Thursday, February 25, 2010

And nothing exploded!

What a great domestic day! Soup, carnitas, baked chicken, friends, dancing in the kitchen, great grocery deals... I ROCK!!

Yesterday, I hit up the produce bus for some fresh kale. I was determined to make sausage, kale and white bean soup. I really wanted to get the kale and root veggies from them. I ended up coming home with organic sausage, a ton of kale and what I thought was a turnip. But maybe it's a rutabega? I'm perplexed and not really sure what I put in my soup, but it's good so I'm not too concerned about it!

Regardless... I was so excited to make this soup today! I had to hit up the grocery store for onions, carrots, celery and a few other items. I came home with pork loin (for carnitas), two packages of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, various veggies, butter, two gallons of milk and a few other things for under $30. Not too shabby! I came home knowing exactly how I'd use these groceries and I was determined to maximize my time in the kitchen and adopt a Once A Month Cooking mentality.

First, I tackled that amazing soup! DELISH! Okay wait.. let me start at the beginning. First I cooked the organic sausage and drained it. As I was chopping the root veggies, I kept... er... sampling the sausage. Yes, I was sampling it; making sure it was good enough for us to put in the soup. That sausage.... it was like a pork dream come true! Such a mellow, butter after taste. I wanted to sit down with a straw and suck it all up slowly. Thank you, thank you, thank you Farm to Family for selling the Polyface sausage! I'll be back for more!!

While my root veggies were cooking in the leftover pork fat (not the healthiest choice but so so scrumptuous!), I did another first: I cooked the white beans in a pressure cooker. Not any old pressure cooker, but my grandmother's pressure cooker! I'm sure she was having a good chuckle watching down on me as I danced in the kitchen to my Pandora station, cut root veggies and fretted about the cooker exploding everywhere.

This soup turned out to be so amazing! And it makes a huge batch so I shared half of it with a friend. I think from now on when I make a soup, I will always find a friend to pass some of it along to. Next time, I'm going to try to make it using only local ingredients. Gotta support those farmers!

Oh! The rest of the food! The pork tenderloin is in the crockpot with some lime juice, busy working on becoming carnitas. That should be done by bedtime tonight and I'll put a lot of it up in the freezer. The chicken breasts are in the oven with the remaining onion bits and carrots, roasting in a little bit of left over chicken broth. When that's done, I'll put the veggies in the fridge to snack on and will cut the chicken up into bite-size pieces. Then into baggies and into the freezer!

Out of the $30 I spent today on groceries, I have at least a dozen meals for my family of four! The carnitas last forever. They're such an easy, inexpensive meal that spreads out for quite a while. By cooking and cutting the chicken in advance, I find that I'm able to spread it out over more meals than if I just plopped a chicken breast on each person's plate.

Move over Claire Huxtable and Martha Stewart! I'm rockin' it today!

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