Coordinating batch cooking

IMG_1082Our fridge was getting . . . rather bare. T and I haven’t had the chance to go grocery shopping in ages, since we’re now on pretty much opposite schedules. But another friend, E, also doesn’t often have the energy to cook, and so we hatched the idea to cook a whole bunch of food together.

We made chicken stew, rosemary potatoes, and baked couscous. The nearly ten pounds of potatoes we made followed this recipeIMG_1083, and the other two will be going up following this. This worked really well for both of us, so I think it’s gonna happen every couple of weeks at least until the end of the semester. IMG_1084
Grocery List:

  • 2 rotisserie chickens
  • 10lb bag red potatoes
  • 1kg container of couscous
  • Large container of yogurt
  • family size can of cream of chicken soup
  • box of low-sodium chicken stock
  • carrots
  • frozen peas
  • head of cauliflower

Things I already had on hand:

  • olive oil
  • rosemary
  • other spices
  • water

We spent a couple hours cooking, mostly with the oven at 425°F, and then packaged it up and had food for the week. It was great.

Chicken Sandwiches

IMG_1056I marinated some chicken in apricot grilling sauce for most of a day, because it’s delicious.

  • buns (at least 4)
  • two chicken breasts
  • cucumber
  • whatever condiments you want on sandwiches

Basically I just cut up the chicken and sautéed it and cut up the cucumber while it was going. More assembly than cooking again, but it was an interesting combination with the spicy cheese buns I made.

Return!

I’m back from Russia! It was an amazing trip, and an intense one: we did a lot of studying and a lot of partying. Our first week there, everyone staying in the dorms, but then after that there were people who moved out to homestays. I stayed in the dorms, because I’m so used to having control over my own space, though here I was sharing a room with one girl and a suite with two other girls. I did most of the cooking for my roommate and I (on days we weren’t eating out or subsisting on junk food), and so I have a whole spate of new recipes that can be made with limited ingredients and equipment.

This was my entire cooking area.

This was my entire cooking area.

I had two regular-ish burners and a small burner, a microwave that never worked, a kettle, a colander, a grater, and a single knife. Or, well – we got another knife by the end of it, one with a reliable edge.

The pan you see on the left was raided from someone else’s room, because the pan in ours was super sketchy. The pot was in our kitchen, though! Which was cool.

This actually turned out pretty well, and was made entirely of ingredients I could identify on my first trip to the grocery store.

Ingredients:

  • Penne
  • Red Sauce (Jamie Oliver’s . . . something. The label was in English, which was awesome)
  • sliced mushrooms
  • ground chicken (the labels had little animal cartoons)
  • salt and pepper (there was a grinder jar that contained both)

I sautéed the mushrooms first, which involved figuring out which direction on the stove knobs was high – you’ll note they’re not labelled at all. Then I transferred those to a plate and started browning the chicken. I started the (filtered) water at the same time, so by the time the chicken was browned, it was boiling. Then I dumped the penne in the boiling water and added salt and pepper, the mushrooms, and the jar of sauce to the chicken. I added a little more (filtered) water to the chicken, too, so that it was more sauce-like. By the time the penne was done, the sauce was nicely incorporated, too! It was delicious, and the first non-catered food I ate in Russia.

Bourbon Chicken One Pot Pasta

IMG_0289

We don’t have much in the cupboards – we needed to go grocery shopping a week ago, but haven’t felt like it – so tonight’s dinner was more of an experiment than usual. There was a little more liquid than was probably ideal, but we’ve got a pasta spoon with a hole in it, so whatever. The condiments are definitely non-optional.

Ingredients:

  • Pasta
  • Water
  • Brown Sugar Bourbon glaze
  • Bourbon
  • Broccoli
  • Pepper
  • Parmesan
  • Salt
  • Chicken
  • garlic

Okay, so I added some of the bourbon glaze to the two chicken thighs I had: enough to thoroughly cover it. Let that sit like an hour, then preheated a pot and melted some butter at the bottom. Cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks and throw that and however much of the glaze it’s been marinating in into the pot along with however much garlic you want. Cook that on medium for like 8 minutes, then add a shot of bourbon.

For the pasta, I think you want like a .8:1 ratio of liquid to pasta? I did 1:1, but on top of the leftover glaze and bourbon. Basically, you want enough liquid to cover the pasta: it might work well to take the chicken out and then stick it back on top of everything. This is assuming you even care about extra liquid in the pot, which you might not. Anyway, add the pasta and water to your pot, then get some quantity of broccoli into florets and throw that in, too. If it takes a couple minutes to chop the broccoli, not a big deal, it’ll just be less cooked.

All of the pasta should be covered: maybe not this much, though.

All of the pasta should be covered: maybe not this much, though.

Add a pinch of salt and a generous sprinkling of pepper to the water: the salt is because pasta demands salt, the pepper is because it cuts the sweetness and is a nice contrast to the bourbon. Leave all of that on medium-high until the pasta is al dente: probably pretty similar to the cooking time on your pasta package.

When it’s done – and taste-test the pasta first! – serve immediately, with grated parmesan and probably also more pepper. The parmesan is also a good counterpoint to the sweetness, so quantity of parmesan and pepper that you want is going to depend on the type of glaze you’re using.

Tastes pretty good, and not a lot of effort to make, so I’m calling that a win.

Apricot Chicken and Pasta

I’ve been kind of drowning in work and school, and T’s been great about doing fast food runs when I forget that food is a thing for eight hours straight and still need to finish an essay. But yesterday I cooked! Sort of.

Ingredients:

  • pasta
  • chicken
  • marinade of choice
  • butter

I’d had chicken marinating in the apricot marinade we love for a couple days. I threw that in a pan on low and started water for pasta on high at the same time – not a ton of water, since we weren’t having a ton of pasta. I also took the butter out of the fridge so it could warm up a little.

The apricot marinade is fairly heavy on the sugar and so chars a little in the pan, even on low. So if you’re using a marinade less prone to charring, it’ll be a little different, because you can, when the chicken is done, add a little butter and garlic to the pan and add the pasta to that when the pasta is done.

The chicken’s going to finish before the pasta, but just turn the burner off and let it stay there: if you haven’t used a ton of water it’ll still be quite warm by the time the pasta is done.

What I did was cook the pasta according to package directions and then drain it in a colander and then add a cube of butter off the end of the stick to the pot and dump the pasta on top of it. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you’ve got fresh herbs, throwing some of those in can be delicious. We didn’t have any on hand, though. If I’d been thinking, I also would have added some garlic at this point. I wasn’t, though, so it all ended up pretty mild. T liked it, though.