Georgia has been suffering under a weather emergency for the last week. Sunday a week ago, it snowed hard. We received about 7 inches of snow here and then on Monday it all turned to ice. In an unusual situation, the temperatures did not rise above freezing all week, preventing the snow and ice from melting in the roadways. With no plows to clear off the back roads, we have been out of school all this time.
With a week of snow days plus two weekends tacked on (and one of those weekends a long weekend due to MLK Day), I've eaten at home for ten straight days, three meals a day. I haven't gone out, I haven't skipped any as I sometimes do at school. I haven't eaten over at a friend's house, and I haven't shared a meal with someone at work. I've been rolling along here for meal after meal, uninterrupted. After thirty meals in a row at home, I have exhausted my small repertoire of recipes I like to cook. It's time to broaden it.
Last night I dug out several of my old favorite cookbooks. These are the ones that fall open to splattered pages they are used so frequently. These are the ones like old friends. They are the ones you turn to when you need to cook something comforting. I love my old friends! It's so fun to rad through recipes, deciding "I can make that," or skipping because "That's too complicated." I renewed my interest in peanut soup and using pumpkin. I remembered past cooking conquests, and sought out a few more. Reading old recipes reminded me of the times when I cooked them and the people who were around me then and the meals I've shared at the table with who are gone from my life now.
I decided on green bean casserole for starters. Whenever I eat this dish, (usually at a Baptist function, lol) I enjoy it, but I have never made it myself. I also decided on squash casserole because I like casseroles and I happen to have squash on hand. Another recipe I'll try is "creamy tofu salad". The tag line says "It's like egg salad". The local small grocery store has just started carrying tofu, which is great because I like tofu, but I need to expand my cache of recipes for how to make it tasty. And finally, salmon-potato cakes will be added to the list. I have canned salmon on hand and I'm always looking for ways to make a protein-based dish that does not include meat.
I often make granola bars. This recipe is soooo easy and uses just a few ingredients, two criteria that steer my decision making. They make a perfect snack or dessert. They're not too sweet and they're hearty and filling. I wish I could find another recipe that is similar. I try not to bake cookies or cake. The closest I'll go is cobbler, but even that is too sweet to make often. Maybe I can substitute a Chex-type mix. I'll keep looking.
Anyway, I've made my list and I'll head to the grocery store and pick up the items that I need to make these things. I'll happily spend the rest of the day cooking, which in fact is really a preparation for the work-week. Sigh, the long unexpected vacation is over and it's time to get back to the grind.