Sunday, January 16, 2011

MPM--Winter Break, Take 2

This post gets chatty again, so first, for the wanderers-by, the recipes for this week, with updates after Friday:

Monday: Fancy tuna casserole, inspired by the Bitten Word, leftovers for everyone else

Tuesday: back to Taco Tuesday. We skipped it last week because my taco eater was really, really sick (see below) but we're back to it. I'm having mine with sweet potatoes rather than meat, just because I miss the sweet potato burrito guy where I used to work.

Wednesday: I've never tried a Rachael Ray crockpot recipe, but this seems like a good place to start: honey-lemon chicken. And I've learned my thighs lesson (see below) and will us breasts instead.

Thursday: spaghetti night, with leftover taco for the one who no longer eats spaghetti.

Friday: bingo night at the elementary school. But since no one eats pizza anymore, I'll be packing something.

Happy MLK Day to all! We will be serving by keeping up with resolutions of sharing. We are delivering toys to the family court waiting room, books to a Head Start library my moms' group created a few years ago, food for the hungry, and then my son will be doing projects at his school.

We'll see how it goes, though. He was so sick last week--first, a late-diagnosed ear infection, then a fever after the amoxycillin was started, then spots all over his body--he looked like a leopard. Now we know: he is "reactive" (NOT allergic) to -cillins, which I find sad, as I truly consider them one of the wonders of the last century. But the -mycin seems to be doing its job and he's on the road to recovery. But he was home four of five days last week, missing the late start for snow, the class party, and a few other fun things. But a four day week certainly won't hurt him this week

Given the snow and the sickness, we were pretty homebound, so we tried a bunch of new things last week. There was yet another "plowable" snow, which this time meant 8 inches, but it really was a perfect storm. It started after rush hour, ended before the morning rush, left the world looking lovely and yet only a 2 hour delay of school. Perfect. It did, as usual, inspire me to a meat-fest. I tried a bunch of recipes, from the Real Simple chicken over white beans to the others below. Happily, there were lots of successes.

The Real Simple chicken wasn't a total hit--I just can't make myself love chicken thighs, alas, but I enjoyed the beans and we did rediscover the yumminess of the cooked grape tomato, and I was inspired by its relative ease. But the big winner of the week, by a mile, was the Dorie Greenspan Armagnac chicken. I read about it at the Tipsy Baker website and (as I commented there) was happy she'd included a picture of her white chicken, because mine ended up that way too. Normally I'd shrug and think, hmm, good thing I don't like the skin. But when the instructions actually pause to say "Admire the perfect brown color of your chicken," I start to get verrry anxious. But, I thought, if the Tipsy Baker's came out white and still delicious, maybe mine can too. And wow, did it ever. I honestly don't remember the last meal the entire family ate, but this was one of them. Of course Little Picky was not about to try any of the vegetables, but he tucked away the chicken without once asking for dipping sauce, which is an unusual day here. I also loved that it used the CSA potatoes and carrots that were hanging around here, and even with the disadvantage of making it with a truly ancient bottle of Trader Vic's Flaming Brandy, it was unbelievably good. And there were some leftovers, but my favorite was taking the sauce and the veggies from the bottom and spooning them over some quinoa for a very comforting leftovers dinner. Yum.

There was a call at the Dinner: A Love Story facebook page for favorite DALS recipes, which was fun to peruse. After the first dozen or so DALS favorites were ringing in with this pork showing up frequently, and since I had half a head of cabbage still, again, as ever, in the fridge...and, just as excitingly, leftover red wine and pomegranate juice in the fridge...and voila, another incredible-smelling dinner. (I took the 'braise at 350' option). Like my slow-cooker pork, it shredded rather than sliced, but otherwise, it was quite good. I enjoyed the cabbage better cold the next day, and my kids were grossed out by the cabbage overall. But it was a winner. It's not displacing my slow cooker recipe, but it was still good, and enjoyed by all, and went a long way to clearing my fridge too, which always scores bonus points.

Semi-successful: shaved Brussels sprouts salad. Big success: using the food processor blade to shave. A whole new opportunity just arose in my kitchen. I was skeptical about the raw Brussels sprouts, and that may have gotten in my way; I didn't like at first but after an hour or so, it bloomed. I'm also a dressing girl and I thought it needed more dressing--like double the amount--to jazz it up. But that may have been a function of small lemons. It's hard to tell.

Final semi-successful: these apple-quinoa muffins. I overbaked them a little (and of course I'm still using my apparently-antique muffin tins, whose smaller size makes some recipes hard to gauge), which didn't help, and the quinoa flour retains a slight hint of the bitterness. But I loved how the turbinado sugar held its shape so gave little bursts of sweetness in the otherwise somewhat dry muffins. Butter really helped these, too.

This week was also week 1 of take down/organize Christmas decor and I'm pretty well in the middle of that. I consolidated the wrapping accoutrements, which is huge for me, and got lots of things put away for the church baskets next year. And then my husband wrenched his ankle so I took down anything that I could reach, and the rest, which isn't too much, happily, will wait for something closer to recovery from that. Baby steps.

For more inspiration on meal planning or organizing, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie. Have a good week!


Mom24 said...

Yay! It's great to have you back.

Mark shares your aversion to thighs and legs, although I can often sneak thighs in, depending on what I'm making. I just find them so much better for long and slow.

I laughed that no one eats pizza anymore, sorry, but I could so relate. :) Drives me crazy!

Hope you have a good week, one where everyone's healthy and your routine doesn't get too thrown.

Lauren D. McKinney said...

"A function of small lemons." I like that.

Also, I think muffins should be small. I gave my "Texas-size" muffin tin to Goodwill.