Broccoli cheese potatoes

I saw this gorgeous picture of a baked potato with broccoli cheese sauce on it, and it looked delicious, and the recipe was linked. But it involved multiple steps and timing things right, and I’m not really into that.

So I came up with my own.

Ingredients:

  • 6 potatoes
  • Italian seasoning
  • parmesan
  • milk
  • butter
  • garlic
  • shredded cheese
  • 1 can broccoli cheese soup

I started the oven preheating, then I cut up the potatoes into bite-sized bits and dumped them in a casserole dish. I grated some parmesan on top of that, because I have a block in the fridge. Then I added like a tablespoon of (hard, straight from the fridge) butter and a bunch of Italian seasoning and like a tablespoon of crushed garlic and a couple generous splashes of milk, and then I spread the can of soup on top. I did not worry about combining stuff at all, because I was gonna do that later.

The potatoes went in for an hour, then I took them out and stirred them and tried one – it was still pretty raw – and spread the shredded cheese on top, and stuck them in for another 50 minutes. Timing on all of this can be super approximate, and is going to vary based on the size of potatoes and the size and shape of the casserole dish. Don’t stress about it too much. And if you find you’ve left it in for a couple of hours before you notice and you still haven’t done the cheese, probably just crank up the heat so it broils a little bit for a few minutes and you have that nice cheese topping bit.

Serve immediately. It’s pretty good, and really satisfying, which I needed, as I probably should have eaten dinner about the time I stuck this in the oven the first time.

The miracle of leftovers

So we’ve got these one-cup Pyrex containers that are microwavable, oven-safe, and dishwasher safe, and they are the perfect size for a single serving. On days when I have too much to do to really function, I can take the lid off and pop one of those in the microwave and not worry about multiple dishes or cooking time or putting together a coherent meal or stopping work on any of what I’m working on.

. . . as you might be able to tell, I’ve got some paper deadlines coming up.

In the fridge I have some of those Pyrex containers, full of potato soup. I just take the lid off and stick them in the microwave for two minutes and then eat it. I know some people don’t like leftovers, though, and one way to make it not feel like leftovers is to add a little bit of shredded cheese to the container either before or after microwaving it. Then it’s got, like, presentation involved. Good presentation makes everything more appetizing. I’m not usually that big on it, but when I’m stressed out, the mere fact of something being full of potato isn’t always enough to make me love it, and my brain seems to be fooled even if I did all the cooking and storing and presentation myself.

Poppy Seed Chicken

This is another recipe I saw and then bastardized.

Ingredients:

  • gouda
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • container of sour cream
  • 5-ish boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • poppy seeds
  • pepper

Cook the chicken breast – either boiled for a smoother thing or sautéed if you want more texture variation – until they’re either done if you’re cooking it half an hour or like 2/3 done if you’re cooking it for an hour. The original recipe calls for cooking them fully, but a lot of the time I just don’t want to be in the kitchen that long and I’m gonna stop cooking the chicken as soon as the other ingredients are combined and the oven reaches 300°F. Like, generally you don’t want to combine raw meat with other ingredients unless you’re cooking the hell out of it, but that’s why you’re doubling the cooking time.

While the chicken’s cooking, shred the gouda into a pretty large casserole dish and add the cans of soup, the container of sour cream, and a couple dashes of pepper.

When the chicken’s as done as you’re gonna get it, cut it up into bite-sized chunks and mix it into everything else. Sort of pat it flat when it’s all mixed, and sprinkle poppy seeds on top. The purpose of them is texture variation, little bit flavor, and to make all the dairy stuff in there not form that gross skin thing it does sometimes. So basically as long as there are enough to make it not form a coherent skin, you can have as few or as many poppy seeds as you want. T hates pretty much anything to do with textures, so I tend to go pretty light on them, but it’s still delicious.

Bake it at 350°F for however long, then serve over pasta or rice.

It freezes really well.

Creamy Potato Soup

It’s still soup weather, so I tried out a recipe T’s mom sent me for potato soup. Being incredibly disorganized and having used the last of the non-flavored cream cheese on cheesecake, I ended up making some substitutions.

It turned out pretty well, so here’s how I made it:

Ingredients:

  • bag of hash browns
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 4 cups water, though if I make it again I’ll probably use 3 and make it a little thicker
  • 2 cubes of bouillon
  • 3 chicken thighs
  • little bit of sautéed onion, garlic, salt and pepper to taste
  • shredded cheese

Like, just throw all of it but the shredded cheese in the crock pot. Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized chunks, but everything else just gets dumped in. Turn the crock pot on high, cover it, and walk away for two hours. Stir it once or twice, then walk away for another two hours. I think it’d be more like six on low.

When you’re dishing it up, put shredded cheese on top.

If you want to add vegetables, shredded carrot or zucchini would probably work well, but this is ridiculously simple and filling and good, and I’m going to have leftovers for ages.

Steak and Parmesan Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • potatoes
  • garlic salt
  • powdered parmesan
  • olive oil

Tonight was steak and potatoes, because I felt like it. The trick to good steak when you can’t use a cast iron skillet on your glass-topped stove is to preheat your nonstick pan what feels like excessively. That, high heat, and not overcooking it are how I’ve figured how to do it.

Now, the parmesan potatoes: unlike pretty much every other iteration of potatoes I make, you want only a single layer. So I grabbed a 9×13 baking pan and put a layer of olive oil on the bottom. It makes the potatoes both crispier and orders of magnitude easier to get out of the pan. I ended up being able to fit 5 potatoes in there, cut up smallish. Then I sprinkled a little garlic salt and a lot of parmesan on top. Like, they should be pretty much coated in parmesan.

50 minutes in a 425°F oven and you have deliciousness!