When I quit my job to stay at home with my son I was blessed to be able to focus my attention on the things that matter most to me: My baby and my husband. I just left a fast paced, deadline driven job and surprisingly I now find myself structuring my day at home with similar deadlines. In my head there is a miniature checklist each day- On Monday’s for instance, we do the following:
- Meal planning for the week
- Take Baby E for a walk
- Complete daily chore
- Afternoon grocery shopping
- Wash & fold laundry
- Monday Meal Highlight blog post
Somewhere in there I also try to get Baby E down for 2 (or three) naps, feed myself, grab a cup of coffee, work on freelance work, change 5-6 diapers and shake a rattle with my left foot while sneakily eating pieces of dark chocolate. I wake at 6 a.m. to feed Baby E, but I consider my “work” day to start at 8 a.m. when my husband leaves and to wrap up at 6:30 p.m. when he gets home. I challenge myself to end each day with a clean house and dinner ready at 6:30pm. (Full disclosure: this only happens
half the time…. sometimes…. occasionally).
Monday is one of my favorite days because I love planning out our meals, organizing my grocery list and hitting the local store. I feel that Baby E enjoys cruising through the grocery too- The colors, the smells, the music, the cheese samples…. Anyhow, I spent my first two months as a stay at home mom going bonkers in the kitchen before reality hit. I was spending WAY too much money on groceries. So, I have recently been trying to find healthy, flavorful meals that won’t break the bank. (Without relying solely on my mom’s Tuna Casserole recipe… Uck! Sorry mom)
Enter: Roast Chicken Breasts with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes, and Paprika from Bon Appétit… (Can we get a longer recipe name? Please, anyone?). This little gem of a weeknight meal is the perfect example of a great meal that comes together quickly and wont cost you a fortune. The same ingredients are reused in different ways to create a meal that seems complicated but that doesn’t require a huge laundry list of items. I especially like this recipe because it utilizes many staples that I try to keep on hand anyways. The canned beans and tomatoes are excellent budget friendly fillers and it seems that there is almost always a sale on some variation of chicken breasts. (I’ve made this with boneless skinless, bone-in breasts and bone-in thighs. Note: your cook times will vary- See here for some chicken cooking basics) Not to mention this is a great make-ahead meal. Throw it together the night before or while baby is sleeping and pop it in the oven 20 minutes before you want to eat. The great thing about roasting your dinner is that you have the duration of the roasting time to set the table, clean dishes… etc!
I like to serve this with a box of pine nut couscous or if I’m really in a hurry 90-second microwaveable brown rice. (But seriously, it’s killer with the couscous).
I hope that this becomes a staple in your home just as it has in mine!