Thursday, February 21, 2013

Q... & craziness in my kitchen

What I THINK I look like
when I start cooking
I've literally been cooking all day. It's weird. And yet... I'm glad. I'm no Suzie Homemaker, although I may get the same sort of crazy-eyed look by the time I'm finished as that lady over there (see picture, right), but I love the freedom that comes after I've willingly given up a day to my kitchen; a few hours that, sacrificed today, will save me from saying, "Oh, crap! What am I going to feed these people!" for a few weeks!

So, I went to town yesterday and spent an insane amount of money at the grocery store (did I mention that it was Super Wal-Mart? That should take the "insane" ingredient to a whole new level.) The plan: buy enough food to make a GOB of meals for my freezer. Why? Well, in case you haven't come over and visited us lately, you may not have heard this, but... I have this little project I've been working on for about 7 years that is finally coming to fruition in the next month and... I'm going to be busy. And the last thing I (well, ever) want to think about is what the heck I'm going to cook for dinner.

So here are the meals I have in my freezer (so far) on this cooking adventure, for my family of 4 plus planned leftovers for hubs's lunches:

3+ meals of chicken noodle soup (hey, it's still flu season, ya'all. And none of us have caught it yet! Now stop breathing your germs so close to your webcam!)

1 meal of beef and barley soup

2 meals of Honey Mustard Chicken with White Wine sauce

2 meals of Balsamic Citrus & Basil Chicken

What I think I look like when I've finished
and have a freezer full of  meals.
1 meal of Spicy Tangerine & Orange Pork Chops

1 meal of maple & ginger marinated Pork Chops (sounds gross, but is awesome grilled or baked. And there's other stuff in it besides maple and ginger, btw.)

1 beef roast, marinated in 1 jar of mild banana peppers. Sounds crazy, but you just thaw it, dump it in the slow cooker for about 8 hours and.. voila! Best. Pot roast. Ever. (Honestly, I've never done it with the freezer before... always have just started with a hunk of meat and a jar of banana peppers. I was skeptical the first time, but even my picky one loved it! And I love anything that limits prep time to "rip open plastic, remove jar lid, put in crock pot, walk away.) So... hope it works from frozen.

And in case you were wondering what recipes I used? Well, I didn't. Except for the pot roast. I got that one from a cookbook that I would HIGHLY recommend if you like using a crockpot (see? there! I did manage to be something about a book in this post!) It's called My Family Meal Planner Crock Pot Only. And you can get it HERE You can even order pre-made grocery lists. I used this cookbook pretty much EXCLUSIVELY for two months last fall and all the recipes were crowd pleasers. I liked it so much, that I got the "meals for two" version for my recently engaged niece for Christmas.

So, if I didn't use recipes, what did I do? Well, for most of the meals I just lined up a bunch of bowls on the counter and started squirting, spooning, and dumping in ingredients for different marinades. I'm a mix-n-match cook and things don't always turn out super awesome, but when it comes to marinades and homemade chicken noodle soup, I've used enough recipes from trusted folk that I sort of have a good enough "base knowledge" to be able to whip up a good marinade. I'm not worried. (perhaps my family is, but I'm not.)

And, there's a turkey roast thingy (I'm so culinary, aren't I) in my crockpot right now and a freshly baked corn casserole that just came out of the oven that we're going to eat for supper. And in my fridge? There's still one meal left from January's trip to Naomi's Kitchen (my preferred method of cooking: Buy it. Thaw it. Throw it in a cooking device.)

But I'm not finished yet! There's more meat in my fridge that needs to find its way into a "recipe" and on to my freezer! And I'm sick to death of cooking!

So, I will call upon the wisdom of Brother Lawrence (Oh! That's a book, too!) and the prayer of his that I read the other night:  O my God, since Thou art with me and I must now, in obedience to Thy commands, apply my mind to these outward things, I beseech Thee to grant me the grace to continue in Thy presence; and to this end do Thou prosper me with Thy assistance, receive all my works, and possess all my affections.
Normally, I don't pray in thees and thous. Okay, I never pray in thees and thous. But that's how Brother Lawrence said it in the classic devotion, The Practice of the Presence of God (with Spiritual Maxims) and he did most of his monking in the kitchen, as I understand it. So it fits.

What's left to do:

Create 10+ more meals using a turkey ham, 2 pounds of ground beef, 2 pork roasts, half of the turkey breast thing that is in the crockpot, and a bag of frozen chicken breasts. But... even after praying with Bro La-ro, I'm tired. I think I'm ready to clean up for today and hit it again tomorrow. Starting, with a modern English, more Serena-like version of that prayer.

So after I comatose-dose myself at Pinterest for a few minutes, I think I'll go grab a book to read and eat a cookie. (I baked those the other day. Yes, it's been a strange week. I'm going to blame my random domesticity on Winter Storm Q.)

BTW: it just started to snow and blow here. It's fine snow right now. Probably mixed with rain that will turn to ice.

Suzie Homemaker I am not. There must be something wrong with me. But... at least once I've finally finished cooking (tomorrow!) I won't have to think up something for dinner for a few weeks! Unless, of course, I forget to thaw something out the night before...

Image credit: <a href=''>creatista / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Image credit:  Image ID : 8596252 123RF Stock photo


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