I got deeply out of the dinner routine this summer – between the heat, lots of traveling, my pregnancy, Bart being out of town a ton, and just general burnout, I was struggling to put one real meal on the table a week. Other than that, we had a lot of snack-plate dinners, scrambled eggs and toast, pancakes, or. . . Chick-fil-A runs.
It wasn’t my best summer.
But when we got back from our last trip in August, I said to Bart, “I’m ready to be serious about dinners again.”
I was so tired of feeling panicked every night about what we were going to have for dinner, plus real dinner food is basically my favorite kind of food, and I didn’t want to eat pancakes, even the world’s best pancakes, any more.
And since mid-August, things have improved wildly. I’m going to the grocery store more often (my most-hated errand these days with three small children), I’m putting things in the crockpot or defrosting meat early in the day, and I try to think through before lunchtime what I’ll be making and do any necessary prep. I’m also trying to find new recipes to try, since that makes cooking significantly more enjoyable to me.
I cannot tell you what a huge improvement this has been for our whole family.
I made this a few weeks ago on a Sunday, and when we got home from church, the whole house smelled just exactly how you want your house to smell at dinner time on a fall Sunday. And it tasted just as good as it smelled.
I whipped up some biscuits, sliced some fruit, and another successful dinner was on the books. One down, fifty thousand more to go. . .
Creamy Chicken Crockpot Stew
(adapted from Who Needs a Cape?)
6 small red potatoes, diced into large chunks
1 medium onion, diced into large pieces
2 cups baby carrots, halved
1 cup water
2 Tablespoon seasoned salt
3-4 frozen chicken breasts
3/4 cup milk
3 T cornstarch
Put the vegetables in the bottom of the crockpot, add the water and sprinkle half the seasoned salt on the vegetables. Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle with the other half of the seasoned salt. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Whisk together the milk and cornstarch until smooth, then pour into the stew and cook on high for about 15 minutes, until the broth has thickened. Add more liquid if it’s too thick for you, then season with additional seasoned salt to taste.