Home In Disarray

September 25, 2013

Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin with Roast Squash, Steamed Broccoli, and Cranberry Glaze

Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin with Roast Squash, Steamed Broccoli, and Cranberry Glaze

Well that’s a hell of a mouthful.  Haha.  You see what I did there?  I made a food joke.  This is SUCH a tasty dinner. I often find myself making curries, casseroles, and other “composed” dishes where everything is all mixed in together, and then nights when I just cook some meat and veggies, I am always so pleasantly surprised.

I am all out into autumn mode.  We have had cool, foggy mornings for the last week, with beautiful afternoon sun.  The trees have just begun developing their characteristic autumn tinges of yellow, orange and red.  I am thrilled.  And for me, autumn means finally being able to turn the oven back on (we also try to make it til at least October before turning on the heat for the season, so baking at night also helps keep the house a comfortable temperature), and eating squash.  It’s funny.  I’m not usually obsessed with squash, but for some reason, my favorite food in the whole world  and what I base almost every meal off of for weeks at the beginning of autumn is squash. Yesterday night, Craig took a long look at this week’s meal plan, then brought me over to my whiteboard and went down the list. “Squash, squash, squash, squash.  Why is everything we’re eating squash?”  “Um… It’s Autumn.”  The way that man doesn’t understand WHY we’re eating 3 squash this week is beyond me.  On Sunday as part of my food-prep for the week, I peeled and chopped up an ambercup squash, and in doing so, destroyed my poor thumb. When the knife finally went through the squash as I was cutting off the ends, my thumbnail managed to shave off a sliver of the still-very-hard squash and it firmly embedded itself under my thumbnail.  There was blood, and cursing, and whining.  Then I put on my big-girl panties and finished chopping the MFer up, knowing that I would be the one having the last laugh.  And I did.

Makes 5 servings

  • Olive or sunflower, or other preferred cooking oil
  • 1 large(but not massive) winter squash cut up into 1/2-1″ blocks
  • 2.5lbs pork tenderloin, dried with paper towels and seasoned w/ s&p
  • 2 small or 1 large head broccoli, cut up
  • 3 cups weak chicken stock or 1 cup robust chicken stock
  • 1 cup homemade cranberry ginger sauce (maybe I’ll link a recipe when cranberries go on sale for the year)
frozen cranberry sauce

*Heat your oven to 450
*On a rimmed baking sheet (I have a half-size sheet pan that I’ve been experimenting with seasoning like cast iron or carbon steel.), drizzle a couple tablespoons of oil, then toss your squash on, stir around to coat in oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper
*If using weak stock, on the stovetop, begin reducing your chicken stock down to about 1 cup.
*After about 10-20 minutes, check on the squash.  If it is beginning to brown on the bottom, stir.
*Heat a large ovensafe saute pan over medium-high heat and add a couple tablespoons of oil.
*When oil begins shimmering, add your pork tenderloins and allow to sear.  When it’s ready, the meat will have developed a golden brown color and will easily release from the bottom of the pan.  Flip, and allow to cook a few more minutes before transferring pan to the oven (still at 450).
*When the squash looks “done” (this is up to you.  I like my caramelized a bit.  You might like it a tiny crunchy?), remove squash from oven and set aside.
*Cook your broccoli.  I steam mine in the microwave by putting it in a pyrex bowl with just the amount of water that clung to it from washing, then putting a dinner plate on top of it and microwaving for 5-7 minutes. However you’re most comfortable cooking it, do that.  Roasted would probably be better than steamed actually.

