My family and I are in the middle of packing to move to a new house and chaos doesn’t even begin to describe our state of living right now. It’s OK because I expected moving house with a three and a one year old to be an utter mess and overall we are doing pretty well. We are down to the wire with just under one week left in our old house so it’s do or die time in terms of packing. Anyone who’s moved before knows there’s this weird moment towards the end when you have to decided what basics you need to take out and what is safe to pack. I’ve packed up most of my cooking equipment save for a few basic pots, plates and cups.
Since most of our life is trapped inside card board boxes, this past month we’ve stuck to simple meals like pasta bolognese and chicken cutlets. Simple meals have been saving my sanity during a very stressful time since I’m so dog tired after packing and running around with the kids that the thought of cooking and cleaning was making me lose my mind. Since we are days away from the day, this past week we’ve been eating a lot of take-out. At first, it was kind of fun because we rarely do it, but after a few days it was starting to wear on us. Even a few days of take-out can make you feel all yucky inside and certainly hits your wallet hard too. On top of that, we exhausted our already limited options for take-out so when it came to figuring out dinner for tonight, I was not in the mood to phone in dinner yet again.
I know in my heart that delicious food can be easy so I mustered up some strength and decided to make the family mussels and serve it with a nice hunk of crusty bread. Mussels are fairly inexpensive and can be made in under 10 minutes and you feel like you are eating like a king. Simple, delicious and best of all—one pot!! Dinner was just perfect and we all felt a little better having something home cooked. It definitely gave us the sustenance we needed to continue our packing marathon but it gave us something else too—each other. Instead of eating food from paper boxes and running around like crazy people, we actually sat down and enjoyed our meals and our family. We sat around the table sopping up the mussel broth remembering the times we had in our current house and talking about the plans we have for our future home. We needed this meal in more ways than one and once again I am reminded that the family meal is more powerful than the sum of it’s ingredients and I’m thankful because regardless of what’s going on in our lives, no moment, past or future is as important as the present and especially when it’s spent with the ones you love.
Mussels My Way
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large leek, finely chopped
- 1 large shallot finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 plum tomatoes, diced small 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 3 lbs mussels, cleaned
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1. In a large stockpot heat butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add in leeks, shallots and garlic and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add in the tomatoes, salt, pepper and white wine. Allow the wine boil for a bit to let some of the alcohol burn off, about 1-2 minutes before adding in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil.
2. Add in the mussels and stir well. Cover the pot and continue cooking over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until mussels have opened. Serve mussels hot along side crusty bread.
Christina Stanley-Salerno is a mama, recipe developer, food stylist, photographer and blogger atTakeBackYourTable.com. She loves cooking for and with her family. Life is hectic, but Christina is passionate about mealtime because she believes that family meals are the glue that holds everyone together. Creating simple, quick and healthy meals is her specialty and her trick to keeping the family meal a reality, even on busy weeknights.
Follow her on Twitter @TakeBackTables