Even without lockdown orders, I cook a lot at home—and, ok, it is because it kills me to pay for the triple or quadruple restaurant markup for wine, but I really thought that I was in a consistent routine for meals and meal planning. And then I had to feed six of us every day, three times a day for weeks on end. Add to that a husband who is used to a hot meal midday because he eats out for lunch, kids who are used to the parade of options on their college meal plans, and the grocery store will be sold out of the most random things when I’m trying to do a big haul. I failed to appreciate that while we eat a lot of dinners as a family at home, we’ve rarely all been at home all the time. Even when all the kids lived at home full-time, they ate lunch at school every day, grabbed dinner with friends, or had dinner with their teams, and we traveled every weekend for practices and tournaments, so we ate on the road. Here are some ideas and recipes that I’ve turned to in order to answer the question on everyone’s mind, “What’s for dinner?”
But why do they call it turkey barbecue? Crockpot turkey sandwiches
The best part of this recipe is that you can make it with whatever turkey parts are available at the grocery store (ok, maybe not whatever parts, I can’t vouch for offal). Sometimes all I can find is turkey breast and sometimes my grocer only sells turkey legs—doesn’t matter! I prefer breast and one turkey breast can feed six adults, but if I can only find legs, four of them is comparable.
Put your skin-on turkey in the crockpot and add a 1-2 cups of chicken stock (turkey stock if you have it on hand), depending on the size of your crockpot. You need enough liquid to keep the turkey from burning on the bottom, so about a quarter inch or so on the bottom. Season turkey with salt and pepper. Cook on high 5 hours (you should be able to shred the turkey with two forks when done.) Before you go to town shredding, remove (very carefully!) the turkey to a large plate or platter, cut away the skin and discard. Using a fork and knife, I cut away the turkey meat from the bone in large chunks and discard the bone. For shredding the turkey, I use two forks and then return the shredded meat to the crockpot.
Traditionally, I pile the turkey on a bun and add horseradish cream, but my grocery store was sold out of any kind of horseradish, and discovered that country Dijon mustard works great, too.
I’d call it marinated coleslaw, but I didn’t have any carrots and I don’t know if coleslaw can be red
Shred a red cabbage. I used one of the disks for my food processor (after I spent some time trying to remember how to put it together) and it was super quick and uniform. If you don’t have a food processor, halve the cabbage and slice the halves as thinly as you can with a knife. Depending on your mood and how thinly you can slice, give the cabbage slices a few crosswise chops. Do the same with a cucumber—I used an English cucumber and kept the peel on. Drizzle with olive oil, about a tablespoon, and splash with red wine vinegar, start in the neighborhood of around 3 tablespoons and adjust to taste. The slaw shouldn’t be submerged in vinegar, but there should be enough vinegar to cover the bottom of the bowl. Season with salt to taste. After tossing a few times, the Quarantine Slaw is ready to go, but does get better the longer it sits.*Awesome leftover alert
If you have them, potato chips are an awesome side.
Just another Meatless Monday, or whatever day it is
Spicy and sweet—not a dating profile protein bowl
This rice bowl has roasted sweet potatoes and chick peas dusted with Garam Masala and topped with garlicky cucumbers in yogurt. Um, that’s it IS the recipe, but here are a few tips and assembly instructions. Make white or brown rice. I use a rice cooker, but you can make it on the stove, just follow package directions. The only trick for this bowl is to have the sweet potatoes and chick peas roast in the same amount of time. The easiest way that I’ve found to dice sweet potatoes is to slice the pointy ends off of the potatoes, then stand them upright on their new flat end and cut the sweet potatoes vertically into ¼-1/2 inch slices. Lay the slices on the cutting board and cut them longways every ¼ inch and then crosswise every ¼ inch. You now have sweet potato cubes about the size of a chick pea. Add the sweet potato cubes and drained and rinsed chick peas to a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Turn with a spatula to distribute the oil and then dust the pan with kosher salt and Garam Masala (or any spice blend, really. Chile, cumin, garlic, onion, and oregano could make the dish Latin-inspired.) Place sheet pan in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. The sweet potato should be fork tender. While the veggies roast, peel and chop 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, and mash to paste with the side of your knife and salt. Add to yogurt, about 2 cups, and stir. Dice a cucumber and add. Check for seasoning, adding more salt or garlic as needed.
To assemble bowls, place rice in the bottom, add the sweet potato and chick peas, and top with a dollop of yogurt and cucumbers.
Did you make too much rice? Do you have kimchee (or leftover Quarantine Slaw) in the fridge? Make a kimchee bowl the next day! I reheat the rice with about a tablespoon of water, drain, add kimchee, top with a fried egg and drizzle with gochugang (Korean hot sauce) or some Sriracha.