Wednesday, February 1, 2012

meal plan monday: wednesday edition.

or: flash-boiling is not quite what it sounds like.
or: i peeled an acorn squash and lived to tell about it.

since i have been doing this weekly meal-planning thing, not only have mealtimes and grocery shopping gotten less stressful, (because since i have a plan i can just make a list and send the hubs shopping!) but several people have sent me recipes for new things to try. i love this. keep 'em coming.

my friend Dana sent me this recipe for squash stew, and it seemed like a winner. the ingredient list wasn't three miles long, i had heard of almost everything on the ingredient list, and it seemed like it would be a do-able crockpot meal. score! well, except for that i didn't read the part of the recipe that said that my tomatoes should be peeled, seeded, and diced, and i kind of forgot the part where she mentioned that she used canned tomatoes for hers, so yeah. easy cooking fail.

although, now i get to share with you the nifty little trick that my sister taught me: how to peel tomatoes.

1. gather your supplies. you will need some tomatoes, a knife, a pot of water, a long handled spoon, and a bowl of ice. and possibly an extra bowl to put your peels in, in case your garbage can has been commandeered for squash-peeling purposes.

2. score an X into each of your tomatoes. just deep enough to break the skin, but not so deep that you actually cut into the tomato.

3. boil your pot of water.

4. put your tomatoes into the water. i did mine one at a time so they could be completely submerged in my little pot. also, so that i could watch them more closely.

5. leave them in the water until you see the edges of your X begin to get loose. this will not take very long at all. a few seconds should do it.

6. scoop your tomato out of the water and into the bowl of ice. roll it around a little if  you want, to make sure the whole tomato gets cooled down. this keeps it from becoming a boiled tomato.

7. peel your tomato. this part is kind of fun and awesome. sorry i have no pictures of it - both my hands were busy being covered in tomato-y awesomesauce.

congratulations! you now know how to flash-boil and peel a tomato! now all thats left to do is to smoosh all the seeds out and cut your tomatoes into little bits. or, you know, just skip all that mess and use canned tomatoes like a sane person.

the other fun part of this recipe involved peeling and cutting up an acorn squash. the hubs got this started for me while i was busy flash-boiling. according to the commentors on the recipe, a helpful hint is to cut the squash in half and then microwave it for a few minutes to soften the squash and make it easier to cut and peel. this seemed reasonable, but we only nuked ours for one minute, because i knew it was going to be cooking for a long time in the crock pot and i didnt want to risk over-cooking it in the microwave first.

you'll want to nuke yours for more than one minute, if you value your fingers and/or sanity.

the hubs managed to peel a few sections of it, but quickly got frustrated so we traded jobs and he took over tomato-seed-smooshing and dicing while i took a stab a the squash. it smelled just like a pumpkin and was kind of reminiscent of my adventures in rutabaga-peeling in that when i finished i was mostly just happy to have retained all of my fingers.

other than those two time-consuming tasks, every other part of this recipe was super simple, and we were able to just throw all the parts into the crock-pot, which worked great for us since it could stay in the fridge overnight and then cook while we were at work the next day.

it looked delicious. it smelled delicious. it tasted... alright. we're not the biggest fans. but we ate it. for dinner Friday, and dinner Monday, and lunch Tuesday. i probably won't make it again any time soon, but i'm glad it tried it. if nothing else, it was a great adventure.

ok, ok. i know this is already pushing limits on being the longest post about boring things like stew that people are actually willing to read, but just a quick note about spices: USE LESS CINNAMON. the flavor was absolutely overpowering and the scent combination of pumpkin and cinnamon made it hard for my brain and tongue to register that this was not nearly as sweet as my nose would have it believe. also, the hubs is not a cinnamon fan in general. wierd, i know. (also, i used about half of the suggested chili powder. 2Tbsp is a lot!)(also also, this recipe makes A LOT and doesnt re-heat particularly well. i mean it still tastes the same, but it takes quite a dive in the looks department.)

so there you have it folks, another successfully meal-planned week. thats an entire month that i have stuck with this. amazing. so here's what we've got planned for this week:

Monday: leftover squash stew.
Tuesday: boboli. and maybe french fries. (cuz potatoes are totes vegetables)
Wednesday: crock-pot chicken parmesan.
Thursday: soup from a can.
Friday: shrimp/pasta alfredo with broccoli
Saturday: quesadillas and/or lasagna.
Sunday: superbowl gluttony goodness.

1 comment:

Abi said...

ice WATER, did you really roll your hot tomatoes around in a bed of ice? I love you.
Also check this soup out for your next soup night. Simple, tasty and reheats like a dream
love you.