Tonight’s dinner was delicious, even though I cooked it myself, I don’t mind telling you I did a fine job. I don’t cook everyday as sometimes we take the simple route and eat ham and cheese sandwiches, peanut-butter and jam sandwiches, a tuna and cheese melt, or sometimes the ham and tuna is left off and we stick with a plain grilled cheese. Yes, we do eat a lot of sandwiches because we are usually on the run – to soccer practice, a soccer game, to drop off or pick up one huckleberry or another from some event or gathering of young people.
But I do cook meals, quite often because we dine out only when there is a blue moon. There are various reasons we nourish ourselves at home with home prepared and cooked meals; for one, the nourishment itself. When I do the cooking, I know where, for the most part, the food came from, how it is prepared and cooked and what is in it.
I agree it is simpler and most American’s do prefer to eat out as a treat for themselves and their families, but I believe the “treating” has turned into the standard. The second reason is the substandard food that one receives when dining out, unless one eats every meal at The Capital Grille, Sullivan’s or Morton’s, trust me when I say the food is really substandard. Lastly is the health concern of the preservatives, cholesterol, sodium and fats and more that are hidden in industrialized restaurant food. I also think it is cleaner to eat at home. Of course, not with the mess I make in a kitchen, but the food itself is cleaner.
There are exceptions to every rule, group celebrations or a get together that one is invited to or that is planned by others when eating out or consuming food that is prepared by others in an industrial environment is unavoidable, but for the most part, we eat at home and I do the cooking.
Tonight’s dinner, and I am sorry I didn’t photograph it, consisted of boneless chicken breasts lightly breaded and pan-fried with garlic salt, pepper and sauteed onions. On the side was fresh steamed broccoli and a baked potato loaded with butter, sour cream, bacon, cheese and a dash of salt. The boys drank milk and we drank homemade iced tea, not from a tea maker. From the minute the onions hit the sizzling pan the wafting aromas brought my family to the border of the kitchen asking how long until dinner was ready. Such a compliment their impatience can sometimes be!
While preparing the mail course of our dinner I scanned the pantry for what could be for dessert. I pulled a regular boxed cake mix and prepared it. Too long it would take at this point for the cake to cook and cool enough to be just slightly warm before we would be ready for it so I pulled the over-sized muffin pans from the shelf.
The trick I have found with not only muffin tins but cake pans as well is that I pre-heat them in the oven, not just the oven itself. This way when the batter goes into the sprayed or greased and flowered pans it has a head start on becoming the same temperature as the oven setting. It also sticks less, for me anyway.
With the batter poured and the tins in the oven, we sat down to enjoy our freshly prepared meal. Earlier in the afternoon, I had purchased fresh strawberries and those were already chilling in the icebox mixed with sugar to create a glazed liquid coating them and making their redness shine.
Dinner complete and muffins out of the oven, I only slightly let them cool before taping the pan on a cloth to gently loosen them from their form. Still looking around for something to make these little treats more than plain strawberry muffins, I reached for the chilled strawberries and powered sugar.
A slight, or not so slight, coating of powered sugar went on first, then came the strawberries in all their glory with their own glaze and just a tap of powered sugar to top it off. Whipped topping would have been nice but then again, it might have been too much for this simple dessert.
The muffins could be eaten plain, with powered sugar, with strawberries or with powdered sugar and strawberries. The choices were up to the individuals, but they all chose the loaded muffin as did I. It was scrumptious – still warm on the inside but not too hot as to melt the powdered sugar and here is the finished result!