Thursday, September 04, 2008


Today was a real mixed bag. I accomplished a great deal (gotta love checking things off the list). I paid for the productivity though :-(. While I was working the kids decided to throw every single toy they own into a great big pile in the middle of the floor. They called it the "mess tent". If you know me, you know this was a huge headache. I have all the kids toys categorically organized into tidy little plastic bins on shelves. Ben and I have spent way too much time sorting everything out this evening.

Oh well.

On a happier note, I learned two new kitchen tricks this morning. I buy pretty well all our meat in bulk from Country Lane Farms. I often choose to buy the chicken variety packs and cook the whole birds in my crock pot. Then, I strip the meat from the bones and freeze it in small portions for casseroles and soups. Yesterday I had the bright idea of cooking a chicken through the night in my crock pot. I put a whole cut-up chicken in the pot, topped it up with water, and added a little salt, pepper and a bay leaf. I set the slow cooker on low and let it run through the night for about nine hours. This morning I had a fully-cooked bird and dark, rich chicken broth. It worked great!

I also made roasted red peppers this morning. They were embarrassingly easy to make, and so much less expensive than buying roasted red peppers in a jar. I simply washed the peppers, placed them on a foil-wrapped cookie sheet, and popped them under the broiler. Every three or four minutes I turned the peppers so that the sides were evenly blackened. When all the skin was black and bubbly, I took the peppers out of the oven and let them cool in a bowl. The skin peeled right off. I sliced the peppers in half, took out the stems and seeds, and stored them flat in freezer bags. It was totally painless (except for the part when I set off the smoke detector).

Here's what I made with my chicken and red peppers. This is a tried and true family favourite in Inksterland. I found the recipe a couple years ago at our local YMCA:

Red Pepper, Tomato and Chicken Pilaf

1 2/3 C. quick-cooking brown rice
3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1" pieces
(I use 2 C. of cooked chicken from my crock pot)
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
(I use homemade broth)
1 (7 oz.) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
(I use one or two homemade roasted red peppers)
1 sm. onion, chopped
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. frozen peas

1. Preheat oven to 375F. In a 2-quart casserole dish combine rice, chicken, tomatoes, broth, red peppers, onion, oil, bay leaf, paprika, oregano, pepper and salt. Stir well and cover. Bake 40 minutes.

2. Stir in peas. Bake, uncovered, until broth is absorbed, 10-15 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

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