Making mealtimes easier

By Natalie Hollingshead

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 4 2012 4:26 p.m. MDT

Before you start throwing things in a pan, you need all of your ingredients prepped and ready. If you are making stir-fry, the vegetables and meat need to be chopped, and the sauce needs to be measured and prepared. That way, you aren’t trying to take care of some ingredients when others are burning on the stove. This beforehand prep work makes meals come together quickly. It also ensures that you won’t get halfway through a recipe before realizing you are missing a key ingredient.

Take help when you can get it: Making a homemade meal doesn’t mean making every item that graces the table from scratch. Go semi-homemade by purchasing healthy, packaged items that easily complete a meal.

Rolls from a local bakery, already peeled-and-washed fruit and veggies or a package of heat-and-serve rice are a few examples of grocery store items that can make a meal come together quickly. True, you pay more for these so-called convenience foods, but if the timesaving means the difference between a meal at home or heading to a drive-through, the extra cost at the grocery store is worth it.

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Chicken Curry in a Hurry

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less if you’d like)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup chicken broth

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1½-inch pieces

1 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon curry powder

1/3 cup plain non-fat yogurt

Mix flour, salt and cayenne pepper in a zip-seal plastic bag. Using a paper towel, pat excess moisture off chicken. Add chicken to bag in small batches, shaking to coat each batch.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned. Add curry powder and toss to coat. Remove chicken from heat. Add onion and garlic to pan and cook 2 minutes. Add broth and tomato paste, stirring well to incorporate.

Return chicken to pan and simmer uncovered about 8 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and sauce reduced. Stir in yogurt. Garnish with cilantro when serving.

— “Happy Homemaking: An LDS Girl’s Guide” (Cedar Fort, $16.99)

If you go ...

What: Natalie Hollingshead and Elyssa Andrus booksignings

When: Thursday, Sept. 6, 1-3 p.m.

Where: Costco, 648 E. 800 South, Orem

Also ...

When: Thursday, Sept. 8, 3-5 p.m.

Where: Costco, 3747 S. 2700 West, West Valley City

Natalie Hollingshead is the co-author of “Happy Homemaking: An LDS Girl’s Guide,” recently published by Cedar Fort, and her website is www.twohappyhomemakers.com.