We have had lots of struggles and challenges in our lives, but we've had even more blessings!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

When Plan A doesn't work, but you still need to turn it into dinner

     While I sometimes feel like I am the only one that the above mentioned scenario happens to, I know that I'm not. Thus I decided to go ahead and share this tale with you. I hope that it will come to mind the next time you experience something similar, and thus reassure you a - that you are not the only one it happens to, and b - that you CAN get creative and still feed your family. Yes, still feed them from the mess or disaster that you have sitting in front of you. Like I alluded to, this isn't the first time what I had planned didn't turn out right. 8-/ .

    Yesterday I had decided that Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes sounded really good for dinner. I knew that we had both ground beef and potatoes, and that I could wing any of the other ingredients we didn't have. So I set forth.
    First I had pulled the meat out of the fridge about twenty minutes before I started cooking. Doing so, makes the meat ever so much easier to work with! ( <-- Bonus tip there. And for the record, I don't think our temps passed 50 yesterday.)
     Dump your meat into a mixing bowl. (I was using just over five pounds of meat.)
   Add a LOT of garlic powder. (Go HERE for some bonus tips about Garlic Powder)
      Then quite a bit of Italian Seasoning.
    Time to chop up an onion. Here's the way I do them. First, peel the onion (duh! ;-p). Then chop both ends off. Next, chop the onion in half. Then hold one half with one hand, while you use the other hand to use your knife and make thin slices (hopefully you can see what I mean in this picture).
     Lay the slices down in a stack, and slice them the other direction. (Again, I hope the picture helps).
    It is now time to slice them the third and final way, the end result being that you end up with small pieces. [For the record, I later decided that I should have made them even smaller for what I was putting them in. Aw well....]. When done, dump them on top of the meat, then chop up the rest of the onion (or more if you need).
    It's time to add some eggs. Why? First is the fact that they really do have nutritional value. Secondly is the fact that they help bind the ingredients together. (Go HERE for some bonus tips about using eggs). [I was using over five pounds of meat, so I used five eggs].
   It's now time to prep your crackers. {I use oats for meatloaf, and crackers of meat balls. Why? Dunno. ;-p}  When you empty a bread or bun sack, dump out all of the crumbs and save your bags!   [I just decided to do a posting soon about many of their wonderful uses]. Place your crackers (I used one sleeve of Toll House (TM) Crackers) into the bread bag.
    Fold the top over a few times and then use your rolling pin to crush the crackers into crumbs.
    Add the cracker crumbs to the mixing bowl.
    When I put the eggs away, I spotted a partial container of a shredded three cheese mixture. That definetly went with Italian Seasoning, so I dumped the contents in.
    It was then time to mix every thing together. But when I was done, the mixture just didn't look right. I got out the ketchup bottle and squirted in a bunch.
         Awww... that's more like it.
    After turning the now reused bread bag inside out, I spread it across the top of the cutting board and placed the meat balls on top as I made them.
   After preheating a well SPRAYED skillet, I added a couple of tablespoons of butter to it.
     Once it was melted, I started browning up some of the meat balls while making more.
    (Oops, that picture got turned somewhere along the way ....)

    Once They had been turned and browned all around, I used a thick plastic spoon to scoop them out of the frying pan and into a baking pan.
    This is where Plan A fell apart. Literally. Grumble grumble. Bother!!
    Took a deep breath and decided that if they wanted to be in pieces, I would let them. In-fact, I would help them! 
     Instead of using two baking pans for the meatballs, I just piled them a bit deeper.
     O-kay, now what?!?
    Make up a garlicky white sauce and pour it over the top. Then instead of making mashed potatoes (which I had planned to do while the meat balls baked), we'll have egg noodles with the meatball concoction on top.
    Why dirty another pan? Perhaps the stuff left from browning up the meat balls will add good flavor to the white sauce. So in went the rest of the stick of butter. Topped with some pepper.
Add some salt.
    And some garlic powder. (Should have added more, of all three.)
    Melted and mixed. Then dumped in a scoop of flour.
   As you mix all of this together, IGNORE any looks you receive from persons whom pass through your kitchen at that point in time. You know - the look which silently but loudly asks, "You don't really plan on feeding us that, do-o you?!!!"  [Tis best to also avoid allowing your sarcastic comments to slide from your brain, down and out your mouth. o:-) ]
   It's time to add the milk. Slowly at first or your be wearing a lot of it. 8-/. Fill the pan up as far as your brave enough to do. Then start mixing every thing together. At first with a spoon, scraping the loosening stuff off of the bottom of the pan as you go. Then switch to using a whisk, to help the blending process along better. Once it really starts bubbling and thickening, you can switch back to the spoon again.

