More adventures in the kitchen!
My new whiteboard menu planner is working out well. Last week, I conned Kurt into taking me to Target during one of our Date Mornings, the time we spend together when he hasn’t got to teach and Grace is in school. While there, I picked up a weekly planner whiteboard, thinking that I could use to to plan my meals.
Generally I have the best of intentions when it comes to planning and organizing. I’ll buy all the necessary materials, use it for a few days or weeks, and then eventually drop off until the organizing item collects a thick layer of dust. I am going to do my best not to allow this to happen.
I used to keep a list of dinners I’d want to make while I made up my grocery list. I’d only go to the commissary every two weeks since it was so far away, so I had to stock up. I knew we’d go out during those two weeks, and that we’d also have leftovers, so I’d only plan out probably five to seven meals. Even then, I’d end up wasting food.
I think my problem was that I didn’t have a real menu planner. I just had a list that was easy to ignore. With this new whiteboard of mine, there are specific meals to be made on specific days, and it’s very visible on my kitchen wall, just underneath my phone. (Yes, we still have a landline phone. We’re dinosaurs, okay?) Last week, we didn’t make every meal on the list for various reasons, so those meals are back on the schedule for this week. But we are doing a fairly good job of sticking to the menu, so I am highly pleased.
Tonight it was Chicken with Sherry Vinegar Sauce. It caught my eye over at MyRecipes.com because I had some sherry vinegar I’d bought for my roasted potato salad recipe. It’s not exactly a common ingredient. I also was interested in making it because it was one of those very quick and easy chicken recipes. Pan-fry some chicken, saute some chopped shallots, deglaze the pan with chicken broth and the sherry vinegar, reduce, and finish the sauce with some cream. It took less than fifteen minutes to cook from start to finish.
To round out the meal, we had roasted asparagus and potatoes “baked” in the microwave. There was plenty of sherry vinegar sauce leftover from the chicken to use on the baked potatoes, and they were delicious.
If you notice, however, the recipe calls for four 4-ounce boneless chicken breasts. I don’t know where you people are buying your chicken breasts, but we get ours in bulk from BJ’s. Most of the breasts that come in the package are well over four ounces. I don’t even know what a 4-ounce chicken breast looks like!
What I have been doing lately is halving those breasts when I’ve had to pan-fry them. If I leave them whole, I can never get the darn things cooked before they burn. The only time I leave the breasts whole is if I’m dicing them for a stir-fry. Besides, these breasts are more like eight or ten ounces a piece! HUGE!!
(And now I am wondering how many people are going to stumble upon this page by Googling the word “breasts.” Pervs.)
So I had to slice these breasts in half. I do so horizontally, and usually I have no problems with this at all.
Then again, I am usually using my old knife.
Today I found an excellent deal on a set of KitchenAid knives at our local Linens N’ Things, which is going out of business. The box advertised 14 pieces (including a pair of scissors, a sharpening stick, and the wooden block), but then there was a bonus block included which featured two small santoku knives and an extra pair of scissors. It sold for $100 normally, but it was 40% off today. Kurt said I needed new knives; he’s tired of how dull my old ones are. They’re not that dull; I do sharpen them. But they aren’t as sharp as new knives, obviosuly.
I pulled out the 8″ chef’s knife from the block, laid the chicken on my yellow cutting board (yellow for poulty — we have segregated cutting boards, you see), and began slicing. The first chicken breast was halved without incident. The second, well… I didn’t panic when I saw the blood. Heck, I hardly even felt it when I sliced open my finger! Talk about a sharp knife!
It bled like crazy, though. Fortunately, I have an excellent nurse in Kurt, so he bolted to the linen closet to grab me some rubbing alcohol and a couple of band-aids. Within just a few minutes, I’d managed to stanch the blood enough to make it worth putting a band-aid on. Kurt bandaged me up, and voila! Back to cooking dinner.
The meal was very, very tasty — well worth my war wounds. I definitely will put that recipe back into my rotation!
Some of you have wondered why I call my baby “Edison.” When I posted the scan of my ultrasound over at Flickr, one of my friends pointed out that the baby looked more like a lightbulb than a baby. And the more I looked at it, the more I realized she was right! Hence the nickname “Edison,” father of the modern lightbulb.
There’s no way “Edison” will make it into the final name for the baby, however. We tend towards traditional names, and Edison doesn’t quite fit the bill for us. It’s a handy name to call the baby now, though. It gets old calling the baby “him/her/it” since we don’t know the gender.
Now you know!