seared pork tenderloin
  • When the internal temperature of the pork tenderloins reaches 138 or so, pull them.  One of our tenderloins was much larger than the other, so I pulled the small one and the other had to bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  • When the tenderloins come out, place them on a cutting board and tent with foil to rest while you make your glaze
  • Put your plates in the warm oven to take the chill off, but leave the door open so they don’t get too shocked.  I also pop my squash back in the oven to reheat a little at this time.
  • Add your chicken stock to the pan you used to cook the pork in (there will be delicious golden bits to scrape up) and bring it to a boil on the stove (be sure to put something on the handle so you don’t burn yourself… Craig learned this the hard way one valentine’s day).  Add your cranberry sauce and whisk to combine and reduce and scrape up pork dripping magic.  Reduce down to 3/4-1/2 cup.
  • When the pork has rested for 10-20 minutes and the sauce has reduced, you’re ready to plate.  Place 1/5 of the broccoli, squash, and pork on each plate, then spoon the cranberry glaze over the pork.  Top with some flaky salt and coarsely ground black pepper.
Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin with Roast Squash, Steamed Broccoli, and Cranberry Glaze

Nutrition Breakdown per serving:
Calories: 566
Carbs: 29g
Fiber: 9g
Fat: 16g
Protein: 53g


Posted in: Clean Eating, Cooking, Food, Paleo
September 24, 2013

Baking by weight

Baking by weight

 I have a very well-used copy of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible, and also another bible of hers, The Bread Bible and they totally changed how I bake.  If you haven’t baked by weight, you probably have avoided it because it seems like too much hassle.  But you’re wrong.  Or you don’t have a food scale?  Who does, right?  Well… I DO!  They cost like $15, and they save like 11ty dishes.  Seriously.  I abhor washing dishes.  Unless it NEEDS to be hand-washed (my nice knives and cast iron are pretty much it), everything I own goes in the dishwasher.

But why is baking by weight so useful?

Sticky shit.  I detest sticky shit.  Measuring molasses?  Gross.  No thank you. How about corn syrup, honey, or maple syrup?  Same thing.  You have the measuring cup, the spatula, invariably your hand, and if you’re smart, you sprayed the inside of the measuring cup with nonstick spray, which you almost certainly oversprayed on the counter/floor/mixer/glassware.

Semisolids.  You ever try to measure semisolid fat that’s not neatly packed into a cube with nice hash marks dividing it into tablespoons?  The “smart” way to do this is to fill a pyrex measuring cup with a predetermined volume of water and then drop bits of fat into it until your water level increases by the amount of fat you need in the recipe.  Great idea, except you will invariably get smears all over the inside of the measuring cup, necessitating it either being hand washed or going in the dishwasher (thus taking up valuable real estate).  Plus, then you have wet fat, which is not great when you’re making something like a pie crust where the balance can easily be thrown off by the extra teaspoon of water that’s clinging in the nooks and crannies of your grease.

Stuff that’s variably dense.  Stuff like grated cheese, kosher salt, chocolate chips (some are larger than others, affecting density), even(or especially) flour.  It makes a difference.

It’s easier! What’s simpler than throwing your bowl on a scale, then just scooping flour into the bowl til you hit a certain number, zeroing, then adding water, sugar, fat, cheese, or whatever in.  That shit’s amazing. You can just shake or scoop whatever ingredient you’re adding into the bowl.  No need to dirty a measuring cup! Plus there’s no question about exactly duplicating something if you weigh it.  This is my favorite way to cook breakfast.  Waffles at 6am?  No fussing with finding the right measuring cup before your contacts are in.  Just dump ingredients in til the number is correct.

Baking by weight

How do you go about converting a recipe to weights?  That’s fairly simple.  If you’re using a recipe from the internet, you have 2 options.  You can either copy & paste it into a document stored on “the cloud” (I like using OneNote on MS’s Skydrive)/start a blog that you can search, or you can print/copy down the recipe onto paper.  Personally, I’m always trying to add more shit to my recipe file, because invariably I’ll be unable to track something down online when I most need the recipe, but different strokes…  Regardless, have your recipe open/in front of you as you are cooking (as you would normally), and just set your bowl/measuring cup on the scale before adding ingredients.  Need 2 cups of beer?  Get your 2 cup measuring cup, put it on the scale, zero it out, then add beer til you hit 2 cups.  Then take down the number shown on the scale (I’ve recently begun writing down both oz and grams, but I prefer using grams.. they feel more precise) next to the ingredient name.  For beer it would be something like “2 cups stout – 236g, 8oz”  If you do this with all of the elements of the recipe, the next time you make it, all you have to do is put your bowl on the scale, dump in your 236g of beer, then hit zero/tare to reset the counter, and add your next ingredient.

