Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cook for the week

Yep, that title can only mean one thing: my Mom's been gone for the week. So, that makes me the cook! My Dad and Caleb can totally fend for themselves when the women are gone, but it takes a lot of the pressure off of them when they don't have to do that. With all of the things they do outside of the home, and around the house too, it's my time to step up to the job.

Lucky for me, I like to cook. I like to bake even more, but that's just because I have more of a sweet tooth. Heehee. If I have time, creativity, and the freedom to buy whatever I need (or use my creativity in the pantry and freezer!), then I do enjoy cooking. Especially when listening to an audiobook, a sermon podcast, or some good music. What makes cooking even more fun is doing it with a friend, which I also got to do this weekend. (Thank you, Hayley, for coming on Wednesday!)

All in all, cooking can either be taken as a burden, or as an opportunity to express yourself, be creative, and use what resources you have. This week, I chose the latter. I did have to make the choice though. Will I make my standby recipes (taco salad, chilli...), or will I explore the kind of cooking that I like to eat, something different than the way my mom cooks? I do love my Mom's cooking, but there's no way I can replicate it exactly, so why not just create my own style, use my own recipes?

So, every day, I had to ask myself some questions...

1. What food do I have in the fridge, pantry, or freezer?
2. What do I have time for?
3. Do I have time to go shopping?
4. What do I want to eat?

And here's the menu that resulted out of that thinking:
Monday: Tuna noodle with peas (everything from the pantry and freezer! Woohoo!)
Tuesday: Chicken Stir fry (picked up ginger, onions and some fruit at the store) over rice
Wednesday: Soup night with Hayley (soup is her favorite!): Vegetarian chilli- delicious, hummus with veggies (had to actually grocery shop for this one + pick up some essentials like milk, eggs...)
Thursday: improvising night: I have leftover rice in the fridge, frozen corn in the freezer, leftover ginger, one chicken breast leftover from Tuesday, plenty of eggs, and Harry Potter 4 playing in my headphones.

What to make?


Fried rice with vegetables and chicken

(You can use any vegetables you have on hand) I used:
- Frozen corn
- Frozen green beans
- 2 carrots, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp oil
- chicken breasts - how ever many you want, I only used one, because that's all I had
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 low-sodium chicken broth/ bouillon 
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 can pineapple, drained
- 2-4 cups of chilled cooked rice (or however much you need to use!)
- 1/2-1 tsp (approx.) Siracha chilli sauce- optional
- Cilantro flakes, or fresh cilantro- optional
- Soy Sauce- to top- optional
- Salt and pepper

I could type out the directions for cooking exactly, but I think part of cooking is experimenting, adding your own style to it. There isn't much you can do wrong in this recipe. But just to help you out a little, I'll give you a few of tips:

1. Heat oil in a wok pan at high temp and cook chicken first, then add onions, carrots and garlic.
2. Add eggs however you want, either cook them first as an omelet type thing and cut them into strips, or mix them and pour them over the rice, chicken and veggie mix and cook until there's no more runny parts
3. Listen for a sizzling sound when you're cooking the rice. You want it to brown slightly. Fry that rice!!
4. The pineapple is the last thing to add.

Don't forget the soy sauce! Buy light soy sauce that contains no gluten.
 Got it? Now go look in your pantry, freezer and fridge, and get cookin'! Use whatever you can find and feel free to alter the recipe, and most importantly...

Have fun!

Oh, I did get to do some of my baking too before I made dinner... How could I resist the urge to make this amazing cinnamon bread? Makes me smile.


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