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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cooking two dinners at once ...


We woke up this morning wondering how to spend this rainy day.  The Winter Fest Celebration is going on in Bend.  We have a gift certificate to the movies that we got for Christmas that we want to use sometime soon.  But both of those options, no matter how fun they sound, involve getting ready, driving to Bend and hanging out at the very busy Old Mill District.  Today feels more like a hang around the house day to me.

So, I decided to cook up a bunch of the meat that I bought this week, making two dinners at one time.  There was a two pound package of hamburger and a family pack of skinned/boned chicken thighs.  The chicken was a really good deal, only $5.64 for the pack.  I decided to cook them up all at once, making spaghetti sauce and chicken cache-tori.  And some deviled eggs.  When they are done, I will take two servings of each next door to Cary's Mom and Grandma's house.  Valentine's dinner for two...to go.


 
This is my deviled egg pot.  I filled it up with bottled water, because our water has a lot of minerals in it.  I don't add anything else.  I don't like making deviled eggs very much because I have a hard time peeling them so they look nice.  This job has gone better since I started boiling the eggs in this, I bring them to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer for around 20 minutes.



My secret weapon:  potato masher.  When the eggs are nearly cooked, I smash them gently with this remarkable little gadget so the shells will peel easier.  My Nanny gave me that tip last summer.


 The Two Dinners:

  
I started with all of this.  I chopped up one onion and added it to the hamburger.


I browned the hamburger with the onions.


 
I strained the grease off of the cooked hamburger.  Half of it went into the freezer in a heavy duty Ziplock freezer bag.  Sometime, when I am in a hurry, I throw it in with a box of Rice-a-Roni and some peas or corn.


I added spaghetti sauce, spices, fresh mushrooms and the hamburger mixture.  I'll let it simmer in the crock pot for several hours and then cook up some spaghetti and eat it.


 
In this big, high speed crock pot, I dumped in a large jar of spaghetti sauce and a can of diced onions.  I also added sliced onions and fresh mushrooms.


  
In a Ziplock bag, I mixed flour and seasonings.


  
Then I added the chicken thighs and shook them up until they were well coated.  It would have been better if I had cut the chicken in half though.  Next time I will remember that.  I hope.


  
I melted a cup or so of shortening into my favorite pan, on medium high and added the floured chicken to brown.  You can use cooking oil if you want too.  I just like shortening because it doesn't burn so easily.  Then, I let the grease drain off of the chicken, by placing it on some paper towels.


  
I put the chicken in the crock pot and added a small jar of spaghetti sauce.  Canned tomatoes would have worked just as well, I think.


 

This is how it looks now, after cooking for around 30 minutes.  When it is done in a few hours, it will be used as a topping for mashed potatoes.  I am just going to use these instant ones because they taste good and are easy to use:

 

So, there you go.  Two good dinners, prepped all at once.  They are not all the way from scratch, but I am not going to let that bother me.  They look good, smell good and I know they are going to taste great!

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