Short version: Chicken, leftover rice, frozen peas
Long version: I did three loads of laundry this day, much of it because of the illness that caused Poppy to cough so hard in the night that she threw up all over me and my bed. Three times.
That was awesome.
I was tired. I did not want to cook. I did anyway, because that's how this parenthood gig works.
I had some chicken hanging out in the fridge that had to be cooked, plus half a can of tomatoes. So in the morning while 2/4 kids were sleeping the sleep of the snotty and sick, I made a sauce with the canned tomatoes, some fresh grape tomatoes that were getting wrinkly, a shallot, garlic, oregano, basil, a bay leaf, and some red wine. Plus some fancy pink Himalayan sea salt given to me by the lady we get milk from as a thank you for sharing my sourdough starter with her.
I also separated the chicken leg quarters into drumsticks and thighs and yanked off the skin (GROSS). I salted the chicken and stashed it back in the fridge until later.
During the baby's second nap in the afternoon, I browned the chicken pieces and put them in the pan with the tomato sauce and baked the whole thing covered for an hour. This produced a lot of liquid, so I uncovered it for the last half hour. Still a lot of liquid in there, which I just drained off and saved for making soup.
Leftover rice with butter, frozen peas in the microwave, and everyone was fed.
I got all the laundry done and put away, too, which was significantly more impressive.
Short version: Bunless cheeseburgers, fried cabbage and onions, bread and butter, frozen green beans
Long version: Welcome home, A.! Sorry I didn't make anything more exciting for your welcome home meal, but I was still tired. Fried meat it is. (Hamburgers are actually one of A.'s favorites, so it wasn't quite as pathetic as it sounds.)
Short version: Sirloin steaks, roasted butternut squash and onions, boiled potatoes, frozen peas
Long version: The exhaust fan in this kitchen really sucks. I set off the smoke alarm in the hallway at least once a week while I'm cooking. Frying steaks is almost guaranteed to do it:
Especially if they're so big they hang over the edge of the pan a little bit and drip fat into the flames. Yeah.
Good thing the junior firefighters were on the job:
First they open the back door (being careful that the most junior firefighter doesn't try to make a break for it).
Then they use some empty cereal boxes to fan the smoke away from the smoke alarm. In the absence of trucks and hoses, this works pretty well.
Does it seem that we've been having a lot of frozen vegetables lately? Yes. And why is that? Because I didn't have any fresh vegetables left. None. Not even carrots or cabbage. I was also almost out of milk. Such is life a long way from a grocery store in winter.
Short version: Pot roast, garlic bread, zucchini with tomato sauce, pureed squash
Long version: But wait, wasn't I out of fresh vegetables? Well, yes. Except for Rafael's calabaza and the last of the "ornamental" squashes A. bought at Walmart before Halloween. None of them were labeled with the varieties, but this was the blue-gray one that looked like a Jarrahdale pumpkin. Thankfully, unlike the previous squash I cooked, this one was delicious. Deep orange, not at all watery, and very flavorful. Also, it resulted in about 12 cups of pureed squash, which makes my squash-loathing children fearful.
That's a lot of squash.
When the squash was out of the oven, I put in the roast--an arm roast--with the juice from a can of tomatoes, garlic, oregano, basil, and a bay leaf.
The tomatoes from the can I roughly chopped and spread in a Pyrex pan with olive oil, whole unpeeled cloves of garlic, and more basil and oregano. That all cooked for an hour or so, then I pureed it in the food processor after I pureed the squash. I didn't really scrape out all the squash, either, so it was a squash/tomato sauce. Sneaky.
The zucchini was a bag of frozen diced zucchini that I thawed in a colander to drain out a bunch of water, then sauteed in olive oil and a spoonful of the tomato sauce. I saved the rest of the tomato sauce for another night.
And, because I was baking bread again (AGAIN), I made a loaf of garlic bread again. This is always a popular menu item. Certainly more popular than the small spoonful of squash and two pieces of zucchini I put on the boys' plates. Probably their two least-favorite vegetables, so I figured rather than make them choose between the two evils, I would just give them a little of each.
Short version: Bacon and scrambled eggs, leftover potatoes, leftover pureed squash, raw grape tomatoes
Long version: Poppy came down with a fever this day, which meant I had a miserable baby plastered to my front all afternoon. So I handed over the bacon-frying and egg-scrambling duties to A. I managed to get in the kitchen and pass off the clinging monkey-baby to A. so I could heat up the side dishes and plate everyone's food. I also managed to bolt down my own food before taking monkey-baby back and putting us both to bed in my bed.
I felt sorry for Poppy of course, but I must admit that I kind of enjoyed going to bed at 5:45 p.m.* Not that it meant I actually got any sleep, as she was awake many times during the night and when she did sleep, it was either flat on my front or on my shoulder, but at least I got to bed early.
You will note, I am sure, that we had a fresh vegetable. I went to the grocery store with Jack and Poppy in the morning (before Poppy went down) because Jack had an appointment for his four-year vaccinations at the clinic fifty miles away. But then they had no record of his appointment and I had to re-schedule it, which means I have to drive the 100 miles again in two weeks. But at least we had the tomatoes, right?
Short version: Oven-fried chicken thighs, rice, sauteed cauliflower with garlic, green peas, squash
Long version: I don't bother putting the chicken in a pan with butter in it anymore. The pieces I use seem to have enough fat to make that unnecessary. Instead I put the coated chicken on a cooling rack that fits into a half-sheet pan. It gets crispier this way, but it does result in some terrible dishes. Cleaning that cooling rack is a real bitch.
I shouldn't even bother listing the squash. You can just assume that I'm eating it at every meal. That's what happens when you have 12 cups of squash on hand.
Short version: T-bone steaks, mashed potatoes, fried mushrooms and onions, raw grape tomatoes and carrots
Long version: Don't forget the squash. Forever and ever, amen.
Okay, your turn! What'd you eat this week?
* I did extract myself from monkey-baby's clutches right before 8 p.m. to remind the boys that they had to go to bed; finish loading and start the dishwasher; and sweep up the clumps of mud that were all over the kitchen thanks to the fact that Jack was inexplicably clomping around the house in his filthy boots. That's the sort of thing that happens when I abandon ship for two hours.