Saturday, May 22, 2010

Getting out of my own way..

So, I have a true confession of a hot mess. The hot mess was me, the place was my kitchen in Dayton, MT and the time was last Friday. I had decided I was going to make dinner for my grandma and mom. I had been working my butt off all week driving myself crazy, which turns out to be a full time job. I decided I was going to make a healthier Salmon Alfredo with low fat cream cheese, and artichokes which is a family favorite.

Now to preface this, I will start by saying, I was completely exhausted and teettering on the edge of my own emotional cliff for various reasons. Instead of telling anyone or being reasonable and asking for help, I kept my yapper shut and my butt in the kitchen. This will turn out to not have been the wisest of decisions. I popped the salmon in the oven to bake and started the sauce. I was frazzles and exhausted, but kept on moving forward. Then I started the water for the pasta and placed the artichokes in a pot on the back burner to steam.

As dinner progressed things were less and less fluid and I knew things weren't turning out well. The phone rang, I answered distracted and handed it off and returned to my pots. I kept cooking and got close to serving time when my mom came in to check on my progress. She taste tested everything and discovered that I had undercooked the noodles, overcooked the salmon, and almost ruined the artichokes. The news of the near fatal dinner sent me on a swan dive over my emotional cliff, which landed in a bell flop on my bed in a puddle of tears. Yeah, not my proudest moments.

My mom came to the rescue and fixed the meal. It turned out delicious and I managed to pull myself together long enough to eat.  I have included the recipes (fixed up) below, but more importantly I am going to share my mom's dinner rescue tequniques that ended up saving dinner. It just goes to show, that although the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, it's important to find your damn shoes before you start walking!

Mom's Fixes:

Undercooked noodles already dressed in alfredo sauce:

Add milk to the pot and cook over low heat until the noodles soften. Continue to add milk until the noodles are at the desired doneness. This worked like a charm.

Overcooked salmon:

Wrap in foil and add the juice from one lemon and a tiny pinch of olive oil and wrap in the foil and leave in a warm place to sit and absorb the juices. This also worked like a charm and made the salmon return to it's juiciness!

Undercooked Artichokes:

Cut in half to cook faster and place in a microwave safe steaming bowl with a lid. Add water to the bottom of the bowl and cover. Microwave on high for 5 minutes and check. Continue to microwave on high until middle leaves pull out easily.

Frazzled cook:

A couple of tissues, a helping hand, and a nice big glass of Cabernet!

Now on to the recipes that will work for you!

Salmon Alfredo

2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup fat free half and half
1 tablespoon Italian seasonings
1/4 cup parmesean cheese

Add olive oil and garlic to a medium saute pan. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until garlic become fragrant. Add the cream cheese, cream, parmesean cheese, and italian seasonings and continue to cook until the mixture is creamy and melted down. This will be added to the linguini noodles.

Cook the linguini noodles according to the package directions and strain. Add the sauce to the noodes.

For the Salmon:

1 filet of salmon
2 tablospoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh or dried dill
Pinch of salt and pepper

Place the salmon on a foil lined baking dish. Pour olive oil, lemon juice, and dill over the top and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Make sure to watch carefully. You will know it's done when it begins to sweat white beads out of the top of the flesh.

To serve: Dish a plate of the linguini alfredo and top with a healthy chunk of salmon. This is simple and delicious!

How to Steam an artichoke:

Go straight to the microwave and don't mess with anything else. Cover the artichokes completely either with plastic wrap or microwave safe bowl with a lid and place about a 1/4 of a cup of water at the bottom. For 4 artichokes microwave on high for about 12 minutes. This should do it, but always test by pulling on the inner leaves and making sure they come out easily.

Melt a little butter on the side with garlic and Italian seasonings to dip and these are my all time favorite thing! I realized how much I loved these when I was in college and realized that I could buy whatever I want at the grocery store and found myself buying artichokes almost every time!

Mental Health Benefit: Do yourself a favor and give yourself a break every once and a while. Do what I didn't and admit that you aren't superman or superwoma (at least all the time). We all have our own kryptonite. Ask for help and accept it. Don't ever let your self get as ragged as I let me get. It wasn't a pretty picture!

I am still recovering from my kitchen disasters, but at least I can laugh about it now!

~ "Too Lovely" Hot Messes in our kitchen

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