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Grub Master

I was in front of my computer roughly 17 hours yesterday. Most of that was actually typing code. I am a Assistant Scout Master for my son’s Boy Scout troop although lately I have passed on meetings and activities in lieu of working. I skipped Monday’s meeting only to find out my son volunteered to be the grub master for this weekend’s trip. The way our troop works is one scout buys all the food for his patrol and is reimbursed. The idea is that the patrol plans the meal then the scout works with an adult to calculate portions and costs and buy the appropriate supplies. It is a good activity for developing their planning skills. The grub master should check the food pantry in the scout room for existing supplies (which I’m certain my son did not do). Unfortunately my son did not check with my secretary to see if I had one iota of spare time for this activity. Since their trip begins at the church at 5:45 today, Noah gets home from school with little time between school and the church, and Cathy will be doing her weekly trip to the Kentucky border this afternoon, I find myself faced with taking my lunch hour now to do Noah’s shopping for him. I should add that I don’t even get to go on this trip! (I very badly need a camping trip) This weekend they get to go to a fishing camp, clean and debone their food, cook it, and choose to eat powerbars instead.

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Let’s talk about breasts

I have 5 finicky eaters and 3 pounds of thawed chicken breasts. I could go with my old fallback Cheat’s Coronation Chicken but really that doesn’t thrill 3 of the 7 of our clan. I’ve marinated bite sized pieces in olive oil and seasonings then cooked it over oil in a skillet and mixed it with flavored rice for a chicken and rice dish that goes over okay. Simply slathering it in BBQ sauce and grilling it with sides of vegetables gets eaten but seems boring to me. Maybe I need to shred it and make BBQ chicken sandwiches. What’s your favorite child friendly chicken dish?

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Gobble Gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving! If I recall correctly, this is the holiday we celebrate that a native people showed us how to survive through the winter so that we could kill them with disease in the Spring and steal their land. Oh, and we should be eating lobster not turkey. While you prepare for your feast today, take a little under a half an hour and enjoy the full episode of the famous WKRP Thanksgiving Turkey Drop!

This morning I awoke before anyone else to enjoy the calm, quiet of the early morning. I freed the Roomba from the chairleg which had defeated it during its nightly run. It happily continued cleaning the floors which I prepared to make some dishes for today’s feast. Remarkably, the little ones slept in and when they did rise, the television seemed "broken" to them so the house remained someone quiet as they played with toys. The first item on my list is Buffet Cranberry Mold. Btw, when the recipe says "chlll for an hour and in the meantime…" meantime doesn’t mean go sit on the computer and blog. Meantime means you will use the entire hour to chop up the fruit unless you are fortunate enough to own a food processor.

Buffet Cranberry Mold

Time: early in the day or day ahead
Yield: 16 servings

  • 1 envelop unflavored gelatin
  • water
  • 2 6-ounce packages strawberry-flavor gelatin
  • 3 medium-sized oranges
  • 1 12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries (3 cups)
  • 1½ cups sugar
  1. In 4-quart saucepan, evenly sprink unflavored gelatin over 2 cups water; let stand 1 minute to soften slightly. Over medium heat, cooke, stirring, until gelatin dissolves and mixture boils. Remove from heat; stir in strawberry gelatin until dissolved. Stir in 3 cups cold water. Refrigerate until mixture mounds slightly when dropped from a spoon, about 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, remove peel and white membrane from oranges; chop oranges and place in bowl. Chop cranberries; add with sugar to bowl. Stir mixture until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Fold fruit mixture into thickened gelatin. Pour into 12-cup Bundt pan or mold. Cover and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.
  4. To serve, unmold gelatin onto platter.

175 calories per serving. Low in sodiu,m, fat, cholesterol.

[Source, The New Good Housekeeping Cookbook, Hearst Books New York, 1986, ISBN: 0-688-03897-2, p.413]

Chopping cranberries by hand takes forever! I ended up letting my gelatin sit in the refrigerator for 1½ hours before mixing in the fruit and everything worked out fine. Next recipe is Dark Chocolate Mousse from The Food Network. I am doubling the recipe and based upon the comments using 3½ tablespoons sugar for each portion (7 tablespoons total).

The third item is Caramel-topped Rice Pudding.

  • 2 tablespoons short-grained rice
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2½ cups milk
  • light brown sugar

Put rice into an overproof dish. Add 1-2 tablespoons sugar to taste and milk. Stir to combine. Bake in the bottom of a preheated oven, 325° for 1 hour. Remove from oven. Top with a layer of brown sugar. Reduce over to 275° and cook for 20-25 minutes more, to allow topping to caramelize, or broil under high heat until sugar caramelizes. 2-3 servings.

[Source, The Ultimate 4 Ingrediant Cookbook, Chancellor Press, 2001, ISBN: 0-7537-0458-7, p. 308]

I doubled the recipe and left it in the oven at 325%deg; for 1 hour and 10 minutes. The extra 10 minutes was a mistake and caused the surface to bubble. When adding the light brown sugar, the bubble burst and left the center as liquid without caramelizing. Otherwise it looks good.