Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cleaning the Pantry

It had to be done. The pantry was a mess, stuff was getting lost in the back (even though my pantry isn't that large), I had to clean it. Today was a good day. My daughter was off at her community college class so I had the morning free to make more applesauce and clean the pantry.

I threw away a lot of stuff, mostly old cold cereal and old tea. Neither last forever, at least not tasting fresh. My recycle bin is pretty full with old boxes now. Last time I "cleaned" out the pantry I think I just went through and organized. This time I truly cleaned it out, tossed the old food, put some things out in the garage, and reorganized it. We'll see how long it stays this way. I wish the pantry was not as deep and bigger, that way things wouldn't get forgotten about in the back.

Now that the pantry is done at some point I'll have to tackle the other places where food is stored. Actually I just need to clean and reorganize the whole kitchen...a project for another day.

Before, a disorganized mess

After - SO much better

Monday, September 19, 2016

Lemon-Rosemary Chicken and Orzo Skillet

I found this recipe in the newspaper and for once I saw it and made it within about a week or so. No clipping the recipe, waiting months and months and never making it. This is an Ellie Krieger recipe, which means generally healthy. It tasted really good as well. The original recipe says 4 servings but it made more like 5-6. This is the best kind of weeknight recipe - fast, pretty easy, only one skillet to dirty. It's also one that I think you could change up pretty easy, depending on what you have on hand. I think it'd be really good with baby spinach and tomatoes. I may have to try that next time.

Lemon-Rosemary Chicken and Orzo Skillet
serves 5-6

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 lb chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
8 oz (1 1/2 c) orzo pasta
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 1/2 c no-salt-added chicken broth
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 heaping cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large deep lidded skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook, stirring once or twice, until browned, 2 minutes total. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a plate. Repeat with another tablespoon of oil and chicken, transferring the chicken to the plate once it has browned.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet, then add the garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the orzo and rosemary and cook, stirring until the orzo is well coated with the oil and lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 5 minutes, until the orzo is about halfway cooked.

Stir in the zucchini and cook, covered, until it is just tender, about 3 minutes, then return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet along with the tomatoes, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the tomatoes soften and the chicken is cooked through. Serve sprinkled with the parsley.

from The Washington Post

Monday, September 12, 2016

College Eats

My older daughter is in her second year at college. We've played around with her meal plan (her school only has two options), started with the "bigger" one last fall then changed to the "lower" one in the spring. She's still on that one which basically gives her 10 meals a week. We talked last night and figured out how it will work. Her biggest issue is breakfast. She's not a breakfast eater in general and doesn't like many breakfast foods. This semester her first class is at 8:00 two days a week, 8:30 two days, and 10 the other day. On Tuesdays (an 8:30 day) she is in classes until mid-afternoon so she really needs to eat something in the morning and also have a snack handy to eat in between classes. She's saving her dining hall meals for lunches and dinners (she also gets points to use in the snack bar which she'll use some days for lunch/dinner) so we needed to come up with some easy, dorm friendly, portable breakfast ideas. She's got a fridge and microwave in her room and she's checking on what the dorm kitchen has although I'm not sure how often she'll make use of that just because of time.

I wanted to get these ideas down here so that they can be easily found again when she needs them. Since she's not a big breakfast food person we're also thinking outside the breakfast box for ideas.

Baked potato - russet baking potato, shredded cheddar cheese, small sour cream, salt & pepper; stab the potato with a fork, microwave for 5 minutes, check for doneness and microwave longer if needed. cut open and top with cheddar cheese, a small spoonful of sour cream, salt & pepper

Quesadilla - tortillas, shredded cheddar cheese, deli ham, baby spinach; put a tortilla on a paper towel, top with cheese, ham, and spinach (optional), and top with another tortilla, microwave for 30 seconds, slice and eat

Scrambled egg - egg, splash of milk or water, salt & pepper; scramble egg in glass bowl/measuring cup and add the milk or water and seasonings, microwave for about 90 seconds; the eggs can be eaten as is or added to a burrito

Breakfast burrito - tortilla, scrambled eggs, shredded cheddar cheese, salsa; lay out the tortilla, spread the eggs in the center and top with cheese and salsa; fold over one edge of the tortilla, then the two sides, and roll up

Breakfast burrito #2 - tortilla, scrambled eggs, baby spinach, salt & pepper; lay out the tortilla, spread the eggs in the center, season with salt and pepper, top with spinach and roll burrito as above

Apple and peanut butter - slice an apple and serve with peanut butter, a cheese stick on the side and maybe a small handful of almonds