One of the first lessons I learned about parenting was that the best time to cook or bake is during my daughter’s afternoon naptime. By doing this I can enjoy my time in the kitchen, prepare our meals – or at least most of them – in the afternoon and only have to assemble the final dish at dinner time. This method works well for me because I am able to maintain my love of cooking and baking while making nourishing food that my family enjoys.
I refuse to take the approach that feeding my family is a problem that needs to be solved with reductive solutions like meals made in X minutes or less, I believe it is something that should be a pleasure. Are you a working parent? No problem. You can be the bedtime chef and prepare food after the kids are asleep or in the morning. I write on my website about how I fit great food into my family life. I don’t cook and bake all day, every day during naptime, but I make my down time work for me. I do everything from make dinner, to make-ahead breakfasts, bake treats for bake sales or house gifts and put together meals to take to new parents. I love every moment of my time in the kitchen and I hope you do to.
One of my favorite tricks during naptime is marinating meat or poultry. Simply assemble the marinade, layer it in the baking dish with the meat and leave everything, covered, in the fridge until your ready to cook. Here is a great recipe for baked chicken that I made just last week when we moved from NYC to Connecticut.
Baked Soy-Vey Chicken Thighs
6-8 chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry
8 oz. Soy-Vey or Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki
Salt & Pepper
1. Remove chicken thighs from package, trim fat, rinse with water and pat dry.
2. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and place in large baking dish.
3. Pour the marinade over the chicken, swirling it around with your hands to make the chicken is entirely coated and mostly covered.
4. Let the chicken sit in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
5. Preheat oven to 375. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
Naptime Recipe Ideas: This recipe is a breeze to prepare during naptime (I’m giving you one of my easiest naptime recipes first…). If you can open a bottle and pour, you can prepare a meal your entire family will love in a matter of seconds. The chicken will stay in the fridge for up to 24 hours in the marinade, so you can put it in to marinate over night or the morning before you go to work if that is easier.
Naptime Serving Suggestions: I like to serve this with jasmine rice and a green salad or steamed asparagus on the side.
Naptime Stopwatch: The chicken takes about 5 minutes to prepare. The baking time is usually about 45 minutes and dinner is served.
Naptime Reviews: My whole family loves this dish, even my in-law’s and parents. It is great for children, too, my daughter loves the little chicken pieces which she mixes with the rice before eating.