Bringing Up Baby — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in Family, February 21st, 2012

three bean and beef chili
The early days of becoming a new parent felt like a blur. Life was on fast-forward, and faced with sleep deprivation, well, it’s no wonder my memories are far from vivid regarding that “breaking in” period. What I do clearly remember, though, is that by the end of the first month, I craved a home-cooked meal. No kidding — my husband and I ate takeout for the first four weeks as Mom and Dad.

Even ordering the healthiest to-go meals took its toll on me mentally. I missed the scent of onions browning in a skillet and marinara sauce bubbling away on the stovetop. By the time our second daughter was born five years later, I had a better idea of what to expect and easily jumped back into my normal cooking routines.

If you’re wondering about a better way to balance mealtime and motherhood the first time around, you’re in luck. Debbie Koenig, who blogs at Words To Eat By, has a new book out that I wish existed back in 2003, when my brood was just beginning. Full disclosure: Debbie and I are friends, but once you start reading Parents Need to Eat Too: Nap-Friendly Recipes, One-Handed Meals and Time-Saving Kitchen Tricks for New Parents, you’ll see my gushing over her book has nothing to do with friendship. It’s a survival guide of sorts, a cheat sheet to making your own nutrition as high a priority as your new baby’s.

One of my favorite tips, silly as it may sound, is to buy a kitchen timer if you don’t already own one. Right now it may be easy to keep track of what’s in the oven, but once you’ve got a little one who needs changing, napping and feeding of his own, you’ll realize that little “beep, beep” is the difference between a home-cooked meal and a burnt one.

Fast and Easy, New Parent Meal Ideas:

Fish Piccata

Three Bean and Beef Chili

Italian Mixed Salad

Ginger-Soy Marinated Flank Steak

Jennifer Perillo is a recipe developer and food writer living in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her recipes and tips for feeding families homemade meals are a regular feature in Working Mother magazine, where she’s the consulting food editor, as well Relish Magazine, Parenting, Kiwi and her blog, In Jennie’s Kitchen.

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