Um, I might want to order our Christmas cards.
And wrap things.
Or you know, buy things to be wrapped.
And sure, I remember Thanksgiving dinner (still full), and Jeff making all things indoorsy/outdoorsy merry with approximately sixty mabillion ornaments and string lights (why has no one invented a teeny tiny lightbulb tester yet?), and we started our annual family Christmas movie countdown – but with days melting into each other like mini marshmallows in piping hot cocoa, everything holiday is flying by in a peppermint-spiked flash.
I’m not even going to try to keep up.
Instead, I’m just going to let the spirit of the season move me to spend as much time with my family as possible – sledding, baking, do-gooding and dreaming up new adventures for Francois Elfie Momo. You should know that our Elf on the Shelf lives a more exciting life than I do if his most recent extracurriculars (zip lining, a powered snowball fight with a bunch of Disney Princesses, wearing Darth Vader’s helmet) are any indicator.
Coming up with a dinner menu every night isn’t on that list, mainly because it brings out my inner Grinch. Look, when temps are hovering in the single digits and it’s dark at 4 p.m., my top priority isn’t really coming up with something delicious and creative and comforting that involves noodles. Lots of them because it’s the only thing that my kids seem to like this time of year. The cold weather zaps my creative cooking drive. As does being Santa’s helper.
Campbell’s Soup Company gets that, and consulted with the Wisest Kid in the Whole World – their bearded authority on all things kid-friendly food – to come up with a collection of easy-to-make recipes that are varied enough to please the kids, while healthy enough to please us parents. Think Cheeseburger Pasta, Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo, and Mini Shepherd Pies. All you need is some Campbell’s Condensed Soup (mainstays like Tomato and Cream of Mushroom), plus ingredients you probably already have in your pantry, fridge and freezer.
What’s more, the recipes are pretty plain from a seasoning standpoint, which means they make a great base for you to add your own personal touches. Garlic makes it into absolutely everything I make, and I keep a spice rack supplied with everything from dried onion to red pepper flakes to Herbes de Provence. Don’t forget those citrus fruits sitting in your fruit basket either. A little zest sizzling fragrantly in a pan can go a long way in terms of building multi-layered flavors.
Better yet, a lot of these call for pre-cooked proteins (think chicken and ground beef), which means you can take that leftover roasted chicken or browned beef, throw it in, and pour yourself a little extra mulled cider for time well saved. Add fresh-cut fruit, steamed veggies or a salad to any one of these meals to round them out, and boom. Leftovers just became the best part of the week.
Pour yourself another mulled cider while you’re at it.
Photo credits: Campbell Soup Co.