Taking the House by Storm

The trials and tribulations of the average gal trying to navigate through life, love and the pursuit of domestic bliss.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Good Food, Good Friends, Good Times

You don’t realize how many good friends (and relatives) you have – and what a crappy one you’ve been – til you have your first baby. It’s amazing how many people want to come over and bring you food (and do your laundry if they’re related). Tonight was another fine example.

Our friends Jean and Andy came over. Jean and I both married card-carrying geeks, so the boys wanted to play one of their new war games, Crusader Rex, and Jean was kind enough to want to cook us dinner.

They arrived mid-afternoon with bags full of groceries, a 12-pack of beer, a 2-liter of caffeine free Coke and a bottle of Jack Daniels, my sorely missed personal favorite elixir. Jean fired up some appetizers and provided Elvis-inspired peanut butter & banana Reese’s cups. Very thoughtful.

For dinner, she made a delicious but simple pork chop dinner that will be added to my repertoire. While I don’t know the name of it, I’ll try and remember how to make it so you, too, can enjoy this tasty, easy, healthy meal. Jean, please correct me if I’m wrong.

Start with a 9 x 13 inch pan or something similar. Add a cup of rice, an envelope of Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix (practically as versatile as cream of mushroom soup) and 3 cups of water. Mix slightly, then place 6-8 boneless pork chops on top and cover the pan with foil.

Bake at 350˚ for 40 minutes, then remove foil and finish cooking for an additional 20 minutes. Jean also nuked some Birds Eye Steamfresh veggies of the asparagus, gold & white corn, and baby carrots variety – only 5 minutes to perfection.

The meal was delicious and couldn’t have been simpler, not to downplay Jean’s efforts. It’s definitely a keeper, right up there with the Sweet & Sour Chicken recipe I make which also utilizes Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix.

And to cap off the evening, Jean made a diet soda cake for dessert. I can’t remember if I mentioned this delicious, low-fat wonder before. I first read about it on the WMAG (Working Mothers Against Guilt) blog.

Basically, you take any cake mix and add a can of diet soda. That’s it. No eggs. No oil. No extra fat. You simply mix the two ingredients together and bake according to the box instructions based on your pan. Then you add a dollop (or more, if you’re like me) of Lite Cool Whip to ‘ice’ the individual slices. I made it for the first time for Jean and Andy using a dark chocolate cake mix and a can of diet Dr. Pepper, though I believe I may have baked it longer. Just use the old toothpick test.

Anyway, back to tonight’s dessert. Jean used a yellow cake mix and a can of diet Sunkist to give it that orange creamcicle flavor (you can experiment with your own flavors). And she took the Cool Whip one step further by adding a teaspoon of vanilla to the 8 oz. container, a trick she picked up from Sandra Lee. Yummy! I could eat the whole thing.

Thanks, Jean and Andy, for taking such good care of us today. And thanks to everyone who has helped us out one way or the other since our son was born 5 ½ weeks ago. Thanks to your fine example, I’ll be a better person next time one of my friends has a baby.


  • At 7:18 PM, Blogger divaqueen said…

    Thank you for all those kind words! I promised you I would & it was a pleasure spending time w/you guys! I should say it was nice spending time w/you & Ian since our geeky husbands were in the kitchen playing their board game the majority of the evening! ;) You are certainly very welcome!

    You have the pork chop recipe exactly & no offense was taken as to the simplicity of this meal. I am ALL about easy put-together meals! It's very cleverly called (& not by me!) Easy Pork Chop & Rice Bake. I wonder how long it took to think of that name?!?

    Thanks again for the Indian food the next week!


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