Cooking for Three

3 steps to ease into cooking for your new family.

So you’re pregnant. You are about to be a mom for the first time, or maybe it’s the third time. Either way, you are thinking of all the added responsibilities you have now and will have once you give birth. Feeding yourself and your new child is something you might find yourself thinking about.

For many, this puts them into a cold sweat and panic. Let’s get it together people. You can do this. You don’t need much skill or much time. All you need is cooking spray and salt. That’s it. With these two ingredients you can do anything. Don’t get me wrong, adding black pepper, Herbs De Provence, or even Dijon mustard can elevate a dish but I’m here to teach you that simple works. By cooking simply you really highlight the item you are cooking and all you need is a little salt to bring out the natural flavors.

Cooking your own food can be a complete game changer. As a new mom of two, I feel that it is my obligation to cook healthy for the whole family. Eating food in its simplest form is a gateway to good health. You are able to cut out so many processed foods by taking on this small task. Also, for those of you who are pregnant and having aversions to some foods or cravings for other foods, this is one way to eat exactly what you want in the healthiest way possible. Forget about the culinary degree or even your Pintrest account, just turn on your faucet and preheat your oven.  

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Buying your ingredients. Whether you find yourself at a large grocery, or a small farmers market the first thing to do is evaluate your inventory.  Today we will start small by just looking at the fresh produce. Identify some things that you like to eat.  Any vegetables will do, but if you are still not sure, try picking up any of the following: asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, carrots or even a box of pre-washed baby spinach.  Also, I try to buy organic when I can, but financially it doesn’t always make sense.  Some foods are more important to buy organic than others. My general rule is if you can’t peal it, then go organic.  But just do what you can.  
  1. Prepping and cooking your food. Take your vegetable and decide how it needs to be prepped. Peeled? Washed? Cut? Then get ready to roast. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Take a baking sheet or dish (even a disposable aluminum tray will work) and spray the bottom with your oil spray. Lay down your clean and cut vegetables. Spray the vegetables with more oil spray and sprinkle generously with salt. Then bake uncovered. Determining baking time depends on your vegetable. A thin asparagus can cook as fast as 10 minutes in the oven, while butternut squash can take more like 45 minutes. If you are not sure, then just check on your food every 10 minutes until you get the hang of it. A great way to decide if your food is cooked enough is to taste it. Usually if a food is fork tender than it is done.
  1. Spice it up. Once you get the hang of roasting your veggies, at some point in the future you may want to add some more spice to make your food a little more interesting. A must in anyone’s kitchen is definitely garlic. Whether its garlic powder or peeled ready-bought cloves in your fridge, garlic can complete the flavor profile of a dish. Also, garlic is a natural antibiotic that is packed with vitamins and minerals. It also improves cardiovascular health and reduces inflammation (perfect for pregnancy puffiness). Another great flavor to keep on hand is cinnamon. A small sprinkle of cinnamon on butternut squash, sweet potatoes or even cauliflower can make a dish really interesting and delicious.  

cooking for your family

One easy dish: Yukon and Sweet Potato Herbed Fries
One of my favorite things to eat is french fries. Here I mix sweet potatoes and Yukon potatoes to make a delicious guilt free dish. These potatoes are baked not fried! They are delicious slices with just a little spray, salt and some spices. You can even buy precut sweet potatoes at your grocery if you are short on time.

Ingredients:
6 sweet potatoes, cleaned
7 large Yukon potatoes, cleaned
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Oil spray
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped small
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped small
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
½ teaspoon black pepper

Yield: 2 full sheet trays of fries

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees (375 degrees for a convection oven).
  • Take two large baking sheet trays and spray them with oil spray. Slice your potatoes in long slices (skin on) about 1 inch wide, and place the two types of potatoes on the two separate sheet trays. Drizzle each sheet of potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  Then sprinkle each with ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon of rosemary and 1 teaspoon of thyme.  With a gloved hand mix the oil and seasoning around so that each piece of potato has a coating.
  • Bake your fries uncovered for about 45 minutes. The tops should begin to turn golden and crispy.
  • Plan ahead: The potatoes are best when made the day of serving, but your herbs can be chopped beforehand.  If you are desperate, you can make the sweet potatoes the day before and re-warm uncovered for 20 minutes on 350 degrees.

Check out MyLifeMyMenu.com for other beautiful recipes that are easy to make:
Charred Brussle Sprouts with Lemon
Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic and Thyme
Asparagus with Parm and Bread Crumbs

Emily Cohen

Emily Cohen

Emily Cohen is a classically trained chef, a wife and a mom of two boys. She does kitchen consulting, teaches cooking classes and does cooking parties. She especially loves cooking organic, clean, and simple dishes that are practical and easy to make for the busy cook. She shares her recipes on her blog MyLifeMyMenu.com.

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