Thursday was one of those days.
I was busy all day with a full schedule of back-to back-meetings, appointments, errands, household chores, and carpool duties. And 10 young men were coming to my home at 6pm to join my family for dinner.
I started cooking at 5pm.
Here is what I did:
I dumped a large bag of premade frozen meatballs into a large pot with two large jars of all-natural, quality spaghetti sauce and set it to simmer on low until dinnertime, stirring occasionally.
I boiled two, 1 lb packages of pasta according to package directions, and mixed it with browned butter and mizithra cheese. (But the pasta went fast, next time I’ll make three.)
I opened a large bag of pre-trimmed and washed green beans, and put them in a rimmed baking sheet. I drizzled some garlic olive oil on them, added a few garlic gloves (unpeeled), and, roasted them in a 450 oven for 30 minutes, stirring once after 20 minutes. I let them cool for a few minutes, easily removed the garlic from the paper skins, mashed the roasted garlic in my fingers, stirred it back into the roasted green beans. I finished it by adding some fresh ground pepper and salt on top.
I sliced two freshly baked baguettes from a local grocery store and served it with premade pesto.
And for dessert we enjoyed some Jo-Jo’s ice cream and cookies from Trader Joes to kick off the Christmas season.
That was dinner. We were sitting at the table by 6:10pm, and I had the energy to engage in fun and meaningful conversation with the loved ones gathered at my table.
I LOVE to cook and present a prepared from scratch meal. But the time needed for that is not always realistic or practical. My general rule is that I only cook from scratch when I know that I have enough time and energy to cook for hours with out becoming stressed out at my family and guests.
If my goal is to love people with food, then my attitude and tone when I sit down to eat and talk with my people is far more important than the meal on the table.
You can nourish your community with simple, semi-homemade food that is prepared and served with love and kindness. No exhaustion and drudgery in the kitchen is necessary.