa 16 or 24 oz
    1 can Rotel
    1 can corn drained
    chopped onion and green pepper
    8 oz package cojack or similar cheese
    ground cumin to season, several shakes
    and 2 chicken breasts boiled then shredded or you can just throw frozen ones into crockpot and shred before eating, it breaks up pretty easy after cooking all day

    Just mix all together in crockpot cook on low for about 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Super good. I serve with tortilla chips instead of crackers.

  9. I try and cook when I can and hubby enjoys cooking so that helps. We have dubbed Monday as no cook Mondays. I am tired from working nights over the weekend so it is the last thing I want to worry about so we pick up something.
    I second the kraft foods books. They are quick and simple and usually you can substitute low fat ingredients to make some of the dishes better for you. Love the crockpot for anything I can use it for.
    I have really been telling myself I need to make up a menu for the week and grocery shop so I have it all figured out already. Some days that is the hardest part.
    Cute picture of Harper. Brooke starting laughing and saying, "I like that".

  10. I cook every night and it does take some planning and some practice, but it is just a natural part of the day. I must say I enjoy cooking. In fact, I'd much rather cook than engage in many of the other household chores. If i'm feeling really together, I'll plan oout my entire menu for the week, so when i go grocery shopping I can buy everything and have everything on hand. Another good tip is to have a nicely stocked pantry with all your spices and canned goods. the crockpot can be a lifesaver on really busy days and I often use my pressure cooker (yes not many people do anymore). You can cock meals 2-3 times faster in a pressure cooker, althoug it does take some pracitce. Good luck to you and keep cooking. With practice you may actually come to enjoy it :0

  11. I am seriously impressed with your meal, Adrienne! Honestly!
    Just wanted to let you know that Dave cooks when he gets home from work
    every. single. night.
    So, you're not alone on that. And Im even worse, because I can not cook at all! Prior to having Dylan I told Dave that I would really try to do better, so I bought a Rachel Ray 30 minute meals cookbook and actually tried for a while. Then Dylan came along, and well...yeah. I slacked again!
    You're motivating me, though. I think I shall start again, slowly though - one night a week, sounds good :)

  12. Loved your post!! I cook during the week and Doug does it on the weekends. I usually sit down on Saturday's and pic a few meals I want to fix that I need to make sure I have the groceries for and then the other nights I usually pull something from a box and fix it. Doug's kids are used to eating out of a box since Doug was a single full time Dad for 4 years so when I fix something healthy and elaborate they don't really like it. So, I try and fix a good and healthy meal a few times a week and then just do some hamburger helper, etc. My Mom is Betty Crocker the II but I have realized I will never be able to cook like her, have the time to cook like her or even want to cook like her. :-) I am proud of you, take it slow.

  13. Well...I don't really like to cook, but the family likes to eat. So, I do it. Always have. Even when I was a single mom with 2 kids and working full time. Plus running to school events and sporting events. It was tough, but I managed.

    I found that meal planning works great. A crock pot is always nice too.

    Good lucky and happy cooking. Gotta run...tonight I'm ordering in Pizza. LOL. This is my one night each week that I take off from cooking.

  14. Yeah, my spoiled family likes to eat every day too. My secret make a couple of meals at once and enjoy the leftovers.

  15. Hey, who said simple is bad? I don't think that food has to be elaborate to be good. It's funny you said you don't cook but you bake, and I'm kind of the opposite. I cook a lot, but I'm "askeered" of baking!

    Pot roast is really simple. I just put a nice piece of beef in the oven (usually London broil), with water, salt, pepper, potatoes, onions and carrots. When the roast is done, I take it out and put the roasting pan on top of the stove and I make a simple "roux" with Kitchen Bouquet, flour and hot tap water. Whisk this into the water (and veggies) that the roast was cooked in and then you have gravy for your meat and potatoes.

