I have been lax lately , and I am not talking about jetting off to Los Angeles type of LAX. Forgive me people of blogland. I started December with the best of intentions and have seriously failed. I am back today but I have to admit I am feeling a little weak in the resolve department. Life has been slapping me around a little lately (like it does everyone at this time of the year) and like everyone else, I am just trying to keep my head above the water most days.
Today's post is a sad tale of the sad decline of someone who really loves fantastic food. I am trying to stay away from the grocery store a bit longer this month and except to buy salad stuff and fruits I have not been shopping all of December. I think that is going to change that tomorrow since I really do need to hit Aldi's for mushrooms and butter, but thus far we have been eating from the pantry and freezer. Needless to say, our pickings are getting seriously slim. And what a better segue to tonights sad little meal than to mention our lack of choices. I am sure you have all had variations of this meal and tonights is one of the least extravagant I have ever made. Still, it tasted very good, and even warranted seconds.
Tater Tot Casserole
1 1/4 lbs. ground beef, browned
1 large onion, chopped
2 quick shakes garlic powder
2 stalks celery (just because I had 2 that were about to ruin)
1 small tomato, diced (ditto)
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup or the equivalent amount of thickened white sauce with mushrooms
2 tablespoons steak sauce (I make my own but it is similar to Heinz 57)
salt and pepper to taste
enough tater tots to cover a 9x9 inch pan
1/2 cup cheese
Brown the ground beef and when the meat looses its color add the onions. Cook until they are wilted and add the remaining vegetables, garlic powder and parsley. Cook until they are softened, add the mushroom soup, steak sauce and salt and pepper. Stir well and pour into a 9x9 oven safe dish. Cover the top of the meat mixture with tots. If you are a tad OCD line 'em up, and if you're not put them in whatever random pattern you would like. Just make sure they are in a single layer. Bake at 415 for about 20 minutes until the tater tots are nice and crunchy. Set the casserole on a heat proof surface (hot pad?) and sprinkle evenly with the cheese. Serve with a large salad and call it done. This tastes very good, it's easy, and yes we ate it sans kids and lived to tell about it.
Forgive me again for not thinking to take a picture of the Christmasy thing in the daylight. My intentions and actions have not been coinciding much lately. I am not sure what happened with all these nutcrackers. I started buying them for Son2 when he was a little fellow. I think during storage from Christmas to Christmas some kind of hi-jinx has gone on and there has been a population explosion in the Sterlite container. If I remember to take a picture tomorrow I will replace it with a daytime shot and if I forget, well, I will be shooting par for the course.
As an aside, it is a little known historical fact that the nutcrackers visited the Baby Jesus. When the kids were young they would put them by the creche hanging with the wise men. I guess our visitors to the manger brought gifts of gold, frankincense, myrrh and pecans
Saturday night we were lucky enough to hear Joey Alexander, a 13 year old true jazz phenom from Indonesia. He has a natural musical ability, skill and touch on the piano that lies far beyond his years.
Though "My Favorite Things" is not a traditional Christmas song it has morphed into one in the recent past. I could find no traditional holiday song but really did want to share his incredible talent. If you ever get a chance to hear him do yourself a favor and go. He is truly amazing.
My Favorite Things, by Joey Alexander