converting recipe to weight

I don’t measure small amounts of things by weight.  By small amounts, I generally mean something that would normally be measured in teaspoons or tablespoons.  My scale is accurate enough for larger volumes of stuff, but is not sensitive enough to read in tenths of grams, and that’s the type of accuracy you need for stuff like baking soda or nutmeg.  

I’ve changed my mind on this.  Small amounts of stuff are just as easy to measure by weight.  I bought a cheap pocket scale that reads in tenths of grams that I love using.

Posted in: Cooking, Food
September 20, 2013

Cheap winter squash at Safeway!

Cheap winter squash at Safeway!
If you know me, you know that I love a good deal.  And that I love to hoard food.  It must be all of that Mormon ancestry.    Regardless, the weather has begun cooling down.  There’s chill in the morning air, and I am THRILLED to have the oven on again.  Tied with that of course, is squash.  I love me some pumpkin, butternut, spaghetti, etc.  But there is more to autumn than the standards. I’m not sharing any recipes with you yet, I haven’t cooked any, but I wanted to share the sweet sale that’s going on at Safeway this week, in case your local store is also running the same sale.  Organic winter squash are 50% off, at $.99/lb.  I bought 25lbs.  I figure this can last all winter.  Or at least until Craig tells me to stop cooking squash.
a big pile of squash

Posted in: Cooking, Food
September 19, 2013

Oh Tastespotting, you are such a bitch

Oh Tastespotting, you are such a bitch
If you are familiar at all with the world of food blogs, you are probably also quite familiar with the world of tastespotting and foodgawker. If you’re not, here’s your rundown. They’re sites that are laid out kind of like Pinterest, where bloggers can register for accounts, and submit photos of things they’ve made.  If the photos are good enough, they’ll get posted, and tons of traffic will get driven to your site.  It’s great impetus for taking beautiful photos of food.  You know… if you’re not totally lazy.  A few years ago with my first denial (it was a picture of my strawberry rhubarb cupcakes – I guess the photo had lighting problems), I did some research and found out just how picky these websites are.  In fact, it’s such a common thing to be turned down for these, that secondary websites have begun cropping up, like tastestopping, where you submit your photo and post, and the reason you were denied from tastespotting/foodgawker and they will publish your photo, and allow the readers to decide whether or not they like your posts. Seems more reasonable and less douchey.

tastespotting screenshot

After I got such nice light photographing my japchae dish, I figured that since it was paleo, I’d submit it to chowstalker, which has now changed it’s name to stalkerville (which wtf, this looks bad on my browsing history!), which is basically a less elite(read:pretentious) version of tastespotting/foodgawker for paleo/primal/grain free/whole food recipes.  An interesting aside, as I was typing that last sentence, the editor of chowstalker just added me on google+.  I feel so elite now!  Anyway, I submitted that, then figured I’d submit some of my other primal recipes.  You know, because they’re delicious, and a little more traffic to the blog makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Anyway, I started submitting some of my paleo posts and then got to thinking that overall my photography has gotten much better than it was a few years ago, and maybe I could hang.  So I started submitting recipes to the big 2.  Lol.  What a way to take your self esteem down a few notches!  I had 2 photos that had been accepted a few years ago.  One was my orange chicken, the other was israeli couscous with a harissa yogurt sauce.  After getting so many of my poor recipes denied, I figured that since I had bought the domain to my website, and had registered with a new ID, I’d try submitting something that I’ve already submitted and had accepted.  Lol.  NO.

tastespotting LOL

It turns out that in order to get your stuff published, it has to be more than a technically good photograph, it has to tickle the fancy of whoever is reviewing it.  Because one person liked it enough to accept it, the other thought my composition sucked and told me to fuck off.   Anyway, saw it this morning, thought it was funny, figured I’d share.

