Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
It occurred to me that many things in my life is celebrated with food. Special birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, all usually have a meal associated with it. I was thinking about this on Thanksgiving, where we had a big meal planned, but I had very little to do. (And I didn’t order in, either!)
There are two things I routinely do to simplify making big meals: changing my cooking methods, and changing the food.
No Oven Thanksgiving
We do the standard American Thanksgiving meal: turkey, stuffing, potatoes, veggies and pie. In my mother’s house, this meant an oven stuffed full of things baking, and many things made the day before. In my house, the oven doesn’t get turned on. Why? Because I use alternate cooking.
This past Thanksgiving, I made a turkey breast in one crockpot, and the other crock was filled with stuffing. Both were cooking by 11:00 a.m., leaving the afternoon free for me to watch football. The potatoes were (standard) mashed, and the veggies prepared in the steamer.
The result of this was that instead of being in the kitchen the majority of the day, I had a half-hour session at 11 a.m., 15 minutes at 5 p.m., and another 15 at 5:45. My time was freed up, the dinner was delicious, and the house smelled wonderful, just as if everything was in the oven.
This method of cooking Thanksgiving really made it easy on me. I had little cleanup to do, and the preparation was a breeze.
Surf And Turf Yule
In my home growing up, Christmas was celebrated by another epic meal, usually involving ham, plus all the sides. Another Thanksgiving, so to speak. I could do a no-oven meal, but why not think outside the box for Yule?
We are lucky to live in a mild climate, so the grill is available year-round. So we have decided we’ll do a surf-n-turf Yule meal: good steaks, fresh steamed shrimp, grilled potatoes and onions, microwaved veggies and cheesecake.
In simplicity’s light, this means I will have to do a half hour in the kitchen (not including making the cheesecake the night before). A simple meal, simply cooked, but special because it is not something we would eat normally.
I’ve decided that I’m just not going to fuss about big meals anymore. Simplifying how I cook and changing what I cook really goes a long way toward that.
Photo by toholio