I’ve been in such a cooking rut lately. Once upon a time, I used to make actual meals that did not involve defrosting frozen stuff. I recently decided to blame my poor kitchen performance on the state of my recipe collection. It may not really be the reason, but it was there and I needed a scapegoat.
Back in the Olden Days when I had a dialup BBS, I used to collect and post recipes quite a bit. I used a little piece of software called Meal Master, which allowed you to keep an electronic database of your recipes, which you could then export to a text file or print. Well, technology marched along, as it often does, and it became difficult to use a DOS-based program in a Windows-based world, so I switched to Master Cook, while still keeping Meal Master around in a DOS window for old time’s sake.
My happy little recipe database days ended two years ago when I got a new computer running Windows 7. Neither of my programs would run on it. I didn’t really care too, too much at that point, since I wasn’t feeling all that excited by the kitchen and I had printouts of my tried and true recipes anyway. But something snapped a few weeks ago, and I suddenly wanted to get organized again.
I did my research. I found an option for trying to run Meal Master through a third party utility, but it only half worked, and it broke before I could get access to the recipes. I tried to do something with Master Cook, but the consensus on the web was that it doesn’t work on Windows 7 and the company supports it so poorly, it’s not worth even trying.
I decided I needed a modern solution. I signed up for an account at BigOven.com, and so far so good. Big Oven has a desktop component, a website, and a mobile app, and they can all speak to each other. That’s a vast improvement right there. The desktop software even has a way to import Master Cook cookbooks, so I could get all of my old recipes back. Alison, who has a working copy of Master Cook, answered my Facebook plea and exported my Master Cook cookbook into the proper format for me. I imported all of the old favorites (and a whole bunch of recipes that I apparently am only keeping for nostalgia’s sake because looking at them now all I think is “ew”) into Big Oven, and now I am back in business. Hooray! (And thank you, Alison!)
I’ve started using the meal plan feature, and the shopping list, which is great, although here’s a word to the wise: if your mobile device happens to be a wifi-only tablet and you don’t have 3G access, you’d better print your shopping list before you leave for the store. It’s not saved locally. I learned that the hard way at Whole Foods yesterday. I ended up going from memory, and then driving somewhere that I could get a wifi signal, and checking the list to see what I missed (“yogurt, cilantro, lemon, lime, pepper” became my mantra all the way back to the store).
Last night I was excited to be making an old favorite: Chicken and Pasta in Ginger Sauce. So excited, in fact, that I forgot to photograph my bowl until I was all finished devouring the contents of it. It’s a bummer, since I like to share pictures of the foods I tell you about. But no. All I have for you is a couple of scenes from a post-supper kitchen that needed to be cleaned up.
I came up with this recipe in the early days of my marriage after trying a similar recipe from In the Kitchen With Rosie (remember that one? Rosie was Oprah’s cook). It was absolutely delicious, but the preparation was waaaay too time-consuming for my taste. I don’t remember the original recipe at all now, and the book has long since been donated to some organization or other, but I do remember that I made substitutions that shaved a lot of the extra time and effort from this dish, and I still liked it quite a bit.
- 2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts; halved
- 8 ounces Spaghetti; uncooked
- 1 Chicken bouillon cube
- 1 medium Red bell pepper
- 1 large Leek; white part only, trimmed and cut in 1-inch half-rounds
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 3 teaspoons Ginger; ground
- 1/8 teaspoon Red pepper flakes crushed
- 1 teaspoon Thyme dried
- 2 teaspoons Lime juice
- 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons Soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup White cooking wine
- 2 teaspoons Honey
- Combine the sauce ingredients, and set aside.
- Put the leek and pepper in a large skillet with a little bit of olive oil. Saute for about 3 minutes, just until the vegetables begin to wilt. Remove vegetables from the skillet and set aside. Add chicken to the skillet (and more olive oil, if necessary), and cook in the vegetable juices until no longer pink. Add the sauce to the skillet. Bring to a boil, and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes. Prick the chicken with a fork, to let the juices seep in. Add the vegetables back into the skillet and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
- While the chicken is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Dissolve the bouillon cube in the water. Add the spaghetti, and cook to desired doneness. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl. Arrange the chicken and vegetables and sauce on top, and enjoy!
If you’re a member of BigOven, you can click the recipe image below to add it to your Try Soon list (and you can click here to connect with me over there).