Posted in: Cooking, Food
September 16, 2013

Japchae-long rice hybrid

japchae/longrice hybrid

We had a luau at work several months ago because.. well… pineapple was on sale.  Why else would you have a luau?  I decided to give a classic hawaiian potluck style dish a shot – Chicken Longrice.  In my search for a recipe, I came across a website that I don’t know if I could have survived without. The Domestic Man  has such a great accumulation of recipes and simple preparation.   Plus, we seem to have similar taste in food,  however he seems quite a bit more adventurous than I am!  Regardless, I came across a recipe for the most intriguing looking dish, something that he refers to as a combination of Chicken Long Rice and Japchae.  In the end, my dish appears to have more in common with japchae than long rice, but it really doesn’t conform to either.  This was a super quick and easy recipe to throw together.  Under 30 minutes, and I had 6-8 hearty servings.  The only caveat is that this requires a couple ingredients that I haven’t seen at any of my regular grocery or high-end grocery stores.  They required a trip to our local asian supermarket.  You can also get them online, but even on Amazon, some of that stuff is crazy expensive compared to Uwajimaya. The not so bad thing about that is that both of the items are shelf-stable and fairly cheap, so I tend to stock up on them when I go, then they’re ready to go in my pantry whenever it strikes my fancy to make something requiring either of them.

Sweet potato starch noodles – or dangmyeon – I’m pretty sure the bag size that I use is 12oz, but there are only 2 things that are in english on the entire bag, ingredients and limited nutrition information.  They tend to have a fairly unappetizing grayish cast.  Look past it. They don’t taste as weird as they look.  In fact, they taste magnificent.  I toss mine into a pot of just boiled chicken stock, turn it off, and let it soak.  They absorb as much moisture as they seem to want, and do fine sitting in additional liquid. They don’t get gummy or break down or get yucky after sitting either. They stay tender, supple, and firm.  This makes them way better than rice noodles or pasta for any type of leftovers, plus… well… they’re paleo, delicious, and so pretty!

asian strand mushrooms

Dried Black Mushrooms – or as the packaging so appetizingly puts it “Black Fungus.” It’s those little strands of mushrooms that you get in dishes like mu shu pork.  They reconstitute easily in some hot chicken stock and are so nice.  You could probably use something like dried shiitakes also, but I haven’t experimented with them and these are so cheap and tasty and novel!


The recipe:

  • 4 cups/1qt chicken stock
  • (optional aromatics: 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed; 1 small onion, sliced into fine ribbons)
  • 12oz sweet potato starch noodles (dangmyeon)
  • 1 handful of dried black mushrooms
  • 2-3 T high heat oil
  • 1-2lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large head napa cabbage,cut into 1/2″ strips and washed
  • 1 large handful fresh spinach
  • Necessary condiments:
  • Soy, tamari, or coconut aminos
  • Sesame oil
  • Hot chile oil
  • (Optional: fish sauce)

japchae/longrice hybrid

The method:

  • Heat up your chicken stock in a 4qt or larger pot.  I used a small dutch oven, because I like it.  If your stock isn’t particularly garlicky or oniony (I tend to make mine pretty heavy on those 2 things). add the optional aromatics.
  • When the stock has reached a simmer, turn off the heat and stick your noodles in the pot and cover to soften.  Pull out maybe a cup of stock and put it in a small bowl with your mushrooms to soften.
  • Heat up a large sauté pan over medium-high and add 1-2T oil (I used avocado, though light olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, or sunflower oil would all be good options here).  Add your chicken thighs, and allow to brown on both sides and cook through.  When cooked, remove to a cutting board to rest.
  • Add remaining oil, cabbage, and carrots.  Sauté until cabbage and carrots have softened and begun to develop a little caramelization.
  • Once noodles have plumped and softened and don’t appear to be absorbing any additional liquid, scoop stock out and set aside until the liquid level is below that of the noodles.  Remove mushrooms from liquid and add them to noodles.
  • After allowing them to rest for 5 minutes or so, chop chicken thighs into 1/2-1″ pieces (or whatever makes you happy) and add to noodles.
  • When you’re satisfied with how the cabbage and carrots are cooked, remove from heat and dump them in the noodles.
  • Throw your handful of spinach into the mixture, stir, cover, and allow to sit for a couple minutes.
  • Once the spinach has wilted, pull a couple noodles out of the pot and taste for seasoning.  Mine needed several tablespoons of tamari for salt, as I don’t salt my chicken stock.  If I had remembered, I’d have put a few dashes of fish sauce in.  Additionally, a few dashes each of sesame oil and chile oil.  Craig isn’t a fan of sesame or much heat, but I love sesame and am developing a fondness for spice, so I went conservative on the pot and added additional sesame and chile oil to my individual serving.


