My Cooking Mojo is Slipping Away

Okay, I have to say that I’ve been pretty successful in preparing yummy, well-received meals day after day and week after week.  I have been on a roll, baby!  And, I’ve been getting a little spoiled.  It is has been awhile since I’ve made something that the family has requested to be placed on the “Never Make Again List”.   That completely changed this week.  Why?  I’m off my game and I’ve been mulling over why ever since dinner this evening (I’ll get to that in a minute). I’ve traced it back to the day that I found out my grocery store (O’Malia’s) was closing.

I wasn’t able to do my entire shopping trip at one store this past weekend because my store was closing and the shelves were bare – it really threw me off.  Usually when something did not make my carefully crafted  shopping list, going up and down the familiar aisles always triggered the “oh, yeah, I need that” reflex and I magically left the store with everything I needed (Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit).  Well, I finished part two (part one being the trip to my naked O’Malia’s) of my fateful grocery extravaganza of Sunday, March 14th at Whole Foods because it was the closest grocery store and I didn’t know where else to go.  As you know, Whole Foods is an organic shopping experience and I’m completely unfamiliar with the store (layout, what’s available, etc.)  I have to admit I was a little discombulated.  During the week, I had to go back to the grocery store 2 additional times because I missed some items on my list:  ketchup (Th meatloaf), chicken, orzo, arugla, lemons, yadda-yadda-yadda-blah-blah-blah!  I HATE grocery shopping!!

Sunday, March 14th Dinner:  Corned Beef and cabbage  / Green Beans.  I know, I should have had the corned beef on the 17th, but I didn’t!  Well, green beans are one of the few veggies 2 of my 3 kids will eat, so we eat them a lot.  I got online to find an interesting green bean recipe.  I had my 2 lbs of fresh, organic green beans and did something so awful to them that  my husband would not even eat them!   If Mike won’t eat them, then that means they are BAD!  (Here is the recipe so you know to avoid it (Green Goddess Green Beans).  I can’t describe how I felt after that dinner.  I got the “Hey, I really like that you are trying new things” pep talk.

Monday, March 15th Dinner:  Chicken Monte Cristo / Rice / Broccoli.  The Chicken Monte Cristo is a dish that I assembled at Dream Dinners.  After assembling meals at DD, you take them home and put them in your freezer.  Well, I forgot to pull it out of the freezer to thaw!  They do have “If Frozen” directions, so okay, I still fixed it.  I overcooked it – they were stuck on the bottom of the pan!  How did that happen?  I cook these things all of the time!  They were still edible (kind of ) and my family was gracious about it.

Tuesday, March 16th Dinner:  Not-sagna Pasta Toss (stove top lasagna – Rachael Ray Recipe) / Salad.  I make this every two weeks because my entire family loves it and it is easy.  I could make this meal in my sleep! Well, It was a little runnier than normal, how did I screw that up?  Also, the consistency wasn’t the same because I bought low-fat ricotta cheese.  I am trying to cook healthier at my house for all of us, but I’m never using low-fat ricotta cheese ever again.  My son, Jack, left a lot on his plate – he NEVER does that. 

Okay, so what the hell was going on this week?!  Every meal seemed to be getting worse.

Wednesday, March 17th Dinner:  Lemon Roasted Chicken / Dilled Orzo / Arugula Salad (click here for recipe).  The Roasted Chicken?  It was a hit and easy to make.  The Arugula Salad?  Also, another hit (my oldest suggested adding roasted pine nuts).  The Dilled Orzo?  See the note on the Sunday Green Bean disaster!  At Whole Foods I bought organic, whole wheat orzo.  My family was NOT a fan of the whole wheat orzo or the dill.  Again, my husband left it on his plate! 

I can’t remember the last time Mike left this much food on his plate!  I am really rattled at this point.  Well, Thursday is another day! Right?

TODAY, Thursday, March 18th Dinner:  Meatloaf (Bobby Flay recipe) / Bleu Cheese Mashed Potatoes / Asparagus.   I have made the Bobby Flay meatloaf recipe many times, but today I burned the top of it and possibly ruined a pan (it is soaking as I write).  Okay, distracted by helping my son with his Independent Study Project (another topic for another post), I almost set my kitchen on fire!  I’m helping Jack with his ISP and my middle one says “What is THAT smell?”.  “Well, honey, that would be scalding, burning potatoes that I was boiling for our bleu cheese mashed potatoes.”  My 3-quart Wolfgang Puck sauce pan is now junk!  I have made mashed potatoes a ton of times!  So, now we had charred meatloaf and no potatoes with dinner.  We had leftover rice instead.  At least the asparagus was unharmed 🙂

My sauce pan was burning, smoke was billowing everywhere and the downstairs smoke detectors were going off!  What an exciting afternoon.  I took the smoking pan outside and set it down on the deck in a panic because I had to run back in to tame the smoke detectors.  Once the noise stopped, I went back outside to get the smoking pan – I picked it up and guess what?  There is a nice round charred spot on the deck left by my sauce pan – Great!  Now, I’ve ruined my deck and my sauce pan.  Oh, brother.

After dinner, we were on our way to my middle daughter’s choir concert and I realized that I smelled like smoke (my shirt, jeans, hair, etc).  It wasn’t smokey bar smell, it was burnt food smell.  Another, Great!  I felt sorry for the people who had to sit next to me in the auditorium this evening.

What a week!  I’m afraid to go back in the kitchen –  I need to regroup before my weekend grocery trip on Saturday.   I need my mojo back 🙂

6 thoughts on “My Cooking Mojo is Slipping Away

  1. To make you feel better, here’s what my family ate this week:
    Monday: I had an appointment so Daryn pan fried some pork and topped it with bbq sauce. He served it with a side of frozen corn. I think I had a piece of string cheese when I got home with a side of pretzels
    Tuesday: I made a homemade pizza for the boys, but Travis didn’t like it so he had ramen. I cooked sauteed spinach and roasted sweet potatoes for myself. I think this was my most successful cooking day of the week!
    Wednesday: The cupboards and frig were BARE. I didn’t feel like cooking and we couldn’t agree as a family where to eat so Daryn and Zach went to Red Robin while I took Travis to get a haircut and I got take-out from Sushi-Joy and Travis had take-out chili from Wendy’s because Friday’s didn’t have his favorite pasta on the menu anymore. Luckily they were all within a half-mile radius.
    Thursday: Travis had grilled cheese at a neighbor’s house. I cooked chicken breasts dipped in egg then panko crumbs. I had to put them in the oven as Daryn and Zach ran an errand that took way too long and I had to run off to parent-teacher conferences without eating. I left a bag of frozen white rice and frozen peas on the counter for them to have with their chicken. I ate ramen when I got home.
    So, share this with your family and I think they will feel pretty lucky!


  2. Pingback: The Mom, the 4th Grader and the ISP (aka Independent Study Project) « Jenni Engledow

  3. Dad and I just finished reading your post about your cooking mojo. We are still laughing. We think you should write a book. You do write VERY WELL and Dad would like to be your agent. Kathy Hammer wrote some funny books about her experiences–even though they were during her breast cancer treatments. You could certainly lighten up some people’s days. Love you, Mom


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