Monday, January 25, 2010

WARNING: Don't Try This at Home!

     SO...Gary let me down this weekend. Yup, he just may be moved to the back burner...for at least a week. I was in a particularly productive mode yesterday, not only was my little chicken in the roaster before church, but I had set my potatoes and cauliflower in a pot to boil and left them in the hot water while I was gone. Lunch was otherwise quick and easy, leftovers from the night before, and the kitchen was even clean. A-maze-ing. We get home from church about 3 hours later, (side note is that a 5.2 lb chicken cooks to absolute perfection on 250^ in that amount of time, little butter rubbed on the skin, herbs in the cavity, and all those drippings on the bottom, YUM!) and I finish preparations for the meal. Set aside the cauliflower for pureeing, bring the potatoes back to a boil, let the chicken rest before carving, and start the gravy...(again, drippings are great here, about 2 boullion cubes, 2-3 TBS cornstarch in water or the water from the potatoes for thickening, and even a little veggie base from my fridge and it was the BEST gravy ever!) Another little note that might be good to add here is that this was officially the best chicken I had ever roasted, it was juicy, plump, moist, tasty etc. AND, the gravy was pretty much perfect. Anyway, the kids were relatively quiet, low blood sugar and tired from no rest time, so it was a great time to finish things up. Then I make the dreaded mistake, I have to blame my husband for part of this though as it was HIM who added too much milk. Again, I digress. I decided the easiest way to make the mashed potatoes (also with most of the skins left on for nutrients) was to add them to the blender with the cauliflower. I wanted them really smooth right? Well this is what it turned out to be;

That's right! Mashed potato soup. The moral of this story? Never try this at home. Stick with what ya know, the good old fashioned hand mixer would have perfectly sufficed in this situation! Luckily my kids didn't seem to notice too much (after they got over the awkward, do I eat this with a spoon or fork swirling it around on their plate scenario) and my husband only reminded me once that the leftovers would probably go to better use as soup rather than the shepherd's pie I had so carefully planned.

Which brings me to another exciting note in what I would like to call "Food Creativity".....The Double Duty Meal. I am quite sure most of you have figured out that if you make extra of something, you have a meal for later. I would like to expound on that just a little by adding, purposely make extra of certain items and you are in like flint for quick and easy healthy meals. For example, extra mashed potatoes are excellent for things like, shepherd's pie, or in my case, creamy and cheesy potato veggie soup. (Shepherd's pie by the way is a dish from England that consists of a saucy and sometimes meaty bottomed veggie dish, topped with cheesy mashed potatoes and baked to casserole perfection). Extra rice from Saturday's Thai night will be perfect for what we like to call "Hawaiian Haystacks" (maybe you've heard of them, maybe you haven't) we usually just throw a quick sauce together of
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 -1 c. chicken broth (depending on how much you need and how thin you like it)
1/4-1/2 c. milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 can chicken or any leftover chicken in your fridge

Then we cut up tons of veggies; carrots, tomato, green onion, green/red pepper, olives, peas, spinach,  etc. We use a can of pineapple, mandarin oranges, chopped nuts (usually cashew of mixed) some shredded cheese, shredded coconut and little dry chow mein noodles or other crunchy noodles that we have around. Then load the rice, sauce on top, and any combo veggie and toppings and you have a quick and super yummy crowd pleaser, as everyone can make their own exactly like they want it.

Another easy one, is fried rice (which is of course not really fried) or a sweet rice and chicken bake, with a similar but smaller batch of the above sauce, shredded chicken from the can or fridge, shredded cheese, and any combo diced veggie mixed thouroughly and baked at 375^ anywhere from 30-45 min. We like diced squash, zucchini, corn and the like. I could go on and on about rice, it is my favorite ingredient to make extra of, as it is so versatile. While growing up, we used to have poor man's rice pudding after certain dinners by adding cold milk, sugar, and cinnamon to some leftover hot rice for dessert.
P.S. Not only is it good for dessert, but make sure you do all brown rice or an easy 3/4 brown and 1/4 white rice combo and it makes for a perfect breakfast as well, especially for any of you gluten free kids out there!
Enjoy, and here's to more good eating and less kitchen disasters!


  1. I love your stories and would also like a recipe area for ideas you have gathered and to easily access recepies you have shared with your experiences, just esay reference (not having to reread to find that one receipe I'm looking for) Somedays it just doesn't all come together as planned, but we turn it around! Love the idea of a veggie, potatoe, and cheese soup with leftovers! Also love the idea of a Hawaiian Hay Stack dinner. Kids just love to chose their own toppings don't they?

  2. Oh yeah a recipe area is a great idea!!!! :)

  3. well then, you must have loved my leftover casserole story!!! who knew!!!
    I'm going to make that soup!

  4. You should write a cookbook, you're throwing out too many ideas and I want to try them all at once! Rice is one of our favorites as well, sometimes I think we eat too much of it, but it goes so well with EVERYTHING! I'm curious what your Shepherd's Pie recipe is like.


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