I am not the first working mom to pine for a “wife.”
Hell, even in college I knew that if I were to pursue the ambitious ass-kicking agenda I’d dreamed for myself, I would need a house-husband.
The miracle is that after putting marriage and kids so low on my list of priorities, I still managed to find myself a fully evolved, committed husband who does (at least) 50% of the heavy household lifting in time for me to still breed with my own genes. I am absurdly fortunate.
And so it is with a blanket of sheep that I admit that there is STILL too much damn work to be done in running a house and raising children while earning enough to sustain my family.
I don’t think this challenge is unique to a city-living, alpha mom like me.
And so I ask you – will you be my sisterwife?
Ok, ok, I don’t mean move in and sleep with my husband – (though he is pretty much the best of his gender and deserves a whole lot more lovin’ than he’s getting these days.) Let’s use “sister” more colloquially – as in, can you please help a sister out?
So maybe what I should say is “Will you be my NEIGHBOR-wife?
My neighbor is mom of our doppler ganger family across the hall – Cute & fun-loving couple, with kids around the age of ours. We even had chocolate labs that were around the same age.
A few weeks ago we talked about doing a freezer meal share and I think we might have stumbled upon genius.
On Sundays, we will both make a casserole or freezer meal and double the batch: one for our family and one for theirs.
A few friends have asked for the recipes we’re using.
To that end, I have started a Pinterest board: Fab Freezer Meals for Sharing
If you’d like permission to post to the board, let me know.
It takes a village, yo.
To start this tradition, I whipped up a batch of Cajun Shrimp and Quinoa Casserole (from This Gal Cooks).
Against tradition, I followed her recipe pretty closely (with fewer jalapenos for tiny tongues and the addition of kale and leftover zucchini because green is good. I also used regular mozzarella because hub couldn’t find Fontina cheese – yes, he does all the grocery shopping. Told ya… he’s kind of a big deal.)
Another of my favorite sharing recipes is Chicken Enchilada Casserole:
- Chicken – breasts or thighs or whatever your budget allows. We use six thighs for a family of four.
- jar salsa (or homemade pico)
- southwest/ taco spices to taste: cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, chipotle, red pepper, paprika, etc.
- enchilada sauce (yes, I recommend the can unless you’re a SAH with way too much time on your hands.) I like a mix of green and red.
- cheddar cheese
- mozzarella cheese
- sweet potatoes
- cilantro (fresh – only way to go)
- red onion
- corn tortillas
- can whole tomatoes
- Mixed bell peppers (frozen ok)
I like to slow cook my chicken – toss in some salsa and let it cook all day on low or half the day on high.
Put sliced red onions into a skillet with evoo on medium heat and cover. When onions are soft, add bell peppers – whatever you think your family will eat. They will be turned into sauce so it’s a great way to trick them into eating their veg. Once peppers are floppy, remove mix from heat and set aside. Add more evvoo and add diced sweet potatoes. Stir to prevent burning/sticking until the sweet potatoes begin to soften. DO NOT make them uber mushy.
Mix (I have a wonderful, tiny food processor from Sur la Table that was a special treat with some gift cards I had collected) the enchilada sauce, whole tomatoes, and onion/pepper mix.
If you use chicken thighs, you might want to skim the grease from on top of your chicken. Either way, shred the chicken in the crockpot with two forks.
Dip your tortillas into the sauce and cover the bottom of a 9×13 glass pan (I used a foil pan for my neighbor because I only have one glass).
Layer the shredded chicken, sweet potatoes, and a mix of the cheeses.
Spoon over some of the sauce.
Repeat the layers: dipped corn tortillas, shredded chicken, sweet potatoes, cheese until you’re out of ingredients.
If you’re freezing this, put a layer of plastic wrap down onto the last layer and then foil cover before freezing.
If you’re cooking immediately – cover with foil and heat through – I put it in at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or so. (You’ll see the sauce bubble.)
If your kids aren’t going through their anti-green phase, sprinkle with chopped cilantro, avocado and sour cream – even more cheese if you like!
In hopes of sharing my talent, I plan to post a few more of my life hacks, including more Freezer Recipes.
I hope you’ll share some of your own!