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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pressure Cooker to the Rescue!

So, I sort of didn't have a plan for dinner. It was a super busy day and I knew dinner needed cooking (not a surprise at this point), but still suddenly I looked up and it was time to go get my kid from school. And then times moves at supersonic speed until my husband gets home; plus we had 6-7 basketball practice. So you know, your basic mad dash of chaos, insanity and carpooling.

I decided my pressure cooker might be able to save my butt in this instance so I used my google-fu to look for a recipe that contained "chicken rice vegetables and pressure cooker". The first page was virtually useless and then I saw this little gem! and I knew it would be a good choice.

Here's the thing, the recipe called for 1 can of cream of mushroom, and one can of cream of cheddar soup. I had no cream of anything on hand, so I thawed the chicken cutlets, seasoned them and threw them in the pressure cooker to brown covered with chopped carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Then I measured in 1 C of brown rice and stirred it all together. I made a quick white sauce to compensate for my lack of soups. White sauce is when you take butter, melt it, add flour and whisk, and then add milk and whisk some more until it is thick and lovely. I also add salt and pepper (or in this case more House Blend® Paula Deen). Then I made a mistake, I had the stove burner on too high and my flour was not whisking in, it was just making these maddening little lumps there in the milk. Mocking me. I whisked harder and faster, and still they were not cooperating. So I threw down the whisk and got out my "stick" or immersion blender and beat the hell out of that smug flour. POOF, white sauce! I added that to the pot as well as 1 1/4 C of water for the rice. At the last minute I thought, "Oh, I have some cheese!" and I added the very last dregs of my giant bag of shredded 4 cheese blend. I gave it all some more salt and pepper, a hopeful stir, then I put on the lid and set it on high for 25 minutes. Then I was out the door for basketball practice.

When I came home I gingerly opened the lid to see what had happened in my absence. I stood over it cackling, "It's alive, It's ALIVE! BEHOLD MY CREATION!" for a few moments and then microwaved a bag of frozen broccoli to serve on the side.

The main dish was really good, it was a bit like a chicken and rice casserole but studded with veggies. The carrots made it sort of cheerful and the brown rice gave it some nice texture and flavor. The kids snorked it down, the hubby approved, all in all a good experiment. But yeah, as much as I am a "fly by the seat of my pants" girl, no amount of experimentation is a good substitute for an actual meal plan.

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