Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Meatless AND Wasted Wednesday

One of the things that shopping on a budget has helped me do is cut down on waste in my kitchen. So of course it hurts when I have to throw something out, especially something that cost me 6 bucks, i.e. nearly 15 percent of my weekly groceries.

Yesterday I bought a few pounds of boneless chicken breasts @ $1.97 a pound, the only meat I was planning on buying this week. And then I went and left it sitting in the stroller basket for about four hours. Naturally, yesterday was the hottest day of the entire summer.

When I remembered it, I ran downstairs from the kids' bedroom to retrieve it and put it in the fridge. I was hoping it would be all right if we cooked it thoroughly today. But today when I took it out and gave it a good sniff, I just didn't feel confident. I think I ALWAYS feel like raw meat smells bad. But the voice of my college food science professor was ringing in my ears: "When in doubt, throw it out! When in doubt, throw it out!" It started to sound like the crowd at the Republican Convention.

Come to think of it, I had better get my butt downstairs to get that raw chicken out to the Dumpster before it stinks up the house. I'll get to that right after I watch Sara Palin stink up the house. OK, I kid, Republicans! I'm sure she smells very lovey and not at all like fish or dead elk.

Before she speaks, let me just share with you my Meatless Wednesday dinner: homemade mac and cheese loosely based on the recipe in The Sneaky Chef. It was, um, so so. I am not planning on making this recipe again, because the sauce is not at all the cohesive cheese sauce that you get with a box of mac and cheese. It was more like a casserole, with the milky eggy sauce mixed in with the noodles, the cheese layers on their own, the puree on its own (I just mashed some carrots instead of preparing her suggested multi-veggie puree, and I probably didn't make it smooth enough so I'm probably to blame for that aspect). The kids didn't complain but older kids who are more picky about their mac and cheese surely would.

It was definitely more nutritious than the box though -- with real cheese purchased right at the factory during our weekend getaway in Wisconsin, whole wheat organic shells and the carrots and eggs thrown in. Most important (to me lately) no artificial coloring. Since reading about possible effects on children's behavior, I've been avoiding buying heavily colored foods.