Pan fried or roasted? The art of trying to make dinner while minding the kids

via Daily Prompt: Fry


I tried a new recipe last night for a tasty pasta primavera from one of my favourite cookbooks: Looneyspoons. I had to modify it a bit to suit the dietary restrictions of my family, but all-in-all it was great! Hubby came home late from work to find the kitchen rather a mess, but a tasty meal awaiting him. This is delicious! He said. But wouldn’t it have been easier to just fry up the veggies? Was it really worth the extra work of roasting them?

My husband is a great cook, so dinner compliments from him are always nice to hear. I also appreciate the advice to streamline the cooking process, however, with two small ones flitting about, that’s not always easy. Here’s how my dinner prep went yesterday:

While El was having her afternoon nap I decided to chop up all of the veggies in preparation for dinner. Point for me! However, while happily chopping veggies I suddenly noticed that it was almost time to go and pick up Bean from preschool. Right. The dishes will just have to wait. I covered the veggies and off we went for pick-up, meanwhile congratulating myself (albeit prematurely) on the advance dinner prep.

Once home, I instructed Bean, “Just let mummy put these veggies in the oven and then you can have a video while I breastfeed El.” I’m thinking 2 minutes, tops. All I had to do was chop some basil and garlic, toss them with the veggies and a little olive oil, and then voilà, time with the girls. Then I looked at the recipe. Oh dear, I’d forgotten to chop the tomatoes. And of course, the garlic and basil took a little longer than I would have liked. Points for the other team. (What other team??? Umm… maybe those mums who are a little more with it than me, haha.)

So I finally finish prepping the veggies, pop them in the oven and then sit down to feed El and watch Paw Patrol with Bean. Ok, this is why I wanted to roast the veggies — time with the girls while it was cooking. Except that I’m supposed to be cooking the pasta and washing up the prep dishes… Right. So after the veggies come out, the pasta goes on and Bean gets to watch more Paw Patrol while I finish organizing everything dinner-related; the dishes are going to have to wait.

Dinner’s finally ready, yes! It tastes great. Or at least, I think it does. I spend half the meal spoon-feeding El, the other half trying to coax food and fluids into Bean (something is up; this kid normally loves to eat), shoving a fork-full of my own dinner into my mouth every now and then. By the time dinner’s over, Bean’s really not doing so great, and it’s bedtime for El, so I corral the girls upstairs and leave the dishes be.

So yes, it might have been faster to fry the veggies, but then the dishes would most definitely NOT have been done. At least with roasting I had half a chance to do them… maybe next time I’ll plan it all out a little better. This momma might just yet be able to serve a nice home-cooked meal without the kitchen being a mess by the time I’m done. 😉 Here’s to all of you mommas who can cook dinner while managing kids and cleaning up the dishes as you go. You are my hero; please send advice!


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