The end to the lazy days of summer. For some reason, when the sun starts to shine, life seems to slow down. Dinner’s a little bit later, rules and routines are relaxed. But when fall hits, everything seems to change. It’s like no matter what stage we’re at in our lives, back-to-school routines seem to be ingrained in our internal seasonal clocks. Let’s face it – this time of year just has more hustle.
Which obviously means that we’ll be looking for ways to simplify our routines: less steps, faster, easier. Especially when it comes to mealtime.
As every parent knows, whether both mom and dad work outside of the house or not, the dinner hour can be crazy hectic. Nobody wants to spend hours on meal prep at the best of times, but in fall, there are new routines to learn, forms to be signed, homework to be done, and activities to get to.
That’s why every home cook needs an arsenal of quick delicious dinner ideas they can get on the table in no time flat (and that can be reheated for latecomers). It’s easy to fall back on boxed pastas or frozen chicken. But what if you could serve up homemade versions in just about the same amount of time? Imagine pasta that cooks in half the time via the Induction Boost element while the oven heats up. Whirlpool Induction technology helps to transfer energy into cookware so everyone can enjoy their meal faster. Thanks to the third fan and rear heating element of TimeSavor True Convection cooking system, delicious food like Crunchy Mexican chicken is on the table before homework’s done.
That’s what these two easy fall recipes promise, along with the timesaving ease and intuitiveness of the Whirlpool range: healthy, balanced meals for families on the run.
Tomato-y Mac & Cheese (Serves 6)
There’s nothing, I mean nothing, like home made macaroni & cheese, especially when topped by a yummy tomato sauce and a gooey crispy topping. This one just tastes like home.
Total activity time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
1 500 g package of small pasta like macaroni elbows or shells
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup flour
2 ½ cups milk (I use 1%) plus ½ cup extra reserved
2 -3 cups shredded old or extra old Cheddar
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp each salt & pepper
Your favourite hot sauce, like Tabasco
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (good quality jarred is fine)
½ a 28 oz. can of whole Italian tomatoes
½ cup shredded cheese like Italiano blend
Seasoned breadcrumbs (optional)
Preheat TimeSavor convection oven to 400 degrees. Move fast. The rapid preheat doesn’t give you much time.
Fill a pot with salted water and bring to the boil (with Induction Technology this will happen in no time flat). Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes.
Melt butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Whisk in the flour until you have a loose paste (called a ‘roux’). Continue to whisk, cooking the flour and butter for about 2 minutes. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Pour in the milk and keep whisking until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Use a spoon to make sure that the roux isn’t sticking to the grooves on the bottom of the pot. You now have white sauce! If the sauce is too thick, add a little more milk. Lower heat and add the cheese and a dash or two of hot sauce. Stir until cheese is melted.
By now your pasta will be ready. Pour into a strainer and then put back into the pot.
Crush the canned tomatoes with your fingers, reserving the other half of the can and all the liquid for another time. Combine the tomatoes with the ready-made pasta sauce.
Combine the pasta with enough of the cheese sauce to coat. Pour into an ovenproof dish. Top with the tomato sauce and shredded cheese, and if you like a little crunch, some breadcrumbs. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges are bubbling and the top is browned.
Mexi-Crunch Baked Chicken
Total Activity time: 15 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes (including prep)
Baked chicken is an easy go-to supper. What’s hard is making it not boring. Marinating in a homemade spice rub and then adding a little crunch will make your weekday dinners feel like a fiesta.
Mexican Spice rub (make in a jar and keep. Great for tacos, fajitas and other tex mex treats)
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. Mexican Chile powder
1 tbsp. ground cilantro
1 tbsp. cocoa chili spice blend (McCormicks)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp. granulated garlic
2-3 tbsp. Mexican spice rub
8 bone-in chicken pieces, skin on or off
¼ white vinegar
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tsp each sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. paprika
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
Rinse and pat dry chicken pieces. Place in a large container with a lid. Add the marinade ingredients and put the lid on. Give it a shake. You can do this a day ahead or 20 minutes before baking. Right before cooking, add the panko and toss to coat.
Preheat TimeSavor Convection oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken on a parchment covered baking sheet. Bake for around 45 minutes. Get your sides ready then go do something else.
Serve with some salsa for dipping, rosemary roast potatoes and some easy sautéed veggies.