Thursday, January 22, 2015

Look Ma no prompt!

Last night I found a huge sackful of my headbands.  I have been wearing the same three for about two weeks now, and getting pretty tired of seeing them in the mirror.  I managed to fill one entire drawer of my new dresser with socks, both crew type & trouser socks (remember when those were called knee highs?  Wait, did I just date myself?) .  Another, deeper drawer is now full of my camisole and tank tops, which I use all winter like camis to keep from freezing -- my desk is by a wall of windows. The drawer above the camis is for the "unmentionables", but as it's only about two thirds full I might have to put other things there too.  I'm still not going to have enough storage for my sweaters, unless I put them in a clear lidded box in the closet or on the étagère. 
The Plaidman has just finished putting deadbolts on the deck storage closet and the door into the crawlspace.  Disco is glad to have that last one locked up tight; it opens into the crawlspace from her "suite".  And the cats are still very wired about their new environment.  Our Little Man, TomTom Kitty, tries several times each day to get into the lower cabinets in the kitchen and hall bathroom.  I don't know if he's looking for Narnia or just Trouble. 

Last night I got home & found a meal cooking in the slow cooker.  This wasn’t a surprise, as I’d asked the family to use the cooker since they were going to be out all day.  However, the contents were…less than stellar, shall we say.  The cooks had made a classic “white dinner” of chicken breasts, potatoes, and cauliflower.  It did not taste bad, just sort of “meh”, but it looked pretty sad.  So I’m putting together a basic, grab-it-from-the-cupboard and cook it template for a concocted dinner from the crockpot, just to avoid having another all-white dinner!  This will be posted on the fridge!!  Please note, this template assumes the cook has some experience in prepping food for cooking – I’m not a cooking instructor, just a gal who’d like to have a colorful (healthy!) meal.

Ingredients (as found in pantry/cupboards/fridge) –

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, low sodium preferred, any seasoning or none, undrained

1 or 2 15 oz can beans, any variety, mix or match (1 can if there’s plenty of meat), drained

Ground meat, any variety, browned:

            --heat 1 TBS oil in stout fry pan, sauté some garlic and/or onion (you know your tolerance, so use what suits as far as amounts of each) for about 5 minutes

                --add ground meat, break up and brown with the garlic/onion, drain grease

If you’d rather have pieces of meat, you can brown them as for the ground meat.  Smaller pieces will cook more quickly, but you can also just cut up a large roast into 3 or more pieces.  Boneless chicken works well, especially thighs, and doesn’t have to be browned first.

Green veg, as available:

Fresh                     prep as for cooking in liquid (aka boiling)

Frozen                  thaw & press out excess water 

Canned                   rinse twice & press out excess water

Seasonings appropriate to the meat, and in line with the ethnicity you’d like to express:

                --if you’re thinking TexMex, chili powder, cilantro, maybe sub some salsa for the diced tomatoes

                --if you’re wanting Italian, use Italian sausage, basil, oregano etc.

When meat is browned, veggies drained or prepped, and additional seasonings selected, throw all in the crockpot & cook for several hours depending on the size of the pieces of meat.

During the last hour (or about 1 hour before you want to serve), you may add rice or noodles, plus enough liquid (stock, V8 juice, white sauce) for your starch. 

Alternatively, you can serve with pita bread or chips, or tortillas or chips, etc.

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