Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Mashed Potato Casserole

So, in the popular Betty Crocker Cookbook, there's a recipe for something called Mashed Potato Casserole. Pretty straightforward, mash up some potatoes, brown some meat, cook some veggies. This is the sort ofA thing I could handle.

So I got a bag of potatoes (on sale - 8 pounds for 99 cents, a fucking bargain and a half) and peeled and cooked up three of 'em. I made mashed potatoes. I want to make it clear that I did not screw up some mashed potatoes.

The recipe said to use frozen green beans, but if you don't have that just some mixed veggies will do. So I cooked up about half of a 17-oz bag of veggie medley (carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli) for about 10 minutes like it said. I browned some meat. It said to boil some stewed tomatoes with other ingredients like Worcestershire sauce, the already-cooked veggies, and, I don't know, other stuff from the recipe. Nowhere in the instructions did it say where to put the meat, so I put it in with the tomato mixture. It seemed to make sense.

I thought I had tomato paste, but it turns out it was tomato sauce, but fuck - it's all just pureed tomatoes so I put the sauce in. I also thought I had a regular casserole dish, but it turns out that went where ever my potato peeler went, which essentially is someplace called "not my fucking kitchen where it belongs." So I put it in a kind of lasagna-type dish. I guess it's a casserole dish. Depends on who you ask, I guess.

Anyway, it said to put the mashed potatoes (which I did not fuck up) in dollops on top of the tomato mixture, and said "add paprika (optional)." I don't have any paprika, so I opted out of that. I turned on the oven (I'd forgotten to do it earlier) and that's when I realized I forgot to put the onions in the tomato mixture. I just kind of drizzled them on top, tried to poke them into the mix but damn! I'd just gotten done boiling that mess, so that was basically painful.

I threw the mess in the oven for 20 minutes, cleaned up all the dishes, and awaited my delicious not-from-a-box dinner.

Holy shit, what a waste of time. It's bland, the veggies (cooked for 10 minutes as instructed) were still hard in the middle. Not crisp, but hard. The onions on top thing kind of worked - they were the best part of the dish. The mashed potatoes, cooked uncovered as they were - got a crunchy and chewy outer texture. The stewed tomatoes were still cold inside, despite having been boiled and then baked for 20 minutes.

Maybe next time I'll double cook everything. Maybe next time I'll triple check all the ingredients, and stop cooking as soon as I realize that I don't have the proper stuff. Maybe next time I'll figure out how to cover the mashed potato peaks in foil.

Maybe next time I'll just heat up a frozen pizza and hope it doesn't set my apartment on fire. Lower goals = higher chance of success. Win.

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