When the Dinner Plan Fails - Live Like a Mensch
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When the Dinner Plan Fails

Image courtesy of Rexipe Rexipe

On Monday, I felt remarkably well-organized, considering the fact that I had not yet gone grocery shopping for the week. I knew that I still had a bag of chicken cutlets in the freezer, as well as all the other ingredients necessary to make J and my new favorite dinner, Chicken Scallopine with Saffron Cream Sauce.

I had planned to make this meal last week, but plans kept changing, and so I was pleased that I'd be able to make it this week.

At 9 in the morning, I pulled the chicken from the freezer and set it defrost in the microwave.

Around 4:30, I started the rice cooker so we would have a bed of something delicious to eat the goodness off of.

At around 5:15, after J got home, I started assembling all the ingredients for my mise-en-place. And that was when I first realized there was a problem.

The heavy cream that had been sitting open in our refrigerator for about two weeks (since the last time I had a recipe that called for it) had most definitely gone to the dark side, despite the fact that its sell-by date seemed to indicate we would be good for another five or six days. But there was no saving it. (When even J could smell that it was off, that was the clear indicator).

I shrugged that off and decided we could make do with half-and-half instead, since our coffee-intensive household is never without half-and-half.

I then opened up the package of chicken--and realized instantly that there would be no rescuing this dinner plan.

The chicken stunk. It must have gone bad in the 48 hours it cooled its heels in our refrigerator before I froze it.

I went and put on my sad pants because there was next to nothing in our larder available for a quick dinner and I had so been looking forward to saffron chicken.

Since I had already made the rice, it was clear that we'd have to do something rice based. I went spelunking in our pantry and found some Trader Joe's Simmer Sauce that J had bought in a fit of not realizing I'm the one who does the cooking. In our freezer were a couple of tilapilia filets that could be quickly thawed and simmered. And from the same source I found a bag of shelled edamame. We threw them all together in a pot, simmered them in the simmer sauce, and dished up our surprise dinner.

The result was...edible. It covered all the necessary food groups.

It was not saffron chicken.

But, it's good to know that even if dinner fails epically, I will generally be able to throw something together without having to call our friends Domino or Jimmy John.

What do you do if you have to throw together a quick meal? Do you have any go-to how-will-we-save-dinner plans?



bobi said:

Do you have a cheap source for saffron? I buy my spices at a local farm market where the prices are very reasonable but saffron goes for $77.00 per pound so I've never purchased it though I'd like to try it.

May 10, 2014 10:14 PM

Emily Guy Birken said:

Hi Bobi,

No cheap source, unfortunately. We received a gift of a spice sampler from Penzeys Spices for our wedding (which was AWESOME, by the way). Included in the sampler was saffron, which I had never used between 2008 and last year. J asked that I find a recipe for the saffron we had, and this was what we found. I've since used up our Penzeys gift stock of saffron, and I replaced it with what I could find at our local grocery. It was $10 for a tiny amount of saffron, and it wasn't as tasty as the original saffron from Penzeys. My plan is to use up the grocery bought saffron and just order new saffron from Penzeys: www.penzeys.com/.../p-penzeyssaffron.html

May 13, 2014 8:47 AM

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