Haylie Quatrevingt of Steens holds a plate of her homemade Brussels sprouts au gratin and Southern squash dressing at her home decorated for Christmas. The dishes are among those she prepares for Q's Kitchen, a weekly meal service she started for busy families. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff
December 13, 2017 11:03:07 AM
Haylie Quatrevingt is a busy working mom who recently decided to adopt a healthier lifestyle. But with four active daughters, ages 4, 5, 9 and 12, she and her husband found the choices available for dinner on nights filled with soccer, church and school work, "underwhelming."
"A fast food meal could easily cost $30 to $40, and at that price quality ingredients could be purchased," says Haylie. As in most households, though, the perennial problem is time for meal prep. But Haylie loves to cook, and this past fall the Steens mom decided she could devote one day per week to making quality meals for not only her family, but other families on the go. She calls her concept Q's Kitchen, a weekly meal service offering home-cooked, affordable and balanced meals. All are fully prepared and ready to heat in the oven. Dishes range from Italian meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes or white chicken chili with Southern cornbread, to herb-roasted whole chickens with a sweet potato and Brussels sprouts saute or mozzarella baked spaghetti. Meals sometimes include soups and special touches, like croutons, ranch dressing and bacon bits, all homemade.
Haylie decides on a weekly menu and posts it on a Q's Kitchen Facebook group page. Orders are placed by 5 p.m. each Friday and prepaid via Paypal. Cost ranges from $20 to $30. Meals are ready for pickup the following Monday through Wednesday.
A typical Sunday afternoon often finds Haylie stopping by the grocery store after church before heading home to start the process of filling orders. Her kitchen sometimes resembles an assembly line, she admits.
"There is nothing easy about making 15 pans of meatloaf, but without my husband dicing onions and my girls washing and peeling potatoes and mopping -- the little one's favorite -- when the kitchen tornado is finished, this would be absolutely impossible," Haylie says.
Ironically, she didn't cook much as a child, but she does remember often watching her mother who was an excellent cook.
"She unfortunately passed away without writing most of her recipes down, so I had to do some serious testing in the kitchen to get things right," says Haylie. She mines recipes from sources including Pinterest, often adapting them during test runs. She welcomes feedback.
"There is a certain feeling I get from making my customers' lives easier," she says "I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but hearing people's reviews of dishes and their comment on how satisfying the meals were just makes my heart full.
"I love to cook, host and make people happy, and Q's Kitchen has filled a void in both my life and other busy families' lives. Best of all, my four girls have been able to help in the kitchen, and the learning and family bonding time is priceless."
For more information about Q's Kitchen, email [email protected]
SOUTHERN SQUASH DRESSING
1 pan cornbread
2 cups cream of chicken
2 cups chicken broth
2 squash, sliced into coins
1 onion, diced
4 cups cheddar cheese
Cream of chicken:
3 tablespoons salted butter
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup milk
For the cream of chicken:
For the dressing:
(Source: Haylie Quatrevingt, adapted from a family recipe)
BRUSSELS SPROUTS AU GRATIN
4 cups Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1 cup for topping
2 cups colby cheese
2 cups heavy cream or whole milk
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
(Source: Haylie Quatrevingt, adapted from Pinterest)
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.