Why is it that every stage of parenthood just seems to get harder? Once they sleep through the night, they begin to move and roll and fall off things. Once they don’t need to eat every two hours, they start protesting solid foods and stop eating altogether. Once they can dress themselves, they start talking back. Once you get used to one baby, you go and have another one and wonder how you ever thought one child was hard. There is a constant game of “one-upmanship” going on — and somewhere in their cute little faces they are saying, “You fool, I’m going to make you realize how easy you had it back then.”
And so it goes with older children and activities. You thought your time demands were rough with babies? Just wait until they have school, and homework, and soccer, and t-ball, and dance, and piano lessons. I can hear you now, “I am not going to be that parent. I am going to let each child have one activity at a time and we will not cater to their every extra-curricular desire.”
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.
And you thought it was under your control. Here’s the deal: even if each child does one thing, you have to do them all. Get it? And in our house, we definitely don’t over commit, but once you get multiple schools and multiple activities, it adds up to some sort of clusterfuck matrix of driving and practices and games and crying over homework and going to plays/parties/cultural celebrations and making quiches (don’t ask about that one) and writing checks and buying snacks (because you can’t have an activity without a damn snack).
It is the reason my right eye keeps twitching. Plain and simple, we are on overload.
Hence the reason you need quick and easy dinners in your arsenal. And I call it an “arsenal” very purposefully. (An aside and a funny thing: In the food blog world, there is constant conversation about the danger of people like Sandra Lee or those who are proponents of things called “30 minute meals.” The danger, in the words of some, is that people aren’t really learning to cook and appreciate real food. The opposing viewpoint is that any cooking is better than none. Now, you know I am the biggest proponent of cooking real food — but these conversations fail to recognize the point that most of us in this stage of life don’t have a choice related to how much time we spend on food preparation. On many nights, I’d love to linger over a glass of wine while making Boeuf Bourguignon. But shit, it’s soccer night. Get it?)
So, I guess what I’m hoping is that on the nights you can cook, you do. And on the nights you cannot, you try to do something like this rather than ordering a pizza. Be smart when you cook and make sure there are leftovers. Because you can do an infinite amount of things with a little leftover meat, some veggies, and some eggs. This recipe (when prepared with leftovers) can be done in 15 or 20 minutes and is much more healthy and delicious than some frozen chicken nuggets.
And next up? Teenage Angst. Fantastic.
Asian Pork and Sweet Corn Hash
1/2 large onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large leek (white part only), cleaned and chopped
2-3 leftover baked potatoes (2-3 cups), cut into small cubes
1/2 of a cooked pork tenderloin (about 1/2 lb. of protein: can be chicken, beef, or beans too), chopped
1 cup of frozen corn (or fresh if you have it)
2 T olive oil
Salt and Pepper
2 T soy sauce
1 T water
Chopped fresh herbs, such as chives or parsley
1. Heat 1-2 T of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or saute pan. Saute garlic and onions for 2-3 minutes. Add leeks and saute for 1-2 minutes more. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
2. Add an additional tablespoon of olive oil and add potato cubes and cook for about 5 minutes (stirring frequently so they don’t stick), or until they begin to brown slightly.
3. Add 1 T of water and 2 T of soy sauce and stir to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add pork or protein and corn. Stir to combine. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until heated through.
4. Meanwhile, fry eggs to desired doneness (we like ours over-light and nice and runny). To serve, place hash on plate. Top with fried eggs and sprinkle with chopped fresh chives.