Tuesday, November 4, 2014
I can't believe that a month has gone by between blog posts! I thought my PTA duties would lighten up a little once we got past the beginning of school, but I was wrong. Really, really wrong. So, as much I actually like the stuff I'm doing as PTA secretary, it is taking a lot of my free time, which means a little less time to tackle anything complicated for meals. I know, however, that I'm not the only one who is busy, with kids, with work, with STUFF. Life happens, and keeps happening, but that's no excuse to slap some spaghettios in a bowl and call it dinner (not that I am judging -- I have a couple of cans of it in my pantry, too, but I just call it lunch or a snack for the kids).
My mom, a single mother of three who worked as a nurse, is a great cook, but when we were kids, she didn't have time to do fancy stuff, either. I distinctly remember her 3-day soups. She would make a big pot of soup, put it in the fridge, and that's what we would eat for three days. It was especially useful when we were in high school and coming home at different times. Whenever we needed to eat, we would just heat up some of that soup!
What do I do when I know a crazy week is coming up? Riffing off of my mom's three day soup idea, I make a big pot of chili! It's super-versatile. The first night, you have the chili straight up with all the fixin's: cheese, onions, sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), cilantro.
Now, you could just freeze the rest and take it out for some other night when you're pressed for time. I, however, used it another night that same week to make chili-mac, which is spaghetti topped with chili. I got this idea from a summer I spent in Cincinnatti, a city known for its unique chili (they add cinnamon to it) and how they eat it. They have several different ways to enjoy chili: straight up in a bowl, two-way (with spaghetti), three-way (chili, spaghetti, and cheese), four-way (chili, spaghetti, cheese, and onions) or five-way (chili, spaghetti, cheese, onions, and beans), although, of course, my chili always has beans in it anyway. :-) Any way you order it, though, it's delicious! Chili is truly one of my "desert island" foods. I could seriously eat it every day.
There are other ways to use your pot of chili, besides just eating it. Top it with cornbread batter and made a kind of tamale pie. Here's a recipe from Martha Stewart, but I just use the Jiffy mix in a box when I'm pressed for time.
Another thing you could do with your chili is top a baked potato with it, or a cheese quesadilla (yum!) or make loaded nachos if the chili isn't too soupy. I feel a little like Pvt. Benjamin Buford 'Bubba' Blue from Forrest Gump, but you get the picture!
All of that from one pot of chili!
What are your go-to tips and tricks to get you through an especially crazy week?