Before baby, cooking supper from scratch on a weeknight was relatively normal, especially when two people shared kitchen duties. With a new baby in the house, energy and sleep are at a premium and drive-thru, take-out and frozen pizzas often replace intricate dinners. It’s a rut many new parents fall into, and it’s easy to see why. When a new member of the family takes centre stage in a household, menu planning and shopping forethought can move to the backburner.
To help make sure mommy and daddy are nutritionally taken care of, consider stashing away a freezer full of make-ahead meals that can be reheated for supper when you’re running on three hours of sleep. When one partner has an extra hour on the weekend, whipping up and freezing a large batch of chili, lasagna or pasta sauce in meal-sized portions can make all the difference mid-week, when both parents are tired and tempted to succumb to fast-food cravings. Add a loaf of French bread picked up at the grocery store and you’ve got a satisfying meal.
It’s worth noting that many of our recipes for soups, stews and casseroles can be frozen, even though not all recipes mention this. If in doubt, get in touch with our Answer Line via the contact information in the biography.
This recipe for Small Batch Chili is easy to put together in a pinch, and the ingredient list is modest and affordable - another great trait in a recipe when part of the family budget has been redirected to diapers and baby monitors. The recipe can easily be doubled for extra food prep efficiency. For added flavor, serve it with a dollop of our three-ingredient Lime Cream.
Small Batch Chili
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) oil
1 lb. (0.5 kg) lean ground beef
⅔ cup (150 mL) chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) chili powder
¼ tsp. (1 mL) oregano, crumbled
¼ tsp. (1 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) water
1 can (14 oz./398 mL) chili-style pinto and red kidney beans
2 Tbsp. (25 mL) tomato paste
Heat oil in a large fry pan over medium heat. Add beef, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring to break up beef, until browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Drain off excess fat. Stir in chili powder, oregano and salt; cook for 1 minute. Stir in water, beans and tomato paste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Serves 2 to 3.
1 ½ cups (375 mL) sour cream
2 Tbsp. (25 mL) fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) grated lime peel
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving or for up to 24 hours. Makes 1 ½ cups (375 mL).
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