As a full time working single parent, one consistent goal I have is to provide healthy home cooked meals to my son each day. It is so tempting to eat food from a drive-thru after a long day of work, and I’ll admit that I have given in to this temptation at times. Yet, as I’ve said before, Making Life Magnificent isn’t about perfection, but progress. We are all striving to do better and to be better, so this is one area I am striving in.
But as you know, it takes more than good intentions to achieve a goal like this. Cooking home cooked meals everyday when you also work outside the home everyday can be plain ole’ HARD! You have to think of something to cook, then do the prep work, then actually cook it! I work as a school teacher, so I’m on my feet all day. There are times when the thought of being on my feet more for cooking just isn’t a happy thought for me. So I….well, rush a little and try to cut corners. One day in particular, I had such a good idea for a quick and yummy meal: Broiled Lemon Pepper Chicken with Yellow Rice and Green Beans. Sounds easy and healthy doesn’t it! I came up with this one all on my own. (usually I steal ideas from all the great ones on my Pinterest Food Board!)
Anyway, as I was
rushing cooking, I ran out of steam and decided to change it to Broiled BBQ Chicken instead of Lemon Pepper. I slathered the BBQ sauce on the baked chicken and put it under the broiler that was set on high. My plan was to get the outside of the chicken just a little crispy, so while it was “broiling,” I went into the living room with my son to watch a little Wild Kratts. (such a great cartoon!) That’s when I smelled it! No, it wasn’t the sweet aroma of BBQ sauce tickling my nose! I had no idea that sauce would burn rather than broil. Instead of my chicken coming out like this: (which is what I envisioned)
It came out looking more like this:
I can hear you now….OMG, What did she do to that chicken?!? Go ahead and get your laugh on…I was certainly laughing at myself when I stood back and looked at my finished product. I laughed even more when I saw the look on my son’s face! But before you roll over laughing, just think back to your own Good Meal Gone Bad. We all have one if we’re honest with ourselves. Since I am still learning to balance work and motherhood (and it seems a hundred other things), I have more than one Good Meal Gone Bad, but it’s ok. I’m a work in progress 🙂
I’m glad you’ve gotten a good laugh out of this. I know there are other parents out there who are striving to put decent meals on the table each day, and going to a fast-food place all the time just isn’t ideal. Not only is it more costly, but it’s not as healthy. I could look at this chicken meal and feel the urge to just throw in the towel, especially since I have The Triple Threat very near my house (McDonald’s, Zaxby’s and Arby’s). Instead here are some things I now do to make this area of my life less of a struggle:
- I make a written meal plan every month
I don’t use any fancy templates, just a notebook where I write some of our favorite meals (that I know I can cook!) and I match these recipes with the food inventory in my house to make sure I have what I need.
- I bulk cook on weekends, then freeze those meals for later
This one change has made a huge difference in my life! Freezer meals are healthy & convenient! And there are TONS of ideas out there with step-by-step instructions. See here. Just don’t forget to take them out ahead of time so they can thaw properly.
- I use my Crock-Pot!!
If you don’t have one of these glorious inventions, please invest in one. It is a life-saver! Great meal ideas here.
- I plan which days will be restaurant days
Ok, sometimes you do really need to take a break. If your budget allows it, choose at least one day a week to pick up something to eat or go to a restaurant. For my son and I, Fridays are pizza nights; I pick up a pizza instead of cooking to give me a night off. There are lots of restaurants that have kids eat free night. Check them out in your area using this site: www.mykidseatfree.com
With planning and focus, this area of your life can truly be magnificent! My meals may be wacky at times, but not all the time. My Homemade Blueberry Pancakes were a hit this morning! So don’t quit. Keep cooking. Keep smiling.