Saturday, March 21, 2020

What We're Cooking

One thing with self-quarantining is that we're cooking more. Normally, we have lunch out several times a week---me with my friends and he at various meetings or while he's out geo-caching. That meant that we either had Lean Cuisines or sandwiches for dinner. I usually cooked about 2 or 3 times a week. And even those meals were very simple: grilled cheese and tomato soup, sauerkraut and polish sausage, vegetable soup, etc.

This week, I decided to try something new. I pulled out a bunch of things I've printed from Facebook or other sights and plan to give them a try. I also went through my recipe box to find old favorites and recipes from friends I haven't made in a long time. I'm going to share the best with you.

Since I have a pretty well stocked pantry and freezer, I tried to only buy things to make the recipes and use up what we already have.

Our menu looked like this:

Sunday,  Butch decided to cook. He wanted to use the air fryer and "fry" chicken---Justin style. He used the basic fried chicken recipe that came in the box with the fryer but added crushed Cheetohs (Justin's idea) and reduced the flour. It was yummy!! He served some instant mashed potatoes and green beans. The potatoes were a Friday "freebie" from Kroger. I was skeptical. They were really good.

Monday, I just opened a can of Manwich that I had in the pantry. We had Strawberry Shortcake for dessert. The strawberries looked so good, AND they had these little Entenneman's pound cakes BOGO. I just bought one box as Publix allows you to do that. We topped it with light Cool Whip.

Tuesday, I made a new recipe that was delicious--and so simple. I served it with 3 Cheese Bread I had in the freezer. I love recipes where you cook everything together and don't have to cook the pasta separately.

One Pot Chicken Piccata
1 T. olive oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut in to bite size pieces
S & P
2 t. fresh mince garlic (I used 1 t. dried)
3 cups (32 oz.) chicken broth
2 T. fresh lemon juice (I used 1.5 T. of the concentrate)
8 oz. spaghetti, broken in half
1/4 cup capers (I left these out because I didn't have them)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Italian parsley for garnish

1. In a large pot, cook the chicken in the olive oil for 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic.
2. Add all ingredients except cream and heat to boiling. 
3. Reduce heat and simmer 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally until liquid is absorbed and pasta is al dente. Stir in whipping cream and heat through. Garnish with parsley. 

*Notes: I used thin spaghetti. I don't know if that's the reason, but it did not absorb enough of the liquid. We ended up pouring out quite a bit of liquid. I was afraid that if I tried to let it boil away, the pasta would get mushy. I poured out most of the liquid before adding the cream. Also, I topped it with parmesan cheese, because, well, what doesn't taste better with Parmesan??? It was delicious! It would be really good even without the chicken.

Wednesday, I had planned to make 8 Can Soup---an old recipe that I think I got from my friend, Nancy E. I texted Mitchell and told him to come by for some of the leftovers---I was worried about him having some home cooking. That's when I decided that we would have it for lunch rather than dinner so that I could add it to his "care" package. Butch made it while I was out walking. This is the easiest of all. Don't let the ingredients fool you. They really work when combined.

8 Can Soup
Do not drain anything. Dump all together in a big pot and heat through.

1 can Veg-All
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn
1 can green beans
1 can Campbells Old fashioned vegetable soup (there wasn't any of this so I just got regular beef vegetable soup)
1 can diced potatoes (these were out too, so I got sliced and kind of sliced through them in the can)
1 can Hormel chili
1 can Hormel chili without beans (I couldn't get these either, so I used 2 cans of the regular)

This was really good too. I hadn't made it in a very long time. We just had crackers on the side.

Thursday:  we had cheese tortellini with pesto sauce. I made a salad with it and some garlic bread.

Friday: we had a charcuterie board with our happy hour. We like to do that. Simple and casual. Originally, I had the bright idea that we'd go over to Stephanie and Nicky's with drinks in hand. We could sit on their front porch, 6 ft. apart. After all, the temperatures are going to be in the 70's. Steph put the k-bosh on that. We're going to give it another week. As the weather gets nicer, we'll be able to get together on the patio in the fresh air. At least that's the plan.

Saturday: Since you are reading this on Saturday, my plan is to drive through Corky's BBQ. They are offering a deal---a slab of ribs, 4 sides and rolls for $2020. Of course I'll use bleach wipes on everything before we open the containers!

We are all taking this really seriously and trying to do the right thing. We are in no way in fear for our lives (although, the girls are worried about us---they think we're old). We're a couple of very healthy seniors with no underlying problems. But, we want to make sure that we are not helping to spread this virus in any way. Honestly, I thought we could have kept our normal life for another week. Butch was more adamant that we do our part immediately, so we did.

One week down. So far, so good. Tomorrow, I'll let you know what we're doing to pass the time.

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