Just Another Manic Monday
21 November 2013
Muffin, Jack's cat, gets around. She's been awfully cuddly lately, for the most cattish of our cats. What's her deal?
This is where Muffin spends MOST of her time. It's the thirty-one utility tote in which I keep all the stuff I'm selling on ebay and Listia. Not very comfortable. Crazy feline.
So anyway. Speaking of cats...
On Monday morning, I set out to clean up my long-neglected kitchen. Dishes were in the sink, the dishwasher was full, and half the groceries were piled up all over the counters, since I did a big shopping trip last week - and we don't have that much pantry space.
Well. That didn't last. To my credit, I did empty the dishwasher and then run it two more times, and I hand-washed the dishes that couldn't go in the machine, but that's it. Instead, I cooked and baked. A lot.
Rotisserie chickens had been on sale at Publix when I shopped, so I'd gotten three. Three! We ate two, and some of the third (yes, Jack, I'm "supposed to be a vegetarian," but I do eat chicken, turkey on Thanksgiving, and certain sea creatures when I'm craving protein... which is ALL THE TIME, ugh). I decided to make chicken pot pies (above) with the rest of the meat. I like the Bisquick Chicken Pot Pie recipe, only I just had enough of that for one crust. And no veggies. Thankfully, I did have the necessary soup.
So, I chopped up fresh green beans and opened a can each of peas and corn, and I made my own "Bisquick" with just some flour, salt and baking soda. I had to use evaporated milk, too, since the kids finished off all the regular milk for their cereal. The result, with the Fiery Cranberry rotisserie chicken that remained? Delicious! Rob ate one pot pie entirely by himself yesterday.
I'd been craving mashed potatoes and could not wait another week and a half for Thanksgiving, so I peeled a 5-lb bag of Russets and got those cooking, too. Those turned out okay, but I used unsalted butter (for Rob's sake, since he's supposed to limit the salt while he's on the meds for brain inflammation) and more evaporated milk. Not as good as always.
Also for Rob's sake, I didn't make my loaded mashed potatoes. I adore them, but he hates them: I'll make regular mashed potatoes with tons of (salted) butter, lots of creamy milk, sautéed onion, sometimes sautéed garlic, sweet corn, sometimes cheese... and I forget what else. I haven't made it since the early days of our marriage when it became clear that it was a no-no for Hubs, and we're coming up on 13 years. Anyway, it's good. Really, really good.
We're pretty bad about making - or, in this case, buying pre-made - cookie dough and then eating it all up before I bake the cookies. My mama-in-law bakes and then freezes cookies, and I decided to do that with the Immaculate Oatmeal Chocolate Chip and Triple Chocolate Chunk cookie doughs I'd also gotten at Publix last week. I mean, as long as I was going to be running the oven, I might as well toss my cookies in there, right? ;)
Verdict: Also just okay, but not as good as my homemade - and those are Rob's and the kids' words, not my own! I actually thought they were quite good, especially straight out of the freezer.
While I cooked, I snacked on pomegranate arils. I'd gotten those, too, and the kids hacked into this one and left the poor carcass to dry out on the counter. Not having it, I decided to eat it myself. Of course, the kids saw this and decided that it was pretty good, after all. Everything's better on Mom and Dad's plates, right?
This is what I found when I opened the freezer to put in the cookies. A carton of sherbet with no lid and the ice cream scoop in it.
Yup. It's official: Kids live here.
None of us are big fans of white chocolate, but this cookie was quite palatable. They were gone even before the oatmeal! Jack decided they were his, so they didn't stand a chance.
Rob had taken a huge chicken out of the deep freezer the other day and then done nothing with it, so I decided I'd better cook that up, too.
Imagine my dismay when I opened the Crock-Pot to put it in and found the remains + mold from the last time I'd crock-potted! UGH!!! After I scrubbed that mess out, I needed to find a recipe and came up with this one that sounded quick and simple, yet delicious. Fortunately, I've been restocking out depleted spice cabinet lately, so I happened to have everything on hand that I needed. I was dubious about that "no added liquid" thing, but I went ahead just the same.
Oh, and while I was gathering the ingredients for that, I was rummaging through my baking cabinet and found the Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Bread mix that I'd gotten inexpensively a month or two ago. It was for the bread machine, and I hadn't given that a workout in a while, so... I made that, too!
It's pretty good. Jack even asked me to make it again, soon!
We're not gluten-free people here, so I probably bought that because it was the cheapest thing. I'll try anything once. ;)
As for the bicycle? It was on the table, and I'm random like that...
After the bread machine started, I rubbed my spice mix all over the cleaned chicken. That was one big bird. With all the chicken we've been having lately, I just knew there would be lots left over to make something else.
Oh, my word. The "100 Days of Real Food" recipe chick was right: no liquid needed and it still literally fell off the bones. That was fun, fishing all those bones and meat out of the onions... I'm a biologist, but there were way more bones in that chicken than I thought there'd be. :P (Rob is usually the bones person; I leave that up to him.)
It was amazing, though. While I was cleaning the carcass and pulling fallen meat out of the broth, I kept sampling it. More and more, I was putting meat in my throat instead of the bowl...! This recipe got printed out and will be added to my frequent rotation. Yummo!
If you're wondering, "what about school?" it's because the kids are all sick. They were lying around in my bed together, napping and watching YouTube videos on their Kindle Fires. Three days of nonstop resting later, and we should be good-to-go for school tomorrow!
And then, the pièce de résistance, homemade pasta! I enlisted the help of Big Red, my lovely KitchenAid mixer, for this task. I don't have the pasta attachments for it - yet - but I boldly went where no me has gone before and decided to whip up some fresh ravioli with some of that chicken from the crock pot.
I also used my Ninja food processor to mutilate purée the chicken into wee bits for the ravioli filling. Love that thang!
Rob said, "There's no way you're going to be able to get it thin enough for ravioli," which my female brain interpreted as, "You can't do it," so of course, do it I must.
I used this recipe for the pasta dough and semi-unvented the chicken filling myself: puréed chicken from the roasted crockpot one, sautéed garlic in EVOO (just two cloves, let's not get carried away here), a bunch of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese (I'm not big on measuring when I'm unventing), a wee pinch of nutmeg, some tarragon (because it smelled good compared to the chicken, and I wanted something green and had no fresh parsley or spinach), the two eggs, and voilá! Filling!
The funny thing is, I made enough pasta dough for, oh, about two dozen ravioli, and enough filling for four or five times as much! So I froze the rest for later... later may come sooner than I thought, though, because all 4 of the rest of Team Odette wolfed them down and asked for more.
While that was being prepared, naturally I made an Italian bread to go with it. Bread-machine bread, not by-hand bread, but that's okay because it was good enough for everyone else to ask for more of that, too!
I served four of the ravioli, some buttered Italian bread, and some Tuscan pasta sauce (thanks, Barilla, since I had no tomatoes for homemade that-ness) to Rob, and then I stood there and watched him eat while I held my breath. Trés annoying, I know, but that's me for you.
He liked it, he really liked it!
(I ate two and it was okay, but I couldn't keep it down... so that affected my opinion.)
When I got up today, all the ravioli were gone, and the kids were raving about it. That's a good sign!
I must confess, I was pretty proud of myself. I done did it!
Gratuitous picture of Chloë snuggling with Pepper
Gratuitous picture of Chloë, asleep on her schoolwork, sick as a dog
So there ya go. I still haven't cleaned up the kitchen, but I'm starting to feel a Manic Thursday coming on. It'll get done today, by George... but probably not before I restock the cookies and who-knows-what-else.
C'mon over, if you're hungry!