Slow cooking and fast cooking

29 Mar
I have been feeling pretty uninspired in the cooking department lately.  Because Michael has more than his share of work to do these days, I have had to shoulder more than my share of the household chores.  I have no idea how single parents can possibly keep up with working, caring for a child, and still manage to get groceries, do laundry, and keep a home in some semblance of order.  This last, by the way, has not been kept up in our home, AT ALL.  I recently thought that I should go an up Michael’s life insurance because if I ever did become a single parent, it would totally be a necessity to hire someone to come the toilet at least once every couple of weeks.  (Just as an example, you understand.)
Anyway, back to the cooking.  The trouble isn’t just that there is a fast dwindling supply of groceries with which to concoct our every meal.  The trouble is that there are so many limitations on my meal plans, since one of the eaters is toothless (can’t deal with salad, hard vegetables, hard-to-break skins like on peppers, or chewy meat), is somewhat picky (doesn’t like grainy things like ground beef, rice, or couscous), and has to be kept from eating things that she might react to (peas, which gives her diaper rash, corn, blueberries, and dairy because of the recent pooping problems…)  Then there’s the added pressure of having dinner cooked withing 30 to 45 minutes of getting home because otherwise the toothless monster turns into a big, hairy ball of wailing and flailing appendages.
It has taken every last shred of my patience and ingenuity to make dinner each night and come up with lunch and dinner ideas for the following day.  This week has seen heavy reliance on two of my most beloved kitchen gadgets: the slow cooker and the pressure cooker.
The slow cooker is a wonderful invention.  I fill it up the night before and stick it in the fridge.  In the morning, I take it out, turn it on, and when I get home, dinner is ready and waiting.  Tonight we will have pasta, with a meaty spaghetti sauce that has been cooking since 8 o’clock this morning.  Yesterday, we had a turkey meatloaf that I thought was rather bland but that both Michael and Jade enjoyed.
Then, there is the pressure cooker.  It can take 20 or 30 minutes to get carrots or potatoes soft enough to be Jadeable.  But it takes less than 10 in the pressure cooker.  Earlier this week, having nothing more than some slightly defrosted chicken thighs for inspiration, I whipped up a delicious impromptu chicken cacciatore in less than half an hour.
It’s been four and a half years since Michael and I got married and the thank you notes went out within a year, but I feel compelled to say it again.  Thanks to Judith Madill for the slow cooker, and to Jim and Marian for the pressure cooker.  They were lifesavers this week!

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