Lent 2013 Challenge Day 44: Good Friday Krabby Stuffed Potatoes

Outwardly, this seems luxurious for Good Friday: Seafood? Really? With white wine? When seen in the light of using stuff up in the fridge, though, hopefully the indulgence factor drops. I also based this on a family recipe that called for a can of condensed lobster bisque, but we’re aiming for from-scratch per the rules.

I had wanted to have some deep, meaningful reflections for the most solemn day of our faith year… but between choir practices and making sure Mr. M was equipped to manage a loud, squirmy preschooler through collective hours of Triduum doings… stuffed potatoes with salad it as good as it got. Humility can just show up in the form of a recipe without a reflection.

Wait. Did I just give a reflection in spite of the humility? Sheesh, you can’t even dress me up, much less take me out.

Krabby Stuffed Potatoes (prep time: 3 min + 15 minutes)

5 baking potatoes, scrubbed and baked in the slow cooker on low 6-12 hours
1 T butter
1 T flour
1 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 c white wine or vegetable stock
1 8oz can PLAIN tomato sauce
1/4 c heavy cream
1/2 c shredded sharp cheese
1/2 lb “krab” pollock seafood flakes

As your potatoes are baking in your slow cooker, melt butter over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk flour with salt and pepper. Sprinkle seasoned flour over butter, then whisk in wine/stock. Let that reduce over medium-high for about 3 minutes, then whisk in tomato sauce and cream. Once that’s all bubbly, fold in cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Fold in “krab” and heat through.

Cut potatoes open on their individual serving plates, then pour “krabby” stuffing inside.

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Speaking of humility, it tasted way better than this picture looks.

And, folks, there you have it: a meatless, cheapo Lent for 5. I shall post our obligatory “I Learned Something Today” reflection sometime soon. Stay tuned, Mackerelsnapper fans. Erm, all three of you.

OH! Gluten-free friends? Corn starch for the flour should work.

 

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Lent 2013 Challenge Day 36-37: Nothing to see here, people.

Really, there isn’t.  Late Thursday afternoon I had all the kids out for haircuts, so Mr. M made pizzas for us using the par-baked crusts spoken of in last weekend’s food prep post.

Last night, I had to use up the rest of that monster bag of bargain kale before it went south, so I made sauteed kale with mushrooms (bought on sale last week, also going south) and garlic.  I deglazed the pan with a bit of white wine, having forgotten to take out a container of vegetable stock to thaw.  Meanwhile I had angel hair cooking in our microwave pasta cooker… and I’m starting to give up on that thing.  I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but all but the first two batches of pasta I’ve made in that thing have been just this side of inedible.  They’re gummy and mushy and gross.  So, we had food last night, and it was all by the book, but it wasn’t very tasty.  Alas.  There wasn’t enough Parmesan cheese in the world to save it.

Lent 2013 Challenge Day 30-31: Kale-o-rama! And I may be turning into a pizza crust.

Not a whole pizza, mind you. Just the crust.

Yesterday our Little Flowers Girls Club, in lieu of having a meeting, celebrated the birthday of one of our original members. I helped out the hosting family by making par-baked pizza crusts. In other words, I made one double-batch of dough cut into sixteen equal pieces, baked for 10 min at 425F then stored in an empty bread bag. When it was party time, we let the kids top their crusts as they like and bake 8-10 min at 425F or until browned to your liking.

While I was with First Shift at said party, Mr. Mackerelsnapper made us a pan of kale with onions and garlic (pretty much the link there but without the sweet potatoes), served with some bread on the side. Because only three of us were eating, as First Shift had been fed at the party, we had about two servings left over. What to do, what to do…

Well, today is Saturday: Lenten Food Prep Day. So far I’ve emptied the stock bag and made a pot of rice, which is an activity that takes more than 20 minutes, thus breaking the Lent 2013 Challenge Rules. All of that work totaled up to about 45 minutes. That still gives me an hour and fifteen minutes. With any luck I’ll make either some bagels or some pita.

With the rest of my time I made ANOTHER double-batch of pizza dough, separated those into a total of four crusts, and par-baked them as above. While those were baking, I used this awesome find from the produce bargain bin…

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…and made another batch of kale with onions and garlic, this time without adding beans. When the pizza crusts were finished their first bake, I set two aside to cool and be frozen for use next week. The other two I topped with last night’s kale leftovers and today’s newly cooked batch. I sprinkled some mozzarella (frozen in bulk, of course) on those and baked them the rest of the way (10 more minutes at 425F). Voila—lunch!

