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Dinner on AutoPilot


dinner, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi.

So this is what tonight's dinner looked like...very basic...very satisfying...very fly by the seat of my pants.

Dinner was the byproduct of a strange state of affairs in my kitchen.

Under normal circumstances, I'll sit down at some point during the weekend and map out what I want to have for dinners over the next week. I go to the store and get what I need, then go with the flow. In spite of all my planning, at some point during the day on Monday, I will be sitting in the library (probably reading the same story for the 4th or 5th time) and think to myself, "Dammit- I forgot to take out the chicken/pork/beef I needed for dinner tonight." Thus derailing my carefully strategized meal.

Friday I decided this was no longer going to happen to me. I took out one pound of ground turkey (to be used for dinner that night), one pound of ground pork (to be used for breakfast sausage making activities) and 2 packages of bone-in chicken thighs.

Later in the day, I take out one of the defrosted packages of meat and begin my preparations for a Mexican style pizza. After the contents of my supposed turkey based sauce were simmering away on the stove (basically I just chopped up an onion and threw it in with the ground meat while it cooked through, then added a can of kidney beans (rinsed and drained) and a can of enchilada sauce), I realized I had grabbed the ground pork instead of the ground turkey.

In one fell swoop, I had not only substantially changed the nature of my "lite" pizza topping, but I had also completely derailed my sausage making adventure. Rats.

Fast forward to Saturday mid afternoon, when it dawned on me there were 4 chicken thighs in the ice box that needed to be used soon. This was a totally new experience for me....too much meat defrosted. I now have a pound of ground turkey and the chicken thighs to use before they rotted.

I decided to use the chicken thighs first (I'm not sure why). But I hadn't planned anything for them really, so I had to think fast. I knew I had potatoes in the bin that needed to be used before they grew into potato plants, so smashed potatoes seemed a logical side dish. I also had a head of cauliflower in the ice box, so I cut them into bite sized pieces, tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper and put them on a baking sheet, waiting to be roasted.
I sliced an onion and 2 carrots layed them on the bottom of a pyrex baking dish and topped them with the four chicken thighs, seasoned with my trusty BBQ 3000 rub from Penzey's. I doused the tops of the thighs with olive oil, then poured about 1/2 a cup of Vermouth over the whole mess, put in a meat thermometer and covered the pan with tin foil. I roasted the chicken at 400 degrees until it reached 180 degrees (putting the cauliflower in with the chicken for the last 20 minutes or so).

I plated the chicken on a bed of smashed potatoes (done my usual way- bay leaves, garlic, a bit of butter and cream cheese), layed the cauliflower by its side and ladled a bit of the vermouth/chicken juiciness over the whole lot.

Overall- not bad at all. The carrots were a bit underdone for my taste, and next time I'll roast them with the cauliflower instead, but other than that- this was spot on.

I think the ground turkey will end up as turkey burgers tomorrow night, but you never really know.... :)

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