Monday, February 23, 2009

Sunday, February 22, the food

Today M and I both slept in, so we didn't end up having our french toast after all. That's all right, the bread and eggs are in no danger of going to waste just yet, so they can be pushed forward. Lunch was pot roast leftovers, though for once M wasn't especially hungry. He was apparently saving himself for cookies and snacks at the party tonight. There is enough pot roast left over for him to take a very large lunch to school tomorrow. 

For the Oscar party, I made a nacho dip and took along a big bag of Meijer-brand tortilla chips. The nacho cheese dip is yet another family recipe, and was reasonably priced to make. It's much cheaper if you can find the cream cheese on sale, which I could not. But the shredded cheese was on sale, at least, which helped hold down the price. I love salsa enough to buy it by the gallon at Sam's, so there's never any lack of it around here. 

Nacho Cheese Dip (also Nacho Dip Pizza)
1 pound (2 blocks) of regular or low-fat but not fat-free cream cheese
1 packet taco seasoning, pick your favorite
Shredded cheese
Green onions, black olives, sour cream, guacamole (if desired)

Soften the cream cheese and mix well with the entire packet of taco seasoning. This is easiest to do if you buy a carton of cream cheese instead of blocks, but it's considerably cheaper to buy blocks and use a hand mixer or even just a spatula and some elbow grease to mix and soften it up. When it's very well blended, spread it in an even layer over a platter. Cover it with a layer of salsa, chunky works much better, at whatever spiciness you prefer. Cover that with a layer of shredded cheese, Mexican blend if you can get it. Top it however you like to top your nachos, with green onion, olives, dollops of guacamole or sour cream, whatever. Refrigerate a little to stiffen it up, if you have time, otherwise serve immediately. 

This is a recipe that's great for parties, and also works well at pizza parties for a little variety. Just put it in a pizza pan so it sort of fits the theme and put the chips out next to it. A nacho dip pizza, a couple of regular homemade pizzas, and a dessert pizza, and you've got a heck of a party going. For the Oscar party, I left it plain, because M is a purist and because I didn't have any other ingredients today anyway. It was still a big hit, and the platter was clean by the time we came home. That was one nice thing, even if I am incensed that Wall-E was totally robbed in most of its categories. Stupid Slumdog Millionaire.

Anyway, the other good thing that happened was that our hostess, one of M's friends and classmates, gave us a 12-pack of Campbell's tomato soup! She said she got it from another friend who was pantry cleaning, but she didn't like tomato soup. Score! My first impulse is to combine some with rice next week, as tomato rice soup is the only appropriate accompaniment for a poverty staple: grilled cheese sandwiches. But I think 12  cans of tomato soup is an invitation to creativeness as well. I'm starting to look up recipes using tomato soup. The first one I've come across is for tomato soup cake, the idea of which makes me want to hurl, but I'll keep looking. 

Tonight I ate the last of the cheddar potato soup from Friday, it was very thick. To change it up a little, I added two packets of Fire Sauce from Taco Bell. Taco Bell is our laundry day treat, it's very cheap and right next to the laundromat, and neither of us want to cook after hours of washing and folding. (We do our laundry once every three weeks or so. We have a lot of clothes, especially since when I'm around the house, I don't really care whether my clothes fit or whether they're hanging on me like sails.) Every time we go, we ask for lots of Fire Sauce and save the extra. It comes in handy for seasoning lots of different things. The cheese soup was very good, and quite tasty when I ate it with some of the leftover tortilla chips. 

M got new movies from the library today. We're trying to use the library more often and more carefully, so we dont' get any fines. Star Trek and X-Files this week, could be entertaining. I also found that Harlequin is offering a passel of free e-books to celebrate its 60th anniversary. I like romance, though Harlequin is not generally my cup of tea. But hey, when the book is free, why not give it a try? I've read three of them already and none has been a wallbanger. Just as well, since my computer couldn't stand that nearly as well as a paperback. 

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