Can you imagine needing to cook three meals a day? Every day. From scratch.
Here’s how naïve I am. When Merle and I were just married—and I was falling in love with cooking (well, with him, too, of course)—I was horrified when my mother-in-law said to me in a matter-of-fact way one day, “I’m kind of tired of cooking.” I’m sure I had been rattling on and on about how much fun cooking was.
What??!! This woman who made full and amazing meals without any perceptible rise in her blood pressure? I couldn’t believe it. Hey—I needed her to be my perpetual-cook icon out there ahead of me, showing me how it’s done with utter ease.
I did go off in a corner that day to try to calculate roughly how many meals she had made so far during her marriage.
(*Here’s the math in case you’re interested. When Merle and I got married, she had been married 31+ years. Multiply that by the number of days in a year and you get 11,315. Now multiply that by 3 meals a day. Staggering. And I was a little disappointed in her?!)
I’m pretty sure I have never cooked three meals a day. Scratch off breakfast. I can’t honestly call it cooking when I cut up fresh fruit and otherwise make sure that we’ve got bagels and cereal within easy reach.
That leaves a noon meal and an evening meal. It’s rare that I cook both. I cook what we call the “Real Meal.” And I usually make enough of it so we have leftovers. Then I box them up and label them so Merle—and our girls when they’re around—can put together their own “Light Meal” for the other meal of the day. (We have enough leftovers going that we don’t eat the same thing twice in a day, in case you’re worried.)
On October 1, we will publish a new cookbook that reminded me about all of this: Lizzie’s Amish Cookbook: Favorite recipes from three Amish cooks! I know these Amish women, and they are unbelievably resourceful, cooking three meals a day for lots of kids, too. No whining. Very little sweating.
So if you’re a little stuck about what to cook, or just worn out by it all, try this super-easy recipe. NOTICE that the chicken will need up to an hour and a half in the oven. But, hey, you can be doing something else while it’s baking away.
from Lizzie’s Amish Cookbook: Favorite recipes from three Amish cooks!
Makes 5-6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 1-1½ hours
1 cup flour
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
3 lbs. chicken legs and thighs
½ stick (4 Tbsp.) butter
1. Place flour, salt, and pepper in shallow bowl or pan. Mix together well.
2. Dip each piece of chicken in seasoned flour until well coated.
3. In large skillet, melt butter.
4. Carefully place floured chicken in melted butter. Fry chicken in batches rather than crowd the chicken. If the skillet is too full, the chicken will steam and not brown.
5. Fry until golden brown on both sides.
6. Line cake pan or jelly-roll pan with aluminum foil.
7. Transfer browned chicken to baking pan.
8. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1-1½ hours, or until chicken is tender.