I love hate love Thanksgiving—all the planning and cleaning and cooking and strategizing and cooking and cooking and cooking… Know what I hate? Thanksgiving week dinners. After spending hours thinking about and working on Thursday’s feast, the last thing I want to do is devote more time to cooking dinner Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. Seriously, the other day I announced on Facebook that I was serving fish sticks for the rest of the week.
Thank god I have a secret weapon in my fridge. I’d nearly forgotten about it—a month or two ago the kind folks at Land O’Lakes invited me to an intimate little luncheon, at which they introduced a product called Sauté Express. They sent me home with free samples to play with.
Now, you know I don’t use many processed foods in my kitchen. But most of us who work and take care of kids and pets and homes and cars and schedules have learned that if we use our noggins, we’ll find processed items that are not only helpful, they’re also made with ingredients you’d use yourself. Like butter. And olive oil. Herbs, spices, salt, pepper.
Like Sauté Express. Here’s the label of their Lemon Pepper variety:
All words you can pronounce. All items you’d use—except maybe soy lecithin, which is often used to bind ingredients together, so if you’re soy-sensitive you should stop reading now.
As far as processed products go, this one passes my own, highly subjective test. It even has a reasonable sodium count (you won’t need to add more salt, either). Now, how does it, y’know, work? BEAUTIFULLY. If you’re stressed and it’s five-thirty and you have absolutely no idea what you’re going to feed your family, reach for one of these little building blocks. Toss one or two in a skillet, and when it melts and bubbles add skinless, boneless chicken, fish, or pork. Cook for a few minutes on each side, and you’re done. Once the protein’s out of the pan, I like to toss in some chopped vegetables along with a few tablespoons of water—why dirty another pot? Reheat a bag of cooked rice from the freezer, and dinner’s ready. By my estimation, that took about fifteen minutes.
There are four varieties: Lemon Pepper (which is great for fish), Savory Butter & Olive Oil, Italian Herb, and Garlic & Herb. My favorite is the Italian Herb, but my adorable son, who visibly cringes at the site of… stuff mixed in with his plain white chicken, prefers the Savory Butter & Olive Oil. That one cooks up golden brown, with no bits for picky eaters to sort through.
Keep a stash of these in your fridge or freezer, and on those nights when you absolutely, positively can’t think about what to cook, relax. You’re covered.