One Pan: Making Dinner with a Needy Infant

I used to be the Slow Cooking Queen.  Being away 12+ hours a day, the last thing I wanted to do was cook dinner when I got home.  While I’m glad that there are good slow-cooker recipes out there, I was looking forward to being home more to cook, once I stopped commuting.  There are only so many soups, curries, and chilis.  It’s also nice to decide somewhat last-minute what I’m going to make that day.  

It didn’t take very many attempts at cooking dinner, while watching a baby, to realize that it needed to be simplified.  Attending to the stove is pretty much out of the question!  And the less prepping/chopping, the better.  This is why I’m so excited that “One Pan” recipes came into my life.  

One-pan recipes are usually comprised of: a protein, two side vegetables (one long-cooking, one short), and a sauce or spice mixture.  You can improvise with whatever entree and veggies you have on-hand!  It’s perfect for those of us who buy frozen chicken or fish fillets in bulk, but want to round the meal out without adding time.  

So far, my favorite recipes have been:

Easily adaptable for vegetarians: We love Field Roast sausages!

Cooking dinner with a young one around is hard.  Unless you order take-out or thaw frozen dinners (hey, we all do, some nights of the week…), you’ll want to find a way to prevent fussing while you’re not paying full attention.  I’ve tried just about everything to keep my infant entertained while I chop onions.  At nine months, she doesn’t play independently for long stretches of time.  

Since I’m already in the kitchen, finger foods in the high chair seem like a good option.  But that also ends abruptly with snacks all over her lap & the floor.  Once again – Pinterest to the rescue!  Water tray play is currently the only thing I can count on to occupy my daughter long enough to accomplish anything in the kitchen.  I simply add a thin layer of water to her high chair tray, then grab a few different sized caps from our recycling, and voila!  Solid minutes of entertainment. 

Pro-tip: wear short sleeves or roll them up!  There will be lots of splashing.

Do you have a favorite one-pan recipe?  Or know a good way to occupy a baby while you’re trying to whip up dinner?

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