Monday, May 21, 2007

Cooking Extravaganza, Diaperless Ben is a Bad Idea

I did nothing more exciting then cook all weekend long. Made a spaghetti sauce, meatloaf, and a chicken casserole as well as a couple of sides. Our fridge is stocked for the week. Yay! We're on a tight budget until we get paid on Friday, so I figured I might as well flex my culinary skills, which, as it turns out, doesn't amount to much.

I did use a new meatloaf recipe. It calls for Lipton's Onion Soup mix (the kind you can mix with sour cream for an easy chip dip). Hopefully it doesn't suck. I had to call my mom to have her give me explicit, step-by-step instruction on the chicken casserole. It's such a simple recipe, I felt a little like an idiot for not remembering. Layer chicken, cooked stuffing, cream of mushroom soup (diluted with a bit of milk) in casserole dish. Put in the oven. Done. Ben absolutely went wild over it, but then again, he found a week-old french fry on the floor by the garbage can and was chewing on that for a while before I noticed. He loved that too.

There are certain staples that I've been slowly learning to keep in the house.

A bag of potatoes. They were in a cabinet for a month and were a little wrinkly, but still firm and white on the inside. I made an American Fries dish Saturday morning utilizing a shake-n-microwave packet I had picked up a while ago. So easy. Yesterday I cut up about six potatoes and boiled them as a side dish for the meatloaf.

Cream of mushroom and cream of celery soups. Also have to add cream of chicken to this list. It was in a lot of recipes I looked at yesterday. Easy to make a quick casserole.
Diced tomatoes. Easy to add to the casseroles, but also a nice addition to a cheap, store-bought spaghetti sauce.
Box of Stuffing. Casserole addition, but also an easy side for grilled chicken.
Long-grain rice. Ditto, but also a nice base for a stroganoff or a thick chili.
Frozen mixed vegetables. Easy casserole addition to add some color and extra flavor, but also a healthy side to pretty much anything. If you can't stand the healthiness, add cheese.
Ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Seriously. How boring would a meatloaf be with out Worcestershire sauce?
Onion soup mix. Great for roasts in a slow cooker, but I'm also going to start using it as an addition to mashed potatoes.
Saltines. Chester had to run to the store to pick these up. We didn't have a filler for the meatloaf. No oatmeal, no crackers. It was embarrassing. Almost considered goldfish crackers.
An onion or two. Granted, we don't have any in the house, but I really wished we had a couple this weekend.

We don't buy meat until we know we'll be cooking it right away. I'm not very good at cooking with frozen meats because I can never get them to thaw properly. We bought about six pounds of ground beef on Saturday and browned about a third of it for spaghetti sauce, saved a third for hamburgers, and used the rest for the meatloaf. I can't figure out a way to freeze ground beef without freezer burn.

Maybe A Cute Ben Thing:
Ben had over ten code browns over the weekend. I think it's because we started feeding him more vegetables and cutting down on his milk consumption (the doctor's idea). If we didn't catch them right away, he would develop of bleeding, oozing rash. He spent a lot of time out of the diaper because of that... he'd just squat in the living room over and over again and scream because his butt hurt so much. In other news, I thought Chester had put the diaper back on before he went outside to mow yesterday. I was in the living room, and Ben was playing in the dining room. I heard some splashing, but I figured he had just opened his sippy cup. Turns out no... He had peed on the floor and then splashed in it for a while. Oh God.