I needed a new cell phone because the old low-tech one was dying. Plus, I needed internet access for a variety of business related reason, and I needed to be able to text the Em because she only responds to texts. Of course, I really really (really, really, really...infinity) wanted an iPhone. I wanted to be able to check my icalendar from the phone. I wanted to be able to take groovy pictures with it of my food for this blog. Plus the apps! Who wouldn’t want to immediately download whatever is playing at Starbucks? But the stupid iPhone was too expensive and AT&T’s service around here is spotty. I also had to get Mads a phone because she’s been walking home from school with friends and it made me nervous that she couldn’t get in touch with me if she needed to. Verizon was hosting a “buy a Blackberry, get a second phone for free” sale. Blackberry vs. iPhone. I called the AT&T store, but they wouldn’t deal. Verizon said they could give me an even better deal than the one advertised because I've been a customer for eons. Sigh. The Blackberry then. Bought it. Brought it home. My first thought: it's kind of small.
Then I found Brick Breaker.
This stupid game is so addictive that I just now had to take a break from writing to play a few times. God. Help. Me. What made it all worse was that Em played the game on my phone and immediately got to level 11. (Not a Spinal Tap 11 either, -- there are 34 levels to Brick Breaker) The ugly competitive side of me kicked in and I’ve been playing obsessively ever since. (I can now get to level 9). Three nights ago, as I was cooking dinner, Smith called out from the playroom, “Kath, come see this.”
“Can’t”, I replied, “ I’m at a crucial moment sauteing mushrooms.”
Truth was, I was at a crucial moment with Brick Breaker.
Despite the “discount” on the new phones, it was still insanely expensive, and I’ve been feeling the pinch. Plus all these annoying bills keep showing up demanding to be paid. So I am having to keep the food bill down more than usual this month. Yesterday I went to the store and found "family packs" of chicken wings and drumsticks were on sale. That got my tiny brain ticking. I can make a lot of things from 2 large packs of chicken parts. Even better: it takes no hands to roast chicken. All the better to play Brick Breaker, my dear...
Dinner number 1:
Roasted Chicken Wings and Drumsticks
1 pack chicken wings
1 pack of drumsticks
frozen green beans (as much as your family will eat)
chicken broth or water
parsley or cilantro or thyme to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Haul the chicken out of the packs and rinse and pat it all dry.
- Throw it in a bowl and pour about 1/4c of olive oil over them all, then sprinkle with about 1tblsp of kosher salt. (The amount of the salt and olive oil varies with how much chicken you have. Just make sure everything is coated with oil and nicely sprinkled with salt.) Toss all of this around with your hands.
- Spread the chicken out on one or two large baking sheets covered with parchment. (Parchment is key - you'll thank me later when cleaning up.)
- roast for about 20 min, or until chicken looks and smells done. It should be fairly crispy on the outside, but you don't want it pulling away from the bone which means it's over done.
- Meanwhile, dump your frozen greenbeans into a skillet, add a little water and a bit of olive oil, or grapeseed oil or butter. Put a lid on the beans and cook for a bit, then take the lid off and saute until they are just the other side of crunchy.
- Now make your couscous -- follow the directions on the box, but at the end, when you are fluffing, add some chopped parsley, cilantro or thyme.
- plonk it all on a plate and let people eat the chicken with their fingers. Some warmed up pita is good here too -- then you don't even need a fork or spoon for the beans or couscous.
- SAVE ALL BONES --
- Preheat the oven to 350 if you are using biscuits and lightly oil a lasagna pan or casserole dish, or use a skillet that can go in the oven.
- heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet or a dutch oven. Toss in the onions carrots and celery and cook until the onions soften.
- Add the butter
- Add the flour and cook it for a bit
- Add any other fresh vegetables you have now
- Add the Stock and let simmer until the carrots get a bit tender and the broth is thickened
- Add frozen vegetables and the chicken. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper if needed. Let it cook down another minute or so.
- pour into lasagna pan.
- In a stand mixer, stir the flour the baking powder, salt and sugar together. (You can also use a food processor, or just even your hands -- just keep mashing butter and flour together until it's all incorporated. Don't over think it, it will be fine.)
- on a low speed stir the cold butter in and let it go until the butter and flour come together and look like small peas. (See by hand method, above)
- while the mixer is running on low, slowly add the milk. (or mix it in with a wooden spoon, then mush around with your hands again)
- Once the milk and flour mixture is all together turn the dough out onto a floured counter and roll out until they are about 1/4 inch thick.
- Use a cookie cutter or a round juice glass to cut out biscuits.
- Place the biscuits on top of the chicken and vegetables and put into the oven.
- bake for 20-30 minutes or until the biscuits are brown and everything else is bubbly and hot.
- take it out of the oven and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes before dishing it out to the ravenous mongrels your family will have become.