Dinner Rebooted

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

The hands of the clock move closer and closer to five. I know it’s time for me to head into the kitchen to begin the process known as dinner. I usually have a plan, so I can move straight to the refrigerator to pull out the necessary ingredients for the evening cuisine.

Tonight, it is Healthy Orange Chicken. I chop the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. I zest the rind of the orange and squeeze the fresh juice to make the sauce. Boxed fried rice is simmering in the skillet. The chicken has cooked, I’m adding the sauce. It seems there won’t be time to cook a few of the pot stickers I have in the freezer. Salads are ready. All that’s left is to thicken the chicken in the orange sauce.


The neighbor across the street has a foil pan with a smoked pork butt that he has just pulled from his Big Green Egg. He delivers this with thanks to my husband for helping him with cabinets he was installing in his garage. I think it is also thanks for clearing his driveway when we had our one slightly measurable snow this year. (Side note: we have a snowblower, my husband travels the street clearing all the driveways just because he can.)

The smoked smell fills the kitchen. I lift the lid to sample a bite. Mmmmm, pure heaven! I look at my nearly finished dinner. I look at the pan of pulled pork. I think, the pork would be better tonight, I can reheat the orange chicken tomorrow (and maybe get my pot stickers too). I wonder aloud, “What else could we have with the pork? I have some green beans I could cook.” My husband volunteers to peel potatoes for fried potatoes.

Reboot the dinner. Fried rice set aside. Orange chicken poured into a plastic container. Quick wash of the skillet for the potatoes. Clean and cut beans to cook. Twenty minutes later dinner is ready. Freshly smoked pulled pork wins over orange chicken. Now dinner is nearly ready for tomorrow. Sometimes, you just have to go with the flow.


The only part of dinner that stayed the same would be the cup of strawberries.

30 thoughts on “Dinner Rebooted

  1. What a well-earned treat! I could smell the pulled pork taking over the kitchen. It’s easy to see how your dinner plans changed. The gift was perfect timing, now you have plenty of leftovers to look forward to!

  2. I should have been at your house tonight! We had eggs. I was not feeling very creative today! The orange chicken did sound good so may have to give that a try. Nice neighbors!

  3. Melanie Roy says:

    I love reading about your dinner-making rituals. How unexpected and delightful to get a pulled pork meal! I would have done what you did and put the chicken aside for tomorrow. And tonight it’s an easy reheat for your dinner and DONE!

  4. Judy C. says:

    Well, if I had read your post earlier, I would have headed your way and been there for dinner! But, I’ll just have to do with whatever the cooks at church prepare for our After-School Mentoring Program. Both dinner sound delicious.

  5. Oh, Elsie, lovely dinner, wonderful picture. You’re a great example of Lance’s favorite mantra to me, “Be a willow, Ramona.” (Another version of go with the flow.) And now I want the recipe for Healthy Orange Chicken.

  6. Yummy! I love smoked port and my mouth is watering even as I write these words. Thanks for a delightful Slice that reminds me of how often I am apt to do the same, but for different reasons. Perhaps circumstances change late in the day that require a quick change of menu, or the chicken didn’t thaw enough, or I don’t have all the ingredients I thought I had. But like you, I am versatile and can quickly adapt after so many years of practice raising a family. But unlike you, I don’t have a neighbor to serve up such a special treat!

  7. Yes. We don’t have a smoker, but the end result is luscious. Going with the flow is the name of the game. It gave you 2 g in she’d meals, and a yummy read. Thanks and Bon AppΓ©tit !

  8. rosecappelli says:

    You always deliver delicious reading in more ways than one! I am clueless, however, as to what a big green egg is.

  9. Lynn says:

    Wow, Elsie, looks yummy! I always wondered about those big green eggs! Now I know πŸ˜‰ Enjoy the few extra minutes tonight!

  10. This piece reveals a lot about you and your husband. You are both kind and flexible, and you work well together. All this, gleaned from a short piece about dinner. A lovely character sketch, even if that wasn’t what you meant it to be.

  11. Katie Diez says:

    Sometimes a reboot is needed:) I love anything smoked on a Big Green Egg! I hope it was as delicious as it looks….and now you have dinner left for tonight! YUM!

    • The link to the recipe is now in the post. However, I just noticed that the recipe calls for three pounds of chicken, oops! I only use one pound, guess that’s why I only get about three servings, but I do love that it is saucy. So if you used more chicken, I’d increase the sauce ingredients.

  12. Elsie, the energy of the last paragraph with it’s short sentences had me right there with you rushing to reboot the dinner plans. I felt the urgency to sit down and enjoy your neighbor’s kindness.
    As I admired how you paired your rhythmic routine in your kitchen with your wondrous way with words, a line came that delivered: “All that’s left is to thicken the chicken…”

    Will we soon see you on a television cooking show?

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