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(Somebody took us out to dinner tonight, so dinner wasn’t our “by the rules” meal for the day.) Vegans:  skip the cheese.  Gluten-free?  Use one of those fancy cauliflower crusts, which, btw, I’ve been meaning to try.  Any reviews?

Two weeks of Lent remain. Usually Easter means ham… but this year, I could really use a big, thick steak….

 

 

Lent 2013 Challenge Day 17: Teeny Tiny Tacos

We just made these, with the addition of a diced cucumber that would not have survived another day of not being eaten.  We splurged for a bag of “scoops” corn chips with which to eat them. The only problem was that Mr. Mackerelsnapper came home late and the children had already eaten his dinner!

Lent 2013 Challenge Day 11-12: Getting saucy

1:49:25. That, my friends, is the amount of time we devoted to food prep this weekend. Scary? Be not afraid! In the time above, I made two batches of bagels, a double batch of sauce, did the dishes, made and ate breakfast, and did my hair and makeup.

I made the bagels using this recipe, only making them 12 to a batch, rather than 8. My sauce, however, has been perfected recently, and I’m happy to share the results here.

Mrs. Mackerelsnapper’s Tomato Sauce (total prep time: 20 minutes)

2 onions, chopped
2 medium green peppers, chopped
2 T olive oil
1 c red wine
1 T minced garlic
1 tsp each salt, oregano, basil, parsley, and thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 large (48oz? 36? sorry, I forgot!) cans of tomato puree, sauce, or crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves

In a large, heavy skillet, cook onions and greed peppers in olive oil over medium-high heat until tender and just starting to brown. Add wine, garlic, and seasonings to pan and let simmer about 3 minutes. Pour into a slow cooker and stir in tomato. Add bay leaves. Heat on low 4-5 hours (more if you need to be out of the house longer). Remove bay leaves. If you have a stick blender, blend until smooth. Pour into containers and refrigerate until needed.

Or, make bagel pizzas:

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Picture courtesy of Nada

Lent 2013 Challenge Day 10: Corn Pudding

Friday was completely breaking the rules because someone came over and shared crab cakes with us.  In the name of hospitality, we broke down and accepted them.  However, we did provide a side which, if given some tuna or “krab” and made in the slow cooker, *would* have worked just fine with the Lent 2013 Rules linked above.

This is our family’s recipe for corn pudding.  I used to have it stuck in my mind that this is a Thanksgiving Recipe, and never should it be made outside of Thanksgiving.  In recent years, though, we’ve become a little more adventurous.  I love having this with shellfish of any kind… especially crab cakes.

Corn Pudding (prep time:  5 minutes)

1 can creamed corn
1/2 c cracker crumbs
1 c milk
3 large eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
about 1 T butter

Mix all ingredients together and pour into greased slow cooker.  Dot top with butter.  Cook on low 4-5 hours.

Lent 2013 Challenge Day 3: Are you going to Scarborough Fair?

Roasted Fennel and Chick Peas (prep time: 15 minutes)

1 fennel bulb, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced
1 can chick peas, drained
3 medium potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into 1″ pieces (leave the skins on)
1 c baby carrots
1 onion, sliced thin
1 tsp each of… wait for it… parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 T minced garlic (or less–we totally overdo the garlic around here, because of, you know, the vampires)
1/4 c olive oil

Dump everything into your slow cooker, being sure to mix well after adding the olive oil. Set your slow cooker on low and walk away for just about as long as you’d like. Give it all a good stir before serving.  The slow roasting really mellows out the fennel, so if you’re like me and more than a little afraid of that much licorice-flavor in your veggies… just put on your big-chef panties and buy the fennel.

Yes, YES, my friends, you can put things in a slow cooker without any fluid. I don’t know where we all got the idea that you must have fluid in your slow cooker. Maybe it was the condensed soup companies or something, but it’s not necessary. You can bake potatoes (white and/or sweet), roast carrots, make puddings… I could go on and on. I’d better not, though, as my family is waiting for me to join them for Netflix and Doctor Who.

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