I was watching an episode of Oprah recently that's stayed on my brain. She had a woman on the show roasting a chicken and talking about the numerous things that you could make from the shredded meat. Viewers were cooking along with her in their kitchens via Skype. What's lingered with me since watching that episode was the tone of amazement from Oprah & some other women that sticking a chicken in the oven was a major deal. And then to make chicken pot pie or enchiladas from it? You'd think we were in Martha Stewart territory here! (Speaking of, have you checked out the show, Whatever, Martha? It's a hoot!)
I've really never considered myself anything more than competent in the kitchen. I know I can feed my family nutritiously and fairly inexpensively. But I certainly have my comfort zone. I stick to the basics- meatloaf, pot pie, roasted chicken (my all-time favorite!), and every so often, a pasta dish (the carbs make my BG levels skyrocket). For the most part, I leave the complicated stuff to the real chefs (for example- REAL story, back in my Williams-Sonoma days, I was mulling over what to make for dinner towards the end of my shift. A co-worker, in all seriousness, suggested ravioli- to be made fresh from hand-made, rolled out sheets of pasta. I think he recommended filling them with crabmeat, which I would also need to cook, clean, and crack. Needless to say, it's a meal I did not prepare.) I cannot stand when a meal takes considerably more hands-on prep time than it does to eat, although Munch's slowness at the table may result in expanding my repertoire. And, other than the occasional REALLY delicious entree from the Trader Joe's freezer, we don't do much prepared food. Fast food? Only when we're on the road on vacation.
But come on, do people really NOT cook anymore? Are the masses really doing the heat & eat, pulling up to the drive-thru thing most nights? It wouldn't seem so from the number of food related blogs & sites on the web. I know I'm one who loves seeing what dishes other people are bold enough to tackle- just see my blogroll! Now, I know these aren't usually your everyday home cooks. So, I'm curious, what are YOU all putting on the table at night? (You ARE sitting down together as a family, aren't you?) Maybe it's time to do a series of posts of basic family favorites...here's what was on our plates tonight-nothing fancy, but certainly simple and satisfying.
Quick Beef Stroganoff-
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz. mushrooms, chopped (I buy the package of pre-sliced, then just run my knife through it a couple of times)
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. pepper
garlic salt, to taste
1 can beef broth
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. white wine
1 c. sour cream
1 pkg. egg noodles, cooked according to package directions
Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crumbly and the pink is cooked away. Drain the meat if needed, leaving just a tablespoon or so of fat in the pan. (I use a fairly lean ground beef, and don't need to drain out the fat.) Add the chopped onion and garlic to the pan and cook until onion is translucent. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook, stirring every so often, a few more minutes until mushrooms begin to soften and release their juices. Sprinkle the meat mixture with the flour, pepper, and garlic salt. Stir to coat the meat and cook a couple of minutes. Pour in the broth, milk, and wine. Combine well and cook until the liquid thickens, about 5-8 minutes. Mix in the sour cream and heat through. Add the cooked egg noodles, toss gently to combine, and serve.