I am discovering new depths of love for my amazing stove, Mrs. C, remember her?
And did you notice the new baskets which not only look great and keep many miscellaneous items handy and hidden, but helped to teach me a lesson in prejudice?
So, I decided come hell or high water I was cooking all our meals this week. After last week's series of prepared meals eaten on the run I was determined to find some way to keep our menu wholesome and (relatively) healthy no matter how busy we get. To that end, I decided to once again make use of Mrs. C's cooking-with-the-gas-turned-off feature.
Tuesday was the busiest day this week, the day I wasn't sure how to manage. Red Headed Snippet not only had a game, but it was an away game and she had band practice later that night. I knew I would only have 25 minutes to feed her and get her back to school. No way I could cook something that fast.
So, here's what I came up with:
Mrs. C has what's called a thermowell where the back right burner would be on a typical stove. See?
And just so you know, that's not dirt on the stove top there. It's scorch marks and wear, not from me. The thing is about 70 years old and I don't have the time and money to restore the thing. And anyway, I don't care if she has some age spots. It gives her character. Moving on...
This is the inside of the well. It's got a burner down in there, which I did turn on for the pic but for some reason is not showing up. I have a pot that came with the stove that fits down inside the well and has a lid that clamps shut. This is supposed to be divine for making soups, stew, veggies, etc. I hadn't used it before, but decided to try it on Tuesday.
I started by preheating the oven at 500 degrees for 10 minutes. I put two cups of rice in the thermowell pot, then 3 cups of water, added a little salt, then clamped the lid on. I turned on the thermowell burner, lowered the pot into the well and put the well lid on. Then I turned my attention to the chicken I had defrosted. I mixed a bottle of Thousand Island dressing, a bottle of apricot preserves and a packet of onion soup mix, dumped it over the chicken breasts in a baking dish, covered it with foil, and slid it into the oven.
After 10 minutes, I turned the thermowell burner off. Five minutes later, at 3:00 pm, I turned the oven off. Then I grabbed my keys, my sunglasses and my purse and left to pick up Man-Cub at school and drive over to Red Headed Snippet's softball game. Snippet got to play most of the game, got a walk to first base and made a beautiful catch on a fly ball that would have been foul if she hadn't grabbed it. But our team lost, so we made our way home sadly.
We walked in the door at 6:00 with 25 minutes to eat and get the Snippet back to school.
I tentatively went over to the thermowell, lifted the cover and pulled the pot out. I unclamped the lid to find perfectly cooked, fluffy, hot rice. I pulled the pan out of the oven to find perfectly cooked, tender, hot chicken. All I had to do was nuke some peas and I had the kids eating within 7 minutes of walking in the door. By 6:25 we were back in the car, fed, cleaned up and on our way back to school.
It was amazing. And I owe it all to dear Mrs. C. Faster, cheaper, and more nutritious than fast food! Just for fun I made chili in the well last night using only 15 minutes of gas. That was some good chili. Come to think of it, I think there's still some in the fridge and it's lunch time! Yay, lunch!
I think I'm going to start putting a few cups of rice in the thermowell every day before I leave to pick the kids up from school. As much as we eat it, it will be nice to just have it on hand all the time. And it's a lot less messy than cooking it on the stove or using my microwave rice cooker.
Isn't vintage technology great?
The things they thought of in those days!