The Luxury of Being Sick

I’m sick.  Again.  This seems like the norm when you live with a few lil’ germ factories.  J. is out for work tonight.  While I had the tentative plan to do the “no-fuss” pizza ordering, I called an audible and went another way.  Egg drop soup was calling my name.


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A few weeks back, I finally put into action a tip I had read about long ago but never implemented.  If you have extra herbs on hand, you can chop them up and then put 

them in an ice cube mold with water and freeze it.  Then you can pop a cube in to soups or sauces for some almost-fresh herb taste.    I pinched back a new basil plant but didn’t have an immediate use for the basil, so I froze it.  (the plant died shortly after, 

no clue why — basil routinely comes to me to die)

For Max’s dinner I had boiled him some shrimp, so I kept the shrimpy water, added 

homemade chicken stock, an ice cube of frozen basil, chopped chives from the planter, a little soy sauce and dropped an egg in.  I had also squirreled away a couple of shrimp and chopped them up and added to the soup.  

 

This was really delicious, and beautiful, too. 

Semi-homemade Pizza

Tonight’s dinner was supposed to be a simple dinner — but even those dinners that take roughly 30 minutes of in-kitchen cooking can be hard to swing.  When Ginger gets home she instantly demands to drink milk — which they don’t give her at school.  More often than not, she fills up on the drink we give her and then doesn’t really want to have dinner.  We tried sneaking in some sort of fruit or veggie during this time period when she’s theoretically starving, but she usually doesn’t fall for that unless it’s a banana — which she needs to limit consumption of.

Anyhoo.  The plan was semi-homemade pizza.  I love trader joe’s whole wheat pizza dough.  (Well, let’s face it, I love the white bread version, but the whole wheat is totally not offensive).  I make the tomato sauce by sautéing onions, toss in our oregano, and our green onion, and a can of tomato sauce.  After I cracked it I remembered that we have some old grape tomatoes in the fridge that I should have used, but oh well — they are too far back in the fridge and will not be rescued tonight.   

While the dough is cooking, and the sauce is simmering, I fried up a couple of crumpled breakfast sausages to add as toppings to the pizza.  Then I chopped up a yellow bell pepper and ran outside for a handful of parsley.  

I buy smoked mozzarella, also at Trader Joe’s.  I buy it as a block — maybe 8 oz?  I toss it in the food processor to shred it.  When the dough is semi baked, I layer on the sauce, the cheese, and the toppings and bake till it looks edible.  Then I sprinkle on the parsley for a nice pop of color.  

While the pizza is going, I fry up the rest of the sausages as links for the kids to take to school as lunches.  I also throw on a chicken carcass for stock and toss in the remnant veggie items from the pizza making — parsley ends, onion bits and ends, even some of the tomato sauce.  Stock goes on to cook for about 3 hrs while the rest of the night goes on. Stock will be used for soups or rice.  Gave one jug to mother in law who helped hold down the fort while J. is out on a trip.

This takes about 30 solid minutes of work and dirties up what seems like every dish we own.

Would it have been easier to order a pizza?  Hell yeah — but would still have had to wait 30 minutes with the kids hungry.  Other short cuts to consider:  Buying pre-made tomato sauce.  The problem with that is that when it’s a store bought jug, I use a little of it for pizza and then before you know it, the container gets moldy and I have to toss it.  When I make my own, it’s front and center in the fridge and I’ll usually plan another meal in the week — like a slow cooker night — where I toss in the rest of the sauce that I made.  I don’t know why I have a mental block about doing the same with store bought sauce.

While Max loved the pizza and ate two slices, Ginger would have none of it.  I juiced a couple of oranges and some of the bell pepper and she drank that, so at least she’s getting some nutrients.  She also ate a couple of sausages.

This is a very economical meal.  The dough is $1.29.  I use a $1.50 of cheese.  The sauce is probably around a buck.  Then the toppings are usually whatever veggies or meats we have on hand and not that much of them.  Call it a generous $2.  So, all in all – $6 give or take.  Have you tried ordering a pizza lately?  With tip it’s around $30 where we live — because we don’t have our act together enough to have coupons on hand.Image (pic = rice made with stock — last week)