I have been on a kick to clean my kitchen every night. I remember hearing the idea from Fly Lady that cleaning your sink every night before bed is a job that goes a long way toward making you feel peaceful, even accomplished. I often wondered if that was possible. I grew up in a house that was kept clean and straight. Truly guest-ready at every moment. But in our little family unit, we tend to use every corner of this house as we spend most of every day here. And it is a busy little, sometimes messy, place.
I found that a clean kitchen has mattered to me in the past year more than the previous 15 years of my marriage. I’m not militant about it, but I see it as a gift I can give myself. And it is truly a gift to go to bed AND wake up to a clean kitchen. It’s as if that one room can be my bastion from the stray socks, nerf bullets, discarded books, safety glasses, Lego figures, power cords and other items strewn here and there around the house. I sometimes can be found gazing fondly at my newly wiped counter tops and listening intently to the subtle noise of the dishwasher motor as it purrs its way to cleanliness. I just feel this big sense of “check mark — that’s one thing done!” Ahh!
The challenge to keeping a kitchen clean is the very necessary act of making food. It’s a tough reality that we face every day…several times. I’ve tried to distract the children from food, but they seem to eventually need some form of nourishment on a regular basis. I, being the Mom Genius that I am, recently figured out that it takes less time to clean up when I use less pots. Wild, I know. But addictive. I know that’s why I like all the crockpot, soup and chili recipes I’ve posted. Easy, tasty and low clean-up. To think that I can provide a tasty meal for my family with all the ingredients cooking up in one pot, I get downright giddy. So I have gone on the prowl for the keywords “one pot” (and scoff at the people who don’t really mean it) and desperately seek my “one pot” satisfaction.
Here is one of my latest finds – One Pot Chili Mac:
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 t crushed garlic
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 - 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 to 1 c water (check as you cook)
- 3/4 c canned white beans, drained and rinsed
- 3/4 c canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed ( or just use one can of kidney beans)
- 2 t chili powder
- 1 1/2 t cumin
- salt and pepper
- 10 oz elbow macaroni pasta, uncooked
- 3/4 c cheddar cheese, shredded
- Brown meat in large skillet or dutch oven with oil, onion and garlic. Drain fat.
- Stir in tomatoes, beans, water and seasonings.
- Bring to a simmer and add pasta.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.
- Let simmer 15 minutes or until pasta is tender. Check occasionally and add water if the pasta is absorbing too much moisture.
- Remove from heat and top with cheese.
- Cover and serve once cheese is melted.
- I recently found brown rice elbow macaroni through Amazon. They tasted just fine (actually, it was hard to discern a taste difference) and, in my opinion, so much better for our digestive system than the white flour pasta.