Stuff In A Pot

Daughter: “What’s for supper, Mom?”

Me: “Stuff In A Pot!”

Daughter: “Oooh, that’s my favorite! You’re the best, Mom!”

Yes, you, too, can generate that kind of enthusiasm over your culinary disinterest.

Stuff In A Pot is my favorite go-to, clean-out-the-fridge, weekend meal. Growing up, there was always a pot of soup on the stove, so the pot thing is kind of inherent in me. However, formal recipes, even simple recipes like soup, require planning:

  • Decide what to make.
  • Create a grocery list. (Throw away expired coupons.)
  • Go grocery shopping after finding the reusable shopping bags.
  • Put away the groceries until you find time to cook.
  • Get the ingredients out and prep them for the recipe.
  • Cook.

No big deal for most of you out there, however, in my world, it looks more like this:

  • Find time to decide what to make.
  • Find time to make a grocery list. (Ignore coupons.)
  • Find time to go grocery shopping with whatever bags are already in the car.
  • Find time to put away the perishable groceries until I find time to cook. (Nonperishables have to fend for themselves.)
  • Find time to get out the ingredients and find time to prep them for the recipe.
  • Find time to cook.

To tell you the truth, I’m not as over-the-top busy as this sounds. Yes, I juggle a job that spills into my non-working hours, a busy family, an understanding hardworking husband, and myself (actually, I dropped the ball regarding myself for years and years, but no more). But, that’s not the issue. The dirty little secret I kept hidden for years is I’m not interested in that other stuff.

Someday, when I give a sample of my DNA to the genome decoders, they are going to see I’m missing the gene for hearth and home. Nothing from that domain has ever mattered to me. I used to pretend it mattered, but I don’t anymore.

Don’t get me wrong. I love food (especially when someone else cooks it), and I know how to handle a broom (I don’t do vacuum cleaners), but I leave the décor of my house up to my sisters, who somehow each received a double dose of the hearth and home gene. Personally, I’d rather run outside and play, or read, or dance, or write articles.

Ah, well. That’s genetics for you.

Be that as it may, I write mainly for moms of tween and teen daughters, so it’s important that we have the tough discussions, which is why I’m sharing my dirty little secret with you.

You may have figured out by now that I never present a problem without a solution. Today’s solution: Stuff In A Pot! In the past all of my recipes have been for body care, but today I’m actually going to give you a recipe you can eat.

Stuff In A Pot
Organic extra virgin olive oil
organic onion
organic carrots
organic ground meat (chicken, turkey, lamb, bison)
organic greens
organic kidney beans or black beans
filtered tap water
any leftover meat and veggies in the fridge
Adobo Seasoning (only brands that list EVERY ingredient)

  1. Find time. An hour of distracted time will do.
  2. Turn on your favorite music, the kind that makes you wiggle your rump.
  3. Chop the onion (or open the bag of frozen onions)
  4. Add enough EVOO to cover the bottom of the pot.
  5. Add the onion and cook covered on medium low heat.
  6. While the onion cooks, cut up about the same amount of carrots.
  7. Chop any veggie that still lives in your fridge.
  8. Open the can of beans and rinse thoroughly in a calendar (rinsing prevents flatulence).
  9. When the onions become partially cooked, dump the ground meat in. Season the meat with Adobo, and then smush it all into the onions. Stir until the meat is in bite-size chunks. Cover and cook 5 minutes.
  10. Add the carrots, kidney beans, tomatoes, and any veggies that takes longer to cook. Cover and cook for a couple of minutes.
  11. Add all the leftovers (salad fixings, cooked veggies, leftover meat, etc.). At this stage, I also add frozen veggies (chopped kale, corn, peas, green beans, etc.) Cover and cook for a couple of minutes.
  12. If the contents seem too dry, add water to taste. Add a little more water if you would like more of a stew consistency. Add a lot of water if you prefer soup.
  13. Cook for about 10 minutes to let the flavors blend. Taste, and add desired seasoning. Serve hot.

Leave out the meat if you don’t eat meat. As a matter of fact, leave out anything you don’t like, and add in everything you do like. Add ginger for an Asian flair, or cumin for a Mexican slant, or oregano and basil for an Italian bent. Add turmeric for your health (it won’t affect the flavor, just the color).

Stuff In A Pot is a great way to stretch the budget. The addition of veggies reduces the cost per serving of the meat. One pound of ground meat will now produce 10 flavorful servings. All of the fresh and frozen ingredients are free of additives and the harmful chemical compounds found in processed foods. And, you can stretch it further if you serve it over organic rice or gluten-free organic pasta.

Note: If you include take-out food leftovers, the Stuff In A Pot should be eaten by the next day. If all the ingredients are being cooked for the first time (i.e., fresh or frozen,) Stuff In A Pot will be good for noshing for a couple of days (although, it usually doesn’t last that long in my house).

Awesome Mom Bonus: Invite your daughter to keep you company in the kitchen. Play her favorite music (the clean versions) instead of your own, and clear a space at the table for her to do her homework. Instead of you both being isolated, you get a half hour of unstructured mommy-daughter time where you both get something done. Let her munch on a raw carrot while the smells of the kitchen envelop you. She’ll remember these moments fondly, and so will you.

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