   I poured the gravy (aka: white sauce) over the top of the broken down meat balls, figuring it would ooze down into them during baking.

   Covered the pan and baked it at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.
   When I took the foil back off, it looked pretty much like it had when I had covered it. Only browner. Had a baked look to it. (Guess I shouldn't have thickened the sauce as much as I did).
   "Oh-h doesn't that just look yummy" I sarcastically said to Kayla.
   "It might not look yummy, but it sure does smell yummy!!!"  ( :->)

   Here is what it looked like on top of the egg noodles.
   Brian and Brent agreed that the meat mixture part was REALLY good! However, if you only got some of the sauce, it was bland. (Thus the reason I should have added more pepper, salt and garlic powder when making the white sauce. Live and learn).

  Like I said, I decided to go ahead and share this tale with you hoping that it will come to mind the next time you experience something similar, and thus reassure you a - that you are not the only one it happens to, and b - that you CAN get creative and still feed your family. Yes, still feed them from the mess or disaster that you have sitting in front of you.

    Please be brave and tell us about a similar experience you've had!!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
  NEXT WEEK,  I 'plan' on linking this particular posting up to:

[FOR THE RECORD, I have never linked up to any of these particular blog parties before. Go to THIS posting to see what ones I do often participate in.]

~ "Recipe Swap Sunday('s)" are hosted by Cassity, at 'Remodelacholic' (http://www.remodelaholic.com)
~ (Monday's) "Your Recipe, My Kitchen",  hosted by Kristen, at 'Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker' (http://www.wiseanticsoflife.blogspot.com)
~ "Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday('s)", are hosted by Dr. Laura (Aridgides), at 'Dr. Laura's Adventures' (http://www.whoislaura.com/)
~ "Tuesday Night Supper Club", is hosted by Christy Larsen, at 'Fudge Ripple' (http://fudgeripple.blogspot.com/)
~ "Totally Tasty Tuesday's", are hosted by Mandy, at 'Mandy's Recipe Box' (http://www.mandysrecipebox.blogspot.com/)
~ "What's Cooking Wednesday('s)", are hosted both by 'The King's Court IV' (http://thekingscourt4.blogspot.com/search/label/What%27s%20Cooking%20Wednesday) and 'Turning The Clock Back' (http://turning-the-clock-back.blogspot.com/search/label/what%27s%20cooking%20wednesday)
~ "Whatcha Makin' Wednesday('s)", are hosted by "bookaddict4real", at 'Scrapaddict4sure' (http://www.scrapaddict4sure.com/)
~ "Friday Potluck('s)", are hosted by Erin, at 'EKat's Kitchen' (http://www.ekatskitchen.com/)
~ "Fat Camp Friday('s)" are hosted by Miranda, at 'Mangoes and Chutney' (http://www.mangoesandchutney.com)


  1. my story wasnt quite as full of twists and turns as yours, but nonetheless it was about working around a failed plan a!


  2. Good save....I am so uncreative that I don't know what I would have done! Does using Elmer's count?

  3. This happens to the best of us, I'm sure, atleast I hope so ... but its always a relief when something really nice comes out of it!!!

  4. i bet it turned out yummy! very clever idea. thank you for sharing with tuesday night supper club.

  5. Thanks for sharing this adventure with Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesdays! I'm featuring you this week, because I love what you did for Plan B and I am happy to know that I am not the only one who doesn't have things go the way they were planned to :)

    Dr. Laura


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