Saturday, July 30, 2011

"housekeeping" and caponata

several times recently i have been asked how i get it all done.  to which i respond, if you think i do then you aren't looking hard enough!  but there is something i came up with quite a while ago (like years) that i have really started to finally use and it has given me some amount of freedom and the couple of friends i have shared with really liked it so i thought i'd share it with you all as well and you can take it, leave it or laugh..any are acceptable!  

i am a creative nut with some major type a tendencies! i can't function in clutter; i just can't. even though i took the time to set this up to make life easier i have to confess i find myself not following along more than i do but i am working on it. i thought when hadley was born that it would just be so easy to get everything done and keep everything clean because "i would be home all the time"!  well i was major wrong! so in order to break it down and make it easier for me i came up with this...

a calendar of housekeeping!  i looked at the chores that needed to be kept up with and how often i, personally, thought they needed to be done in my house and here you have it.  like i mentioned, i am not religious about following it but am getting much better.  even when i get behind, which i currently am, it is mentally good for me because i know if i follow along, at the end of the week everything will be done!  i don't have to stress looking for a 3-4 hour stretch to get the house clean!  i just have to take my day's task and it will all fall into place.  i truly can't tell you how helpful this is to me!  i also took the "spring cleaning" type chores and added them to the bottom...that way i don't have to waste a day or two each year making sure they get done!  seriously, so helpful and look...i even have a "vacation" each december! 

eggplant caponata and herbed grits
i just looked up the exact definition of caponata; i have made this a few times this summer but still had no idea the actual meaning!  according to the nytimes it is a sweet and sour version of ratatouille and they say it is a good topping for bruschettta which i am sure jay and i both agree with and will be trying next time we need something for a party!  but for our purposes and dinner, i have paired it with herbed grits (original recipe calls for polenta but let's be honest, i live in alabama and i have grits on hand!). sorry there are no pictures...i covered that i can not take appetizing photos of food so until i get a handle on that y'all will have to use your imagination. 

eggplant caponata
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T jarred chopped garlic (or about 2 cloves fresh)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium sweet onion, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/2 small can chopped black olives
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 medium firm eggplant, diced
28 oz can diced tomatoes
14 oz can crushed tomatoes
Preheat a large, deep pot over medium heat.  Add oil and garlic.  After the oil and garlic have heated, add vegetables and stir well to coat with oil.  Then add raisins.  Salt your egglplant and add to the pot and stir well.  Increase the heat a bit and add tomatoes and stir well to combine.  Cover pot and cook 15-20 minutes (until vegetables are tender).  Keep an eye on things and if it is showing signs of sticking to the pot, decrease heat back to medium. 
herbed grits
3 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup quick cook grits
4 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 cup grated "italian blend" cheese
2 T butter
salt and pepper to taste
Bring chicken stock to a boil.  Add grits and stir well to combine.  Grits should cook up in 5-7 minutes, stir frequently to prevent sticking.  Add butter, herbs, salt, pepper and cheese, stirring until cheese and butter are melted and combined. 
Serve caponata atop grits and enjoy!  I would serve along with a french bread and maybe a salad.  So fresh and yummy!  It literally makes a ton; you will have leftovers!  So...dinner for night number 2...
caponata and chicken pasta bake
1 1/2 qts of prepared caponata
4 chicken breasts or about 3 cups shredded chicken*
1/2 lb of pasta of choice (bowtie, rotini, orzo, etc)
1/2 cup grated cheese (i use an italian blend)
1/2 cup grated parmesean
*1T olive oil and 1T butter if cooking the chicken yourself

Reheat caponata in microwave or on stove top.  I salt and pepper 4 chicken breasts and cook them in 1T melted butter and 1T olive oil on medium to medium high heat for about 5-6 minutes per side.  After cooking, I shred and or chop to add to the caponat and pasta. Cook pasta, drain and return to pot.  Toss with 1/2 cup parmesean, add caponata and stir to combine.  Transfer pasta and vegetables to 9x13 baking dish.  Top with shredded italian cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes (just until cheese is melted).  *Can also add 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes if desired.

*optional 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes added when you add garlic and 2oz capers added with the raisins but i didn't use the red pepper flakes the first time because of the girls and didn't think it lacking and i don't care for capers so i left those out as well.  
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  1. You mind emailing me that calendar? Seriously. I just need to change girls to boys.

  2. I think you and I are kindred spirits, Sara! I have a weekly housekeeping schedule, too! Which I am ALWAYS behind on, but it really does help!!

  3. Oh, but to add to my comment above... my schedule has the 8 "main rooms" of my house on it. And I designate 2 rooms/day to clean. Not like super duper clean. But, vacuum, dust, pick up clutter, etc. So that the weekends are "free." I usually pair an easy and hard room together (ex: guest room & kitchen) so I won't be overwhelmed. :)