Thursday, June 02, 2016

What's for Dinner?

The question that is the bane of my existence.  Every day my family not only expects me to feed them, they expect me to decide what to feed them.  Of course, I'm supposed to consult my crystal ball and devise a menu that appeals to all five of them, have it ready when they are ready to eat, all while driving around town getting them from one place to the next.

At dinner last night I read everyone the new bios for the blog.  The single sentence that got the most feed back was this one. I love to cook, sometimes I hate it, mostly because no one will help with menu planning but everyone complains about what I serve. All five people I live with insisted that this was not a true statement and were quite offended that I had written this.

Fast forward to 5:30 pm tonight.  I've been busy all day.  Doctor appointment for me, no worries, just the annual check up; end of year goal setting conferences with Ruby and Eliza Claire; caring for Charlotte; designing our trip t-shirts and car decals; picking up Rehm from school; eating bon bons.  You know just a typical day.  I have no dinner plan.  I need one.  I text Michael and ask for ideas.  His response, "dunno."  Really helpful.  I asked three of the four children if they had any ideas.  Nope, nada, zilch.  Yeah, it was an I Hate to Cook night.  But that wasn't getting anyone fed.
What did we end up having?  I told Rehm I was seriously considering just having a Kraft Mac and Cheese night.  He immediately offered to make it.  I took him up on it but knew we really needed more.  So I turned to my trusty Instant Pot and in 45 minutes had Cincinnati Chili on the table.  Of course, since the mac and cheese got done first, the three children that are eating real food ate before the chili was done.  But Michael and I both enjoyed a bowl of chili and there are enough leftovers I know what's for dinner tomorrow night.

OK, so if you don't know what the Instant Pot is, you need to.  It is my new best friend.  I don't know how I lived without it.  It is magic.  Seriously, it is an electric pressure cooker.  I really didn't understand all the hoopla about them until I got my own.  Oh my!  It is just amazing.  If you are busy and running ragged trying to get everything done in the evenings you need one of these.  So far I've made all kinds of pasta, rice, and grains, a couple of chicken dishes, beans, hard boiled eggs, and chili.  I'm probably forgetting a few things.

Think Crock Pot on steroids.  No need to remember to put something in before starting your day.  This magical machine cooks in mere minutes! For example, past in half the time it takes by stove top directions.  Dried beans from plastic bag to tender, yummy awesomeness in 45 minutes.  Cincinnati Chili usually takes me 30 minutes to prep and then cooks for 2-3 hours.  From the time I got the meat out of the freezer until it was ready to eat was 45 minutes.  Like I said, it is magically.  Run, don't walk to Amazon and get one.  I only bought a 5 quart.  I regret that decision.  If I had it to do over I would buy at least the 6 quart.

Oh, and if you are like me, when you hear pressure cooker all you think of is the vague horror stories from your childhood of them exploding contents all over the kitchen.  No worries, this is not your mother's or grandmother's pressure cooker.  It has lots of safety features and it is electric not stove top.  I can actually turn it on and leave the house to go cart kids around and have dinner done when I get home.  Did I mention it is life changing, magic?
I may still have a love/hate relationship with cooking but at least the Instant Pot allows me to get the job done in a timely manner once I come up with something to fix.



Phyllis said...

Actually, it IS your Mother and Grandmother's pressure cooker. Only one Mama ever had.

Jenn said...

But it is not the "going to explode in the house" pressure cooker.