Sunday, January 16, 2011


An unwatched pot always boils. And boils. As you play a game with the 5-year-old, build blocks with the 3-year-old, and explore instruments with the 8-month-old and utterly lose yourself on the hardwood floor of family togetherness.

Not that I'm claiming this. My husband did it. But I'm really glad he did because we had a great time.

So I'm signing off for the last time for quite awhile I think. I'm going to redirect my cooking blog energy toward my professional work. Since this blog occupies approximately 10 minutes of my time each day, I am gifting myself an extra hour of time each week to put toward my freelance business. I love late Christmas presents.

Anyway. It's somehow satisfying to conclude with a photo of an utterly scorched pot instead of some perfectly turned out cake that took 16 hours to make. After all, there were enough salvageable noodles in the pot to meet our needs, and the kids found the skin formed by the pasta boiling over fascinating for at least 2 minutes. There is good in all that.

Week 85—Simply Mexican

MonPasta Puttanesca
Tues –  Chicken enchiladas with tomatillo salsa (Simply Mexican)
WedsHot ham and cheese with broccoli
Thurs Chicken cranberry burgers and sweet potato fries
Fri Pumpkin polenta (Simply Mexican) w/sausage and greens
AltsCuban rice; Goulash
Got a new cookbook for Christmas that I'm looking forward to trying out this week.

Today I tossed a collection of Bon Appetit magazines my husband and I had since the days when we'd spend entire evenings cooking together. I kept a few that were heavily tagged with favorites. An era passed? For now, maybe. But it was nice to look back at some dishes that seemed really challenging at the time to discover that you have improved your cooking skills enough to know when a Bon Appetit/epicurious recipe has really gone off the deep end (e.g. "boil water in a copper-coated pan until the bubbles are the size of euros" = boil water).

Happy cooking.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

10-minute dinner

Gotta share this recipe since I'm feeling slightly giddy that it's 8AM and dinner is nearly ready. It's the ideal recipe trifecta: quick prep, easy, good.

Au Jus French Dip
1 can onion soup
1 can beef broth
1 can beer
3 to 4lb beef roast

Place all in crock pot on low heat for 8 hours. Slice up meat when done and serve on hoagie buns with juice on the side.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Heart Stopper

I'm making the Pasta Carbonara recipe from this week's menu plan, realizing that I didn't read it completely. 6 slices of bacon, USE THE DRIPPINGS in the sauce (all of them), 1/2 c butter, etc. This is going to provide a coronary challenge for sure. Will not be making it again for the sake of our arteries, but I bet it's going to be a tasty dinner.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Week 84--Carbs

MonEasy lasagna
Tues –  Au Jus French Dip (Hy-Vee 75th Anniv. Cookbook)
WedsBBQ chicken
Thurs Pistachio-Crusted Fish Fillets (Taste of Home)
Fri Pasta Carbonara (Taste of Home)
AltsCuban rice
9:10PM and I'm running to the store. Will see if I can "shop the list" to get home in less than my usual 1.25 hrs. I get to the grocery store and I seem to zone out looking at all the products. Not exactly at peak efficiency this time of day. Had a great weekend with semi-unexpected visitors from Iowa, Brazil, and Chile. Fun to see people, even though we nearly lost them at times in our house full (and I mean FULL) of half-disassembled Christmas decorations and still-new toys. Happy cooking.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Closest Thing to a Holiday Cruise

This is what my kitchen sink looked like as I was trying to prepare some foods ahead of time over the holidays. Someone throw me a life preserver, please.

Quinoa, Take 2

Out of necessity, I used a combination of quinoa with brown rice in last night's stir-fry. It was actually quite good. I think it blended much better with a saucy beef-based mix than the curry chicken I served it with a couple weeks ago. Like tofu, finding the right flavor combination can apparently make-or-break when you're acquiring the taste.

"The Best Day Ever"

My 3-year-old sighed audibly at dinner last night and said, "This is the best day ever!"

I had some theories about why he might have said that: the fact that he didn't have a nap or even quiet time that day; the fact that we had spent much of the day making shields out of cardboard for mock-battles; the fact that he had enjoyed playing with some new Christmas toys.

When I asked him what made it so great, he said, "Steak!" This is a jaw-dropper in our house since he hasn't eaten a piece of "unmasked" meat to my knowledge in nearly 2 years.  Yet, there he sat picking through the stir-fry, eating all the steak out. I'm coming to believe it is truly not worth worrying about what your kid eats as long as they're growing and their teeth aren't rotting out.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Week 83—New Year

MonEgg sandwiches, chips and bean dip salsa
Tues –  Chicken noodle soup; Lasagna (for the healthy people—from the freezer)
WedsStir-fry beef
Thurs Chicken tortilla soup (Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes)
Fri Pizza
Altssalmon &greens
A few things left from last week's plan will start off 2011. Tuesday's meal reflects a split-plan for those recovering from a virus and those that remain healthy! Happy cooking.