Getting Reacquainted with my Kitchen

As an optimist by nature I’m finding the benefits of this partial quarantine. I have, as a matter of fact, rediscovered the joy of cooking.

Since the kiddo has moved in, I’ve fallen away from cooking our evening meals. It wasn’t intentional. It’s just that it turns out that in the years this kid was not living in our home, they learned the joy of cooking. And not the kind of cooking they learned from me (read: I am, until fairly recently, a strict recipe follower). The kind of cooking that is more organic. More intuitive. No measuring involved. They use more spices and a wider, and sometimes unexpected, variety of them.

And it turns out they are a really good cook. Quite a delightful surprise for this mom. The image of my mom pops in my head actually when I watch them whipping something delicious on the stove. Which always makes me smile. I think Bonnie would appreciate this.

A few weeks ago, before this partial quarantine (I am still going to work, folks), I remembered the meatball recipe I saw on my charming blogger friend Annie’s blog. And I decided we ought to try it.

Now, I wasn’t able to find smoked sea salt at the grocery store, so I used plain old salt. But I did find hamburger and italian sausage there. In fact, I picked up a pound of each, then split them up, putting half in the freezer for later. Because I assumed that they’d be so delicious I’d want to make them again. I assumed right.

Hubs and the kiddo raved about them. I thought they were scrumptious, though next time (despite my family’s opposition) I will cut down on the red pepper flakes just a bit.

Do yourself a favor and try it! Here’s the recipe:

And here’s my picture of the finished product:

Last Friday at work, we received a large donation of home chef bagged meal kits. So many that I ran out of room for them in our refrigerators. I decided to take a couple of them home and try them. On Sunday, as we watched the remainder of the newest “Jumanji” movie (recommend this if you want some true escapism), I planted myself in our little kitchen and got to work.

There was something about doing that that gave me such comfort. I was being productive and useful. As there was no instructions found in these paper bag meal kits, I was forced to use the ingredients as I saw fit. I used all of them except the kale, sweet potatoes (the kid made homemade treats for Radar with them) and something called “cashew crema”, which resembled the tube feeding liquid someone donated to our food bank once. When I asked Hubs how I thought I should cook the kale, his response was that it needed to be thoroughly washed…then put down the garbage disposal.

After an hour or so, we wound up with this fantastic meal of whole wheat linguine with flavorful marinara sauce (which I doctored up with the shallot and garlic cloves supplied in the kit, along with a dash of red pepper flakes). Accompanied by baked and seasoned chicken breasts smothered in the prepared pesto sauce with pine nuts and bursting-with-flavor grape tomatoes. And all of us, as Annie would say,”lurrvved” it!

So on account of Hubs and I not spending money on our planned trip to Florida with our friends, I decided to do a little splurge. I went online and bought an “Instant Pot”. And I’m determined this new toy of mine is not going to go by the way of the air fryer I bought a couple of years ago (which is now referred to as the tater tot maker). This sucker is going to get used, baby!

How about you all? Are you like me, rediscovering the joy of cooking? Or rediscovering something else that gives you joy with all this unexpected time stuck at home?

8 thoughts on “Getting Reacquainted with my Kitchen”

  1. I too have young adult kids home and the kitchen is seeing the most action it’s seen since our four kids were little and our triplets all had different allergies. I cooked all the time. Now, with just the hubby here, the kitchen gets to rest. Rest no longer dear kitchen. It’s time to get back to work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (Finally! I’ve been fighting with WP for weeks now — it wouldn’t let me like or comment on anything!)

    I cook pretty much everything from scratch, so this hasn’t been too different for us. We’ve just bought an air fryer, though — expect some experiments on my blog. 😉

    Kale is good in minestrone. And I like kale chips. Otherwise…not my favorite. Cashew crema is, I’ve read, a nondairy sour cream-type food. I’ve never had it because I can’t have cashews. But I would imagine the real thing tastes better if you eat dairy.

    I reside in that middle ground between intuitive cook and recipe follower. Probably because I’ve been a vegetarian since before it had a dedicated section in the grocery store, I’m quite comfortable making substitutions in recipes. Now I am branching out into making my own recipes; I will refer to a similar recipe for structure (mostly proportions of wet to dry ingredients and cooking times/temperatures), then wing it based on what I have and what my family will eat.

    Right now, though, I’m focused on comfort foods — cookies, candies, cakes. Stressful times call for sugar.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good for you. I’m determined to get my boys to help more in the kitchen during this time of isolation. We have been eating more real, mom-cooked meals, which has made the couple times we’ve gotten carry-out from restaurants VERY EXCITING! Stay safe and well!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Besides tackling some house projects (and let’s be honest, wasting a few hours here and there on YouTube), I’ve baked three loaves of bread this last week: rye, white, and cinnamon swirl. The house smells so good!


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