Well, today as I was preparing the mise en place for dinner, I was thinking about how my life is slowly becoming like my mise en place.
Sausage & Rice mise en place
As many of you know, my life before moving back to Texas was chaos. We never knew when dinner was. What WAS for dinner? Where are my keys? Where are your shoes? I could go on, but you get the picture. Since moving back to Texas, things are different. My kids make their beds, get dressed and eat breakfast every morning before doing anything else. They get an hour each on the computer with extra minutes later in the day for good behavior. They have to read before tv. Lunch by noon. Snack in the afternoon. Dinner gets started cooking by 5 as long as we are home. We actually eat at home and not out. AND bedtime by 9 (ok 930...it is summer after all) with teeth brushed and heads washed.
Our schedule is not the only thing in order. My keys have their own hook. My purse has its own spot. Dirty clothes go in a hamper. Laundry gets folded and put away. Dishes get put in the dishwasher as soon as we are done with them. The dishwasher gets unloaded as soon as the heat cycle is done (unless we are sleeping.) I always know where my scissors are.
This neatness has develop out of need. Out of need to keep the kakkerlakker away.
It is my goal to keep this system up so that when I move back to my beloved house in the spring, the kids will understand the need for organization and neatness. It is a good feeling.
So I am sure some of you are wondering what the resulting meal is from the above mise en place. Well, I will share.
Last week, I made a big pot of white rice. I then put the leftovers in quart sized freezer bags for later use. The sausage was from a larger package of sausage that we had on buns last week. I cut up and froze the rest. All I had to do today was dice red and green peppers and half an onion. (I have frozen these in the past as well, but not this time.)
I added two tablespoons of oil to a heavy bottom pan and sauteed onions and then added the peppers. Before the onions were clear, I added the sausage to the pan and about half of the package of Sazon seasoning package and stirred it well. When the meat was cooked and the vegetables were well "sweated," I added the frozen rice. (Note: if you know ahead of time that you will be needing the frozen rice, stick it in the fridge so it isn't a rock.) I poured 1/4 cup water in the pan so nothing would stick (still getting used to a gas stove), and put the lid on the pot to steam the frozen rice. After 5 minutes, I stirred the rice but it was still frozen. Another 1/4 cup of water was added, the lid on and waited another 5 minutes. The rice was mostly defrosted and I began stirring everything together. (Salt & Pepper to taste.) A final 5 minutes and dinner was ready. I used this time to heat up a can of ranch style beans.
Other than the canned beans, which in the future I will make and freeze as well, everything was food that I cooked. It was completed in 30 minutes. This is the same as a pot of Zatarain's Jambalaya rice (I love their rice) but without the additives, and I control the sodium and spiciness.
Think about any one pot meal you can buy in a box and think about how you can make it yourself in the same amount of time with less preservatives and similar effort. Use your Saturday or Sunday afternoons to prepare the mise en place for these things and freeze them. This is my goal for the rest of the year.
What do you do to keep organized, not just in the kitchen, but in your home as well?