Cooking timesavers

Three cooking tips for the new year

By Sandee Glib on January 3, 2008

Happy New Year to all! Of course I am assuming it will be. I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve while out of town and probably the only person in Tacoma not going to First Night. Large groups of non-drinking people scare me, so I avoid them by hiding in a cabin near Shelton. I need time to reflect on the past year while avoiding the fuzz. No one likes a drunk behind the wheel, so I stay put. Thankfully, there is a glimmer of civilization nearby, a bar with wi-fi so I can send this off to the powers that be before deadline.

This year’s celebration of the New Year will be three lovely days filled with food and libations. As many of you know, I like to cook and I like to drink. I wanted to end the year with an ethnic twist, so each day was a new country and a fabulous meal. Even though you will read this after New Year’s, I am hoping you will take something away with you from my little scribblin’s and utilize my exciting culinary discoveries.

While I do like to cook, I don’t like to slave. On rare occasions, I will make stock from scratch, homemade pie crust, and pickle my own vegetables, etc. This weekend, however, I’m making my life simple but darn tasty. First up was Saturday. When we arrived at the cabin, the husband discovered the breaker for the stove was blown, or so we thought. This sent me in a tailspin because damn it, I wanted to cook and eat with abandon.

Since there was no stove, my Night In India was stalled slightly until I found the rice cooker and wok. Did you know a wok is not just for Japanese cooking? On my last trip to Costco I found pre-made Tikka Masala in the refrigerated deli area. Now I make pretty good Indian food from scratch, but this stuff was awesome. Wok-up some chopped onion, tofu and peas, toss in the sauce, pour over seasoned basmati rice (cumin seeds, cloves, green cardamom and cinnamon stick) and you are set!

Well, later that night, I decided to throw caution to the wind and flip the breaker to the stove, just for giggles. It worked! My world became stable again, because Sunday night was Chicken Mexican Lasagna night, and my oven wasn’t going to let me down.

My next time-saver comes from Fred Meyer: their lemon pepper roasted chicken for $4.99. It is amazing. Pull all the meat off, shred it and add sour cream, cumin powder, chopped green chilies, cilantro, True Lime (another great time save), chopped onions, chopped Jalapeños and salt. Layer it like lasagna, but instead of noodles use tortillas, green enchilada sauce, and Mexican shredded cheeses. It’s yummy.

Now we have built up to New Year’s Eve dinner, and what better way to celebrate than to go Greek! Timesaver number three is pull out that old crock pot you got for your wedding in 1985, wipe off the dust, because this little gem will not let you down. I am not going to bore you with the ingredients, but I made pork stew with olives and green beans (you can look the recipe up on Be sure to look at the comments section, especially the last two from “leblaster”, that’s me (please don’t ask). I made the recipe a lot better than the original; trust me.

Well, deadline is fast approaching, so I must pack up my laptop and make the long walk to the neighborhood bar. I’m a little scared, but as long as I keep my nose in the laptop and my face in a pint, no one will talk to me. When I return to the cabin, the husband will be back from work (poor sap), we’ll pop the cork from a bottle of chilled Veuve Clicquot, and we will settle back with a nice plate of pork stew.

Eat out (or just eat something good) Tacoma. We need you love.

Sandee Glib has worked in the restaurant and hospitality industry for more than 12 years as a server, bartender, cook and owner. Her opinions are expressly her own and she is always right.