Olya’s Simple Dinner in 90 Minutes Recipe

So. The other day I was craving homemade macaroni and cheese. I wanted something really cheesey and also something I could make fast. Somewhere I had seen a recipe of Rachel Ray’s for one of her 30-Minute Meals. Mac and Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli. Perfect – sounds great. A dish I really feel like eating, ready in a decent amount of time. Except that I must have forgotten I am in Moscow. And I am not used to electric stove tops (pictured below – notice the lovely bigger kitchen in our new apt)

I’ll spoil the end of the story for you now. It didn’t take me only 30 minutes to make this dish. It took a little longer…ok, like 3 times longer.

Now, as I have menionted before, some products come in such ridiculous variety, and even though I can read and understand Russian, I somehow can’t figure out which one I need to get.

For instance, yesterday I was trying to find a reasonably priced laundry detergent for colored clothes. I was standing there looking at this aisle of approximately one billion varieties of laundry detergent with my mouth gaping open. I was scanning all the words, but most of them weren’t telling me if it would be ok for color. Everytime I found something that said ‘color’ it was from the more expensive brands. I knew the cheaper brands had to have color options but why couldn’t I find them?! What do all these little pictures mean??! (Why is it that all European things explain everything in little pictures. I never understand the washing instructions on European clothes! My washing machine is not the shape of a triangle!!)

There was a worker in the aisle, organizing or cleaning or something, and I was started to get self conscious and sweaty. I had to have been standing there for at least 15 minutes. What must he think of me? Maybe I should just ask him? OMG…three people have already entered the aisle, found what they needed and left…

So same goes for flour. Which I needed for the Mac and Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli recipe. There is flour recommended for bread, flour for blini, flour with yeast, whole wheat flour…and I forget the rest. But there is a lot. And even though they have a rice that is just called “regular rice” on the bag (for the Americans I guess) there is nothing that says “regular flour”. So I grabbed flour which I believe might have been recommended for bread. Thinking if they have the yeast and the whole wheat flour this could be plain white flour. Right? Wrong. It looked more like whole wheat. But it didn’t say wheat on it. I know that word in Russian. Ugh. So it goes without saying that my roux for the recipe was kind of weird and chalky or some other texture I can’t seem to find the word for:

I have a hard time heating cream or milk on the electric stove top also…or it might just be that the products themselves are different than I am used to. I had to make the roux and fiddle with the milk several separate times which all added up and ruined the ‘quick’ appeal of this recipe. One time I turned away for a second and all the milk came boiling out over the top of the pot and all over the burners. Disastrous.

All in all though the recipe came out ok – except the roux made it taste a little bready, I thought. I used peas instead of broccoli which is a good alternative if your in the mood for one over the other.

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3 Responses to “Olya’s Simple Dinner in 90 Minutes Recipe”

  1. Oh wow! Easier way, not as creamy but also good, layer cooked macaroni (how many varieties of those are there?) with shredded cheese, or cheeses, pour in a cup of whole milk whisked together with a couple of eggs and bake. Comes out more custardy thancreamy, but pretty yummy. Can you get white truffle oil? Goes so well with Mac and cheese. So do chunks of ham :). Funny how most creative culinary thoughts come with lent looming just around the corner.
    Would love to see flour selection. Why not ask one of your new Moscow friends what they use for thickening sauces? And we constantly hit upon shows on Russian tv about demystifying supermarket products.
    Your Mummy

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