Mommy Can Cook

Here I come out with more embarrassing truth. I love Star Trek. Not the original, The Next Generation (TNG for us losers).

The characters were so well crafted. Picard, Geordi, LaForge… they were all wonderful. And who could resist data, a modern day tin man, the android who only wanted a heart. And a cat. But I digress.

If Data ate, he would love this chicken

If Data ate, he would love this chicken

Well, stepping out of the holodeck, back around to the reality of a house full of kids…  apparently humor takes a while to develop. As Data so well knows. (Those emotion chips were a very sharp thorn in his side.)

My first child continues, even at age 6, to make “jokes” up as she goes along. We all laugh to be polite. A stand-up comedienne, she is not.

The only joke she has mastered is the knock knock about the bananas that has that not-a-moment-too-soon punchline of  “orange you glad I didn’t say banana”, which means, thankfully,  the whole thing has finally come to a close.

My second baby is halfway through 3 now, and unfortunately loves the knock knock joke about the oranges and bananas. Only he thinks it translates to any fruit.

“Mama!!!  Knock knock?”

“(*Sigh*) Who’s there.”

“GRAPES!!!!”, he hollers.

Mama gives obligatory laugh…

They are all smart. Just in their own ways (I hope).

So, in the spirit of horrible knock knock jokes, and in memory of Data, my beloved orange chicken recipe.

This is good enough for company. Dress it up for guests (or yourself) with a nice salad and a glass of wine!

Orange (GRAPES!) Chicken

1 diced onion

As many skinless, boneless chicken breasts as your family requires

2 tbls or more diced garlic

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup chicken broth

splash of tabasco

Dice your onion (I like to use sweet oso onion) and sautee in a little olive oil.

Once the onion is translucent, add chicken to the onions. Make sure you have patted dry your chicken so it browns well.

When you add the chicken, also add a good tablespoon of minced garlic

Let chicken cook about 5 minutes then turn it over. When you turn it over, add another tablespoon of garlic

After another 5 minutes of cooking, or until it is nicely browned on each side, add your orange juice, broth and tabasco. If I am fixing a large batch, I use a little more than 1/2 cup of each liquid. (This recipe is not precise, so add a little more or less of anything to your liking.)

Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Let it cook down until the juices have become thicker, more like a glaze. Turn the chicken once or twice to have it well coated.

Serve over rice along side a tiny portion of vegetable!


An insurgent

An insurgent

Right this minute, I only have 7 half-finished projects I’m neglecting, so what better time to make it 8?

This young blog is dedicated to the performance art known as cooking food kids will eat that doesn’t make my stomach turn.

I am no gourmet. But while I have had my victories in the kitchen in the past,  I am now stuck in The Great War of the Wills. It has been arduous for almost 6 years now, and I suspect I have at least another decade in the trenches. My most recent strategic victory was the infamous Battle at Chicken Nugget.

My ideal meal is one part comfort carbohydrate, one part lean but tasty protein, one tiny part vegetable, with a large side of garlic bread. (No, the garlic bread does not count as the comfort carb. Although sometimes I let it substitute for the veggie).

Don’t worry, that’s not what I make my kids suffer through every night. But that kind of meal does satisfy my basic goals of Mommy Cooking. Here are the requirements…

1. The food has to taste good. I work my butt off all day long, and most days, a nice dinner is the light at the end of the tunnel. Salad out of a bag and tuna out of a can just doesn’t cut it for me. Ever.

2. The food has to be healthy. Anyone can cook something tolerated by taste buds if  slathered in copious amounts cheese and/or butter.  And sure, once in a while, a little (or a lot) of these 2 ingredients is wonderful. But it is the exception, and not the rule.

3. The food has to be acceptable to all grownups and at least 2 kids. I may feel like it at times, but I am not a short order cook. Only one kid can take a “by” at each meal.

4. The fallout in the kitchen must be minimal. I have a 2 pan maximum most nights. I am also a strict “clean as you cook” chef. (Also a “watch tv as you cook” chef and quite often a “drink wine while you cook” chef)

Does this all seem too much to ask? Some days, it apparently is. But this blog is dedicated to documenting the successes in case it can help some other poor General in the Great War known as motherhood.

Mommy Can Cook 101

Pot Roast

This is my go-to meal. It’s not fancy, but it is one of a handful of meals the whole family will eat without threats of violence or early bedtime.

1  Eye of Round Roast from Costco* (Any roast will do, ballpark 2-3 pounds.)

1 pkg italian salad dressing mix

1 pkg ranch salad dressing mix

1 pkg brown gravy mix

1 1/2 cup water

1 awesome crock pot

This is Mommy Can Cook 101 because it is the world’s easiest recipe. Dump all these ingredients in the crock pot (but not the envelopes your spices came in, smarty pants…) and cook. If you need step by step instruction, here is how I do it…

1. put water in crock pot

2. add all powdered yumminess

3. stir powdered yumminess into water

4. add roast

5. put on lid

6. cook for 6-8 hours

NOTES: If I am going to be home, I start the crock pot on high for one hour to get things cookin’, then turn it down for the remainder. Also, about an hour before I want to serve my first victim loved one, I take two forks and shred the roast. It makes it easier for kids to eat, and the leftovers make wonderful “burritos”  the next day on flour tortillas.

Through careful scientific study (a.k.a. forgetting to defrost my roast) I have learned that it is no problem to start with a frozen roast. Might take another hour is all.

My family likes it served with rice or over pasta. I also typically serve a tiny portion of vegetables** (frozen corn or fresh broccoli microwaved in tupperware)

*There will soon be a post called “RULES so Mommy Can Cook” . Rule number one will be ALWAYS BUY YOUR MEAT AT COSTCO. It is always a fair price, and always the best quality. Freeze half if you have to buy more than you would normally. These roasts come in packages of 2, and when I come home, I cut the fat off both roasts, freeze one and cook the other right away. You can also buy your brown gravy mix at costco. I just eyeball the amount of powder required. It’s not an exact science.

**Another post to come will cleverly be called “Tiny Portions of Vegetables.”


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  • jagminbros: I love it! Especially since I made pot roast last week... since Jack eats like a teenager. Instead of the gravy, I put water, mini carrots, mushrooms
  • Amy: I think this blog is genius. Not only because I know the author personally and have experienced her genius first-hand, but mostly because I don't kno