Getting by with Old Standbys (Turkey Paprikash & Zucchini Orzo Risotto with Feta)

September 10, 2009

Okay. Who follows me on Twitter? (You don’t?! Well, get to it already! @ChowMamaStacie, of course!) While I try to keep my tweets to great recipes, food news, and other relevant family, kid, and food stuff, I occasionally leak a 140 character sigh. These exhales (sometimes groans) usually follow a day or two long Twitter silence because I’ve been overwhelmed with work, personal stuff (a technical term), or exhaustion at trying to balance it all while 36 weeks pregnant. What’s this have to do with food? If you followed me on Twitter, you’d know.

This has been a nutty week. And it looks like the upcoming weeks are shaping up similarly. Not sure what it means for my ability to keep up while in the home stretch of pregnancy and during the first few weeks after baby’s arrival, but I can tell you what it has meant this week: relying on quick, easy, comforting standbys. Meals that take no more than 30-40 minutes, largely unattended. Meals that require no more than one pot and a few utensils. Meals that can be made in a big batch and are adaptable—so that leftovers don’t have to look exactly the same two nights in a row. Meals that I can make with my eyes closed.

These are two meals I’ve already made this week. Both are great transitional meals—perfectly cozy for the the slight autumn chill in the evening air, but still light. Make them once or twice and I promise you, too, will be able to make them with your eyes closed.

The first is Turkey Parprikash, which can also be made with chicken (use boneless, skinless thighs to maximize ease and flavor). Serve over egg noodles and alongside your favorite salad or veggie side for a super homey meal one night, throw in frozen peas and serve over basmati rice another night. The second dish is Zucchini Orzo Risotto with Feta, a summery cousin of the less glamorous (but ridiculously delicious) Orzo Risotto that has been perfected by the ChowPapa. Chock full of veggie, this is a healthy one-dish meal that can be served all on it’s own. Leftovers can be dressed up with a bunch of dill or tarragon and eaten as a one dish meal, as a side with simply grilled chicken or pork, or made into “risotto” cakes that are perfect with a quick mixed green or tomato salad.

Two 30-40 minute dishes. Four meals (double the recipes if you’re feeding more than 2 adults and a small child). Perfect for when life gets too busy. Try them out. And let us know: what old standby’s do you rely on to get you through busy times? (With a baby on the way, I need to build my old standby arsenal!)

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