There seems to always be some kind of excitement around our house. With our combined families of children and grandchildren, there’s always something funny, dramatic, big, exciting, crazy, fantastic, and sometimes traumatic going on. Oh, and we can’t forget my wonderful husband, Don. He’s one of the “big” kids, too.
One such story involves one of our sons leaving his car keys at a place of business. I title this story “The Son without a Spare.”
As the story goes, he went inside a phone store to talk with someone about his cell phone acting up. He placed his keys down on the counter to show the representative what was happening with his phone. After a bit, he left the store to go into one next door.
After leaving that business, which was at closing, he walked to his car and realized he didn’t have his keys. He turned to go back into the phone store only to see it had also closed. He glanced through the window to see his car keys lying on the counter, right where he’d left them.
He called us and told us of his plight, and that he was not going to leave his car there unattended but would be spending the night in it. Enter “worry and concern” mode for us parents. Even though he’s grown, and in the military, we still were restless over him spending the night in his car in a shopping center parking lot. He wasn’t safe and tucked in bed, as all parents want their children to be, right?
Feeling sorry for him, we took him dinner, a few drinks and snacks, and a pillow, for which he was very thankful. We said our goodnights, told him to call if he needed anything, and left.
However, he didn’t stay in his car all night. Although it was one of the cooler nights we’ve been having in Little Rock, it had rained, and it was so humid, he couldn’t stand it. So, around midnight, he walked home (which was only about four miles away).
The next morning, he went back to retrieve his car keys and car, which made it just fine through the night. He immediately went and had a spare key made.
This next short story is about Don and one of his cooking experiences. I title this one, “Don’s Crunchy Mac ‘n’ Cheese.”
So, I’m sure most of you have prepared one of the small, microwaveable Kraft Mac ‘n’ Cheese cups before. You know, the ones with the plastic lid you peel off, then you remove the foil packet of cheese, add water, and microwave the contents for about three and a half minutes. After that, you add the cheese, stir, and you have a bowl of warm and yummy Mac ‘n’ Cheese.
Well, one night last week, Don had the munchies. We’d stayed up late, and his stomach had started growling. He told me he was going to go see what was in the pantry.
He left, and was gone...and gone...and gone. I couldn’t imagine what he was doing but I was too tired to get up to see.
After a while, I started smelling something burning. It smelled like popcorn burning in the microwave. He finally came back to the bedroom and had a bowl of Mac ‘n’ Cheese. I told him I thought he had made popcorn because I’d smelled it burning.
He said, “No. It was the Mac ‘n’ Cheese burning.” That got my attention. I sat up in bed, and pursued the remark.
“How do you burn microwave Mac ‘n’ Cheese?” I asked. “Didn’t you read the directions?”
“I did, but I guess I messed them up.” He was laughing. “I didn’t add the water to the macaroni before I put it in the microwave. So the macaroni burned.”
I peered over into his bowl of...stuff...and saw some cheesy-looking yellow water that had hard little macaroni just sitting on the bottom of the bowl.
I told him you were supposed to add the water first, up to the line, then microwave it. He replied, “I understand that now, but didn’t realize it when I was making it.”
Don is not a wasteful kind of guy – so he ate every burned, crunchy bite of that macaroni. This is something I admire about him because I would have tossed it. I kept telling him I would be glad to make him another bowl, but he insisted he would eat what he had made. Even though it was the grossest macaroni and cheese he’d ever had.
Now for the recipe. To readers like my husband (those without much cooking experience): If you are not familiar with the stove or microwave, please seek out help before attempting this!
Sweet pineapple and chicken kabobs
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks (1-1/2 inch)
2 cups summer squash
1 each red and green pepper, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
3 tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
Heat grill to medium-high heat. Thread chicken alternately with pineapple, squash, and peppers onto eight long wooden skewers, using two skewers for each kabob. Mix barbecue sauce and juice concentrate; brush half evenly onto kabobs. Grill eight to 10 minutes or until chicken is done, turning and brushing occasionally with remaining sauce
Note: Soak wooden skewers in water 30 minutes before using. Wrap ends with foil before grilling to prevent them from burning. If using metal skewers, use just one metal skewer when assembling each kabob.