Enjoy this dish!  Add whatever you have lying around needing to be used in your kitchen!  Bell peppers might be nice, or celery, water chestnuts, anything else.

Posted in: Clean Eating, Cooking, Food, Paleo
September 13, 2013

Because it’s Friday the 13th, or because I’m a klutz?

Because it’s Friday the 13th, or because I’m a klutz?
Or – why you should probably at least put your contacts in before messing with fragile or spicy stuff.  A couple days I bought a few new spice jars – larger ones than my standard, for the spices that I’ve been using more of lately.  I washed them yesterday evening and let them air dry overnight.  This morning, after my shower, I came out into the kitchen to give Craig a hard time about something, and figured I’d get the spices transferred and my jars put into the cabinet in case Helo decided to go counter surfing while we’re out today.

that's chipotle powder all over my silverware

The chipotle powder that I ordered came in a canister with the type of lid that twists to allow either pouring or sprinkling, but neither let the spice out very fast, and I am impatient.  So I grabbed a butter knife to pry off the top and dump it into my jar.  Unfortunately, the canister wasn’t as secure as I was imagining it would be, and I also left my silverware drawer open when I grabbed the knife.  So now I had a drawer full of chipotle powder. Remembering that I had been meaning to clean out the silverware caddy, I wasn’t too irritated, except that I was in my kitchen, in a bathrobe on and a towel in my hair before 6am sneezing while I cleaned all of the chipotle powder off of all of my silverware and other drawer paraphernalia.  I got out a pint glass for each knife, fork, teaspoon, and tablespoon variety to keep my silverware separated, and got it cleaned.  Then I thought to myself, “Self, this is ridiculous. You must photograph this and put it on the blog.  People love reading about the misfortune of others.”  So I scooted all of my pint glasses full of silverware closer to the chipotle-lined caddy, and of course knocked over the one with the knives in it, which broke, and then got glass shards all mixed into the mess of chipotle powder all over my counter.

that's chipotle powder all over my silverware caddy

Anyway, probably avoid doing THAT first thing in the morning.

Posted in: Misc
September 10, 2013

Paleo & Clean Eating Meal Planning – Shopping at Costco and QFC

Paleo & clean eating meal planning
My most popular blog post has been about meal planning.  I kind of get it, meal planning kind of sucks.  I mean, the payoff is good, but sometimes it’s just too big of an ordeal to even consider putting yourself through.  Plus, I know how whiny sourpuss this is going to sound, but I hate cooking during the summer. I LOVE the food selection available during the summer.  You have your choice of beautiful juicy peaches, amazing homegrown tomatoes, and zucchini coming out my ears, but it’s just too damned hot.  Even turning on the stove warms up the house, and the last thing I want to do is stand over the stove for any amount of time after driving home in my car without air conditioning.  The oven is not an option, which pretty much just leaves the grill.  When we had a gas grill, this wasn’t much of an issue, but when the burner supports rusted out after years of hard use and wet PNW winters, we never bothered to replace it.  Decent gas grills are not cheap, and our charcoal Weber turns out much tastier results.  The problem is that it’s quite an ordeal to start the chimney, let the coals burn down a little, and then throw on a measly couple chicken breasts.  For a few weeks it is kind of a fun challenge, but with the summer that we have had (hot hot hot weather without a break for nearly 3 full months), you begin to get totally sick of grilled meat atop salad, or grilled meat with grilled veggies, or rotisserie chicken mixed with greens.

