Last week was strange. We had 5 straight days of rain so severe that schools and government buildings were closed for two days due to dangerous flooding and concerns about wind going over the bridges. The rain came up pretty high and we had a little trouble with one of our cars that sits very close to the ground. My husband was alert enough to the rising water that he moved the car to higher ground before it got flooded. Anyway, I hadn't gone grocery shopping in awhile so dinner got to be sort of challenging since I couldn't get to the store.
Meatless Monday was a treat though, I still had cabbage to use so I decided to let the "Joy of Cooking" give me some ideas. I made the "Bean Soup with Vegetables or Garbure" recipe because it called for cabbage as well as navy beans, potatoes, carrots, and onion all of which I had on hand but it also called for turnips, leeks and a ham bone, which I lacked. I subbed in some extra potatoes and carrots for the turnips and chopped up some green onion to replace the leeks. I added a bit of "Liquid Smoke" seasoning and extra salt to take the place of the hambone. The recipe calls for water as the soup base, but if you are making the vegetarian version of this recipe I highly recommend you use your best veggie broth for added flavor. The soup was delicious and hearty and made excellent leftovers for lunch for the next couple of days. Add some fresh cornbread muffins and this is a pretty kick-ass dinner and a healthy serving of veggies to boot.
Tuesday I took advantage of the coolness the house due to the rain and I roasted a chicken and made some veggies. I love roasted chicken! When I was a broke and starving actress in Los Angeles I would sometimes splurge on an entire rotisserie chicken at the local bargain grocery store. They were three dollars a piece so sometimes I would have to dig change out of the couch to make the money, but I would walk home with my warm chicken and just smell it and try not to drool on my shoes. Anyhow, when I make chicken myself (roasted or rotisserie) I always try to make it as delicious and juicy as that 20 year old found her precious little grocery store chicken. I remove any giblets from the chicken cavity and sprinkle the inside with salt and pepper, I rub seasoned butter under the skin over the breasts and salt and pepper the chicken all over. I usually place some vegetables or a pierced lemon in the cavity of the chicken prior to roasting for additional flavor. I also like to thickly slice some onions into rings and cover the bottom of a roasting pan with them. I then put the chicken on top of the onion rings and roast the chicken at 375 degrees until the drumstick moves freely and the thigh juices run clear when pierced. You can pour off the pan juices into a sauce pan and cook over medium high heat till it reduces to make a delicious sauce as well.
Wednesday, still trapped inside our house I made some fresh bread and we had leftover soup and chicken. It was all very tasty.
Thursday, the rain had slowed enough that we could get to the store, so we bought some ground beef and taco shells and my husband made a delicious homemade salsa from the book, "Salsa Cooking" by Marjie Lambert. It was very tasty and went together in about 20 minutes.
Friday was beautiful, the kids played outside from the time they got home from school until it was well after dark. We had breakfast for dinner and the kids had fruit and yogurt. Exhausted from a week of intensive family time, housecleaning, flood worries and extra cooking (I got a lot of baking done) I fell asleep at 8:30 and slept until 7 the next morning.
Saturday night we had a friend of our elder daughter's over for a sleep over. I made the kid-friendliest meal I could short of driving them all to Mickey D's, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, roasted acorn squash, and steamed corn niblets. To make the meal more kid-friendly I sliced the acorn squash in half, removed the seeds and then cut the halves into slices which I drizzled with maple syrup, a pat of butter, salt, pepper and a dash of cinnamon. I let it bake at the same time and temperature as the meatloaf. I tinted the mashed potatoes green with food coloring and let the kids taste it and see if they could identify it. Some squealing and cautious licking of forks later they started laughing and said, "It's mashed potatoes!" I countered that in late October it was actually Monster Mash. The meatloaf was pronounced "delicious" by our guest who ate it uncomplainingly even though it was stuffed with spinach, onions and carrot. All in all a success.
Sunday night we ate a very simple meal of hotdogs, baked beans and macaroni because I had neglected to defrost the roast I had planned on making. Maybe next Sunday!