Monday, February 1, 2010

My Freezer Cooking Day Disaster

I don't even know how to begin! I guess I'll start at the beginning.

Today's Freezer Cooking Day began as planned; I wanted to start by putting the chicken in the crock pot so that it could cook while my friend and I did all our other cooking. It would have been easier if the chicken had defrosted at least partially before I had to wrestle it into the crock pot . No problem; I cooked it for an hour or two and THEN I removed the packet of giblets inside. Note to Self: Start defrosting chicken in the fridge waaaay earlier!

My friend came over and our 3 year old girls hit it right off and played quite a bit on their own. They also joined us briefly in the kitchen to help me make quesadillas. I put out part of the ingredients and they made 2 for their lunch and a few more before they got bored and went to do something else, leaving me to (happily) finish assembly on my own. At least one thing worked well. I'm glad we were prepared for the girls to ask if they could help!

I went to the pantry to get some tomato paste and discovered that I didn't have any, although I had lots of sauce. I decided not to risk a substitution because the sauce is so much thinner in consistency. Because my friend was there, I could have dashed out to the store kid-free, but fortunately my neighbor had a spare can. Problem solved. But, there's more...

Apparently my sinus cold over the weekend reduced my ability to do math. When your triple a recipe that requires 3 eggs, that means you need 9 eggs. I had 11 eggs total, so I thought all was well, until later this afternoon when I made the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and discovered I needed 4 eggs and only had 2 left. I had also planned to make a quiche, which requires... eggs! Ack! I was too embarrassed to go back to the first neighbor so I called a different neighbor and scored more eggs. Problem solved! But... there's more!

Since I plan to use the Salmon corks for this weekend's Brunch, I wanted to make them in the mini muffin pan. By tripling the recipe, I could get almost 4 batches of 24 mini salmon cakes out of the mixture, plenty for the party and then some. We ate part of the first batch with salad and clementines for a delicious lunch while I made the second batch. My friend left to pick up her son, and I baked the third batch. These are really easy to make, because you just combine the ingredients and bake. The challenging part is to wriggle them out of the mini muffin pan without messing them up, at least on the top. It was while I was unloading the third batch that I noticed this:

See that shiny black stuff? That stuff was NOT part of the ingredient list on my recipe. That is the non-stick bottom of my mini muffin pan.

Needless to say, I was quite alarmed--and it gets worse! I pulled the previous batches out of the freezer, and discovered tiny metal flakes on every single salmon cake. I had to call my friend to let her know that we had some 'extra minerals' included with our lunch, and I had to take every single cake that I had made...

and throw them away in the trash. (Oh, I can't look!)

So, the moral of the story is that non-stick mini muffin pans are bad. Very bad!

It's partially my fault because despite greasing the heck out of the pan, I have almost always had to use a little extra 'something' to loosen the sides of the muffin/quiche/tart/cookie and usually I have used a metal 'something' aka A Knife. Bad Idea! It damaged the non-stick layer, of course.

Anyway, the rest of the cooking went as smoothly as could be expected considering I was feeling pretty stressed out. Here is what I completed today:

  • Quesadillas: The girls ate two of these for lunch and we have 8 more frozen for future meals.
  • Cooked Whole Chicken: Measured, chopped, and packaged in two freezer bags for 2 upcoming meals. I also saved the chicken bones in my bone stash at the back of the picture and now I have enough bones to make bone soup! I also have that nice bowl of Chicken Stock, which I strained out of the crock pot. I will skim off most the fat as it cools then freeze the rest for a later meal.
  • Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins: The packages in the back contain mini loaves that we delivered to my generous neighbors. I also have 12 10 8 ummmm... there are 6 regular sized muffins left now. (It wasn't me. Mostly.) In addition, I found some mini muffin baking liners to make mini muffins in my deteriorating pan (looks like about 30 are left) before I toss it into the trashcan with the salmon cakes. (Unless I figure out how to recycle the metal pan. Hmmm...)
  • Salmon Cake Mixture: That pink stuff in the bowl is the salmon cake mixture (note: this is canned salmon which has already been cooked!) which I will refrigerate and cook as soon as I get another non-flaking mini muffin pan. Any suggestions on what type of pan I should get?
  • My friend had much better Freezer Day Karma than I did. She made a batch of Lentil Stew that smelled delicious and baked a small Apple Crisp. (Not pictured as she took them home to her non-cursed kitchen!)
What I didn't get to: The Quiche--because I underestimated my egg requirements. Instead my friend made this lovely dish:

Just kidding. This picture is because things took a little more time due to the girls occasionally needing attention. My friend helped them create these cute dinosaurs out of play dough, I played in the dark bathroom with flashlights making shadows on the wall, and we both attended a tea party at which there was a lot of 'real' water being poured, which required a number of towels.

Despite the minor setbacks and metallic food poisioning, a good time was had by all! You can read more freezer day cooking reports here at MoneySavingMom (I'm waiting for the linky to go up!).


wacki04 said...

Oh no! Well it wasn't a complete disaster, plus consider it a learning experience :) Not everything goes as planned. To help me out with baking like this, is that while I make a list of foods I want to make that day I also make a list of key ingredients with the amounts needed. That way when I'm at the store I know how much of each thing I need...and I know this because this has happened to me before, what can I say?? LOL!!!

Kim said...

So funny! I love it! It was my first baking day experience too. All went well, but I made really easy dishes. I was also lucky because my hubby was home from work and ran to the store for all the ingredients I forgot. LOL- better luck next time!

Cherish said...

Oh my! I've had days like that too. Your brain gets fried at some point and you make big messes and do dumb things. It sounds like you got some great experience and some yummy food that didn't fail. Better luck next time!