Passover, Easter, Spring Break, Prom Season. So much to do, including cooking. Holiday cooking plus the regular everyday cooking that we’re expected to do. These last few weeks had me teaching, my daughter working practically every day after school, my son trying to break the world’s record for most movies seen in a month (kidding), my husband’s job is one person short, and no one wants to cook dinner. They also don’t want to pay for take out or fast food, and frankly, I don’t blame them. I thought I would take this Friday Food to share some shortcuts and new things to try.
Everyone knows about cooking two meals on Sunday and then eating leftovers. I try to make one big meal a week, like a roast beef, a pork loin, or a whole chicken. They make a great meal, and then they make great leftovers. All of them can be eaten as sandwiches later in the week with a side of chips and cole slaw. If the first night is mashed potatoes, the next night can be rice. My daughter likes Minute Rice, but regular rice is very easy to make. I got the recipe from The Kitchen Survival Guide by Lora Brody and while I’ve changed some things, the gist of it is the same.
It’s been a long time since I’ve wanted to create in the kitchen, but having quarantine foisting Thanksgiving on us let me make the entire Thanksgiving dinner which I hadn’t done in years. Although to be fair, I do a similar meal for Easter, Rosh Hashanah, and Christmas.
This year we did a few things differently. For several years my sweet potato pie became sweet potato casserole, so I went back to the pie version, and it was really good and brought me back in time. We ate it both as a side dish and a dessert (on different nights).
Another dish I made was a new take on my mother’s candied carrots.
Here are the basics, but use your imagination.
Wash the leeks thoroughly. They are like children in that they have dirt in all the spaces.
Melt a stick of butter in a pan. Add the leeks in and saute them for a little bit.
Pour in a bag of frozen baby carrots (or cut your own carrots into baby carrot size).
Once the carrots are defrosted, add some fresh ground pepper, and then add about 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1-2 cups of orange juice (the amount depends on the size of the pan.
Let it come to a boil, then lower to simmer, letting it simmer for about ten to twenty minutes. It can really stay on the low heat until the rest of dinner is ready.
Serve it with a slotted spoon so the plate doesn’t get too soupy.
The second dish I made just last week. We had cooked chicken tenders in the fridge and because my son cooked them, there was no spice whatsoever on the tenders.
I cut them each into threes or fours and threw them in a wok on medium, adding about half a small jar of Korean BBQ sauce.
I trimmed the ends off of fresh green beans and broke them in half, and added them to the wok, mixing the chicken and the beans until they were hot and incorporated with the sauce.
This was also a way to heat the cold chicken without the microwave. I spooned them over jasmine rice (although any type of rice that you like is the perfect rice).
One thing I noticed in looking back, I didn’t cook either dish with oil. Oil has its place in the kitchen especially in sauteeing, but I just used the juice for the first one and the Korean sauce for the second.
As the year comes to a close, start the new year with experimenting with your food. In January, I’ll have some basics to share with you – resources that everyone can use and adapt to their own style and family.