Many times I’ve had people ask me, “How do you make time to cook from scratch all the time?” To be honest, many of the recipes I feature on Spain in Iowa are what I consider my “feast” type of meals. Slow cooked stews, braises or drawn out recipes utilizing many ingredients aren’t my everyday meals. They’re my midweek or weekend meals made with love and time.
Now that Spring is here, I’m finding myself busy sowing seeds, prepping garden beds, learning about manure all the while taking care of my family and teaching a couple of night classes. With less time to spend in the kitchen I dive into simple meals and often take advantage of the Panera Bread bakery for home baked bread. I’m the first to admit that I don’t have time to make everything from scratch and when it comes to baking bread, I’m glad I have Panera down the street to help me out.
I want to illustrate how I often go about making nourishing, real meals in no time or energy at all.
Yesterday I had plans to visit a future B&B Inn for a small real food blogging retreat I’m planning in August or September of this year. (If you’re interested, let me know I knew most of my morning was going to be taken up by this outing with my 2 boys. I teach Wednesday evenings so I’m often prepping for class during my late afternoons. From this scenario alone, I knew I wasn’t going to have time to cook before heading off to class.
With a deep freeze filled with Stamps Family Farm Berkshire Hog, I pulled out my crock pot, threw in a pork roast, 1/4 cup of water and slathered some Natural BBQ sauce all over it. I set it on low and ventured off on our errands.
Knowing there was no way I was going to have time to bake some rolls for pulled pork sandwiches I decided to stop at Panera for lunch. Yup, yummy black bean soup and Thai chicken salad for me while the boys inhaled pb&j sandwiches. On the way out I made sure to pick up my favorite sourdough rolls from their bakery. They’re incredible. Perfect crumbly crust on the outside and dense, chewy crumb on the inside. Perfect for pulled pork sandwiches.
At 4pm I cut up some organic potatoes, seasoned them with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper and roasted them in the oven for 45 minutes. As soon as Gabe walked in the door I let him know to shred up the pork and use the Panera sourdough rolls for sandwiches. Potatoes were in the oven and he had a choice to make a salad or heat up some frozen organic corn.
Simple, nourishing, real food made quickly!
My family didn’t object either.
I really do appreciate places like Panera that take the time and find the importance in baking and cooking real food using fresh ingredients. It’s makes my job a whole lot easier. And for that… I am truly thankful.
My question to you?
What are your favorite real food quick and easy recipes you’d like to share?