flashback friday – 23 march 2010


“Where’s Chef Ramsey When You Need Him?”

I am sick to death of all the meals that I serve at home. And by all, I mean the three things that it seems like we eat on a never-ending rotation: spaghetti, pork chops, and spanish rice with hamburger.

Okay, I MAY be exaggerating a little bit, but it really doesn’t seem like it.

In almost 15 years of marriage, I think I have found 2 recipes that the WHOLE family likes. My heaven on earth would be an evening where my quiet, well-behaved children (if you’re going to dream, dream big I always say) ask me what’s for dinner. After I tell them, there would be a total absence of gagging noises, declarations of “I’m not eating!”, or a mad dash for the milk and cereal. When I’m really daydreaming, these angelic children even voluntarily clean the table and do dishes without being forced, shortly before heading off to a quiet evening in their rooms, doing their homework.

Insert happy sigh…

Anyhoo, back to reality!

Because I’m so bored with everything we eat, and because I’m always on the lookout for some magic recipe that will be universally loved by all, I have been on a “new recipe” binge. When the hubby or the children ask me “what’s for dinner?” my slight hesitation always lets them know that mom’s at it again. Anguished cries are sent heaven-ward, but I figure that’s what they get for not giving me any ideas when I make up the weekly grocery list.

Last week I tried a recipe for turkey steaks and potato stroganoff. The recipe came on the turkey steak package, and it sounded wonderful. I’m an Idaho girl through-and-through, so anything with potatoes wins me over. I bought all the ingredients and rushed home to make my newest masterpiece. I thinly sliced oodles of potatoes, diced onions, and chopped mushrooms, mixed it with the cream of mushroom soup and sour cream, and spread it in my cake pan, just like the recipe instructed. I added the turkey steaks, and poured the remaining soup mix over the top. It didn’t fit quite as nicely in my pan is it probably did in their test kitchen, but no matter! I wrapped it sturdily in aluminum foil and shoved it in the oven for 1 hour. Dinner would be delicious and, best yet, ON TIME!

An hour later I came back, peeled back the foil, and speared a potato slice. Hmmm… they didn’t taste very done, so I put it back in, checking on it every 10 minutes. After 40. More. Minutes (now after 9:00 pm), I tried another potato. Still not as tender as I’d have liked, but at least it was edible. In addition, the soup mixture had boiled over the sides and made two very large, lovely pools of gooey mess on the bottom of the oven. It had to be done, right?

I proceeded to dish Tom’s plate, but when I tried to snag a turkey steak, it broke apart into a gooey, raw mess. it was NOT done at all. At that point I had a small mommy melt-down, and we all ate cereal for dinner. After finally calming myself down, I dumped the whole shebang into the crockpot, figuring that I could cook it the following day for many, many hours. Short side note — after crockpot cooking it for hours on end, the turkey was done but those *&#$! potatoes STILL weren’t. Needless to say, I threw that recipe away!.

Fast forward to last night: I was making my easy chicken parmesan, which has to be cooked at a fairly high temperature. I had the oven pre-heating while I sat at the table, engrossed in a book.

Evan wandered in, asking what all the smoke was from.

“Huh?” I said, returning to reality. “What smoke?”

Around that same time, I glanced at the oven to see quite a large fire, burning away… In my panicked state, I couldn’t remember how to put out the flames other than smothering it with salt. I couldn’t find the large container of salt, so I was frantically shaking the little 99-cent salt shaker at it, which, no surprise, wasn’t worth a pinch of salt. 😉

Luckily, Evan’s a little brighter than his mom and beat it out with his t-shirt. Guess I’d forgotten to clean up the turkey-gravy mess that had spilled – one of a zillion chores I had planned to take care of last weekend.

Tom knew better than to even ask when he got home. He just made some comment about the house being awfully smelly (this, after a freezing hour-and-a-half with the windows and doors wide open).

“Hush, and eat your charcoal!”

Even though I’m down to only one child at home, I’m still facing the same old battle. You’d think it would be easier to find meals with only three of us…  Time to start looking at new recipes again!

In other news, I have one final paper due at midnight tonight, and then I’m off for the summer! I had planned on taking at least one course this semester, but am feeling dangerously close to being burnt-out, so I’m taking this needed break. Hopefully that means I’ll have more time to write the things that I want to, rather than exciting things like the statistical probability of the use of “sentential nouns,” my chore for tonight.

Is it any wonder I needed a break?!

8 thoughts on “flashback friday – 23 march 2010

Add yours

  1. I love you my favorite niece. You write wonderfully. You make the whole family extremely proud.

  2. I loved your post! The sentence “Hush, and eat your charcoal!” really made me laugh. I, too, am still a novice in the kitchen, and I’ve been stuck at that level for years.

  3. Oh man can everyone relate. You get that perfect recipe going and boom, surprise. Last night we burnt microwave popcorn. Such a disgusting smell which lingers. Glad you are going to get some time to decompress. I hope it happens for you.

  4. This is exactly why my husband does the cooking! All I can make are ramen, spaghetti, and grilled cheese. 😉

  5. This is funny and I can really relate. Been the cook in my marriage for 44 years and I still have trouble thinking up what I can cook for dinner. I must know how to fix something. Right? Just don’t know what it is. Smoke pouring out of the oven is a familiar motif. I mean to clean those spills up right away, but have to wait till the oven cools. By then, I forget completely until the smoke alarm goes off next time I use the oven.

  6. You know what? It sounds to me like you are an awesome Mommy who tries very hard to make a yummy dinner for her family and that’s what matters. Well, that’s what I tell myself anyway when my cooking goes awry (frequently).

  7. sounds like my family. My toddler will eat certain hamburgers and spaghetti, goldfish crackers, popsicles. anything else is a gamble.
    I can’t eat anything containing wheat.
    I love funky spicy ethnic foods or vegetarian cuisine.
    Hubby loves Midwestern style fare.
    I’m not cooking three separate meals.
    So I feel your pain!

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