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Friday, December 21, 2007

Cooking amidst the holiday craziness

Originally uploaded by Foodmomiac
I am officially dedicating my holiday break to getting re-energized and excited about cooking.

BUT, I know that many of you are knee deep in holiday chaos, and could probably use some dinner/snack ideas. Living in Chicago, we have become very dependent on delivery, and that is always an option if you live somewhere that makes that possible. If you don't, here are five quick meal ideas that won't make a huge mess and will feed the family while you run around like a crazy person.

1. Ribs. We did this last night and it was very well received by all (which means a lot, because lately all Max wants is stuff from the snack drawer, and I'm about ready to just fold him up and stick him in there to have at it). ANYWAY. I like making ribs because there is minimal effort involved. Slow boil the ribs in a big pot of water (I add Old Bay seasoning, but that's optional). Once they seem kind of cooked, transfer them to a big baking dish (I use a Pyrex), toss with your favorite BBQ sauce and cook for about 1/2 hour. Ta da! We had these with peas and Alexia fries.

2. Stefania's spaghetti. Always delicious. Always a hit.

3. Caribbean black beans and rice. This takes no time at all to cook, but the ginger/orange juice combination makes it taste very complex. My kids LOVE beans, so it's a win-win for all involved. And, if I may pimp out a client, did you know that beans are a vegetable? Nice!

4. Mark Bittman's Fried Rice I like this because it can be really easily adapted to include other ingredients. Any leftovers that you have (from delivery, restaurant meals, or something else you cooked) can be tossed in, and, again, I find this to be kid-friendly. I like that you add egg. More protein is always a good thing.

5. Leftover Salad. Speaking of leftovers, this is another favorite way to use them up. It's especially good with steak. My favorite steak cut is bone-in rib eye, but that's just too much for me to eat in one sitting. I cut the leftovers off the bone and into bite-sized pieces, sear them quickly in a cast iron skillet, and then add them to salad. I think the feta cheese here is key.


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