Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Pretty Crazy Kitchen Week...

I have had a pretty busy week with Kindergarten starting for my daughter and my mother visiting.  Most of my busy-ness took place in the kitchen.  Oh, there was plenty more going on outside of the kitchen like laundry and organizing, etc.  I was taking full advantage of having an extra pair of toddler watching eyes around!

But, since I had just made a massive shopping trip to buy fresh meat and produce, and because my freezer was still pretty empty, I decided that my main focus was going to have to be in the kitchen.

My mother got into town on Saturday morning, and we immediately left to take my 5 year old to a friends birthday party at the skating rink.  When we got back home I realized that we didn't have time to make the dinner I originally planned, so we used some of the leg quarters I had bought and my mom whipped up a pot of gumbo (she had brought along a jar of store bought roux, so it didn't take long at all).  Plus, my daughter had kinda of instructed her that she was going to cook her some while she was visiting.

On Sunday, we made my grandma's cabbage roll recipe.  That took a pretty long time, but we made a lot and  we all ate them for lunch two more times during the week, including my husband.

That evening, I decided to make some muffins for breakfast the next morning.  I had some soft bananas that needed to be used, so I found this recipe for banana muffins, and added some chocolate chips on top instead of the almond slivers.

My daughter was so excited to have these for breakfast when she woke up for her first day of Kindergarten!  her little sister loved them, too!

That night, my mom transformed the leftover gumbo into chicken and dumplings, by...adding dumplings.  I do not know her recipe for those, but they have always been a favorite of mine.  She was actually having to fight off all three of us (me and both of my girls) because we kept swiping dough while she was trying to cut them.

Tuesday, I really got into cooking.  I made several meals while the little one napped before we had to go pick up the big one.

The first thing I got started was my large crockpot with two divided sections.  I put 1/3 of my pork stew meat into each side, and them the other 1/3 into a pot on the stove.

In the crockpot, I made Slow Cooker Asian Pork Stew and Slow Cooker Pork Lo Mein.  I did not have all of the "Asian" ingredients needed, so I settled for a bag of stir fry vegetables instead.  The two came out very similar, the only real difference is that one you eat over rice and the other you eat over pasta, so I will likely just do this recipe all in the same pot next time.  We ate the stew that night, and froze the lo mein for later....maybe tonight.  Sounds good!

On the stove, I made a Kung Pao Pork recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks.  (I liked the recipe so much that I made a copy of it to put in my recipe binder, and now I do not remember what cookbook I got it from!)  It basically has onions, bell peppers, and garlic sauteed down with the meat, and then a sauce made from water, soy sauce, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and crushed red peppers--I had to leave these out because I forgot that my toddler dumped them in my pantry, but they always complain its too spicy with them.  Serve over cooked rice.

While that was cooking, I got 4 of the chicken breasts (they were huge) into the other crockpot, and made some slow cooker barbeque chicken.  When it was done, I bagged it and put it in the freezer.  It will make a great dinner one night, I will just need to make a side.

The rest of the chicken, I sliced up in chunks and seasoned it up and cooked it on the stove.  I froze these pre-cooked, and when I cook a meal needing chicken, I will just have to thaw them out and toss it in.  That will save a ton of time, as well as all the messy work of dealing with raw meat at dinner time.

All of that I got done in just over an hour on Tuesday afternoon (the prepping part..of course slow cooking took into the evening, but I didn't have to do anything else to it besides put it away).

On Wednesday......we were baking a large pork roast that my mom had brought with her in the oven.  We kept hearing loud popping sounds coming from the oven.  We thought it was the meat.  Then the oven began to beep and blink an error message, and then the whole thing just shut off.

We cut the roast up and put it in the crock pot, so we were able to save dinner.  However, I attempted to make some bread to go with it int he bread machine and forgot to add the yeast to it, so that was a total disaster, and then I tried boiling my fresh corn in some water in the microwave and that overheated and shut itself off for a good while too, so we had no bread and crunchy corn.  It was not a good kitchen day for us.

When my husband got home, he pulled the stove out to try to unplug it and see if it would reset, but it shot sparks at him when he moved it and he found a frayed wire on the back of it.  We had bought this one used a couple years ago off of craigslist, so he decided it would be better to get a cheaper model new one and not have to worry about if it was going to go out next week.

We were not able to go stove shopping until Friday because he was working evenings all week.  Luckily, we had plenty of leftover roast from the night before, and lots of $0.69 lettuce I had picked up on a quick run into Fiesta, so we were able to make do without our stove for a few days.

It was delivered at noon today, so I suppose that means that I will have to start cooking again.  But that's ok because I still haven't gotten my freezer very full.

So, now you know all about the crazy week that went on in my kitchen.  I plan to go out tomorrow and pick up a few more of the meat deals at El Rancho and El Rio Grande this week, so hopefully me and my new stove will have a better week!

I'd love to hear about your kitchen (mis)adventures!


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