Thursday, September 21, 2006


Will the food snobs look away please? :-)

This past Sunday for company dinner, we had Indian food again. Well, we certainly didn't expect the kids to eat Indian food. And we certainly didn't want 5 young children getting angry about wierd food again, so I whipped together what I guess you'd call a casserole. GASP! Did she just say casserole? Lol. Yes I did. I really don't care for casseroles. I would eat them if prepared for me, don't get me wrong there. And I find most of them delicious at the time. But in theory, I really don't like casseroles. And part of that is because most casseroles include a can of soup. And I try really hard to avoid "cream of" soups and such.

Which is why Sunday's kid dinner is a travesty.

But it really was good. So good, in fact, that I saved the leftovers, of which there were plenty, and reheated them in a crock pot for last nights dinner.

I started with one pound of rotini, cooked to al dente. And two packages of California Blend Vegetables, plunged in boiling water for about 5 minutes. And about 3 cups of cubed, already cooked ham. I threw all those things in a bowl. Then I opened one can of Campbell's cheese soup and put it in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of milk and one block of Veleveeta. I stirred and melted those together until creamy and added a pinch of black pepper. Then I tossed the sauce with the veggie mixture and piled it all in a 9x13 pan. I popped it in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes, and it was wonderful. The cheese sauce was perfectly creamy, without that plastic texture that you tend to get when using processed cheese. Yet without the grainy texture you get when using real cheese.

Economical and delicious, the kids all gobbled it up ( mine again last night) and what is so scary about it, is that it tastes a lot like our favorite restaurants mac-n-cheese that we all drool over. Just a little more tweaking, and I think I've stumbled on their secret recipe.

A quick pass through the salad bar last night, a loaf of homemade bread, and we had a great dinner. And once again, that salad bar is making me think. I spent $5.00 last night on a large tub of lettuce and veggie salad for my family. Now had I bought lettuce and all the individual components, I would have probably spent close to $15 for everything I put in the salad. Then we'd be stuck with little bits of this and that to use up and we'd get sick of salad. As it is, the tub last night has plenty left in it for tonight's dinner. So two dinner salads for $5.00? That salad bar is a bargain, and will certainly be kept in mind.


Jenn said...

Where do you go for your salad bar?

Erika said...


It's $3.99 per pound. It's well worth it for the green and veggie salads- but the fruit always ends up being pricey when I go that route.

Claire said...

This wasn't a cream of soup...just some calcium rich cheese soup...that's all! What went in it sounded healthy anyway! None of our groceries have salad bars, so I just have to buy the mixings!

Erika said...

I love your thinking Claire. :-)

I was thinking about your lack of salad bars...when we travel, one of our favorite places to go to eat is Ruby Tuesday's. We love their selections on the menu, it's kid friendly, and they have a fantastic salad bar that we always can rely on if we're in the mood. They have a great to-go option too where you can pay something likt $7 and fill up a container (or two) at the salad bar to take with you. That might be an option for you on days when you are in a hurry. (Depending on how close you live to Ruby Tuesdays)