Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Household Efficiency Day Three: Recipes and Laundry

I’ve received a lot of extremely positive feedback on this series and with that many requests for the recipes I mentioned on Day One. If you are enjoying these posts please pass them on or add a link to them on your blog. I really love to help. Here are the recipes, feel free to take liberties and adjust them to suit your family’s tastes.

Thai Peanut Pasta

8 oz of udon noodles or linguine
2/3 C creamy peanut butter
2/3 C water (or more if you like it saucy)
4TBS soy sauce
3TBS rice vinegar (we use the one with garlic)
1 tsp chile paste with garlic
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt (divided)
cooking spray
1 pound of cooked sliced chicken breast
3/4 C chopped seeded cucumber
1/4 sliced green onions (optional)
3TBS chopped roasted peanuts
Lime wedges (optional but delicious)

Cook noodles. Drain, saving a cup of cooking water. Set water aside.

While noodles cook, combine peanut butter and next five ingredients in a large serving bowl. Add 1/2 tsp of the salt and stir well.

Heat skillet, spray with cooking spray, toss remaining salt with chicken and saute until done. If using precooked chicken just microwave the chicken until warm.

Add chicken, noodles, and veggies to sauce. Toss well. If it looks dry add some of the reserved cooking water.

Enjoy with a squeeze of lime

Arroz con Pollo

2 Tbs. olive oil; more as needed
1-1/2 lb. chicken breast, seasoned with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ to 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage cut in pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium green or red bell pepper cut in 1/2-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp chili powder
½ tsp ground turmeric (optional)
½ C peeled, crushed tomatoes
½ C dry white wine or beer
1 bay leaf
2 Cs medium-grain rice
2 ¼ C water

In a deep, heavy pot heat the oil on medium high.

Sauté the chicken until golden on all sides, 7 to 10 min. Transfer to a platter. (Skip this step if using precooked chicken)

Sauté the sausage until browned, about 3 min. (toss in precooked chicken to reheat at this step) Transfer to the platter.

Pour off excess oil, leaving about 1 Tbs. in the pan.

Reduce heat to medium and sauté the onion, pepper, and garlic until softened, about 5 min.

Return the chicken and sausage to the pot and add the cumin, paprika, chili powder, and turmeric, if using, stirring to distribute the spices.

Cook for 1 min. and then add the tomatoes, wine (or beer), and bay leaf. Increase the heat to medium high, stir, and cook for 2 min.

Add the rice and water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer.

Cook 25 min. If the rice is done but still very soupy, remove the cover and cook very gently until the liquid evaporates, taking care not to burn the rice.

Toss rice and let sit for 5 min. before serving.

Turkey Florentine Meatballs

olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 box frozen spinach, defrosted in the microwave
2 pounds ground turkey breast
1 medium onion, grated or finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1 large egg
¾ C bread crumbs
½ C grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Wring defrosted spinach dry in a clean kitchen towel.

Place turkey in a bowl and make a well in the middle of it. Into the well, add the grated onion and garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, grated Parmigiano, spinach, salt and pepper.

Form into meatballs and arrange on a nonstick cookie sheet. Brush the meatballs with olive oil and roast for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. I turn mine once to brown all sides but this step is skippable.

Cool and freeze in meal-sized portions.

These can be used as regular meatballs in spaghetti sauce or in meatball heroes. We like them with béchamel sauce on baked potatoes.

Potatoes with Meatballs Florentine and Béchamel Sauce

When you are getting ready to settle into your favorite hour long television program, wash and pierce some baking potatoes with a fork. Throw them in your oven at 350 degrees and then watch your show. When the credits roll take the same fork and poke your potato. If they are soft, take them out. If they are still hard, watch another show and then poke them again. Cool on counter and then pop them in the fridge for a myriad of quick dinners later in the week.

Remove potatoes from fridge, split in half and place them on a cookie sheet. Butter them (like you would bread) and sprinkle with garlic powder or garlic salt. Pop in the oven on broil.

While the potatoes are warming and getting bubbly, heat a small saucepot over medium heat with 2 tablespoons butter. When butter is melted, whisk in flour, cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk and chicken stock. Bring liquid up to a boil and simmer until thickened. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg, turn down to low.

Slice your meatballs into coins (each ball makes about three coins for me) and add to sauce. Remove sheet of potatoes from oven and if you like you can sprinkle some parmesan cheese on them. Top with some of the meat-filled white sauce and the provolone cheese. Place back in the oven or under the broiler to melt the cheese.

This dish warms up very well.

