Every now and then I find myself going on an adventure for a few days where I have to leave my family at home. This is amazing and exciting for me but sometimes I find it nerve wracking. What will my kid eat, who will pack her lunch for school, and how can I make my absence easier on my family while I am gone? My solution is to plan. Just like I set out my clothes and plan outfits for each day so I don't have to think about it, I do the same for my kid and husband for food so I don't have to think about it! If I'm away for 4 days, 3 nights I like to cover at least 3/4 of the time away with a meal plan and take comfort that it won't be at restaurants or grilled cheese the whole time I'm away.
I find breakfasts can be easy while I am away, cereal (Barbara’s, 365, Made Good), overnight oats, waffles or pancakes (The best thing I have learned to do with waffles and pancakes is to make extra on weekends and freeze them on a plate and put in a bag for quick toaster breakfasts)
Lunches can be trickier. This is the time of day of weekend birthday parties or going out with friends and keeping my daughter out and about. So here are two lunch ideas for a park or eating on the go.
Hummus Vegetable wrap
Ingredients- 1 TBS hummus, 1 whole-wheat tortilla, any of your child’s favorite veggies for example 1 small grated carrot, cucumber strips, pepper sticks
1. Place a tortilla on a flat surface in front of you.
2. Spread 1 tablespoons of the hummus all over the surface of the tortilla.
3. Place vegetables of choice on half of the tortilla, close to the edge.
4. Roll up the tortilla tightly like a burrito.
Sandwich on a stick- This is a recipe that you can be creative with. You start with a loaf of crusty bread or a baguette, and then choose your cheese (meat if using), tomatoes (or cubed peppers), romaine lettuce. Place on the skewers in a sequence, you can add mustard, pesto or any other dip on the side or spread on the bread cubes.
Snacks are a great way with weekend birthday parties and maybe lots of take out to get good food into your house. I keep cut up veggies (tip- store carrots and celery in water to help keep their crunch) and dip on hand (like hummus for protein), fresh berries (tip- wash and store with paper towel in a container to keep fresh) and crackers and cheese.
Dinnertime would be a time for many families to call in take out or go out to a restaurant. Here are two of my favorite meals that can be made ahead of time. Here is a link to my chicken tacos that can be made in the Crockpot ahead of time
This recipe I can make on Thursday am and store in the fridge for Saturday dinner and all he has to do is pop it in the oven.
Skillet Baked Stuffed Rigatoni
1lb rigatoni pasta, 8 ounces ricotta cheese, 4 ounces goat cheese, Kosher salt, Fresh black pepper, 3 cups marinara (or good quality store bought marinara), 1 handful fresh basil leaves, ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook to 2 minutes shy of al dente. Drain them.
2. In a medium sized bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and the goat cheese and stir until well combined. Season with kosher salt and black pepper.
3. Put the cheese mixture in a pastry bag or Ziploc and snip the end off. Pipe the room temperature cheese into the rigatoni noodles.
4. Pour 1 cup on the bottom of a 10” skillet. Follow that with the basil leaves.
5. Line up all the noodles in concentric circles, 1 layer at a time.
6. When all of the noodles are in the pan. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the noodles.
7. Sprinkle the parmesan over the top of the sauce. (if you want to refrigerate, this is the point where you would do that).
TO COOK OR HEAT UP
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Bake the pasta about 15 minutes until the edges are getting golden and the dish is very hot.