Me at about 3:30pm everyday: "What am I gonna fix for dinner?"
My response to me: "oh cwap, I didn't take anything out of the freezer!!"
Me: "um, um, um"
My response "I really don't want to feed my family boxed food or fast food, I want them to eat something healthy"
Me: "I'm such a slacker not to get anything out of the freezer and then forget to ask the hubster to take something out this morning"
I could go on and on but really, you get the point.
Here is what I came up with and realized that it really is a blank slat to create many different (maybe even a little healthy) dishes. This was totally inspired by an article in Parent Magazine, just so ya know.
So here is the breakdown. Not calling it a recipe, more of a guide.
Broccoli. Grocery store had broccoli on sale this week. I picked up 2 bunches and when I got home cut the heads off the stalk and put them into a container in the fridge for ease of prep at meal time. In this dish I just cut the heads into smaller bits.
Chicken. Sunday I had cooked 8 or 9 leg quarters and then once cooled, shredded the meat. For this dish I used about a handful and then put the rest in vacuum bags, sealed and froze.
Yellow squash. Thanks to my friend Jessica I remembered a trick to up the health value of a meal by adding shredded/grated squash and/or zucchini. This idea was gonna work perfectly in this meal. I used about 1/2 of the squash.
Philadelphia cooking cream. Not too proud of this ingredient, but in a pinch it was good. Not good for us but good tasting. The sauce is actually where I think the most experimentation can fit. I was telling the Hubster at dinner that I would like to try and make this more of a stir-fry dish by using some Asian type ingredients for the sauce.
Whole grain pasta. I will admit that this is the first time I've used whole grain pasta. I've used the garden pasta stuff that is all different colors but no whole grain. I felt that maybe the family would need easing into this part so I used 1/2 whole grain and 1/2 traditional pasta. The fam didn't seem to mind the whole grain, so that will be our pasta of choice next time.
So here is what I did, and what I will change next time. I first boiled the pasta. Then I blanched the broccoli. Next time I'll do it in the reverse order so that the pasta can absorb any nutrients left behind by the broccoli. Then in a skillet I added some butter (yes, the kind I made), I then added some garlic infused olive oil. The butter helps to raise the smoke point of the olive oil. I then got the skillet hot and threw the drained broccoli in the skillet. This steamed it some more and gave it a nice garlicky kick. I then added the squash, chicken and cooking cream. Then, the pasta (which BTW I made way too much). I tossed to coat everything with the sauce. YUM!
I admit that I had to get past the "it's not dripping with sauce" thoughts in my head. I'm not used to fixing a pasta dish that doesn't have sauce dripping off every bit.
Now for some variations that I'm considering. How about grilled chicken over a bed of the pasta/veg mix with an Italian vinaigrette type sauce. Or an Asian noodle inspired dish using soy sauce and other stuff that I haven't figured out yet.
So, yeah, this was a revelation for me in my cooking. Revelation one: I'm so glad I had the fresh veg in the fridge to use in my meals. Revelation two: I've acquired enough skill and confidence in the kitchen to fake it when in a crunch, which then manifested into a meal that will go into regular rotation as long as there are wonderful veggies for us to use.