    An easy chicken recipe is lay boneless chicken breasts in a baking pan, lay a slice of Swiss cheese over each breast. Mix together pepper, a can of cream of chicken soup, 1/4 cup white wine or cooking wine. Pour that over the chicken/cheese and then follow with Pepperidge Farm seasoned stuffing mix. Pour some melted butter or margarine over it and bake at 350 for approximately 45 minutes (I always cover it as the stuffing sometimes gets too done).

    My kids are older (15 and 19), so I can definitely see where you're coming from, with three small children. There are easy recipes out there, though. Bon appetit!

  16. Oh yeah....the crockpot is my new best friend!!! I cook all sorts of things in it! I have about three crockpot cookbooks and use them regularly!!

    Or anything I can cook in the oven, like a casserole, is what does it for me! Then I throw in rice, or a pasta side dish or a veggie, or a salad and that's dinner!! Quick and simple. I'll go thru my recipes and pass along some of them. I'll scan and email to you!!

    Glad you are doing well!!! B is growing so much!!


    This is a great website. Put stuff in a crockpot before everyone is awake and dinner is ready and the leftovers work even better.

  18. Too funny! I never cook. Never. But, I recently went from working full time to part time, so I've been feeling guilty. I should have time to be super mom, right? So, now I cook once a week...okay, this has only happened once. But it is my intention to cook once a week. We'll see. Thank God for husbands who love to cook!

  19. Great post - I hate meal planning and grocery shopping. I guess I'd cook more if there was more food in the house to cook. And if my husband & I liked the same kind of food. (I seriously wonder what we ate while we dated since we didn't discover this for some time.)

  20. This is such a cute post! I loved reading it. I was about half way through and I thought, "this girl needs a crock-pot. I'm gonna post one compound word on my comments, and it's going to be 'crock-pot'" but I see many have beat me to the punch! Get yourself a nice one with a new cookbook specifically for crock-pots and you'll amaze yourself AND your family. I work full time as a real estate manager; pack 3 lunches everyday; make breakfast each morning and cook dinner every night. Now I don't use the crock-pot all the time, but it saves me at least once or twice a week! Won't be long and you'll be sharing your recipes with US

  21. I can FINALLY relate to a blogging mom. Ok, I can relate to lots of things, but not usually in the cooking/food area. I'm a Full-time working mom and NEVER cook. Somehow we eat, I'm not sure how though. I don't even know where I would start or what I would even do if I had to cook dinner every night (like I'd have the time anyway)

  22. I can relate! I do cook, always have, but it is still always a struggle. It seems other homeschoolers always seem to have it more together than I do....only recently found your blog. I have enjoyed reading it. You have a beautiful family.

  23. Adrienne: You're amazing!! :) See if you like this - my kids like it & it's not too time consuming:

    Lasagna with no-boil noodles:
    Ricotta cheese
    Bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
    Jar of spaghetti sauce
    Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles
    Salt, pepper, dried basil, garlic powder

    Put the ricotta cheese into a bowl and season it (to taste) with salt, pepper, dried basil, and garlic powder. You can add a little parmesan cheese if you'd like.
    Pour a small amount of any jarred spaghetti sauce into the bottom of a casserole dish (make sure the noodles will fit in it). Spread it so that it covers the casserole. Lay down one layer of the no-bake noodles and cover with a layer of the seasoned ricotta cheese. Cover this with a layer of sauce, and repeat for 3-4 layers, whatever will fit in your casserole. Make sure that the noodles are completely covered - you can move the sauce around when you're done.
    Top with shredded mozzarella cheese, sprinkle some parmesan cheese over the top. Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with non-stick spray, cover the dish, and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, remove foil, and bake another 350 degrees uncovered. Throw some frozen breadsticks in with it (or Pillsbury, your choice), toss a bag of frozen "steamer" veggies in the microwave(we love the broccoli & cheese), and you have dinner! Hope you like it!

    Mona Kay


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