By Julia West
Moving into a new home is always a hectic process. When you are swarmed by unpacked boxes and need to move furniture around the house, cooking a meal from scratch is probably the last thing on your mind. There’s no reason why you can’t celebrate your new home (or say cheers to your old one) with a real home-cooked meal!
Moving doesn’t mean skipping out on healthy, wholesome eating, either. Eating clean during a move can be easy and is beneficial for the whole family. Here are some ideas on how to replace those processed foods with wholesome family cooking – especially when you have little spare time:
When you are looking for easy meals, nothing beats soup. With a pot/sauce pan, bowls and spoons, you’re all set. Soup recipes are easy to make because of the minimal skill required to make them. The main ingredient in soup is the broth – chicken, beef, pork or vegetable. After the broth base, you can throw in whatever sounds good. Some chicken breast, beans, lentils or vegetables – the possibilities are endless. Here is a super-easy tomato soup recipe that your family will love:
- 2 (15-ounce) containers chicken or vegetable stock/broth
- 1 (28-ounce) can concentrated crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Dash salt and black pepper
Simmer all of the ingredients for 15 minutes – it just couldn’t get any easier! If you want to jazz up this soup, try adding different kinds of garnishes or toppers. Some fresh basil, shredded cheese or croutons should do the trick.
Casseroles are a great easy meal option because they don’t require a lot of attention while they are cooking. Simply throw in or layer ingredients in a baking dish and slide it into the oven – pretty easy!
A great casserole just has a homey feeling to it, which will make your new home feel even cozier. Casseroles are also great because you can throw just about anything into one. Any combination of ingredients such as rice, pasta, vegetables, beans, meats, etc., that you can think of would probably be great! Try out this chicken and rice casserole recipe for an ultimate cozy dinner with your family:
- 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (skin removed)
- 1 cup medium-grain white rice
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- Optional: 2 cups of a vegetable like broccoli, 1 chopped tomato, 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped), Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, or 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Although this dish takes about 30 minutes, a majority of the cooking time is spent on the casserole simply sitting in the oven. Because of this, you are free to spend time packing, unpacking or whatever you are working on in the time being.
For the sauce, whisk the chicken broth and sour cream in a bowl, pour into a skillet and bring to a simmer (add in cheese if desired). Simply layer in the remaining ingredients in a baking dish and top with the sauce. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Skip the frozen or delivered pizza and flip that dough yourself! Pizza is an easy dinner option because it is always such a crowd pleaser. There are tons of simple pizza dough recipes, but if you want to avoid the wait for yeast dough to rise, you can opt for a no-yeast recipe. Below is a great no-yeast pizza crust recipe that is so simple, you’ll never turn to pre-made pizza again:
- 2 cups white flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup water
Because this dough will not rise, it makes the perfect “thin crust” pizza. Once the dough is mixed, kneaded and stretched out, throw on some tomato sauce, cheese and any toppings you want. Then simply bake your creation at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.
Who says sandwiches are only for lunch? If the word “sandwich” brings to mind the image of boring cold ham between two slices of pre-sliced white bread, think again! When it comes to sandwiches, the sky’s the limit. Just about any kind of meat, cheese, vegetable, sauce/condiment combination that you think of, will make a good sandwich. What makes a fabulous sandwich is the quality bread. Try a loaf of ciabatta or sourdough to give your sandwich a more upscale feel. To give the ol‘ grilled cheese sandwich a bit of makeover, try out this recipe:
- 2 slices Ciabatta bread
- 2-3 slices of Cheddar or Swiss cheese
- 1 thinly sliced green apple
- Optional: Either a dash of cinnamon or a bit of spicy mustard like Dijon
Heat up a skillet over the stove, butter the outside of the bread and let the sandwich brown on the pan for three minutes on each side. Either enjoy your creation by itself or along with something like a bowl of soup.
If you can easily access your sauce pan/pot, you also have the option to serve your family a nice pasta dish. Pasta dishes are simple because they are made up of two parts – pasta and sauce. Pick any shape of pasta that looks fun and make a sauce to go with it!
Cooking pasta is easy as it only requires to be thrown into boiling water for about 10 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, you can work on the sauce. Why not go for the classic macaroni and cheese dish? Try this simple, cheesy recipe:
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole or 2 percent milk
- 3 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
Toss all of the ingredients into a saucepan at a medium heat and stir until smooth for roughly 20 minutes. Then add the cooked pasta to the sauce pan and mix it with the sauce until evenly covered. To give this classic dish a nice kick, add 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper. No more of that boxed powdery cheese stuff!
Easy meals don’t have to come from a cardboard box or from a restaurant. If you can easily find a few kitchen utensils, fresh ingredients and a couple of spare minutes, you can cook your family a fabulous dinner during any part of the moving process into your new home. With these tips, you can have a great family dinner that will help make your new house feel like a home.
Julia West is a content intern for NewHomeSource. You can find her on Google+.
Carmen Chai is an award-winning Canadian journalist who has lived and reported from major cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, London and Paris. For NewHomeSource, Carmen covers a variety of topics, including insurance, mortgages, and more.