Paleo & Clean Eating Meal Planning - Shopping at Costco & QFC
 A few weeks ago, I decided to enter a burger contest, so I had to do R&D for each recipe that I came up with, and we ended up eating piles of burgers for about a week, which was nice, but so much bread!  And after a grueling week of recipe development (which btw – is SO HARD when you’re used to making things without measuring), and 2 tries with the same type of burger, both ending in failure, I was burnt out.  After a brief meltdown over my inability to correctly salt a burger when using measured amounts of seasoning, and the resulting demise of a meal that I intended to serve to friends, I couldn’t bring myself to drum up any level of enthusiasm for cooking of any kind.  That, coupled with some cold, rainy weather (that I had been so looking forward to for well over a month at this point, but also ended up making me even more grumpy) resulted in me giving up last week. Craig has been working late as well, so I made a huge bowl of pasta mixed with some pesto leftover from burger development, we had pizza, teriyaki, and burritos.  I felt TERRIBLE for 2 full weeks.  Between the burger buns and pizza crust, rice, beans, etc, I have had some mighty unpleasant digestive tract experiences.  It really reminds me why we’ve made the effort to reduce our intake of refined grains and processed foods.  We just don’t feel… “good.”  I got sick of not having anything healthy to nom on around the house, and finally bit the bullet and decided to make a meal plan.  This coming week is likely to be our last Hurrah of high summer temps, so all of a sudden, using the grill seems a lot less like drudgery and more like a fun throwback to our final week of summer.  As such, I tried to ensure we were using some of the beautiful produce my garden has miraculously continued producing despite my best attempts to kill it through lack of water, plus what happens to be on sale this week, and stuff I know I can get for cheap (and in bulk) at Costco, namely organic chicken thighs.
 I went to Costco on my lunch break at work, which saves me some time, leaving just a trip to QFC for the remaining sale items on my way home from work.
This week’s menu includes:
Rotisserie chicken with caprese salad and green beans
Chipotle grilled chicken thigh taco salad w/ pico and crema
Grilled Chicken Wings and Cauliflower w/ hot sauce and homemade bleu cheese dressing
The shopping list includes:
1 package romaine hearts – $3.49
2 packages organic chicken thighs(somewhere around 7-8 lbs) – $35.40 – this will give me leftover chipotle marinated chicken for a later date
1 rotisserie chicken – $4.99
1 package bacon(4lbs) – $19.59
1 bag limes – $4.99
1 bag garlic – $5.79
(I also got some spinach, leg of lamb, and some camisoles, I love me some costco)
Total cost for this week’s meals from costco: $74.25
Chicken wings – $8.00
2 small heads cauliflower – $4.54
1 bunch cilantro – 1.99
1.5lbs green beans  – $2.48
1 jalapeno – $.13
1 head napa cabbage – $2.79
Total cost from QFC – $19.84Total for everything: $94.09

Things that I already had at home needing use:
Tomatoes (for caprese salad and for pico)
Fresh Mozzarella(for caprese)
Basil(for caprese)
Sour cream (for taco salad bowls)
Sweet potato starch noodles (for the japchae, I got my packs for like $2 ea at the asian supermarket)
Gorgonzola crumbles (a huge container is like $8 at costco)
Green Onions
So here’s how my “cooking” night went down.  I got home, unloaded all of my groceries and laid them out nicely to photograph them.  I proceeded to take several pictures, which on my camera’s little LCD looked OK, but as it turned out, were not in focus at all, as I had turned off the auto focus last time I used the camera and hadn’t switched it back, and also had apparently failed to notice that nothing appeared to be in focus through my viewfinder.

chopped tomatoes
sauteing green beans

So let’s just dive in!  First things first… I had to get dinner going.  Since the rotisserie chicken was essentially “done,”  all I really needed to do was chop up some tomatoes, a ball of mozzarella, and basil, mix, top with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and season it.  Then I cut the ends off my green beans and chopped them into 1-2″ long pieces, and sauteed in a little grassfed butter.  Then I just pulled some breast meat off the chicken and put it on a platebowl, topped with green beans and the caprese mixture.  Not magnificent, but quick and colorful!


