My drive home yesterday was just a mess. Several hours of windshield wipers swishing in front of my face. The upside was that most of the interstate drivers were going a little slower than normal. (Which got us down to the actual speed limit.) I was headed home after a few days helping out the new mommy.
It's a pleasure to help them during these crazy busy days. I did the grocery shopping. Cooked a few meals. Laundered baby clothes. Took over baby duty so that the mommy could get some extra sleep. And we watched it rain...rain...rain. Every day.
Jessica had made her meal plan for the week before I got there. Her sister does this, too. So smart. Having a plan greatly ups the odds of getting a meal on the table. I need to do better.
I also took advantage of the extended nap times that fill the days of tiny babies. During the afternoon I would prep the parts of supper that could be done ahead of time. I measured the seasoning. I would chop, slice, dice anything that could be done ahead. I even pulled out the proper pans and had them ready to use.
If your day is a different kind of busy and you don't have pockets of time during the day to do this kind of prep, you can do some the night before. Or, maybe even do some on the weekend. But know there are ways to help yourself get a cooked meal on the table. But you might have to change up your order of doing things.
There are so many sources of "plan ahead" tips on Instagram, YouTube, etc. Just don't get sucked into using all of your precious time looking at the tips and not doing your own prep work! I have liked following MealPlanAddict on Instagram. On Instagram you can take a quick glance at a single post instead of committing to watching a 15-20 minute video on YouTube. There is good information in both places
And yes, I did find a few minutes here and there to take some time for myself. Knitting even a few rows a day makes me feel better. I DO know that knitting while you are watching a small baby requires a simple pattern. With lots of stops and starts likely, you don't need a complicated pattern or chart to keep up with. I can make mistakes easily enough when things are quiet.
The first meal on Jessica's weekly meal plan was another recipe from The Defined Dish. We used flour tortillas. And I bought low-carb tortillas by accident. I'll be more careful next time. The low-carb tortillas were a little gummy. You can use lettuce leaves instead if you are watching carbs.
ONE SKILLET CHICKEN FAJITAS
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 medium green pepper, diced
1/2 medium white onion, diced
juice of 1 lime
Measure seasoning into small bowl and mix. Set aside. (I got carried away with the 1/2 teaspoon measuring and used that much cayenne. A little more heat than I expected!)
Pound chicken to 1/4-inch thickness. (Or start with chicken cutlets. Or, slice the thick breasts into thinner pieces.) Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken in a single layer—do it in two batches if needed—and cook until golden brown and almost cooked through.
Add peppers, onion and seasoning mix. Toss to evenly coat. Cook until peppers and onions are tender. Add lime juice.
We served this in flour tortillas with sour cream, cheese, avocado, salsa, etc. And we added tortilla chips on the side.
I will make this at my house, for sure. It was quick and easy. And delicious. I did learn that I truly need to cut the the chicken into small pieces. My guess at 1-inch wasn't very accurate. The chicken I used also released a lot of liquid. So much that I spooned out about a 1/2 cup to let it brown a little.
And as I've mentioned before, kosher salt measures differently than table salt. Table salt is "saltier." So if that is what you have in your kitchen, go easy on the amount. You can always add a little salt when you eat it. You cannot unsalt food!