I have high aspirations of being one of those insanely organized people. The people who always have a plan and who never realize, halfway through making a meal, for instance, that they are lacking a key ingredient. You know the type.
One thing I do in pursuit of this organizational nirvana is meal plan for the week. Usually on Sundays, I will come up with a plan for what to make for dinner each night and grocery shop for the week. (Okay, “the week” is generous. By Friday morning, the fridge is empty and we’re grasping at straws for a few days. But Monday – Thursday, I channel my inner Martha Stewart hard core.) When coming up with our meal plan, I try to take into consideration any plans we may have for the week. For example, I have class on Tuesday nights. Dinner is leftovers or something I can throw in the crock pot. Taco Tuesdays have been moved to Taco Thursdays for the duration of this class. For the other nights, I’ll pick a favorite stand-by or try a new recipe. It should be noted here that the factor I don’t always consider is the weather.
This week, I decided to try a new recipe on Wednesday. I had no plans for the evening, and the spring weather would make grilling outside a nice alternative. I clearly forgot that I live in Texas. As I drove home, I was alerted to the tornado and thunderstorm warnings on the other side of the metroplex. I was undeterred.
Game plan for tonight: tandoori chicken. A completely new recipe, and one calling for chicken thighs, which I’m less comfortable cooking than chicken breast or a whole chicken. There was a simple marinade that I threw together, and added the chicken to sit in for a few hours. When it was close to time to grill it, I began making the paleo naan – an Indian bread for my husband, the word’s greatest lover of bread. Then he came home and enlisted my help in a little musical chairs with our cars, in preparation for the oncoming storms. So again, it was the perfect night to fire up the grill.
The recipe called for grilling the chicken for 6 minutes per side. I also remembered, upon opening the fridge, that I had picked up some eggplant because “that sounds like something that might be tasty grilled.” This is where my hope of an easy, low mess meal began to go awry. While the grill heated up, I sliced the eggplant and washed the mushrooms that I had also apparently bought to include with dinner. I decided to throw them all on one of the grill pans we got as a wedding gift.
The grill was set a few minutes later, so I set out the chicken and went to toss veggies on the pan. When 6 minutes was up, I turned the chicken over and added the veggie pan to the grill. Now is when I make clear that I’ve never grilled vegetables and have no idea how to do so. A few minutes later, this resulted in me using my misto to spray olive oil on them while they were grilling. That’s completely normal, right? Obviously, every time I opened the grill, some of the heat would escape. I began to notice that the thermometer on the outside wasn’t heating back up when I closed it, though. After some very calculated inspecting (read: me poking around looking at stuff with no clue), I realized that the flame had gone out. Shoot. The propane was out.
This was clearly throwing a wrench in my plan for an easy dinner with little cleanup. I had a backup propane tank in the garage and swapped it out with the old one. The grill did relight, but it never heated all the way back up again. This completely threw the “6 minutes per side” for a loop, and I had no idea how much longer things needed to cook. At this point, I’d been dealing with dinner for about 45 minutes. Rather than figure out what was wrong with the grill, I called an audible and decided to finish cooking the chicken inside. Since the whole ordeal took so long, the naan was now cold. I tossed it in the microwave, which brought out a sticky consistency that was less than pleasing. (My husband said it wasn’t so much his favorite, but he did consume all of his, so who knows?)
Eventually we sat down to eat, my plate assembled with delicious chicken (the recipe was a definite keeper) and flavorless, dry, grilled eggplant and mushrooms. My grilled produce game needs work. I did take a few pictures, but Photos on my computer is currently dysfunctional, so you’ll have to use your imagination. What’s your latest moment of throwing-in-the-towel, scrapping-a-plan-altogether give up? Share below, so we can commiserate.