Guest Blog: Susan Harrell

How to Simplify The Kitchen

Life is busy and hectic on it’s own, but add in a training schedule with being a mom and it’s a whole new beast. We are inundated with images of the perfect athlete or the perfect mom by the media.  You have Martha Stewart making dinner by scratch and always being perfectly crafty. Magazines are plugging away about the perfect weight race and how we all need to be thinner to be better athletes. Then on top of that there is always the next food trend you must follow. Vegan. Vegetarian. Paleo. Gluten Free. High Fat, Low Carb. It just goes on and on and it becomes difficult to not feel guilty when you order pizza for dinner or asked for an extra serving of pasta after a long day on the bike. Then there is the second-guessing of everything: Can I have this glass of wine? Am I bad for eating this burger? Should I make rice pasta, quinoa pasta or can I have semolina?

Trying to navigate through all of that is annoying, confusing and time consuming, which is something, you as a mom, do not have time for when it comes to feeding your family. You need real life guides, not the latest food fad or the 5-course meal recipe for dinner. You need fast, easy, healthy recipes at night and time saving tips to help keep you stay organized. You need to simplify the kitchen.

Below are some helpful tips on how to stay organized in the kitchen, being ok with semi-homemade dinners and a few on the fly dinner recipes.

How to Stay Organized

●     Start with meal planning. This is the golden egg of keeping you on track. It saves you time as you are not always running to the store. It saves you money by curbing the impulse buying when navigating the aisles. And, it also helps you to avoid unhealthy food choices.
●     Make sure your freezer and pantry are well stocked. This allows you to always have something on hand for dinner each night in case life happened and you didn’t make it to the store or got home late from little Johnny’s soccer practice.
●     Try prepping for the next night’s meal tonight. Marinate the chicken, dice veggies for the crockpot in the morning or start thawing the meat if it’s frozen.

Be a Real Person In the Kitchen

●     Learn to embrace the phrase “semi-homemade”. It’s amazing what you can do with a rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store. Salads, pastas, rice dishes and sandwiches are all possible.
●     Don’t try to be Martha Stewart in the kitchen. It’s ok to take short cuts.
●     Start thinking outside the box when it comes to dinner. Grab the chicken nuggets from the freezer and sauté them with veggies, store bought sweet and sour sauce and serve on top of rice.

Quick Recipe Ideas

Sausage Linguine: Sauté onion, garlic, pre-cooked Aidell’s chicken sausage for a few minutes and add in canned tomatoes. Season and toss with linguine.

Meatball Subs: Pull out some meatballs from the freezer and simmer with your favorite marinara sauce. Serve on a baguette with melted provolone cheese.

Spaghetti with Pesto and Chicken: Grab some store bought pesto and toss with spaghetti and a rotisserie chicken.

Vegetarian Salad: Combine pearl barley, arugula, canned chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil and fresh herbs of your choice.

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