Comfort Food

I think I’ve mentioned before that chicken isn’t really a favorite of mine. Sunday I made this uninspired dinner.

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I remember eating a lot of chicken dinners on Sundays. Even if the kids think eating drumsticks is feasting, I can think of a lot of other things I’d rather eat. But mashed potatoes and peas . . . that’s some real comfort food.

I actually don’t prefer to eat them the way they are pictured. I like to put the spuds on the plate, top them with peas, and the gravy is optional. I never really started to like gravy until a few years ago, anyway. The kids are picking up on my habits — a couple of them prefer their peas and potatoes mixed. Ugh — don’t put them separate! Mix them, Mom! 😉

Meals on Wheels

I frequently volunteer to take meals to new moms. I know how nice those are to receive and I like to pay the same kindness to these new young moms as I received. Tonight I made some lime chicken as well as steak kabobs that were marinated in homemade balsamic vinaigrette — heavy on the balsamic vinegar, light on the olive oil, a few squirts of Worcestershire sauce. Mmmm. It’s my favorite way to make steak kabobs. They smelled so good. I smelled them in the car all the way over there and the aroma still lingered all the way home. I couldn’t wait to have my own.

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Except when I got home, they were all gone. The family scarfed them all down and all that was left was the chicken. And they only left one spoonful of fruit salad (not counting the mess Things 3 & 4 made on and around their plates). Sigh. I guess I’m going to have to reserve my own plate when off to deliver meals! 😉

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When I take the whole clan grocery shopping, we always have to cruise by the bakery. The girls talk about what their next birthday cake should be, even if it’s 362 days ’til the next birthday. And the ladies at the bakery hand out free cookies to little twinkies. Thing 1 has been enamored with the Lemon Supreme Cakes lately — I’m not sure if the cake itself is lemon but it has a thick layer of lemon gel on top and yellow frosting all over. It looks like it should glow in the dark. That’s what she wants next birthday. No candles.

So tonight I made something like that for the new parents, without the artificial color and neon glow. I made a yellow cake and put a layer of lemon gel in between layers and frosted with lemon cream cheese frosting and put another layer of lemon gel on top and decorated it with fresh raspberries. The bits of cake I took off to level tasted lovely with the lemon gel. In fact, if I had an ice cream maker, I would put some lemon gel in a batch because I think that would taste fantabulous.

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Clear Lemon Filling (from Betty Crocker)

3/4 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt

3/4 c. water

1 t. grated lemon peel
1 T. butter or margarine

1/4 – 1/3 c. lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)

Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in saucepan. Gradually stir in water. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.

Remove from heat; add lemon peel and butter. Gradually stir in lemon juice. Cool thoroughly.

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Yellow Layer Cake (adapted from Betty Crocker)

2 1/4 c. cake flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. plain yogurt
1 1/2 t. vanilla
2 large eggs (1/3-1/2 c.)

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour baking pan (2 x 8-inch or one 13 x 9 inch).

Measure all ingredients into large mixing bowl. Blend 1/2 minute on low speed, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan(s).

Bake 30 minutes for rounds or 40 minutes for oblong. Cool.

Feasting Like Royalty

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The Husband is suffering for his work again, this time by going to a conference in Ft. Lauderdale, where it is just as hot and humid as it is here, if not more so. I wish I could sleep well when he’s gone, but I don’t. So, I’m dragging around, tired and unmotivated, and threw some drumsticks on the grill tonight with absolutely no seasoning on them at all. I served it with BBQ sauce (store bought) for dipping, a bag of microwaved frozen vegetables, bagged green salad, and potato chips.

Suddenly Thing 2 perks up — HEY! I didn’t realize we were having a *feast* tonight.

Me: *Feast*?

Thing 2: Yeah! They always have these things at feasts in castles with the kings and queens! Wow! We get to have a FEAST tonight!

So the girls alternated between behaving like “kings and queens” and rude barbarians who grab their drumsticks and growl and smack their lips a lot while they feast.

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‘Mom, could you just make chicken like Ramona, instead?’

Many of my favorite food bloggers try a new cookbook each month or regularly post on cookbook creations they have tried and loved so I decided that, for the next few weeks at least, Tuesdays are going to be my ‘Cookbook Test Kitchen Day’. I have several feet of cookbooks on the shelf, some I reference from time to time, most I ignore in favor of old favorites and my own creations. Inspired by Breadchick’s Cooking Light recipe, I decided to make something from the ‘Superfast Weeknight Dinners’ book from Cooking Light. I tried Lemon Garlic Chicken, which has lemon juice, molasses, worcestershire sauce, and garlic in a marinade.

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It’s just ok. It’s not great. It’s not a disaster, but it looks better than it tastes. The kids, always ones to boost Mom’s ego, said, “Mom, this chicken doesn’t taste very good at all. Couldn’t you just make Ramona’s chicken instead? Or her plain baked chicken from Saturday?” 😉

The leftovers will probably become quesadilla filling.

Oh My!

Since I switched this blog over to just food, I don’t get strange search engine requests very often, but today . . .  today I did.  And it’s not b/c of wording, like ‘ancestral curses soup’ or something.  Someone wants to know:

How many Yrs can one freeze chicken.

Eeeewww!