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Recently my boyfriend and I took a trip to visit his brother, sister-in-law, 11-month-old nephew and 4-year-old niece. Our busy weekend was filled with sidewalk chalk, Crayola crayons, a trip to the pool, and lots of make believe.
We also made a stop to a popular grocery store in the Virginia/Maryland area. It's called M.O.M.s – My Organic Market. It was incredible – beautiful produce, large containers of whole grains like quinoa and amaranth, natural beauty products, and just so much good food.
But even after only a few days away from my home cooking, I realized: you can take me out of MY kitchen, but you can't take me out of any old kitchen.
I was given the task of cooking dinner one night and thought it'd be fun to see what mealtime was like with a baby bouncing around and a 4-year-old waiting to eat. Knowing I needed to get dinner on the table pronto, I cooked some pasta and chopped a variety of veggies, including a red onion, two zucchinis, two portabella mushrooms, a yellow pepper, cherry tomatoes, and garlic. I also had fresh basil that was picked from the garden.
I sautéed the veggies in a wok with some olive oil along with the garlic and basil. Once they were cooked, I added in the pasta and about half of a frozen bag of peas for some added protein, that defrosted on the spot. The peas were a big hit with the little ones, though I can't say they devoured the rest of my meal.
In no time I had a 1-pot (or should I say 1-wok) meal on the table with enough leftovers for lunch the next day. I made up this meal as I went along with no plan in place, adding in veggies as I found them in the fridge, but think it turned out well.
While I'm no super-mom (or mom at all, for that matter), it was a great time to see what family cooking and mealtime is like, even when crunched for time and in an unfamiliar kitchen. As long as you have healthy ingredients on hand, you can make a well-rounded meal in minutes, with time to spare for some more make believe and Crayola artwork, of course.
If you hunger for great meatless recipes, be sure to check out the 700+ vegetarian recipes served up daily right here at Diet.com!
Janel Ovrut, MS RD LDN is a Registered Dietitian who follows a vegetarian diet. She promotes no-nonsense, plant-based cooking so that eating is both healthful and enjoyable. Janel has a master's degree in nutrition communication from Tufts University in Boston. You can read many more of her blog posts at dinedishdelish.blogspot.com.