Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Dave's Easy Oven Meal Thing

A nicely cooked Easy Oven Meal Thing

Did you ever read Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey? It's the story of a family with twelve children that focuses on the flamboyant father, Frank Gilbreth, Sr. During my childhood, I must have read the book a dozen times. I liked it mostly because it was charming and funny and told the story of a family that looked like it would have been fun to belong to. Another big draw was learning about efficiency. The parents were two of the world's first efficiency experts and advised big companies on how to increase their productivity.

I especially loved that when Frank Senior went into a factory he'd ask to see the laziest worker because that worker always did things the easiest and fastest way. {Aside: While this has given me a certain pride in my laziness, it hasn't been enough that I mention laziness as my main weakness in job interviews. Since I can't honestly say that my main weakness is compulsive, perfectionist workaholism, I say, "Je ne suis pas vraiment bilingue," with my best accent of course, not the accent I use in Gatinueau to get people to switch to English.}

I am lazy . This means that when I give you a recipe, it is from someone who thinks about the easiest way to do things or who strives for the lowest effort-to-product ratio.

My Easy Meal Oven Thing is tasty, nutritious and satisfying. Perhaps not as tasty as my fried rice or jambalaya, but hands down, the Easy Oven Meal Thing has the lowest effort-to-product ratio of anything eaten at the ScrimChateau short of Ricardo's Pizza.

Instructions for Dave's Easy Meal Oven Thing

In a 9"x13"x2" oven pan put:

    Just the rice and protein here
  • 1.5 cups (0.35 litre) of dry brown rice (Can you use white rice instead? I imagine you can, but you'll get no support from me for that substitution. [a] Brown rice is better for you. [b] White rice cooks faster, but if you're using chicken or eggplant, you want a longer cooking time.)
  • Protein (I often use 12 chicken thighs as illustrated here, but also will use chopped boneless chicken, chunks of pork, beef or mutton and even fish. If you're not a meat eater, I bet a can or two of chickpeas would be great.)
  • Chopped vegetables (Today I used eggplant and green pepper; I often use zuccini, I would only avoid vegetables that don't do well with 1.5 to 2 hours of cooking time.)
  • Sauce (Pictured here is President's Choice Madras sauce, PC has several other Indian curries that work well, but there's no need to stick with PC or even curry. Italian, Tennessee barbecue, Thai, a peanut butter sauce [example described here], you name it, they're all good.)
  • Ready to be covered and put in the oven
  • ~3 cups of water (Or less, depending on how liquidy your sauce was and how much water is in the vegetables and protein you've used. If you're not sure, go with the full 3 cups because it's better to have it come out soupy than burned and crispy.)

Cover the pan and bake in a 400°F (200°C) oven for 1.5 to 2 hours.


JuliaR said...

I adored that book! I had a paperback copy and I must have read it a dozen times myself. There were three kids in our family so it did give you a look at what life might have been like if there were a lot more of us. Funny how their life seemed more fun than mine with only two sisters. And I loved the efficiencies! There are things I do to this day that are based on his ideas of efficiency (and I am only a little bit obsessive compulsive!). I regret that I never learned morse code too.

Fingers said...

Pictures seldom gross me out, but thanks anyways.The end result looks very appetising (without the chicken, though).

zoom said...

What time is dinner?