The pickle man

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Why I hate my crockpot... and other tales from the first week of school

School started this week - and for my family, that means EVERYONE went back to school.  Michael and I started work, Dixon started preK 4, and William (sniff) started daycare.  And like I do every year, I swear to myself, this year, I'm going to be organized - one of those super moms who gets everything done - dinner cooked, books read, papers graded, kids to bed on time, permission forms signed and bags packed the night before.   At this point, I should have told myself to look in the mirror and remember who I'm talking to! 

  Instead, I decided to make a weekly menu... and stick to it (again, I need to ask myself if we've met)!  Everything actually went OK until Wednesday (I was operating largely on adrenaline I think).  Wednesday started with my forgetting the ring that goes in William's bottle (without which it leaks everywhere.  I swear Avent is trying to test harried mothers.  I failed).  So the lady who keeps William got an unexpected breastmilk bath (I'm hoping she likes pickles - I'm bringing her some as an apology gift).

Also, that morning, I started the crock pot.  This is one kitchen gadget I always fail to master.  And it's not that I don't try.  Michael's grandmother gave me a whole book of recipes last Christmas.  I've made an edible pot roast, but it wasn't nearly as good as the one I make in the oven.  And I've made several dinners that ended up in the dog's bowl.  I think the crockpot may be for people who don't have to be out of the door by 6:45 in the morning.

Anyway, I put in chicken, brown rice, mushrooms, white wine, and other yummy looking things... and when I served it for dinner, it looked almost exactly like the baby oatmeal I was trying to feed to William.

William having his first oatmeal :)

Maybe when the recipe says "7 hours" I shouldn't let it go for ten... or twelve.  Rice that looked appetizing at 3:30 was mush by 6. As I served it, I reminded Michael of all the great meals I make for him and I promised never to try this again, and like the sweet man he is, he ate it without comment.  Dixon took one look, said "Yucky," and ate peanut butter and jelly with me.

What's worse?  Later, he tried to give his rice to Scout, and Scout turned his nose up... which means that my dinner must have been less appetizing than the unidentifiable roadkill he tried to eat when we were running that morning.  Ouch. 

Thursday was much more successful - this penne a la vodka is one of my absolute favorite meals... the fresh basil takes it over the top, but I've made it with dried basil in the winter and it's still good.  Everyone at my house had two servings... of course, that could have been because we were starving after the crockpot incident...

Penne a la vodka
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow sweet onion, diced
2 Tbs chopped garlic
10-12 fresh mushrooms (any kind) chopped into big pieces
5 -6 fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped OR 1 large can diced tomatoes (I like the no salt added kind)
1/2 cup vodka
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (or 1 Tbs dried)
1/3 - 1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 box penne pasta, cooked al dente
Fresh parmesan cheese

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan.  Add the onion and cook until soft. Add salt to taste.  Add the garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, vodka, and half the basil, and cook for 10-15 minutes.  Add the whipping cream and the remaining basil and heat thoroughly, but don't boil.  Add the cooked penne to the pan.  If the sauce is too thick, add some of the pasta water.  Serve with lots of freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Dixon on his first day of pre K 4

No comments:

Post a Comment