Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Guinea Pig Friends

I've told y'all before how great everyone in my Sunday School class is.  Today, I truly pulled a major guinea pig experiment on them and thankfully, it went over well!  As I drove home from work last night I realized, "Oh %*&!, it's my turn for snacks tomorrow!"  As usual, I had no cash on me, I was tired and just wanted to go home.  So, I took a risk by going straight home and relying on my pantry.  It's 50/50 now; could be a tragic failure or a triumphant win.

After consulting the freezer and cabinets, I determined that I'd be able to concoct some sort of hash brown casserole.  Since I didn't want to go "Rogue Guinea Pig" I decided to consult a recipe for at least some guidance on quantities, consistency, etc.  So, I went to  and found this hash brown recipe.

Of course, I didn't have everything it called for, so some improvization was in order.  First, the hash browns that I had didn't quite measure 32 oz.  Hmmm, what to do, what to do?  Ah Ha!  Tater Tots to the rescue!  So, I chopped frozen tater tots until I had 32 oz of potatoes.  Then I needed a cup of cheese, but the only cheese I had in the house was those little rectangle cheeses that you put in the kids' lunch.  "Rectangle Cheese" as Vivian calls it. (She calls it like she sees it.) So, I chopped about 5 of those into tiny dice.  Green onions, didn't have 'em so I decided to jazz it up with about 1/4 cup of diced, pickled jalapenos.  I couldn't believe I was actually out of sour cream, so I used a little mayo and added some lemon juice to it.  Salt, pepper, Cream of Mushroom...check!

Now, in the past, I've made various hash brown casseroles with mixed reviews.  One time Neil said it was just plain bland and he didn't like it.  I have to say, in the 13 years I've known him, this is probably only the 4th time I can remember him just not liking a dish that I made.  The last one I made is a great dish of potato, asparagus & ham, but it definitely needed more salt to make the flavors pop.  So this one today was the proverbial crap shoot.  I loved it!  The mushroom soup gave it a creamy base so the potatoes weren't dry.  The jalapenos were an awesome addition, except for my non-spicy friends (Sorry, Dawn.  That probably wasn't such a good surprise for you!) And my tiny diced up rectangle cheese did the trick.  Luckily, my friends also liked it.  I even saw some of them go back.  My friend Kelly let me know that she thought it was "terrible, so terrible, I tried it twice!"  I think that's a pretty awesome compliment and testament to the off-the-cuff, seat-of-the-pants, what's-in-the-kitchen casserole that debuted today!

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