Thursday, September 27, 2007

An inconvenient truth

I uncovered a deeply perpetrated fraud last night: convenience foods.

We were headed home after work, a car full of chattering preschoolers (two of them and their chatter fill up the car). Dinner was to be chicken cacciatore, but I hadn't cut up the chicken yet. I'm really not good at cutting up chickens. A friend was coming over for dinner, so I couldn't resort to our usual can't-face-cooking fall-back: cereal and yogurt. So I thought, "Hey, I'll swing by the grocery store and pick up something to throw in the oven. Yeah! People do that all the time. That's what that deli counter is for. And the freezer case. It'll be great."

"Swing by" -- that was my first mistake. Nobody swings by the grocery store with two tired, hungry kids at 5:30 in the evening. We escaped with a poorly chosen lasagna, a greasy potato dish, and a salad about half an hour and way too much money later. Turns out the lasagna wanted 45 minutes in the oven (I should have guessed that). Heck, I could have cut up that chicken and made the dang cacciatore in 45 minutes. So I followed the microwave directions, breaking my no-heating-plastics rule and turning the cheese into a hardened, plasticky mass. The potatoes went into the oven, where the grease separated out into great, globby pools. Dinner was on the table 15 precious minutes after it normally is.

The Little Bean had a breakdown and had to be tossed into bed early.

The Big Bean's verdict: "These potatoes are great, Mama!"

Thanks, kiddo.

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