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March 01, 2006: Kitchen work

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This past weekend Richard and I decided to be proactive on dinner food, since we were eying the calendar and realizing that one or both of us has something planned every single night this week. So Sunday afternoon we did a massive grocery shopping spree and then spent about two hours in the kitchen this afternoon cooking.

I started with a Garden Vegetable lasagna from the latest issue of Cooking Light, which looked delicious in the magazine and ended up tasting even better than expected (we actually ended up having that for dinner Sunday and Monday nights). The only downside is that it took a lot of time and counter space and dishes to prepare, but then this is not an uncommon side effect of many of the recipes in Cooking Light, so I suppose I will not hold it against them.

While I was working on that, Richard put together Chicken with Vegetables and Rice, for which we used brown rice instead of the white rice the recipe usually calls for because we are all about the brown rice in this house. Then, since I was *still* working on the time-suck that was the lasagna, he made a Mexican Bean and Rice Casserole, which is one of those disgustingly easy recipes that mostly involves opening a lot of cans and stirring things together into a big bowl and then pouring it all into a pan to bake. And finally, because at this point I'd finished the lasagna that made time stand still, I started making Bumpy Meatballs. These are something that emerged in my family years and years ago. I am sure it's a recipe we likely picked up through Girl Scouts, because it is the sort of comfort food that is perfect for kids. Basically you just make meatballs with rice and then you smother them with a mixture of cream of cheddar soup and milk and then you toss it into the oven to bake and the rice soaks up the liquid and they turn out marvelous. Because we're pretty much back on the Weight Watchers Points plan, we used the faux ground beef instead of meat, but the recipe is such that you would likely never even notice the substitution because when it comes to Bumpy Meatballs, cheese sauce trumps all.

In the course of making this last dish, I discovered that Richard is the Meatball Master. I have never managed to make pretty meatballs, no matter how many times I try, because the gunk sticks to my hands and they always end up sort of lopsided and misshapen and tend to fall apart. But give Richard a bowl of mangled (faux) meat goo and he will produce perfectly round meatballs without any apparent effort at all. I know who will be in charge of forming meatballs in our house from now on (hint, it isn't going to be me)!.

The end result of all this furious cooking was that we now have home cooked meals available to last us for the next few weeks. Richard performed a feat of physics in rearranging the contents of the freezer so that they somehow fit inside, and so far this week we've been pretty good about snagging two random boxes each day to thaw in the fridge for dinner that night.

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