What’s for Dinner Tonight?

The Meal I Invented by Mistake

November 13, 2020 3 of 8

Way back when dinosaurs walked the Earth, Rice-a-Roni had a recipe on the beef Rice-a-Roni package for a kind of Spanish rice recipe. It involved basically making the Rice-a-Roni according to package directions then adding canned tomatoes (or was it stewed tomatoes? I can never remember and it’s really immaterial right now). My mom always browned pork chops, then browned the rice/vermicelli mixture then put the pork chops into the pot with the Rice-a-Roni and tomatoes too cook the rest of the way through. It’s really good and was one of our staple dinners from my childhood.

In late 1991 or early 1992, I was a newlywed and had these chicken breasts that I’d bought basically on a whim. I was on the phone with my mom and my inability to come up with anything interesting to do with these chicken breasts came up in the conversation.

My mom suggested that I make them with Rice-a-Roni rice pilaf, so I basically did the pork chops and Spanish rice meal with chicken breasts and rice pilaf. Well, without the tomatoes, ’cause that would be weird.

It was awesome. Thomas and I both loved it and I made it pretty frequently.

Fast forward to autumn of either 1999 (when my mom came to help with Alex after he was born) or 2001 (when my mom came to help while I had my chemo). Actually, it was probably 2001, because I don’t remember my dad being there.

I made this dish for my mom and she said that it was delicious and asked me where I got the recipe.

Thomas and I both looked at her and I said, “I got it from you.”

She assured me that she’d never heard of this meal and she certainly would’ve made it herself if she had.

So I told her about the phone conversation where (I thought) she suggested it.

Turns out she didn’t mean to do it this way, she was thinking more of using the Rice-a-Roni as a side dish. And she went on to say that she wished she’d thought of it because it really was good.

I’ve had a taste for chicken and rice pilaf lately but Alex has not, so I made it for myself tonight. I even have leftovers for maybe tomorrow night, or Sunday, or something. Maybe I’ll freeze them and have them next week. The sky’s the limit.

My Gratuitous Amazon Link this time is the *fourth* book in the Streetlights Like Fireworks series. I posted the second book and now the fourth. It looks like I somehow missed putting read dates down for the first and third. So I guess those are now going to be in my reading queue. Anyway, here it is: This Gem in My Hand, by David Pandolfe.

The Easiest Recipe Ever

November 3, 2020 3 of 8

Well, maybe not the *easiest*, but still pretty damn easy.

Now, as a warning, as far as I’m concerned, a little seasoning goes a long way. So if you’re like my mom, and like things with so many leaves and twigs and things of seasoning that they’re crunchy, move along.

So, this is the seat-of-my pants recipe for my pasta salad.

Ingredients: Rotini, carrots, olives, Newman’s Own Classic Oil & Vinegar dressing (or other salad dressing), other vegetables to taste (I usually put a little broccoli in there, my mom used to like radishes (don’t ask me)).

  1. Boil pasta according to package directions
  2. Drain pasta
  3. Put pasta in fridge
  4. While pasta chills, chop vegetables
  5. Mix pasta and vegetables
  6. Cover with enough salad dressing to . . cover
  7. Serve
  8. Put leftovers in the fridge for later meals/snacks/side dishes

Serves, um, however many people want to eat however much pasta you made.

See? Easy.

I bought the olives and salad dressing months ago, the rotini weeks ago, and the carrots the other day.

So I’m having this for dinner tonight.

Two Weeks to NaNoWriMo

So I need to come up with some kind of plan. I remember telling y’all (or yelling into the void, whichever) that I need to write about eight 200-word posts a day to make my goal. Eight and one-third, to be precise.

In addition to travel and book blogging, I think I may add a round of food blogging as well. You see, I’ve got a whole bunch of cookbooks and I’ve hardly ever used them. So since Alex is grown and hardly ever home, I’m going to start to, well, use them.

I cooked Diane Seed’s version of Pasta al Boscaiola, which is the rosso version. The rosso version uses tomatoes and the bianco version uses cream. You basically sautee garlic in olive oil, then add mashed up tomatoes, salt, pepper and parsley. Then you top with sauteed mushrooms. I love sauteed mushrooms.

I knew that the recipe I was following was supposed to feed six people, so I cooked a bunch of mushrooms and then realized that the mushrooms were a topping and not an ingredient in the sauce. So I topped the spaghetti with a few mushrooms and ate the rest as a rather odd dessert.

Today’s gratuitous photo. I took this at the San Antonio Botanical Garden in 2009. The sculpture there is one of my favorites. I don’t know if the gardens own it or what, but I look for it every time I go to the garden. Speaking of which, I haven’t been there in more than a year, I don’t think.

It was really delicious and an excellent way to start my exploration of these cookbooks.

Not-so-gratuitous Amazon Link this time. The book I got the recipe from is The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces, by Diane Seed. I’m going to try posting my Amazon link with an image. Let’s see how it turns out:

ETA2: It didn’t. It was just a big block of HTML. So, back to just text links for now. The Top Hundred Pasta Sauces, by Diane Seed.

ETA: This post was 253 words. If I can do that consistently next month, I’ll have over 60,000 words for the month