Sunday, December 16, 2012

From smushy to smashing!

December 16, 2012

My hubby and kids went Christmas shopping for me which left me on my own for lunch. I looked around in the fridge and saw a container of leftover steamed cauliflower. When I steamed it, I forgot to take the lid off of the pot as soon as I turned off the burner so it got a little overcooked. Who wants to eat slightly smushy cauliflower leftovers? I figured they would get thrown out. But then, I was hit with inspiration. Cauliflower soup. I had never made it before so I looked up some recipes. I looked at two but they were completely different so I decided to just wing it and make it up as I went.

I sauteed some onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in a little olive oil and butter. I added in some flour and cooked that for a minute. Next I added in about half a can of chicken broth and some milk (maybe a cup and a half). I looked back in the fridge and saw a container of leftover corn. Sure, that'll work. I scooped the corn out of the container so that I wouldn't get too much of its juices. I added the cauliflower. I simmered it for a bit but it wasn't getting thick enough. I looked over and saw the corn juices. Aha. Add some flour to that and stir it in. I tried a sample and put a little romano cheese in it. Yum. I tried a sample and put a little cheddar cheese in it. Yum. How do you choose? You don't. I added a little of both to the pot. I have realized lately that I really don't need to use as much cheese as I think I do. I could still get the delicious flavor of it, but probably saved myself some fat (yay for my cholesterol) by adding less. I topped my bowl of soup with some of my homemade onion powder (green onions from my garden that I dehydrated and then put in the food processor). This soup turned out so good. Had it been served to me at a restaurant, I would have raved about it.....I'm raving about it now! I can't wait to overcook cauliflower again. Ha. What a smashing hit!

I was a little disappointed that the meat I had planned for dinner wasn't completely thawed yet. It is one of my favorites but will have to wait until tomorrow. Back up plan: crab. Yay! My hubby decided to make crab cakes. He used some of my homemade bread crumbs. He added in egg, jalapeno (from my garden), green onion, seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, old bay, and worcestershire sauce. He wanted dijon mustard for it but I didn't have any. He found a jar of champagne dill mustard. That'll work. Served with your choice of sauce: sweet chili, cocktail, or tartar.

Meanwhile, I prepared a salad. A friend brought it to my house last year and I just had to get the recipe from her. Mix romaine lettuce, green onion, and broccoli. Set aside. In a pan, melt butter and toast up a crushed pack of ramen noodles (you won't use the seasoning packet). Keep the noodles separate so they won't get soggy in the salad. The dressing is made of oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, salt, and pepper.

Now for the trickery. I figured that we should have one more dish. I looked in the fridge and saw leftover macaroni and cheese. My daughter hates leftover mac & cheese. There has got to be a way to make her eat it. I put it in a pan and added some milk and a little bit of mexican cheese. I figured if I could make it warm, gooey, and cheesey that she would like it. She took a few bites and asked "why does this taste different?" Ha. Well, the one thing I had going for me was that she loved the salad and wanted seconds. Our rule is that you have to finish whats on your plate first, then you can have seconds of whatever you want. So she finished her mac & cheese in order to get more salad. Then I spilled the beans about what the macaroni was. Both kids just stared at me. I asked if she would eat it again and she said she would but didn't really seem thrilled with that possibility. Oh well, it worked for tonight.

Then it was time for my favorite part of dinner. Dessert! I made one of my favorite baked goodies. Rolo bars. If you have never tried these, you have missed out. Make some ASAP. Stir together a yellow cake mix (just straight out of the box), 3/4 cup melted margarine, and 5 ounces of sweetened condensed milk. Spread half of it in a cake pan. Bake at 350 for 6 minutes. Then add a layer of rolo candy which has been cut in half. Spread the rest of the batter on top and then bake for another 18 minutes. It. Is. Heaven. Your welcome.

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