Tuesday, June 19, 2012

eatin' good.

sometimes i forget that cooking doesnt always necessitate hours of prep-work and stress and mess to create deliciousness. sometimes you just need to find the right recipe - one that understands your human limitations and allows you to throw together an impressive dinner in a half-hour or less because pretty much everyone has things they would like to do during their evenings that are kind of impossible if you are spending the entire evening in the kitchen.

this is one of those recipes. its a crock-pot recipe, which are the kind that i usually plan it out so that i can do all the prep work the night before, (i think i spent a grand total of 35 minutes of prep in the evening) and then all i have to do in the morning is remember to plug it in and turn it on.

Prep Step 1: gather ingredients. dont forget to snap the all-important stereotypically-obligatory-obviously-overstaged-food-blogger-ingredient shot. because without this, no one will ever take you seriously.

Prep Step 2: form meatballs. i ended up with 22 out of a pound of turkey, but that number could vary wildly depending on how big you prefer your meatballs to be. i put mine on a waxpaper covered plate and left them in the freezer overnight. i had every intention of transferring them into a ziploc freezer bag before i went to bed, but i forgot. they survived.

Prep Step 3: mix up sauce.  this turned out at least 10x better than the last time i tried to make crockpot sauce... i think probably because this time i actually got the right kind of canned tomatoes. (note to self: diced is NOT an acceptable substitute for crushed) i mixed everything in a ziploc bag and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

Actual Step 1a: make any and all necessary alterations. you see, my wonderful crockpot is not one of the fancy ones with a built in timer. this is usually not an issue, except for when recipes call for any cooking time that is less than 10 hours. which is most of them. i used to just ignore these recommended cooking times, until the great overdone rubbery mac n cheese debacle of 2012, after which i realized that they put cooking times on these recipes for a reason. so, borrowing the sort of ingienuity previously only seen in my kitchen during episodes of 'cooking with men,' i added my own make-shift crock pot timer of sorts by making use of Mark's plant-light timer, so that the crockpot would theoretically turn on a few hours after i left, and turn off right around the time i got home.

Actual Step 1b: dump everything into the crockpot. it really is just that simple. as you head out the door to work, cross your fingers that the timer will actually turn everything on when its supposed to and you wont just come home to a pot full of cold defrosted tomatoey mush.

Actual Step 2: enjoy! the timer worked, which is a good thing because these really are quite delicious and it would have been a real shame to miss out on them. we chose to make our meatballs into subs. we also plan to eat the rest of the leftovers on pasta for dinner tonight.

and look at that! less than 3 steps for dinner prep! that is my kind of cooking right there.

Bonus Recipe:
this meal took me about an hour to make, which is pretty impressive since i was simultaneously baking cupcakes, all while working with even less counter space than i usually have in my teeny tiny kitchen because i was behind on the dishes. i used yellow squash instead of zuchinni, and i just chunked it up instead of shredding/julienne-ing it. (ps the only reason i knew what julienne meant was thanks to that crazy merchant guy in Aladdin. or was it Return of Jafar?)(it also makes julienne fries!) the only thing i would have done differently would be to take more time chopping the tomatoes, so i wouldnt have so many seeds in the final product. you should totally eat this. it was good.

so those are my latest kitchen adventures! i know i'm supposed to be cooking less and less now, but even though its summer, it was really nice to remind myself that i am in fact capable of greater culinary feats beyond what i sometimes let myself believe.

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