The Lean Green Bean

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mashed Potato Bowl

Hi Friends-

Tonight I ventured even further into the land of the mashed. I was trying to think of a way to use up the rest of my mashed sweet potatoes because every time I open the fridge I feel them staring at me...potatoes have eyes you know. So I was driving home from school when inspiration struck. Two quarters ago I spent two days a week working in a school kitchen as part of my practicum experience. I was there for the entire quarter so I saw them rotate through the entire menu a couple of times and far and away the most popular item was the mashed potato bowl. A scoop of mashed potatoes, topped with chicken nuggets and gravy (AND corn...let it be known that I totally forgot about the corn until Brett asked me where it was while we were eating. I knew I was missing something but couldn't remember what) . In my estimation, the line was about 5 times as long on mashed potato bowl day. I decided I could recreate this apparently delightful dish.

I didn't even make it to the kitchen before I realized I already had two problems:
1) I had no chicken nuggets

2) Due to my 20-something year aversion to mashed potatoes, I don't have much experience with gravy.

A simple solution to problem #1: I could make my own chicken nuggets. I had two chicken breasts thawing in the fridge so I cut them into nugget-esqe shapes.

Then I poured some breadcrumbs into a ziploc bag and added some McCormicks, paprika, pepper and a dash of garlic powder.I cracked an egg, whisked it up, dunked the nuggets and tossed them into the bag.

Next I did a little dance around the kitchen while shaking the bag like a maraca. (THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT STEP. Don't skip the dancing). I put the nuggets on a baking sheet and into the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Problem #2 took a little more work. My basic (Read: EXTREMELY LIMITED) knowledge of gravy told me it involved flour, butter and meat drippings. This created another problem since I wasn't quite sure where I would get the meat drippings for this particular meal. So I headed to the computer to search for some "vegetarian" or "meat-dripping-less" gravy recipes. I found some. Some sounded like they would taste like something similar to eating computer paper. Others involved mushrooms which I was about 80% sure that I had in the fridge but I was too lazy to get up and check. Typical. Anyways, thinking about mushroom gravy suddenly gave me my second brilliant idea of the day! Although I have cut down significantly on the number of things I buy in cans, I usually have a can of Cream of Mushroom soup laying around in case a craving for Enchiladas ever strikes. Since this soup semi-resembles gravy already, I figured there had to be a way to turn it into a gravy of sorts. Turns out this is not a very original idea and there are plenty of recipes out there for it! Also turns out that I did have mushrooms in the fridge and could have made my own, but we'll just keep that between you and I.

I emptied the can into a small pot, added 3/4 c of milk and some black pepper and stirred it all together. Let it heat up slowly over low heat and add more milk if necessary.

To assemble the bowls, I heated up the leftover potatoes, added some nuggets and topped with gravy. Ta da!

A few things:
1) Don't forget to top yours  with corn!
2) The hubby says these are the best chicken nuggets he's ever had and he is angry that there are none left over.
3) The hubby also wanted me to tell you that he thinks I'm misleading you by calling these mashed  potatoes. While they are physically mashed, they are lacking the butter and milk and whatever else typically goes in real mashed potatoes to give them that horrible texture. Point taken...but they are still mashed.
4) This would work just as well with regular mashed potatoes...if you're into that kind of thing...

Today in Lindsay Loves:

*~* Pack A Snack*~*

Around 11:30 today, I was getting ready to leave. I got my school stuff ready, filled the kongs with peanut butter for the dogs and was shutting off the lights when I realized a) I had not eaten lunch, b) I had not packed myself anything to eat and c) I wasn't going to be home for 7 hours. I was SO tempted to just  run out the door, telling myself I would buy something to eat when I got to school...but knowing myself like I do, I knew I wouldn't be able to find anything I wanted once I got  down there and I would end up either not eating or eating junk. So I sucked it up and packed some snacks. No matter how busy you are, there's always time to pack a healthy snack/lunch!!!! Keeping healthy foods on hand makes this process go even faster. ALSO, I got my new  reusable snack bags in the mail last week and my excitement for using them has yet  to wear off :) So, I headed the the pantry. I filled one bag with some fruit and nut mix. The kind I buy has almonds, walnuts, pistachios, dried cherries (which I usually pick out) and dried cherries. I usually add some raisins and cheerios but I recently discovered that adding some peanuts elevates my trail mix to a whole new level of deliciousness! I grabbed a sandwich thin (check them out here if you're not familiar...they're pretty much the best thing ever), spread some peanut butter inside, cut it in half and threw it in another bag. I washed an apple and tossed it in my bag and also put some grapes in a tupperware container. VOILA. 2 minutes...4 healthy money saved! And if I can do this with both dogs following me around the kitchen whining pitifully because I had filled up their treats but not yet given them to them, all of you can do it to!

Question of the night: What was your favorite meal in high school?

Have a lovely night. I'm off to return a movie we watched this weekend...Date Night- with Steve Carell and Tina it right now if you haven't seen's all kinds of HILARIOUS!!!



Blogger Trevor Nohe said...

brett tends to make great comments/observations/suggestions. thank you brett.

October 6, 2010 at 1:49 AM  
Blogger Trevor Nohe said...

and yes, date night is hilarious!

October 6, 2010 at 1:51 AM  

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