What's for dinner? Well, come winter, when hearty stews, casseroles, and soups top your list of meals, the answer is easy: A warming, one-pot wonder.
It's 6pm and the battle cry has begun-often before you've taken off your coat and gotten both feet in the front door. "What's for dinner?" Usually that question is like nails against a chalkboard, meaning, I have no idea. But come winter, when hearty stews, casseroles, and soups top my list of meals, the answer is easy: A warming, one-pot wonder.
Think about it, my fellow (exhausted, stressed-out, multi-tasking) mom comrades: You chop, dice, and throw some things in your crock pot/slow cooker in the morning, and come late afternoon/early evening, the fruits of your labor are bubbling, simmering, and sizzling with the tempting smells and promise of a delicious home-cooked meal, often with enough leftovers to last the week.
A good one-pot meal generally includes a protein (meat, chicken), aromatics (garlic, herbs, spices), vegetables, and a starch (potatoes, rice, grains, pasta). And it's honestly that melding of flavors, often substituting some of your favorite spices in lieu of what a recipe suggests, that provides for a delicious warming meal. The secret: You just have to plan ahead (and have a decent-sized pot or deep skillet). The beauty? You don't have to be a stellar cook to get it together. (I use time-saving ingredients such as prepared sauces, marinated meats, washed/pre-cut vegetables, bagged salads, and other lifesavers, such as frozen pre-cooked brown rice.). Plus-and here's the kicker-you essentially only have one pot to clean at the end of the evening. It's seriously the best way to get dinner on the table in a hurry.
Area moms like you offered a some of their favorite recipes, including turkey osso buco stew, beef (or turkey) barley stew, greek chicken stew, brisket, and farmer's pie.
Jeanne Muchnick, a.k.a. "America's Dinner Mom," is the Larchmont-based author of "Dinner for Busy Moms," which is about how to get healthy meals on the table when you're NOT a cook. Jeanne's experience stems from years writing for a variety of national magazines including "Woman's Day," "Parents," "Parenting," "Woman's World," and more, as well as years as a mom of two picky-eating daughters. Go to www.thedinnermom.com for more info.