Torrential rains, floods, snow, frigid temperatures. During the last three weeks we've had all four. It started the third week of December. Our office building has five stories. The lower level has doors outside and elevator access, but no stair access. It's where the mechanicals for the building are. The problem is that when Fall Creek across the street floods, our lower level is below the water level - and so is our parking lot as you can see in the second photo. The third photo is the same shot a bit later... In spite of some pretty hefty flood doors, it still floods. In fact this time was the worst flood I've ever seen. The waters came to within six inches of the tops of the doors.
Of course, that meant the heat pumps and the elevator were out. Getting to and from the office meant three flights of stairs. Annie the dog was not amused. Neither were we. Finally, the elevator started working again on New Year's Eve. We were thrilled. Then, the weather folks started talking about snow. Lots of snow. Followed by bitter cold. Did I mention that during all of this our office was under construction? We were living with a mell of a hess. Drywall dust. Noise. People in and out.
We needed to have the humongous conference table moved from it's temporary location into the new conference room. And, the admin desk up front had to be moved. Movers were the answer. Then, it snowed about five inches and they rescheduled. For a Saturday. At 7:30 am. Fortunately, they showed up because Sunday it started snowing. And snowing. And snowing. We got 11.4 inches at our house. Fortunately, Connie made a house for our three-legged feral cat, Smokey. I jury-rigged a feeding area. And, Connie plowed a path to the feeding area. Smokey was in business! Then, Monday the temp dropped to -12. Windchills were -40. The city put an emergency travel only edict into effect. They didn't have to encourage me! I was more than happy to work at home. All of my appointments were equally happy to reschedule.
Friday evening I knew what was coming. We had to go to the grocery anyway so I bought provisions to make and freeze a bunch of meals. Made a list of 30 potential dishes. Sunday morning about 8:00 I dug in. Chicken Caesar Lasagna. Chicken Green Bean Casserole. Spaghetti sauce. Lasagna. Chicken Elegante. Chicken Chili. Chicken Stroganoff. Beef Stroganoff. Black Bean Soup. Lou's BBQ Beef Stew. Three days later, we have a stocked freezer at the office. If there aren't leftovers there will now be decent meals ready to do. Things with vegetables even if I've not been to the grocery to get salad fixings. Actually, today we dug in. Last night we had some of the beef stew. Today for lunch we had chicken green bean casserole. Last night was a Mrs Huber evening. We had her cole slaw and her chicken livers. And, Jane's rice. This evening, leftover Jane's rice and some stroganoff. And, more Mrs. Huber's cole slaw. YUM!
1 c Uncle Ben's original converted rice
2 c liquid - 8 oz or so of white wine, mushrrom juice plus water
1 4 oz can mushrooms
1 package dry onion soup mix
Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
Lou's BBQ Beef Stew
1/2 - 1 lb beef cubes (I cut typical beef stew meat cubes in half)
1 T olive oil or vegetable oil
salt and pepper
1 46 oz can beef broth
1/4 c ketchup
1 T mustard
1 clove garlic minced
2 t Worcestershire sauce
2 medium onions, cubed
1 large green pepper, coarsely chopped
8 oz button mushrooms, halved
Salt and pepper the beef. Brown the beef cubes in the olive oil. Brown them in batches so you brown them and don't steam them. Remove the browned cubes to a paper towel lined plate to drain. In a stockpot, combine the beef broth, ketchup, mustard, garlic, Worcestershire and Tabasco. Add the browned beef and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add the onion cubes and simmer for another 40 minutes. Finally, add the green pepper and mushrooms and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve in a bowl, plain or over brown rice.