One thing that has changed about me since becoming a mother is that I've really come to enjoy cooking.
Before I met Abel, I often ate chicken nuggets and cheese for dinner. I'm not kidding. When we were dating we ate out a lot or he cooked. Even after we got married, our meals were generally things that could be prepared in 15 minutes or less.
When I was home on maternity leave I started doing a lot of baking (which I've always loved) and cooking. I poured through recipe books and tried new things. Sure, we still have some some old stand-by quick meals like grilled cheese and tomato soup or cheese quesadillas, rice and beans. And, I love using Trader Joe's pizza dough to make pizza with a big salad. But, I try to cook a real meal at least a few times a week.
On the days I'm home with Lucas, my goal is to prepare dinner during his nap. That way I just have to throw it in the oven or on the grill when Abel's on his way home and we've got a tasty, healthy meal which we can all sit down and enjoy together. If I wait until 4 or 5pm to start dinner then I may as well forget it. I think all parents would agree that is a rough time in a house with kids.
Needless to say, I haven't been doing a lot of cooking lately. The week in the hospital, the week home recovering, a week of meals from friends...brings us to last week when I was able to start to get back into the swing of things. And, I'd love to share two new recipes that really came through for us.
I ripped both of these out of my Mom's June Real Simple. Abel and I loved both of them. And, they were very easy to make.
First, pasta with zucchini and goat cheese. This was a wonderful, light summer meal. The goat cheese sauce was so creamy yet very light. I love zucchini but Abel isn't a big fan. So, I took a bit of a risk serving this but it was a hit! I do believe it even made him into a zucchini-lover! Lucas had maybe two slices of zucchini but loved the pasta and sauce. And, there was enough to provide lunch for all three of us the next day.
Second, stuffed chicken breasts with tomato salad. This was delicious! In fact, I plan to serve it the next time we have friends over for dinner. The tomato salad would make a wonderful bruschetta. In fact, when you plate it, put the toasted baguettes down on the plate and scoop the tomatoes over top. The bread will soak up all the wonderful juices! I actually halved this recipe only because I just had two chicken breasts and two tomatoes. Had I made the entire thing there would have been plenty for leftovers.
Try them out and let me know what you think!