As I mentioned, I haven't been in the mood to cook lately. What with the painting and the whole pregnant thing, I'd rather watch Teen Mom than slave away in the kitchen. (Although the husband did tell me that I shouldn't get all of my parenting advice from Teen Mom. Noted.)
Something I've been relying on heavily for super-speedy protein is rotisserie chicken. Whenever we go to Costco, the husband and I pick one up for a sweet deal. I use about half of the chicken to make sandwiches for the husband's lunch box during the week. Then I remove the skin from the leftovers and dice it into bite-sized pieces. I measure 1 cup portions into Ziploc freezer bags and pop them in the freezer until I need some. Believe you me, that stash of leftover rotisserie chicken has saved my hiney on a number of occasions.
Yesterday I whipped up a ridiculously simple pasta dish that incorporated some of my chicken. This is the kind of meal that begs for personalization. If you don't have rotini pasta, use elbow noodles or penne. If your freezer isn't stocked with peas, substitute broccoli or whatever veggie your kids will eat. Use this recipe as a base, and make it your own.
Easy Cheesy Pasta
8 ounces rotini pasta
1 cup frozen peas
4 ounces cream cheese (I used reduced-fat.)
1-1.5 cups diced cooked chicken
Salt and pepper and other seasonings to taste*
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Stir in pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Stir in frozen peas for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Save about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the to rest of the water. Return the pasta and peas to the pot that you cooked them in.
Stir in cream cheese, chicken, and enough pasta cooking water to help it melt into a smooth sauce. (I used about 1/2 cup of cooking water.) Season to taste with salt, pepper, and your favorite spices.
*Like I said, make this meal your own. Keep it simple with salt and pepper or stir in fresh herbs from your garden. Raid the spice cupboard and shake on a bit of dried basil or Italian seasoning. My personal favorite is Mural of Flavor spice blend by Penzeys Spices. I can't get enough of that stuff.