Success in spite of myself

When all was said and done, this recipe turned out to be a really good one.  But the process reminded me why I have fallen out of habit of cooking anything that requires more than 5 ingredients and/or 20 minutes to create.

Today was a pretty frazzled day at home with my son.  Add six inches of snow and a long commute for my husband, and that makes for a late and completely unenthusiastic dinner preparation.  But it was on the menu for today, the meat was already defrosted, and we had to eat, so I popped in two Tylenol and cracked open a  Diet Coke, and went to work.

Thanks to my sister-in-law for sending me this Weight Watchers recipe for Cheeseburger Casserole.  For full disclosure, I am not participating in Weight Watchers and did make some alterations to the ingredients, so I can’t give a completely honest opinion on the taste of the dish according to the whole points thing.  But the dish I made was very tasty.

I mentioned before that I was reminded why cooking involved recipes is no longer common for me.  There are several reasons for that.  First, it’s just really hard for me want to do this at the end of a long day, and between work and parenting, most days feel like a long day, no matter how enjoyable they might be.  Second, I seem to have forgotten how to prepare for events that don’t involve a diaper bag.  When I started and actually read the entire recipe, I realized the potatoes were supposed to be already steamed and cooled before anything else could be done.  Rats.  So I got those going and did all the chopping and preparing of other things while I waited.  And waited. Oh yeah, and did I mention I didn’t actually read the entire recipe before deciding to make it?  After cooking for what felt like an eternity, I looked to see what the recipe said for time estimations, and yep, it sure does take every bit of 90 minutes to finish.  Having 90 straight minutes to devote to anything is a rarity in my life.

The recipe calls for peeling the potatoes before slicing them.  While doing that I couldn’t help but think of being in my Grandparents’ kitchen in Norway.  Steamed/boiled potatoes are a pretty regular side dish in Norway, at least it was with my family.  My Mormor (Grandmother) had an amazing skill at peeling scalding hot potatoes in 5 seconds flat.  She poked it with a fork, held the fork in one hand and a knife in the other, and peeled off the skin like one would peel the skin off a piece of fruit.  I’m pretty sure to this day that she has no nerve endings in her thumb, otherwise that would be an impossible feat to accomplish.  But as I continually burned my thumb doing the same tonight, because I had no patience to wait for them to cool, I figured out that given another 30 years of this activity, when I’m a Grandma, I probably won’t have any nerve endings in that thumb either.

Besides putting the potatoes in the oven before it had a chance to heat up to the appropriate temperature, the rest of the meal preparation was uneventful.  I substituted ground beef for ground turkey because it is what we had.  After reading a review (yep, took time to read reviews, but didn’t think to read through the whole recipe) that said the dish wasn’t cheesy enough, I opted to double the amount of evaporated milk and cheese to make sure that didn’t happen.  And that worked out pretty well.  Sorry dieters, that won’t work for your point system, but it sure makes it tasty.  Pictured here is my finished product, without the perfectly placed food bits and pretty green napkin.  The recipe will stay in the rotation, though I’ll be honest, now that I know how long the prep time is, it probably will be a while before we see it again.

Are you going to make this?  Please send me a pic and let me know how it goes!



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