Monday, April 9, 2012

This Is How I Cooked Dinner Tonight

After Lilly was born, we were spoiled with dinners.  Well really it started before she was born, when I was on bed rest.  Dan is an excellent cook, so he cooked a lot, and we were also brought a lot of meals by friends and family.  After she was born, I am pretty sure we did not have to cook for about a month, and when we weren't brought dinner or Dan didn't feel like cooking, we ordered takeout.  So, I'm sure it's not shocking to anyone that one of the things I've been struggling with is making dinner.  I feel like I am so busy with Lilly all day long that my time management skills have gone out the window.  Forget finding time to do anything for myself - between diaper changing, feeding, pumping, and bottle washing alone, there is barely any time left in my day.  Finding time for every day things like laundry, cleaning the house (pretty much has not happened since her birth - sorry Dan), cooking dinner, etc. is next to impossible.

I decided this week to make a conscious effort to find time to do these things.  Dan and I sat down yesterday and planned our meals for the week, made a comprehensive grocery list and took a family outing to the grocery store, which was half the battle.  Luckily, at least for today, Lilly was cooperative - I'm not sure whether she was tired from all of last week's activity or what, but she took a killer nap (in the crib!).  Today I unpacked suitcases - hers and mine - and put everything away!  Dan was shocked when he came home to a clean-ish bedroom.  I also did and folded four loads of laundry, washed bottles, pumped, addressed all of Lilly's birth announcements, and packed away her newborn clothes (muffled sob).  I had an appointment with my trainer tonight at 6:30.  Dan had a dinner meeting, but I knew I had to get dinner started before leaving for the gym at 6:00 or else I wouldn't get to eat until 10:00 pm.  I decided to make a chicken casserole, because Dan has several work dinners this week and I figured I could eat on it for lunches and the nights he's gone for dinner.  I knew if I could get it put together before the gym, then I could throw it in the oven when I got home and let it cook while bathing Lilly, feeding her, etc.

I cooked my chicken all day in the crock pot, and Lilly had been in a great mood all day and was happily playing with her new Lamaze rattle set from the Easter bunny:
Ain't she cute?  Anyway, of course as soon as I started shredding my chicken, she decided that she was inconsolable and absolutely had to have my undivided attention.  So, I did what any mother would do (right?): went upstairs and fetched the baby k'tan:


Dan came home and I'm sure was wondering what in the world we were doing (Side Note: you should have seen him roll his eyes when I asked him to take a picture and make sure to get an action shot.  Not sure whether he got the memo that this blog is serious business.).  It worked out pretty well, though.  She looked around and kicked a lot for a long time, and I finally realized that she'd fallen asleep.  Everybody's happy, yes?

Ya do what ya gotta do, I say.  Operation: get dinner together before the gym was, for the most part, successful...I was only 10 minutes late for my appointment!

Here is the recipe for chicken casserole in case anyone is interested.  I've historically made it a lot on Sunday evening so that I could take it to work for lunches.  It's healthy and delicious.  I normally serve it with a veggie - typically salad, sauteed spinach or green beans.  Yum!  Also, the casserole is HUGE so I normally only make a half portion.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups uncooked long grain rice (I use brown rice)
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cans (10 3/4 oz each) reduced-fat reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 2 cups fat-free milk (I normally use 1%)
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast*
  • 2 cups chopped celery**
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted, divided (I normally don't use this)
*I prefer shredded chicken, so I normally cover my chicken in water, add some salt & pepper and cook in the crock pot on low all day (at least 8 hours).  It is so easy to shred - falls right off the fork!  Plus, I typically freeze the broth for later use in other dishes.
**The chopping of celery is important - don't chop it too finely.  If you chop it coarsely and a little bigger (read: don't mince), it adds a nice texture and flavor to the casserole.

Directions
  1. In a large sauce pan,  bring the rice, broth and water to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the soup, milk, onion, Worcestershire sauce and salt.  Stir in the chicken, celery, 1/2 cup almonds and rice.  Transfer to a 13-in. X 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  3. Cover and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Uncover, sprinkle with remaining almonds.  Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through.  Yields: 10 servings.
Nutrition Information: 1-1/4 cups equals 334 calories, 7g fat (1g saturated fat), 49 mg cholesterol, 660 mg sodium, 41g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 25g protein.

Hope your Monday was great!  Did you remember to vote for us today?  Please and thank you!

Sarah

1 comment:

  1. You are SUPER MOM and Lilly is the cutest!!! Love reading your updates :) xo

    ReplyDelete

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