Monday, May 11, 2015

That's Why They Call Me The Cheat (Boogity Boogity)

Today I had to faux my pas, so to speak.  I learned that shopping in Publix can be fraught with embarrassment, when being rude is the only defense. Oy, sometimes I can be such a dope ... this was one of those days.

I had a shopping list.  Not too long, pretty straightforward.  I have a short list of recipes for the next few days, and I needed some of the ingredients.  Rob asked me which Publix I wanted to stop at, since there are five I use at different times for different reasons.  Example: earlier this week I made a special trip to my old home Publix in Hunters Creek, because I wanted a Freirich smoked pork butt to include in the choucroute garnie.  None of the other Publix I shop at stocks this.  I've looked.  But I knew I would find it at Hunters Creek because I asked them to stock it - 22 years ago.  They ordered it, and have continued to order it religiously since then.  See why I love Publix?  But for today, all I needed was to stop at out new home Publix to pick up the missing ingredients for chicken breasts stuffed with spinach and feta and a mushroom sauce, Northern Indian Lamb Meatballs, and strawberry Key lime waffle cakes.   (Yes, I do make these things up as I go along.)

I plead pain, fatigue, and brain fog for what I did next:  I left the house without my cane (and I really needed it) and without my teeth. Trust me, there are no selfies to show you.  But I was tired and everything hurt, including my mouth.  Those dentures are wicked cruel, and I'm beginning to think my nervous system was designed by Torquemada.

I've done this before; generally I shop fast and nod my head as needed, with or without a smile. (God save me from chatty cashiers and baggers!  Did I find everything I was looking for?  No, I did not find the Colavita roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil nor the Frierich smoked pork butt, but I can't tell you that because I left my teeth in a jar by the door. Just call me Eleanor Rigby.) Primitive communication, it's sufficient. But today I found myself having to play hide-and-seek as I spotted not one but two people I know and know well.  For once, I was glad I looked like crap as it increased the chances that they didn't recognize me.  I felt like an idiot having to skulk around the canned goods and the frozen vegetables.  Good thing I have a tolerant husband who did not freak out when I switched directions, while prison-whispering to him, "I'm trying to avoid that man."

All this subterfuge wore me out, and I was glad to get home, but in no way prepared to take on the complicated recipes I had planned.  So I cheated to create an alternative to choucroute for dinner, while at the same time engaging in some pantry-busting.  Pantry-busting is like stash-busting (knitters know what I mean) and I successfully cleared out space from my freezer, fridge, and pantry.

The cheating aspect come from the fact that I was using prepared foods.  Forget Sandra Lee and Semi-Homemade - nothing was from scratch! 

I made chicken patties parm from four frozen chicken patties that were taking up space in my freezer - first seared them on the griddler, then put them in a baking pan into which I poured bottled marinara and loaded the patties with more sauce, lots of cheese, and a couple of leftover slices of capocollo  Shoved it in the oven until all the cheese melted.  Served it with mac and cheese - not quite Kraft's, but close - cooked about 12 oz. of ziti, drained, returned to the pot along with half a stick of butter and some heavy cream.  Added a bottle of Ragu double cheddar, then a couple of handfuls of grated cheese - sharp cheddar, five cheese Italian, mozzarella - added a little bit more cream, then poured it into a baking dish.  Threw more grated cheese on top and then topped the whole beautiful mess with French's French fried onions.  Baked it until cheese melted and the sauce is bubbly.

Holy crap, that was good!  And not one purchased-in-Whole-Foods organic ingredient in either recipe.  Now that's American cuisine!


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