Making dinner is like putting on a play–dinner theater if you will. Sometimes excitement is the order of the day, if the pan catches on fire and the local hook and ladder crowd shows up to rescue what’s left of your kitchen. Most of the time the theater is not that exciting.
My blood rushes when I try to get all the dishes out at the same time so that they are all at the proper temperature when they are served. If the chicken takes 45 minutes, it goes in first. Then the rice goes on, which takes 30 minutes on lowest heat after it comes to a boil. Now I wash, chop the veggies and set them aside for a moment. If I microwave them, I dish them and cover with wax paper. They won’t take more than a few minutes in the magic box. If I am doing the olive oil in the iron pan, I get them going now with some riced/squeezed garlic and some spices.
About the time I smell the chicken, the rice smells just right too. Theater is about to happen! All that scurrying around behind the curtain before it goes up is just like the cook’s actions getting the dinner on the plates. Weigh chicken portion, half cup of rice, whole cup of green beans, summer squash or broccoli. Add dressings (butter, sour cream or Greek yogurt).
I learned that having a small child at home precluded my quest for being ready when the curtain rose. I would be taking care of Rebecca and burn the rice or have it boil over and goo up the stove. This is when I learned to cook oven rice, a foolproof and forgiving method for a harried young mom. Butter a casserole pan and boil a kettle of water. The oven should be preheated at 350 degrees. Put one cup of white rice in the pan with two cups of boiling water (use 2 1/2 C water if you use brown rice). Add 1/2 stick butter cut into pats in the dish and cover. Cook for 60 minutes (90 minutes for brown rice). This is also a good way to cook rice when you don’t feel like baby sitting it!
The most important thing about the theater is that we enjoy ourselves. I hope you find joy in your kitchen today.