Friday, January 28, 2011

Weeks Two and Three - the Finale.

Oh my laws, you guys. I am going to have to make Thursdays grocery shopping night, because these two are comedy gold!! Totally without intention, I ended up in the same lane as last week with my favorite checker/bagger duo.

Just as I noticed it was them and was wondering if the dentist had, in fact, punched the guy in the face, the woman in front of me says to Mutt and Jeff, "Could you two quit talking? You'd work faster that way."

HAHAHA! It's true.  But still: HAHAHA! So they clam up and start working fast enough that the glaciers stopped passing us. Jeff the Bagger, who I would place as a senior in high school with hair that weighs more than the rest of him, apologizes to the woman and accepts her conciliatory efforts with a little sucking up so as to avoid being written up. And also, I think his mama just raised him right. He's got the "I wanna be a rebel, but I'm just too sweet and middle class" vibe. But Mutt.....oooooh, doggy. Mutt is not having it. He is glaring. And barely waits til she's out of earshot before unloading on me. I'm non-committal, but friendly.

Mutt is not a nice boy. Mutt is a dweeby "rebel." Jeff looks up to him because he's older, but eventually sweet Jeff is going to realize that it's kind of lame to be a 30 year old checker whose main source of ego is teenage baggers who ask you to buy ironic beers for them.

Anyway. Away we go! So far for the next two weeks, we already have in the freezer (sides are yet to be made):
  - Chicken and Spanish Rice with green beans (Husband liked this, I thought it was good though it
 needed a little something more, and is not worth the time. The rice actually took much longer to cook than the recipe indicates and threw the timing all off.)
  - White Chili with a green salad
  - Shrimp Fried Rice (ahem) with asparagus
  - Layered Mexican Chicken with a green salad

So for today's extravaganza:
 -Marinated Chicken Breasts, with the jicama and apple salad that was a big hit last week
 -Marinated Tilapia with make-ahead coleslaw that keeps for a week
 -Moroccan Root Vegetable Stew (a fave of mine from Moosewood) and a quinoa salad
 -Pork Chops and Apples with a wild rice salad
 -Italian Polenta Casserole with a tomato, cucumber and onion salad (instructions to be rendered to Cousin)
 -Turkey Meatloaf with whipped sweet potatoes

Let's boogie.
I was waiting on a turkey meatloaf recipe from a friend, she swears it's awesome, but it's not forthcoming, so I'll have to Google one. The chicken, fish and pork chops are mostly marinating - toss shtuff in a bag with some meat. You know - classy. I'm going to get the stew moving, since I think that takes some time to simmer and I can work on other things in the mean time.

We'll start with our standard Rock Concert Movement Number One: Chop onions! Woo hoo! I need coffee beans. My hands have not stopped smelling of onions since we started this little experiment.

Two cups for the stew and one "jumbo" onion for the casserole (Seriously? Jumbo? That's just weird. But whatevs.) Ready, go!

GREY ONION! Kahhhhhhnnnnn!!!!

And chopping 5 cloves of garlic, except I'm doing 6 because there's no such thing as too much garlic.

Hmmm....What does it mean when your super cheap grocery store soup pot burns the olive oil almost instantly and then looks like this:

Nothing good, I'm guessing.

Soup is simmering. I'm going to do the non-stovetop marinades while that bubbles away. For the pork marinade, you've probably guessed that I'm anti-"egg product," so I'm going to use one egg and a little water instead. Google says you can freeze raw egg. And if you see it on Google, it can't be wrong. Did you feel that? That was the entire librarian community shuddering.

I'm sure you've also guessed I'm not about to buy "pre-sliced apples" - in part because I once left an open bag of those apples from McDonald's in the car for over a week. Do you know what happened to them? Nothing. Nothing happened to them. They didn't even get the slightest bit brown. Ew. So I'm slicing four actual apples for this recipe. One for each person...assuming the 2 and 5 year old eat baked apples.

I'm only using 1/8 cup of brown sugar because I know I don't have the full serving of apples and just because less sugar is good. I also added a little lemon juice, because I'm feeling saucy today.

Of course, peeling and slicing all those apples means I only got the pork done while the soup was cooking. But now - now is the time on Sprockets when we dance. Because! It's immersion blender time!!! Yay. If a recipe ever makes blending optional, I just read it as a mandate. Because I never pass up an opportunity to immersion blend. Helloooooooo, Nurse!
That's sexy.

On to the Italian Polenta Casserole. I'm a little apprehensive about this one. Reports on the Good Housekeeping Butternut Lasagna were that it was pretty bland. Fine, but not particularly yummy. And the GH Spanish Rice and Chicken last night was also fine, but not particularly flavorful. However, the Stuffed Peppers from Good Housekeeping were phenomenal in my book. So I'm going to give it a shot, but three strikes and you're out GH. Just sayin'.

Aaaaaand, again with the microwave. GH hates the stove top. Once again I'm just following the package directions to make the polenta on the range. Oops. I put all 6 cloves of garlic in the soup. Ha! Oh well. I'm upping the garlic, and adding white pepper and salt to the onions to try to preemptively bump the flavor. (*It worked. We had this for dinner tonight and it was good. What you'd expect out of something called Italian Polenta Casserole, in a good way)

Turkey meatloaf recipe procured on Epicurious. It has 5 forks from over 400 reviews, so I'm going to go ahead with it. Then do the Chicken and Tilapia marinades and move on to the sides. And according to my newly-cooking friend (the woman didn't own a whisk til recently. Or a spatula, she claims she didn't even know what a spatula was....anyway, according to her...) as long as you're cooking, you can drink. You know, like Julia. It is afternoon....(relax, Mother, I'm kidding. Mostly.).

Finished. Ten meals for cousin, five for us:

Wish list at the end of Week Two:
-Still want a decent soup pot. The $11 grocery store special ain't cutting it.
-Desperately want Sexy Mixing Bowls. I need more places for heaps o' chopped stuff.
-Coffee beans for destinkifying oniony hands.
-One of those kitchen odor-eating candles, because cooking odors just hang at the top of my back stairway. Forever. Ok, overnight. But it could be forever.


  1. If "nice clear thick glass" counts as sexy, we got ourselves these for xmas (I know, I know -- the excitement!) and they are awesome.

    We are working on reducing the amount of plastic in our food lives, especially for things that go in the microwave to heat up leftovers. But we find ourselves using these for mise-en-place all the time as well.

  2. ooooh, thats a really good deal on storage!! thanks, leen!