Archives- Day 1- What Was I Thinking?!

Original Post- February 25, 2011

Oh the motivation of a new journey. To prepare, I pulled out seven recipe cards, made an awesome grocery list with so many fresh ingredients on it (which half of them, I have no idea how to cut, cook, etc.), and I took off for the local Publix.

Problem #1– I have never heard of some of the spices I needed so looking for some of them was a nightmare. My buggy has arms from my three year old and it was spitting up and whining as well from my little acid-reflux machine. When I finally found what I needed it was off to the produce section. Did you know that preschoolers are enthralled with the scales? There are just some things that I would rather not fight with my child over in a public setting. It’s called “preventing a scene”. It just so happens that every vegetable that I needed was next to one of those stupid scales. We weighed onions, parsley, green onions, tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, well…you get the point.

Problem #2– I recently discovered these nifty little things called coupons. Of course I knew they existed, I just didn’t see a point in cutting one out to save 30 cents on a can of soup. Once I learned the proper method of couponing and saved $60 on a shopping trip and cut our grocery bill down to about $250 a month, I was hooked! The problem is, when you are using fresh ingredients, there are little to no coupons. I did pretty good considering I got eight meals worth of ingredients for $112 (meat included), but I’m not pleased at the moment. I am going to have to learn to coordinate recipes with sales. My poor brain can only do one thing at a time so that may come after the 30 day challenge.

I finally finished at the grocery store and brought all of my ingredients home. It was a Wednesday night so we had a quick supper and headed to church. Thursday night would begin my challenge. You may be asking why don’t I just wait until March 1, to start this to have a “start date”. I was not blessed with the gift of patience. I get bored very easily. I think I may actually have a slight case of ADD. Either way, if I don’t start on a goal immediately IT WILL get pushed aside. It’s an annoying trait, but I prefer the term endearing.

So Thursday night rolls around. I like to eat around 6:30 if possible. We had a very busy day so I didn’t even start supper until 6:30. After reading the prep and cooking times I discovered I should be done around 7:15. Not too bad, so I set off to cooking. My first lesson was that the prep times they put on recipes are ridiculous. I’m not the Iron Chef! How in the world do they expect me to cut up that much food, while corralling a preschooler, rocking a baby in a bouncer with my foot because he’s screaming, and trying to figure out a new recipe. Supper was ready around 8 PM. Better late than never though, right? I got very discouraged about halfway through when I realized I had a complete airhead moment and was making a recipe that required broiling and preparing a side that needed to be cooked at 350 degrees. I found a skillet recipe for the baked macaroni-and-cheese though so I diverted that crisis fairly easily.

Here’s a brief view of tonight’s kitchen activities:

I pulled out the recipe that I had chosen for night one. It says I need to broil the food in a broiling pan.
Me: Honey, what in the world does it mean to broil something?
Russ: You cook it close to heat. You know we don’t have a broiling pan though, right?
Me: It requires a special pan? What the crap kind of recipe is this?!
Russ googles the pan. We fashion something out of a 9 X13 cake pan and a cookie cooling rack.
A few minutes later…
Me: Russ, the garlic came in this little bulb thingy (I hold up the garlic). Is this a clove or are the little things inside cloves?
Russ: (He thinks for about 30 seconds or so) I don’t know. Google it…

I finally figured out how to mince that stupid clove of garlic after 15 minutes or so of reading up on it. I’m telling you….I am not good at this kind of thing.

Anyway, after a lot of scrambling around, reading, fussing at the stove and/or oven, getting irritated at the recipe and it’s ingredients, and talking myself out of trashing it and eating out tonight, I finished the recipe. Stuffed boneless pork chops and homemade macaroni-and-cheese. (I would have preferred one more side, but Russ and Andrea were close to gnawing their arms off.)

The verdict? Good, but a little bland. The macaroni-and-cheese was pretty good though. Kraft is definitely easier, but Andrea was so funny that I will cook it again just to listen to her laugh at me and talk about the “crazy cheese and bubbly milk”.

What I learned? Garlic is sticky when minced. I should always cut the fat off of the meat before cooking it. Prep times are NOT accurate so I need to start early. My family loves me regardless if I suck at cooking.

Not a bad first day in my opinion.

Easy Stuffed Pork Chops- From Healthy Meals in Minutes
4 boneless, center-cut loin pork chops (4 oz each) trimmed
For the stuffing
1 mdm yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth (reduced sodium)
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 slices of white bread cut into 1/2 in. cubes
1 T chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
2 T grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Preheat broiler and line the broiler pan with foil.
2. To prepare stuffing, spray a large nonstick skillet with veg. cooking spray. Heat skillet over Med. heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until softened, about 5 mins. Stir in broth and vinegar. Add bread, parsley, oregano, and basil. Cook, stirring, until liquid is absorbed, about 5 mins. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan.

3.Using a sharp knife, cut a deep horizontal pocket in each pork chop. Spoon stuffing evenly into each pocket. Secure openings with toothpicks

4.Place pork chops on prepared pan. Broil 4 inches from heat, turning once, until browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove toothpicks. Serve immediately..

-Here’s my finished product(s) below…and that’s not a giant size portion of mac and cheese. It just looks like it from the angle of the picture!

Per serving:
Calories –259
Carbs -12 g
Protein -30 g
Sodium -148 mg
Fat -10 g
Cholesterol- 79 mg