Thursday, October 13, 2011

Call me EverReady

And tickle my bunny tail because I have been energized today!! At 8:55pm I sit down at my computer to write this, expecting at any moment for the juice to run out, but here goes. It crossed my mind while cleaning up the kitchen that I am as jazzed as I was at 31 or 41. In case you're subtracting that's 20 or 30 years ago. I have no explanation since I forgot to take my 5,000 units of B12 this morning (and for several days, come to think of it.) Who knows? But let’s not waste it.

I made a quick hit on Lowe’s since it’s on the way to Aldi so I could get that stretchy brightly colored tape that I want to use to lay out my bed modifications in the back garden. Rather than orange I bought the pink along with the metal flag stakes that the utility companies use to mark where not to dig. I didn’t need the flags, just the metal thingies they’re attached to. Also got a few sprinkler parts. Can’t walk by that end-cap without grabbing something. Checked out the nursery dept, hoping they had a Holly Fern, but I’m afraid they’ll never have that plant. I’m pretty sure it was my quickest trip to Lowe’s on record.

Don’t know if any or all of you are familiar with the Aldi stores. A couple of years ago one moved in about a mile and a half from our house, and you guessed it. That means Lowe's is only a mile from our house. How convenient! Most everything I’ve tried from Aldi is a reasonable facsimile of the name-brand item. Today they had the blueberry pancake mix that’s in a box that is an exact duplicate of the Krusteaz box, but the mix is much better in that it’s not as sweet and doesn’t have that artificial taste. Love it!! And get this…it was marked down from the regular $1.45 to an astounding $1.15!!! I got two. Also their butter is $2.69 a pound. My beloved Publix Supermarket sells a pound of butter (can they possibly??) for $4.69 for Land O’Lakes (my fave). Aldi’s butter is not Land O’Lakes, but I’m a lot richer so I can live with it. BTW it’s not bad. Their no-name Oreo cookies are $1.49 and better than Walmart’s store brand that costs a dollar more.

I’m not bashing Walmart. In fact, this brings me to today’s activity. The last two times I’ve been to Walmart they’ve had boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.88 a pound. Can we all stand up and cheer?? That’s incredible. I was looking for economical chicken for Ellie’s homemade dog food. Notice I did not say cheap food. I hate cheap food. It tastes bad like at some buffet restaurants. Yuck. Anyway $1.88 chicken breasts beat $3.96 ground turkey any day. So last time I cooked up three breast halves for Ellie and made a wonderful dish out of the other five that Bonnie from work had told me about. She’s a big canner and uses the Farm Journal’s Freezing & Canning Cookbook a lot. The recipe was called Ranch-Style Chicken. The directions are for canning it which she did not do. She didn’t have canned mushrooms so she substituted canned black olives and kind of winged it in a few other areas, too. When I saw that chicken at Walmart, I knew what I was going to do with it, because I had bought that cookbook back when I was on my veggie-growing craze. I’m better now.

DH just came looking for a snack, and I recommended the fig bars from Aldi. Whoa, lovely! Tender pastry and light fruity taste. I was impressed. And only 99 cents for the same sized package as the other brand.



Since try as I might I can not read a recipe with comprehension to save my life, winging it is just up my alley. So I used the black olives and threw in canned artichokes. For some reason I thought Bonnie said she lightly fried the chicken, but the recipe doesn’t say that. I looked ten times (notice I didn’t say “I read ten times” – interesting), and it really doesn’t, though I always doubt what I think I see in a recipe. I ought to donate my brain to science (but not today) so they can figure out my recipe-dyslexia. It’s like my brain’s OCR software is messed up, and I can only see stuff in jpeg format so the individual letters and words mean nothing and can’t be deciphered. There was a time when I thought understanding my inability would help, but just as understanding blindness doesn’t make a person see, it didn’t help me either. Even knowing that reading a recipe five times first is recommended, I couldn’t do it. So I kind of look at globs of the recipe and take what I can out of it.

The bottom-line is that after dinner I lightly fried my chicken breasts after I cut them into big chunks, four or five pieces per breast, and breaded them in flour, kosher salt and pepper. It turned out yummy but not as flavorful as we like. So today at Aldi I found marinated artichokes. Mmm, that’ll work, I decided. So in a bowl I combined the chopped up artichokes, the black olives that I had sliced, a can of diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, a small can of tomato sauce (this one was basil, garlic and oregano, too), the liquid from the olives, a little of the liquid from the marinated artichokes, a bunch of dried parsley, a bunch of dried basil (I just pour) and about half of a Vidalia onion sauteed in the oil from the chicken. DH and I do not like onions, but I have come to appreciate their power to flavor cooked meats. Though together we have watched Alton Brown on Good Eats talk about the chemical effect of sulfur on beef flavor, DH would rather not be told that there is onion in his pot roast and won’t believe me when I tell him it becomes unrecognizable in the finished dish. He refuses to accept that the reason beef roast without onions tastes like cardboard is because the onions are missing. So we don’t have these conversations anymore. He’s a very prejudiced person when it comes to onions.

I ladled this chunky olive/artichoke/tomato sauce over the chicken that I had placed in a single layer in a large baking pan, cooked it for 30 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduced the temperature to 350 for another 35 minutes. When it’s done, it looks kind of dried out and there’s almost no liquid left (perhaps a better cook would now how to freshen it up a bit), but the chicken is tender and delicate, and the flavor of the sauce is to-die-for. The batch I made tonight with the marinated artichokes and basil is oh, so flavorful. We will be eatin’ good tomorrow!!

And it’s now 11:57pm. The kitchen is cleaned up; the blog is about done; and this energizer bunny is still thumpin’. It’s been an excellent day!


  1. Go, bunny, go! Aren't days when you're energized wonderful? Sounds like you got a lot done. I don't like onions, either. But I use onion powder in everything. Tastes great, but I don't have to munch on an onion. My mother always said I was a bit odd. Good to know other onion non-lovers are out there!

  2. Since you have so much energy, I have about 500 papers I'd like you to grade for me. It will leave me with a lot more energy for gardening. Thanks! You're the best!! :o)