Planning Day — 31 October 2012

2 Oct

This week is shaping up to be an easy one for this Savvy Single cook. I am out to dinner two evenings (a regular meeting and an evening with some old uni friends), there’s one left-over serving of last week’s Black Bean & Shrimp Bowl in the fridge and then I’m off for a long weekend with my folks, sibs and their families. If I manage to arrive early on Friday, my supper will be one of those old fashioned church fish fries . . . hopefully with homemade pie for dessert.

If your Savvy Single household is hosting assorted friends and neighbours for a Canadian Thanksgiving dinner, I commend you to my earlier post on preparing a roast turkey with the trimmings. You CAN do it and you will be the star of the weekend. Best part, you will have left-overs the following week.

My meal planning this week needed to answer these questions:

1.    How can I use up an 8oz tray of sliced gourmet mushrooms before I go away?
2.    How can I break in my brand new cast-iron fry pan (an impulse buy this past weekend, but in my defence it was on sale)?
3.    What will there be for me to eat when I return to my bare cupboards after a weekend of feasting?
4.    What can I take to my parents as a contribution to the food for the holiday?

Here’s what I chose to put on the list —
    A recipe from Chef Michael Smith’s Kitchen (Penguin Canada, 2011, page 163) for Thyme Baked Chicken with Mushroom Sauce will easily use up the mushrooms. I have the rest of the ingredients already in my cupboards. The oven will be on for baking the chicken so I’ll plan to roast some fresh root vegetables at the same time.

I’ve heard from several sources that cornbread baked in a cast-iron skillet is a not-to-be-missed culinary adventure. I love cornbread and Rose Murray’s A Taste of Canada has a great looking recipe Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread (Whitecap Books, 2008, page 55). I’ll be able to use some of the market-fresh jalapeno peppers still taking up real estate in my veggie bin.

To complement the cornbread, I’ll try Michael Smith’s take on a non-meat chili —  Sweet Potato Vegetarian Chili with Cinnamon Sour Cream (idem, page 93). I have a hefty sweet potato, a green pepper and garlic on hand and the rest of the ingredients come from the pantry — canned red kidney beans, canned black beans, canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce and some frozen corn. This will be a perfect meal to whip up when I return from the weekend and before I get out for fresh groceries.

Home made cookies never go to waste over holiday weekends with my family, when we could be feeding twenty or more people for a meal. As previously divulged, my cookie making skills seem to have been left off my genetic code. But I am determined to keep practising until I get my cookies the way like them. So whether I try again to perfect the chocolate chip cookie of my dream or replicate my mother’s peanut butter beauties or give it all up in favour of a combo Oatmeal-Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe I have clipped. Whatever I decide, I’ll report back on how it goes.

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