Everyone has one of those crazy days. And by crazy days I’m talking about the mother who gets off work, takes one child to some form of athletic practice or organized sporting event, while calculating exactly how much time she has to get the second child to not only softball practice, but also to dance at 7:00 for a “crucial” rehearsal to prepare for the spring concert. In the midst of all of this she must pick up groceries, prepare a treat for the “100th day of school” party the following day, and pick all children up from various events at various places all over town. Yes. These are crazy times we live in. But that doesn’t mean dinner has to be drive-through. I completely understand and trust me, all too often I have found myself hitting up that drive through. But as my goal for the new year is to spend less and value more in my life, I will share not only the successes but also the inevitable failures that will come with this ridiculous goal.
While I do not have children in organized sports, dance, or need to create treats for my children, I did have a meeting after school, had to deliver valentines to my niece and nephew, and stop at the store for last second items. This put me in the door at 5:15 approximately 15 minutes before my husband walks through the door and we typically sit down to eat together. Crunch time!
Let me introduce you to my friend, the skillet. The skillet in our house never looks the same twice. It typically starts with some vegetables, olive oil, some turkey kielbasa, and whatever seasonings I’m in the mood for that day.
On this specific night we started with sliced potatoes with my mandolin slicer (BEST. KITCHEN. TOOL. EVER) some sweet bell peppers in a variety of colors, one sweet onion, a package of turkey kielbasa, and some smoked paprika.
Once you spend those glorious therapeutic 5 minutes slicing and dicing away, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Step two: toss it all in! let your delicious concoction sizzle for a few minutes before tossing in 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika (typically I just shake a light little coat across the pan) a pinch of salt and a shake of pepper. I usually spend a good 15 minutes letting it all cook up, getting that nice little golden brown coating.
If you are multi-tasking, toss a lid on that bad boy and start prepping those little crazies running around your feet for dinner. My girls LOVE this dinner! They love sweet peppers and kielbasa is like a staple in my oldest daughter’s diet.
My favorite part of meals like this, is the extra time I have to sit and relax with my husband and girls. We make a point to sit down every night together for dinner. My husband recently made the shift from the “field”back to the office, which means he is home almost every night sharing his day with us over a cooked meal, while our three year old entertains us with her version of the antics at the sitter’s house. Dinner time has almost turned into a sacred time for us. It has taken seven years to get to a point where he can be home, with us, every night.
Don’t get me wrong, there was about a two-month adjustment period where we figured out how this new lifestyle would work. It wasn’t easy, but it was so worth it. My husband being home with us, with the girls every night is absolutely priceless. The sense of “normalcy” we have is irreplaceable. Perhaps it has been my inspiration to make the most of every moment possible with this sweet little family I have been blessed with.
So, for those of you on the run, creating life on the fly, I hope this simple little skillet combo can give you a moment of peace and comfort in an ever-chaotic world. Sit, eat, and enjoy.