Then I got to cooking my bacon.  This isn’t for any dinners, but it cuts breakfast-making time down considerably to cook bacon ahead of time, then toss it in the pan to crisp a little while it heats up for eggs.  It took me a couple hours to cook 1x 2lb package of bacon while I did the rest of my prepping.

frying bacon in a cast iron pan


Fried Bacon


I prepped my pico de gallo.  I chopped up about 1.5 cups of tomatoes, and and equal quantity of cilantro and yellow onions, then topped with a chopped jalapeno and the juice of 2 limes.  Then I just put the lid on and shook to mix it up.

pico de gallo


Then I had to prep all of my meat.  The chicken wings were easy enough. If you’ve never broken down chicken wings, there are 3 components.  The tips, the wingettes, and the drumettes.  To separate them, you just run a knife through the joint area and locate where the bones intersect, then do your best to slip it between them and separate.  The tips are useless for eating.  I put them in my crockpot with the rotisserie chicken carcass, an onion and a head and a half of garlic to make stock.  The wingettes are the flat parts with 2 bones, and the drumettes look like tiny little drumsticks. I separated them, then put them in a ziploc baggy to either add marinade or baking soda to on Thursday night.  For the chicken thighs that will be turning into chipotle marinated magic, I first had to make my marinade.  It’s based on the recipe from The Domestic Man, but I have modified it a little.  Perhaps I’ll share the recipe at a later date.. You know, if I remember.

chipotle chicken marinade


Then I separated about 7.5lbs of chicken thigh meat into 2 bags, draining all of the gooey pink chicken sludge (ugh, this stuff is so gross!) off first, then splitting the marinade between both bags, sealing, and squishing around to distribute.  I don’t think that the two of us could very easily eat 7.5lbs of chicken before it went bad, so I packed half of it in a foodsaver type bag, labelled it, and stuck it in the freezer for another time.

prepped chicken


Additionally I chopped up my napa cabbage(for the japchae), and romaine hearts(for the taco salad), washed, and spun them separately, then packed them up and stuck them in the fridge.

chopped and washed napa cabbage
Prepped and washed romaine hearts

Then carrots got cut into matchsticks for the japchae

chopped carrots

And I cut up my cauliflower into quarters and packed it up in a baggie til I need to cook it on Friday.

cut up cauliflower
cut up cauliflower

And my chicken stock… I put it outside on our covered deck table to cook overnight, no sense in adding more heat to the house.  When I got up this morning, I brought it in to cool off, strained it, and packed it up into containers to throw in the fridge.  Came to about 2 quarts.  I’ll use some of it in the longrice/japchae and the rest I can use next week.

crock pot chicken stock
An added bonus?  I bought a huge bag of limes at costco for $5, so the leftovers I put into this pretty carnival glass pedestal bowl and they will look pretty on the counter as I use them!

The rundown of what I actually accomplished over the course of 2.5 hours last night:

Fried Bacon
Made Pico
Prepped wings
Marinated chicken thighs
Chicken stock
Prepped Napa Cabbage
Prepped LettuceWhat I still have to do:
Make mayonnaise for the bleu cheese dressing – I’m out of sunflower oil and have decided that despite the high omega 6 content, I much prefer it to any other type of oil, even avocado, plus it’s not chemically separated. Then assemble the bleu cheese dressing on friday while the chicken’s on the grill.

Everything else is just quick-cooking and assembly at this point.  Nothing should take more than 30 minutes to put together (with the exception of starting up the grill), so by preloading the time all to one day