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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Easy Meals for the Multi-tasking Mom

Amy's son was diagnosed with T1D less than a year ago.  His diagnosis hasn't slowed this mama down, and she's sharing some of her favorite dinner ideas.  

Today is Sunday -- take away the dinner stress by getting ready for the week ahead using these ideas!  Bonus: They're all gluten free (but, you know, double check all labels to be sure)!

I have five kids. I homeschool. I manage diabetes for a little Type 1. I keep up a blog. I garden, participate in a monthly book club, tend a really big yard – and I’m a stickler for a clean house.  I’m also quite fond of cooking – but we still end up with our fair share of frozen pizza, chicken nuggets and McDonald’s. Not that cooking always has to be one more big time sapper.  With just a little forethought and a few good ingredients on hand, homemade dinners can be made with minimal effort. Here are my top three easiest ways to cook:

1. Pork Loin. These are really big. I cut one in half. I cook one part; I freeze the other. To prepare, I slather it all over with olive oil, chopped garlic, kosher salt and pepper. Then, I go into my dry spice cupboard, and pick out whatever mix I feel like, i.e. basil, thyme, fennel, rosemary (use your creativity here). Sprinkle the spices generously, so they create a nice layer on the meat. When they cook, they will form a bit of a crust.  Next I put the loin in a big Pyrex, pour a cup or two of water in the bottom and seal over with tinfoil. I cook on 350 for probably three hours. Check occasionally to make sure all the water on the bottom of the pan does not evaporate. At the end, you can take off the tinfoil and cook on 375 for another 15 minutes or so.
The nice thing about this meal is that once you do this little bit of prep work early in the day, most of the cooking is over. And, you’ll have enough leftover pork for three or four days.  Major timesaver.  You can use the leftovers to make pork quesadillas – or pork tacos with hard shells if you want to save on carbs. Another way I use leftovers is to stir fry small cubes of pork with our favorite vegetables (onions, carrots, peppers – whatever we have on hand).  Add some croutons for crunch.

2. Barbecue in Bulk. Now that it’s summer, I’ve been having my husband grill a bunch of meats on Sunday – so that we have meat cooked and ready for the week.  We can make marinated shrimp skewers (and veggie skewers, too); barbecue chicken; and steaks slathered in McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning all in one night. I like to eat the shrimp the same day we cook it. We save the other meats to eat during the week. If you want to be creative, you can make steak salad (steak, romaine, feta, dried cranberries, walnuts) or barbecue chicken pizza. (We’ve been using a lot of naan bread for a crust, because it’s quick and ready. Sorry, this one is a little heavier on the carbs, so you may want to fill up on a big salad first, and then watch the size of your slices.)  {Editor's Note:  Check out a gluten-free naan recipe HERE}

3. Sausage. There are so many great gourmet sausages – and if you don’t like pork, there are a lot of chicken sausages available.  This is a very “quick” meat.  Sausages can be in the fridge longer than most meats (but check your expiration), so you don’t have to think about defrosting them ahead of time. Also, many sausages are already cooked – so you don’t have to spend as much time making sure everything is cooked through.  I almost always fry them up in olive oil with carrots, onions, garlic, spinach, fresh or dried herbs, and maybe some tomatoes/tomato paste – and then add whole wheat pasta. (As an aside, spinach is good to have on hand – it’s great for a salad, soups, pastas, pizzas – absolutely everything.) To make this meal more diabetic-friendly, try and make the meat and veggies portion the base of the meal and be a little more sparing with the noodles.

Thanks for the awesome dinner ideas, Amy!  Now I'm hungry...

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  1. Great tips from a Great D' Mama. Thanks Amy. I love Pork Loin and haven't done that one in awhile.

  2. Thanks, Amy and Wendy! Those are great ideas-I always forget to make extra, but that would totally save on time!! : ) Yum!


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While I'm happy to share our experiences with what works, and what doesn't work, for the management of Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease in our house, please do not mistake anything you read here for medical advice. Decisions regarding your/your child's health care should be made only with the assistance of your medical care team. Use any information from this blog at your own risk.