Saturday, November 5, 2011

Culinary Successes...But Shortcuts

During the month of November, when I'm trying to crank out a 50,000+ novel for NaNoWriMo, my definition of 'culinary success' is different than that of the rest of the year.

A culinary success in November meets three criteria:

1. Is a meal at home.
2. Is from scratch (i.e. not from box)
3. Has a degree of "maturity" (i.e. not cold cut sandwiches and chips)

As you can see, I'm not so worried about nutritional value/ingredients.  It's the tradeoff.

I'd like to report two successes this week.  Both come from the Food & Family magazine, put out by Kraft about every quarter.  I love that magazine, and have collected many recipes from it, many of which have been thoroughly enjoyed by my family.  The two this week are no exception.

First, we were asked to bring a side dish to the end-of-year cross country awards banquet.  I dithered, and finally settled on Slow-Cooker Scalloped Potatoes.  The recipe was straightforward, and the only thing I added was a considerable dollop of Chive and Onion cream cheese.  My mandoline allowed me to get the potatoes very thin, and after about three hours, a golden-brown crust bubbled up along the sides of my crockpot.  The recipe serves 12, and I brought the container home after the banquet...completely empty. 

My husband, who was able to snare a last spoonful, said they were delish.  The recipe was simple and the results were great.  Anytime I'm looking for an easy sidedish and to get rid of some potatoes, I'll keep this little gem in mind.

Next is Easy Fettuccine Alfredo.  My ten-year-old daughter loves this type of pasta, but we don't have it too often because a.) it can be laden with those nefarious calories, and b.) most recipes I've seen call for heavy cream...which is just not a staple at my house.  Perhaps someday, I will morph into Julia Child, or some other such French-loving chef, and it will.  However, this recipe substitutes cream cheese for the heavy cream.  And it worked out well.  I finished the tub of Chive and Onion, and I thought the final result was unique.

So yes, I relied heavily upon cream cheese this week, which can be a dangerous, highly processed product.  But...I don't care.  This month, anyway.

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