Aside from the fact that even though it was my day off, and unless I'm deathly ill I usually cook on my day off, my family had already broken out the macaroni and cheese from a box before I got home with the ingredients for my tasty casserole. This alone was enough to start a squabble between me and Mike.
Me: "What are you guys doing?"
Mike: "Eating mac and cheese."
Me: "Is it not obvious by the stack of ingredients sitting on the counter next to the stove, that I am making dinner tonight?"
Mike: "We didn't get a text."
Me: "It's MY DAY OFF. If you want to know what's for dinner, you can text me!" (I say as I remember that sick as a dog I still cooked dinner last week!!)
This was met by stony stares as he and Bayley stuffed their mouths with nasty boxed Kraft. (Sidebar: I have no control over what my husband buys and puts in my pantry. Talking until I'm blue in the face about organics has done nothing to change his shopping habits and his fucking coupon clipping, which, in my opinion, is only a scheme to get the most completely unhealthy shit imaginable on the plates of Americans.)
On that note, yes, I realize that taking short cuts is usually a bad thing, but I've subscribed to TOH for 14 years, and have yet to try a recipe from the magazine that I didn't like. As I will describe, there always has to be a first time!!
So, in an attempt to make a dish that my vegetarian children could eat, instead of me saying: "Gee, guys, don't know what you're going to eat tonight," as I did with last week's Hungarian Goulash, I made the dish with those veggie crumbles that look like already cooked ground beef. I used whole wheat noodles, and low salt canned tomatoes. However, there isn't much choice when the list calls for nacho cheese soup, which I admit I used. I also used store bought salsa and ranch dressing, when I usually make those from scratch as well. All of this is leading up to a collective groan from my readers, because I'm wincing as I write it myself.... disaster is brewing, for sure!
The casserole/salad thingie that I made, sure looked pretty, but even after my first bite I could tell this recipe was going to get a failing grade from me. I am the furthest thing from a salt-a-holic. Mike loves salt, and perhaps if he hadn't gorged himself on boxed mac and cheese last night, he would have loved this recipe. My mouth was burning from too much salt almost from bite #1! Between the green olives, canned tomatoes, canned soup, canned salsa, bottled ranch and crunched up Doritos on the top, it was the worst conglomeration of SALT I've ever tasted! It was horrible!!
Pretty, but horrible tasting!
I shudder to admit that I used to think nothing of a meal created from canned foods. I bought what was on sale by the CASELOAD when the kids were little, and used it to create meals that were filling and cheap. I think that eating the way we've been eating for the past few years, organic, fresh, and local, has totally spoiled me to ever eat this way again! It was a good reminder for me that if a recipe has more than one canned item in it, I'm probably not going to like it!
Now tonight's recipe (which was what I was going to make originally last night, and should have!) is butternut squash linguine. Fresh butternut squash, fresh red onion, and fresh chard, roasted and tossed lightly with herbs, EVOO and cooked linguine. I'll do fresh tomato gazpacho to go with it. Now we're talking!