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Sukiyaki Time

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Hiro got me craving for one of my favorite things to eat. So of course as soon as the weather got even a little bit cold, I went to Marukai to buy stuff to make sukiyaki.

Mmmmm… this food warms my soul.

Kristy called me as I was driving home that  she and her friend wanted macaroni for dinner, but I didn’t have a chance to buy any groceries yet.   This happens all the time where I have to make dinner with whatever I have in the house.

Usually it’s not a problem because I’m just cooking for us and if it’s bad… Well it’s just us. Haha!

Well this time I had a time constraint as it was 7pm and I was barely getting home. Did I mention that Kristy had a guest? That meant I had to get dinner on the table fast and it had to not be embarassing home food.  What was I supposed to do with macaroni??

After rummaging through our fridge and pantry, I decided to make a casserole with a mornay sauce (using leftover colby jack and parmesan cheese from the weekend), some frozen chicken breast (that I always keep stocked in our freezer), frozen chopped spinach (another item I always have) and a box of breadcrumbs (I always have this too).

I cooked the noodles first and then the chicken in the same pot to save time from boiling water twice.  Then I made the sauce and mixed it in my casserole dish with the noodles, chopped chicken, defrosted and drained spinach and then topped with the breadcrumbs and some parmesan cheese.  Since it was already hot and everything was cooked, I just threw it in the broiler to brown the top.  Cooking the casserole on the cook top is my cheater way of getting them done faster – I do this with green bean casseroles on Thanksgiving and can cook them with fresh green beans in 20 minutes.

I was pleasantly suprised – it came out pretty darned good.  Not only did it include most of the food groups for the kids, I was able to gussy up macaroni enough to serve our dinner guest.

A few weeks ago I learned how to make Chicken Chasseur, which is a French dish that is kind of like a stew with a chicken cut into 8 pieces. Tonight I did pasta inspired by that recipe using thigh meat that I cut into small pieces.

Pan seared and then chucked into the oven like my friend taught me.

I made beouf bourguinon last weekend for Mother’s Day.  It cooked for about 7 hours… red wine, carrots, onions, garlic, beef broth and some herbs.  And endless straining through cheese cloth to get the sauce clean.

Now I’m eating it at work while watching Lost, minus the fancy presentation with the fingerling potatoes and carrots.

I’m cooking Mother’s Day lunch early… the beef short ribs were cooked last night and marinating in a pot of red wine reduction in the fridge.  Right now i’ve been babying a pot of onions for french onion soup for almost 3 hours already with no end in sight!

Man cooking for 12 people is no joke!!!