Turkey and Stuffing Meatloaf

• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 small-medium onion, cut into small dice
• 4 pieces celery, cut into small dice
• 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
• Salt and pepper
• 1 box of Stove Top Stuffing
• chicken stock or water (I use water)
• 2-2 1/2 pounds ground turkey
• 1 eggs

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and melt butter. Add the onions and celery, season with poultry seasoning, salt and pepper; cook until the veggies are tender.

Add the stuffing mix to the skillet and mix in enough water or chicken stock to moisten. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the mixture cool, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix the ground turkey, egg and cooled stuffing mixture. Form the meat mix into 2 long loaves. I do this in an aluminum foil lined 9x13 pan. Freeze. Pop meat loaves out of the pan and wrap in foil. Label.

When ready to cook, thaw loaves. I think you can cook these from frozen but that always makes me nervous so I don't.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place loaf in a 9x13 pan sprayed liberally with cooking spray. on a baking sheet. Drizzle or brush loaf with olive oil. I usually make roasted potatoes with this. Dice white or sweet potatoes and toss in olive oil with your favorite seasonings. I use steak seasoning or italian seasoning with garlic salt. Spoon potatoes into the trenches on either side of the meatloaf and cook in the oven for about an hour, until brown and cooked through (165ºF internal temperature) and the potatoes are tender and brown. Serve with a vegetable and a warmed up jar of turkey gravy.

Whenever I serve this I try to make a second 9x13 pan of potatoes to bake alongside. It takes a few more minutes of peeling and dicing but then you have tons leftover for breakfast burritos, hash browns, chowders. etc.


Laundry rooms are hot steamy, often stinky dust traps. Worse, since they serve a single purpose, once the laundry is done (is it ever done?) it an easy room to forget. One of my favorite cleaning tricks for laundry rooms is when switching the laundry to the dryer, take a freshly washed cloth from the washing machine and use it - in all it’s nice smelling perfectly rung out glory – to wipe down the cabinets, machine fronts, any spills and the floor if needed. Once you’ve spruced the place up throw it back in the washer with the next load and voila – totally pain free cleaning. Do this every wash day and your laundry room will stay clean.

If room permits, have a small wastebasket in your laundry room. This way you can discard lint, broken hangers and holey socks immediately without the added bother of carrying them to another room.

Also, try to have a laundry hamper in every bedroom to help dirty clothes find their way to the wash. It’s much nicer than throwing them on the floor by the bed.

What do you do with the empty hanger once you’ve taken the shirt down and put it on? Or did you even take the shirt down? Perhaps you just pulled hard on the shoulder and considered yourself lucky when the hanger sproinged free and remained on the bar. It only takes a second, but pick up that hanger and put it in a designated spot in your closet reserved for unused hangers. Then when you take your full hamper to the washing machine you can easily grab a handful of hangers on your way by. Nothing is worse than wasting precious minutes of your life hunting through an overstuffed closet looking for hangers so you can hang up your clothes. Choose to vanquish this time sucking irritation once and for all.


What are your laundry habits like? Do you do a load or three of wash every day or do you have special days of the week when you take care of it? When the clothes are dry, do you fold and hang them warm from the dryer or do they collect in a great pile on your bed or sofa?

We wash a load or two of clothes each day and it is the boys responsibility to fold them and put them away. Since they exhibit an astonishing ability to ignore the most obvious task we do something shocking. We toss the clean clothes out the door of the laundry room onto the floor of the narrow hallway blocking their bedroom from the rest of the house. That way, the only way to access or leave their room is to fold the laundry or climb over it. Trudging through clean laundry is a bad, bad thing so it usually gets done immediately. Sounds weird but it's the only trick we've found that insures the boys do that particular chore.


*~Annette~* said...

Ok... your blog rocks. That's a LOT of info to take in. I need to read back and catch up. But I LOVE the concept on this topic!!!!

Eve said...

Well we invested in the high capacity front loaders last spring. Our other machines were not DEAD- but it would take 2-3 cycles to dry a load in the old dryer. Now I can do what was 5-6 loads in 3 loads. Wash takes 50 minutes and dyer the same. So I am never waiting for one or the other. I am not blessed in having a room for my laundry- it is in our garage. Which I found is better really. All our other houses had the laundry right next to the family room- so we could never hear the TV, or each other!
Thanks for all the great info!

Comptons said...

Hooray for recipes! Have you ever browsed they have a Make Ahead Meal section. Not that I've actually MADE any of these, but I've been planning to...I'm a sucky housewife! LOL!

Right now, I do laundry "as needed" - that usually means a laundry day for adult clothes (usually Saturday), toddler clothes about every 5 days, and diapers every other night.