The past weekend was a perfect storm of sorts.
We had a solid weekend of rain, going outside meant cold, damp, slushy weather. Staying inside meant warm and cozy. Second to that, it had been far too long since I had had one of my slow cooking marathons where I prepare a week’s worth of dinners and another two worth of freezer lunches for work. I was way overdue. Third, it’s January and all of the smart grocers know that people are no longer interested in fancy cheeses and meant to impress dinner ingredients. In January we are all after replenishing the cupboard with everyday staples and easy to prepare comfort foods.
So basically, my freezer was empty, I had food containers spilling out onto the floors every time someone emptied a cupboard, there were tons of good sale prices at the grocery store, and the weather was too crappy to leave the house. And I’m going to compound the situation by saying that I held a little back last time in “Homemade Pasta Dough Using a Food Processor”, namely that I actually sprained my elbow taking the lasagna out of the oven. Sad but true, my Pampered Chef pan along with four kinds of cheese almost did me in. This girl is actually going to physiotherapy because of lasagna. How many people can say that? End result is that it’s supposed to be another five weeks before I’m allowed to resume the full account of my weekend jobs around the house.
Oh! I forgot to mention that I got a new slow cooker for Christmas, hurrah! The handles of my #2 crock-pot have actually broken up and all of the plastic fell away, likely from heat and overuse, probably the 24 hour pulled pork recipe I keep making. Anyway a slow cooker with metal wire handles that burn when you touch them is not helpful. I now have a new #2 crock pot, and the old #2 has been downgraded to #3 for slow cooking marathon use only.
Obviously, all in, this had to be the perfect weekend to break out my three bad boys and wreak a little havoc in the kitchen.
Over two days and with a heavy dependence on A Year of Slow Cooking, I managed to roll out the following with only one tiny mishap:
- Salsa Chicken: Self explanatory
- Tandoori Chicken: So I learned that the red color in Tandoori chicken is often food coloring. I only had neon food coloring in my kitchen and didn’t think the fam would go for fluorescent lime green chicken.
- Lemon Chicken: I was most excited to try this one, figuring it would either be a complete bomb or a rave success with the under 18 crowd. The secret ingredient of this recipe is lemon jell-o! I know, right? Guess what! It was pretty good, everyone liked it, it was sweet and lemony in an artificial lemon the same way Tang isn’t really orange flavored kind of way. I think I would make this again for a potluck or something just to mess with peoples minds.
- Coconut Red Lentil Dahl: I forgot to take a picture, but I made this on the stove top for lunch. This particular version had fresh ginger, curry, and coconut milk. Get the recipe here.
- Vegetarian Curry: This was one of my favorites, I wanted to try some Indian food and it ended up tasting and smelling fantastic but my “mishap” was with this one. The recipe called for yogurt and it was supposed to cook for ten hours on low. Typically one hour on high is the same as two hours on low, so to save time I cranked it up on high for a few hours to have it ready earlier in the day. The yogurt curdled at the higher heat. It was completely fine otherwise but not as pretty looking as it could have been.
- Lentils and Kale: This was actually called Lentil and Kale Superfood, but I didn’t tell my family that thinking it would work against me 😉 Lot’s of good spices and flavor here. This was as healthy and nutritious as chicken made with Jell-o is not. I’m trying to be equal opportunity here. I’m looking forward to serving this over rice for lunches and dinner over the next few weeks. I increased the recipe by 2.5 times to use a whole bag of green lentils. I had all of the ingredients and room in the slow cooker so why not?
- American Chop Suey: not what you think if you are thinking Asian food. Basically a hamburger and macaroni dish that usually calls for bacon but I was out. This is quintessential comfort food and the only repeat recipe I ran this weekend.
- Hamburger and Barley Soup: I was going to double the American Chop Suey recipe but realized that I didn’t have enough room in the crock pot. This was the easiest fastest use for the ground beef and onion using stuff I already had in the kitchen.
- Beef Stew x2: I didn’t cook the beef stew, this was a different experiment. A friend was telling me that she puts everything for a slow cooker meal in a Ziploc and freezes it until she needs it. I’m curious to see if that might be something to incorporate into my batch cooking. One day of cooking and chopping and measuring and freezing. I will let you know how it goes.
Sadly not all of my photos turned out and in some cases I actually forgot to take them.
Obviously, chicken was on sale this week. And canned tomatoes, canned beans, and soup broth. I made a lot of food here for very little money, so, #winning.
I also rocked the vegetarian world with 3 out of 9 recipes being meat free. My son has a vegetarian friend who hangs out at our place most week-ends and I am thrilled. Finally I have someone who, when I make a vegetarian meal, will not say “that was good, but it’d be better with bacon”. My family is general pretty good with new recipes and different ideas, but any meal without meal or cheese is considered an appetizer before somebody makes a burger run or goes looking for a frozen pizza. We had about six good month run back when my daughter was in grade nine and wanted to have meat free Monday’s, just like Paul McCartney. I try though, so I get points for that.
I’m a happy camper, the freezer is full, the fridge is full. I spent $0 buying food at work today and my husband spent $0.27 for butter and a fork (true story). I had to keep tonight’s dinner (soup) in the garage next to the garage door because the fridge was full and I needed mother nature and her freezing winter temperatures to keep everything cold. There is a bit of fresh meat left to be cooked this week but outside of that I’m hoping to be free and clear of meal prep for the next two or three, or if I’m lucky, four weeks. Or to put another way, until my elbow is better and I can make more lasagna.
Have a great day!