Our friend Will Samson set up a contest called the Pantry Challenge, where he asked bloggers how long they could eat from their fridge, freezer and pantry without having to buy anything except bare staples (eggs, sugar, and milk). Although we opted not to participate, we were inspired. So, Billy and I are trying to eat more meals at home, and have them actually be home-cooked. And by meals, we mean things prepared with knives and bowls, and the stove and oven (not the microwave variety), and pots and pans. We're also trying to consistently eat together, at the table, with placemats and napkins and full sets of silverware, and glasses of water and hot tea. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it hasn't been a habit for us. However, having Miranda has made us more aware of the habits and customs we model to her, and the values and virtues we'd like her to absorb. So, here we are in the kitchen and the dining room.
We're realizing you can have meals that are inexpensive, or fast, or healthy. You can usually even have any 2 of these 3 criteria, but it's difficult to accomplish all three at once. So, this blog thread will chronicle our growth in this area. Hopefully we'll showcase some meals, possibly a weekly menu, things like that. If you have any thoughts, advice, recipes, etc, please feel free to comment!
Tonight's dinner was a repeat of last night -- homemade chicken potpie, green salad with apples, pecans, and apple-chili vinagarette, and sugar-free pudding. Miranda enjoyed most of it but also had avocado and kiwi (her new fave). Making the potpie was enlightening. As I prepared to shop, I thought, "OK, I need boneless chicken breasts, frozen veggies, cream of chicken or mushroom soup, and canned biscuits for the topping." But after thinking a bit, I bought a whole chicken for $3.50, and came home and used my one can of veg-all in the cupboard, then cornstarch to thicken the broth after the chicken had boiled, and my staple flour, etc to create the crust. It was inexpensive ($4.09 not counting the staples) and delicious, and made 6-8 generous servings.
However, it was time-consuming and pretty messy. Cooking a whole chicken is easy to begin and laborious to complete (boil it too long, and all these little bones get in the broth and you have to strain it, plus you burn your fingers getting the meat off!). The biscuit dough got flour everywhere, and it took forever to figure out how much cornstarch to use for the gravy. You really begin to admire people who had to do this every day (and had to kill, gut, and pluck the chicken, to boot). It really made us appreciate the relative ease of our lives, and will hopefully keep my whining to a minimum.
We've been at this for about a week, so I'll blog about our earlier meals tomorrow. It's been interesting, and surprisingly tasty!