Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Two Hours of Weekend Cooking Reduces Stress

This past long weekend I decided to take my own advice. Block off a couple hours and prepare a few dishes so I could minimize my cooking for this week. I thought I would share my cooking experience to show how much can be accomplished in two hours.

I needed a good energy boost to get started so I began by cranking some classic rock tunes. I felt the music’s energizing effects immediately as I prepared my knife for some serious slicing and dicing. My plan was to make a marinade for jerk chicken, a vegetable chili, meat patties, and a marinade for pork chops. I love imagining I’m on that Iron Chef show going against Bobby Flay…except I allow music plus an extra hour to make all the dishes.

I started with the vegetable chili because I figured I could get the other dishes done while it was simmering. The great thing about chili is one batch is good for at least two dinners. Once I had the chili simmering I assembled my meat patties, and cooked them in the oven. Since the oven was hot I decided to make an extra dish, which was potato wedges. I cut a few potatoes into wedges, coated them with olive oil and Cajun spice then cooked them in a 425ºF oven for 18 to 20 minutes. Easy!

While the potatoes were cooking I put together the two marinades, which took me all of ten minutes. At this point my 2 hours had expired but I decided to take a few extra minutes to remove the skin from the chicken thighs and the excess fat from the pork. I put both meats into separate resealable plastic bags with their respective marinades and then stored them in the freezer.

With some basic planning and a few energizing songs propelling me along I ended up making my four main dishes and one side dish to boot. My two-hour cooking adventure is going to make this week's cooking duties extra easy. I’m already feeling less stressed. I’m happy I decided to take my own advice!

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Brent Garell
The Kitchen Roadie

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