Friday, February 22, 2008

Rethinking Fast Food Part Two

The first step in fixing a problem is to identify it. In other words – we have to stop eat so much fast food and ready made crap. Check.
The second took a bit more time... mainly because I had to swipe the Prime Geek's cell phone to begin. After a few furtive moments I managed to separate him from his electronic baby (I can't be the only person who hates those stupid ear pieces. I never know if he's talking to me, on the phone, or temporarily gone out of his mind and is talking to the pixies again.) and quickly thumbed down through his rolodex. Pizza parlors – deleted. Chinese take out – gone. Local chicken and jo-jo's* delivery joint – eliminated. Hey, can't make just an easy call if you don't have the numbers, right? The bellow when he found out I had done some corrective surgery to his beloved cell was staggering, but in the end even he saw the reasoning behind it.** Flyers advertising daily specials and sales went straight into the woodburner with take-out menus fast after. I'm not at a point where I am going to throw away the ready-made mixes I have in the pantry, (IE – I'm too darn cheap to toss things I paid cold hard cash for.) and while a few friends suggested donating it all to a local food pantry (why should poor folks have to eat crap? I'll donate... but it will be the real stuff, not leavings and leftovers I simply don't want.) I've instead decided to simply use up what I have and just not buy more. The mixes and quick fixes I often reach for will be replaced by some quick thinking and homemade mixes where I not only know what all is in the food... but I can spell it as well! (Honestly, I'm at the point where a food being recognized by my spell checker is becoming a requirement to me ingesting it.)
Third step... and the one I've begun to work on. The real motivation between fast food fixes and drive-thru letdowns is simple. Outta time, outta energy, outta motivation, and outta ideas. I need some quick to's that will let this often beleaguered bard have a solution in a hurry. A solution that won't tax my brain OR my bank balance. Where to start? First came the realization that one of the first go-tos we have for the dinner blues is Chinese food. Quick, semi-not-too-terrible for us, and relatively cheap as well. So... time to figure out some Asian inspired home hasties*** I can keep on hand.
Repeat after me - “In wontons we will trust.” Ahhh... the miraculous marvels that having those handy little pasta skins in the fridge will allow. I tend to drop these little jewels into the grocery cart almost every time I shop... which is why I found five packages in the meat tray during my rummage today. (I buy with good intentions... but once tossed into the chill chest I tend to forget what's in there.) Two pans of leftovers filled my first home hasties needs. One pan – a roasted pork loin I had cooked for Sunday dinner on a nest of brown rice and some veggies. The other pot held the remains of a rotisserie chicken I had picked up earlier in the week for a last minute dinner (yeah yeah... fast food, I know. I'm working on it! At least I'm getting better at using everything up, I even have the carcase simmering away for broth.).
The meats got minced fine (separately), mixed with a bit of this and a splash of that, and then the real work began. Two messy hours later and I went from this –


to these-.
Lovely little wontons for a myriad of uses. Potstickers are the favorite in this house, served with an amazing pomegranate soy sauce the Prime Geek dreamed up one night (I'm trying to get him to A- make a ton more and B- please PLEASE get the recipe written down so we don't lose it! Once I force the pen and paper on him, I'll share it here.) along the side. But for meals in a moment - I can also toss them in broth for soup, give them a steam, or even deep fry if I'm feeling like going all the way.
Tossed onto a cookie sheet and flash frozen, these will get tagged and bagged for future meal emergencies.
Tomorrow, I'll begin to tackle one of the largest projects of the nerdly year..... hope you all are up for a ride!
* One of the weirdest things for this nerd when I moved to northern Ohio was discovering the almost ultish following of mom and pop eateries to combine pizza with chicken and jo-jos. I disn't understnad then... still don't today.
** I may have also deleted a few old girlfriends of his as well as a club or two. Oops?
*** Sadly, home hasties -no matter how much I am aware is an odd little phrase to go with, my nerdly brain will allow me to use no other.
**** Finally - in refrence to the purple gloves under the bowl. No, I don't have some squimishness regarding handling food. I just managed to burn/slice/spinter/and otherwise mangle my hands this week. I don't use bandaids, just clean it all out and use a bit of honey. As I don't want hot sauce in a cut... or an open wound in my food - gloves.
This weeks mental digression is brought to you by the letters B, H, R and the number 3. Thank you.


Pagan Blacksmith said...

P.Blacksmith's Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad:

Chicken breasts/thighs, etc. Chicken meat. Left over pork roast works very well, too.

Pasta Shells (other pastas can be substituted) -- avoid Ramen! bad experience!

Low fat Italian salad dressing, the tarter, the better.

Stewed tomatoes - seasoned is good

Button mushrooms/peppers/olives/ etc. your desire.

Cheese - mozzarella, Romano, Parmesan all work well, so does the bag of pre-shredded pizza cheese mix

Grill meat (hickory smoke is good on this, too!).

Cook pasta

Add all ingredients, except cheese. determine your own proportions. I usually will do four large breasts, grilled and diced with two 1lb bags of medium shell pasta.

Top with cheese.

This good hot or cold, is filling and relatively cheap and easy to prepare. It is also a good use of odd pieces of left over meats.

I have added to this smoked sausage, italian sausages, left over beef, etc. It seems to work well for us with just about any meat.

Give it a try and experiment.


Ghotit said...

For many reasons regular spellchecker don't work effectively with people how suffers from dyslexia (10-17% of the population).
In order to help dyslexics we established a company named Ghotit ( that develops different internet services that helps dyslexics perform better in their day to day activities.

Ghotit first solution is an online context sensitive spell checker that is capable to coupe with severe spelling mistakes and misused word for example Ghotit will offer a user that spells "I will be happy to meat you at 8 o'clock" to change the word meat to meet.

I will be happy if you will be willing to take Ghotit for a test drive and find it helpful

How to use Ghotit spellchecker:

1) Make sure you are in edit mode. If not, press the Edit Text option.
2) Enter your text. Currently up to 200 characters are supported. Remaining numbers of characters are presented in the bottom of the spellchecker.
3) Run Check Spelling.
4) Misspelled words are marked in red; suspected misused/out-of-context words are marked in blue.
5) Perform corrections by right-clicking on the marked word.
6) Review and select the correct words. To help you select the correct word Ghotit provides you a sub-menu with the definition of each candidate words. The selection of the correct word is performed in the sub-menu by selecting the option "Select candiate_word".
7) Once your have corrected/ignored all marked words, run the spellchecker again to perform to get additional Ghotit recommendations.
8) Repeat the process till Ghotit states that it is done and has no more recommendations to provide.
9) Press Edit Text to enter Edit mode so that you can copy th