How This Started and My Hope For This Experiment

My Husband and I are both big fans of Jamie Oliver. For Christmas I bought him Jamie's cookbook "Jamie's 30 Minute Meals: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast". As I read the preface of his cookbook I was inspired by his ideas. He felt that he was spending too much time cooking during the busy week and doing too much clean up. So he decided that for the week night meals there needed to be something quick and still healthy and yummy. He and his team did a lot of work and made the "30 Minute Meals". He has explicit directions for step by step getting the meal done in 30 min. He tells you what to do first, second, and third so that you have all dishes going at the same time, instead of making it dish by dish. Since we aren't doing once a month cooking right now I was captured by this idea and dying to start trying. I have been spending way too much time in the kitchen during the week and can't wait to be able to prepare good meals fast. My husband was all for it since he loves to eat great food and has a very particular palette. He will be making some of the meals on weekends when he isn't working because, this is after all, his cookbook :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chicken Pie, French-Style Peas, Sweet Carrot Smash, Berries, Shortbread & chantilly Cream

What's On The Menu Tonight?: Chicken Pie, French-Style Peas, Sweet Carrot Smash, Berries, Shortbread & Chantilly Cream P. 90

Sous-Chef of my kitchen sat on the bar and the counter-top through almost the entire process. Here she is playing in a bag of frozen corn and signing cheese because she would like some to go with the corn. She was given the bag of frozen corn because her brother sat in a chair whose leg happened to be on her four little toes and she was so sad. I didn't have any ice so I put her up there with a bag of frozen corn on her foot. She eventually got it open and filled her little pursy with corn :) Set back on my timing :(
Carrot smash. This was the most bland part of the meal and if you were to eat it alone might be a great disappointment. But you have to think in terms of meals. These are totally healthy with not butter or fat really to speak of and they go well with the other two sides that are much more flavorful and a just a little rich.

The puff pastry on top of the Chicken pie. This was delightful to eat and beautiful to look at with the egg brushed over the top before baking.

Here it is with the insides. They are simple but full of flavor. No cream or milk but just a heaping TBS. of Creme Fraische that goes a long way.

Here is the meal as a whole. The peas were overcooked waiting for the man of the family to bike himself home from work. :( BUT they were still good and full of flavor. I decided that it would have been better to let them cool completely and they re-heat them on the stove top then to try to keep them warm. Lesson learned! The peas loose a lot of their bright green color when they are overcooked as well so they don't look as appetizing. This was the only part of the meal I was worried about because it is really different than what we would normally eat. There was cooked/wilted lettuce in them and that sounded terrible to me. BUT once again Jamie came through and the meal was superb. More of a cold day kind of meal but with a light summer kind of desert I thought. The kids gave it a perfect 10 but then they had a little bit of a struggle getting through ALL of the veggies. At the end the were ready to quit eating them.

Sous-Chef escapes from kitchen and is CAUGHT IN THE ACT of eating the desert on the table I was in the process of setting on the back porch.

Finished product was lovely. The berries were delish, the cream creamy with just a little too much vanilla extract, and the shortbread not the finest quality. Could have been better shortbread. But no one complained. The berries are supposed to have elderflower cordial on them but we didn't have access to any so I improvised and used a little orange extract. No where near the same flavor, but great nonetheless.

OK now for the moment of truth. I didn't have the attachment needed to slice everything up so I gave myself time before to chop it all. It took me 11 min. to do all my prep. Then it took me 45 min to make the whole meal BUT the carrots weren't done because I didn't slice them thin enough I guess SO it took time for that and then one-two min. after they finished softening to mash them. BUT while I was waiting for the carrots I was able to clean up the whole kitchen so I didn't have to do anything but wipe off and wash what we used to eat. So all in all not bad timing BUT still not 30 min.

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