In my pantry today:
Instead of actually typing out a list of everything in the 50+lb tupperware bins my brothers and I each received from mom and dad this year, here’s a snapshot of its contents on my kitchen table. To know why this is happening check out last year’s post explaining the wonder of these baskets. In fact, these baskets warrant quoting directly from that post:
You know all those things at World Market or Big Lots you’d like to try but don’t have the disposable income to waste? SANTA’S GOT YOUR BACK! Now, this is not to say my folks are highfalutin and can slap together jaunty foodwealth like this so easily — it is a process in which three equal baskets must be compiled over the weeks or even months before the holidays. My parents are more-than-admirably steadfast in their goal of sibling equality. It is a labor of love, and one for which I will gladly go ahead and clear out some cupboards.
In lieu of writing (and/or then typing) a list of every item, I’ll share a couple photos of some of my favorite individual basket items:
Flavored (cooking?) Oil: I imagine I understand why this might’ve been on the clearance rack. I mean, I “bay leave” why.
OSTRIM beef/ostrich “jerkee”: This might be more respectable were it named less like a nightmare about haircuts.
Larry the Cable Guy Cheesy Tuna Dinner: To be fair, not everything in the basket is necessarily intended to be edible. I don’t give two whits what a picture of Larry the Cable Guy tells me to do with my tuna.
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Tagged annual, basket, bay leave, big lots, christmas, christmas basket, clearance, gifts, groceries, jerkee, larry the cable guy, mom and dad, ostrim, parents, sale
In my pantry today:
- 1 lb chicken tenders, cut in thirds
- 1 c fresh spinach, diced
- 1 medium onion
- 2 tsp safflower oil
- 3 tbsp cashew butter
- 3 tbsp leftover sweet potato bisque
- 2 packets chicken gravy mix
- 4 cans vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 1 tbsp mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp yellow curry powder
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
So my mom reads my blog (hi mom!), and when I happened to see my parents this past weekend I was met with the usual amount of love and, also, an entire cooler of meat. “If I see one more post with ONLY beans…” says mom. So consider this the dawning of the age of Aquarius — if by “dawning of the age of Aquarius” I mean “MEATSPLOSION!” Granted, we all know I am no pure vegetarian… and I don’t see a complete eradication of animal products from my diet happening. I mean, just cutting out dairy is still a very tenuous journey: I am Italian and that would mean giving up Parmasean cheese. That will never happen — it is good on everything.
But back to the cooler full of meat. In addition to our apocalypse supply of dried beans, I now have all this to work with:
- 1 package boneless pork chops
- 1 package stir fry beef
- 1 package beef stew beef
- 1 family size package of cube steak
- 1 family size package of chicken tenders
- 1 whole chicken
- 2 NY Strip steaks
This warranted a full hard cleaning out of the freezer because all of this would need to be portioned, packaged and frozen. Can anyone chime in with an agreement here if you’ve ever met my Mom and Dad? Because I need to profess their awesomeness and my subsequent gratitude in this harsh world for such a lucky break, and I need confirmation on this from outside sources so that when Mom inevitably reads this she knows this isn’t just meat-related lip service. They have done so very right by all of their offspring, and then they occasionally top it all off with things like a cooler full of meat Dad purchased from his post-retirement job at the grocery store.
I admit to being a little overwhelmed by the amount of animal I put in the freezer yesterday, but as kismet had it I was making dinner for non-vegetarian friends so I got to cut out most of one of the animals present. I saved one meal of chicken tenders for the house, then had ample left to feed five people.
In a large stockpot on M, start your onion and mustard seeds out in safflower oil. When the seeds begin popping, turn the heat to MH and add your hunks ‘o chicken and garlic paste. Toss everything to coat then let the chicken spend a little time staying still. Flip after a minute or four. Cook until the outsides are showing brown faces then remove everything in the stock pot to a large bowl and set aside.
Return the pot to the burner and reduce heat back to ML. Put in the cashew butter, slowly stirring in a can of broth until it’s become a proper gravy. Then to this proper gravy, add the two packets of chicken gravy you’ve whisked with cold water and the bisque. Turn the heat back up to MH and bring to a low boil as you add the other seasonings and continuously stir. Once everything tastes peaceful, stir in the chicken, onions and minced fresh spinach. Bring everything back to a very low boil then reduce heat to L, cover, and walk away until the chicken is done slow-cooking in the goodness.
This is a recipe that received so much praise I can’t help but consider it more than deserving of 5 spoons: a rating most certainly clinched by a new acquaintance’s conclusion, “Going down it felt like… it… hugged all of my organs.”