I have had this Julia Child picture, framed and hanging on my wall for years. It makes me smile, it reminds me to slow down, and it’s a delightful prompt for someone like me who has a bit of a hard time asking for help.
“Back to School” is one of those times I wish I had a team of professional handlers, shadowing me and making my life just a little less muddy. I don’t. Therefore the last couple of weeks have been, more or less, hell and spent arming the whole family with new soccer shoes, tennis outfits, cellos, violins and let’s not forget, discovering the virtues of my new favorite, Mode Podge Glue and did I mention consulting about new cute outfits?
I also have had to organize 2 birthday’s celebrations, inclusive of multi-layered, glittery cakes, I have been at one open house, a welcome back coffee, I had a drum stick drama and I worked on a lengthy time line project. I cannot wait for week 3 in September.
I have commiserated with many of the parents and apparently I’m not the only one with these kinds of issues. Generally speaking back to school is a war zone for all.
One place where I do better than the organizational inferno of my kids closets and their activities, it’s the kitchen. My pantry is ready to go and my fridge and freezers are stocked up for lunches, snacks, dinners and post games hunger freak-outs—I didn’t know, before becoming a mother and a wife, men turn in to famished werewolves immediately after sport practice.
Furthermore, since I suspect, you are like me at home and don’t employ a swarm of chefs and pot washers ready to chop, prep and clean at your command, I thought you might enjoy learning about my 5 favorite, ready to go meals and pantry helpers that make my life easier and my dinners more enjoyable.
- Roasted Tomatoes Sauce– It’s a simple, healthy, quick but brilliant way to make a tomatoes sauce. The full power, garlicky flavor and the smooth consistency make it a perfect versatile companion for pastas , soups and a phenomenal base for sauces and stews. I make it in large batches and freeze it in my latest obsession, stand alone ziplock bags.
- Bolognese- We all have a bolognese recipes. This is my version and It reminds me of home. My kids know the taste so well by now, if I change the recipe even by one ingredient they complain. It’s a slow cooked project I usually do once a months on a weekend. I like to lace a mix of equal parts of double ground veal, pork and beef with a small amount of cumin and nutmeg and once it’s cooked and cooled I freeze it in pre weighted portions. I use it on pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, polenta or semolina.
- Olive Oil Frozen Herbs- This is my favorite last minute flavor trick and a great way to preserve all the herbs I grow in summer. I wash, dry and chop finely my leafy herbs like basil, parsley, cilantro and tarragon. I put them in ice cube containers packing at least half of the cube and cover them with good olive oil. I then freeze them, pop them out and keep them in ziplock bags ready to use in sauces and sautés. Read more about Olive Oil in my sharing corner post about Alina Lawrence, she is the fab owner of Olivette.
- End of Summer Minestrone- I make huge pots of this healthy and hearty minestrone. It’s loaded with beans and good vegetables. I add cooked orzo, barley, pasta or rice and finish it with parmesan and crispy pancetta for a full power one dish meal.
- Mashed Potatoes for the week-I keep a container of home made mashed potatoes in the fridge. They last for a good 5 to 7 days. They are a smart and efficient way to produce a meal in less than 10 minutes. Just add bolognese, cheese, a fried egg, peas and bacon, sausages for a cozy dinner or use them to top left over stews, grilled salmon, or really what ever you have in the fridge, sprinkle them with a mix of cheddar and parmesan, then brown them under the broiler for a couple of minutes.
So welcome back to school with an empathizing nod to all of you trying to get a last minutes cello delivered to your door!