"I cannot live without books: but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object." -- Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, December 18, 2014

My 1st Three Course Meal and More...

Cooking is so frustrating for me.

I had been planning a casual get together for about six friends and I wanted to attempt my first 3-course meal.

I researched recipes for days, several days, many days.

I tried to develop a menu with appetizers, a main course, a side dish, a salad and dessert to be served buffet style.

I settled on stuffed cherry tomatoes, tuna & bean bruschetta, and cucumber topped with cheese and grated carrots for appetizers.

I thought I would make a slow cooker stew as the main dish but changed it to meatloaf at the last minute because I did not want to deal with soup bowls.

The side dish was going to be pasta, a fall back dish.

Oh, and there were no cherry tomatoes at the store and the cheese topped cucumber slices was abandoned due to lack time and energy. That left blue-cheese stuffed olives and tuna & bean dip as appetizers.

A salad of onion, tomato, and cucumber slices with cheese cubes was another fall back.

Dessert kept changing because on my first grocery shopping trip the store did not have whipped topping in a container (spray can only). I settled on peanut butter balls.

I had selected so many recipes and saved them on various devices in various ways (email, bookmark, photo, reading list) that finding the one I wanted became a problem, more frustration. Solution was to email the pertinent recipes to my mobile and flag them and then delete the ones that I would probably not use.

Well, I had to get a loaf pan for the meat loaf and I got a 7 x 5, not a 9 x 5, so I tried to reduce the recipe and failed. I cried so much cutting the onions, I couldn't see what I was doing with a very sharp knife.

Waiting to see if the first mini-meatloaf comes out before I go forward. I cooked it too long, while it was tasty, it was dry. Luckily, I had accidentally made too much loaf mix, I had enough for another batch.

And all I could think of was, I am not ever doing this again!

I reduced the cooking time from 15 to 10 minutes in the microwave. This time I also added the tomato sauce topping I forgot on the first one and this one came out great!

Then I tried a new recipe, Vegetarian Nut Loaf. I should have tried it first when I wasn't so tired. I forgot to cut the recipe in half, then half way through I tried to cut it half by dividing the half-done mixture into two bowls while attempting to finish one-half.

The thing was pink because I used colored bar nuts.

It just came out of the microwave. It is still pink. It is crumbly but tasty. I have enough mix for probably three more loafs. If I make another one, I will add another egg and maybe another cheese. (Note: only used one pkg of cream cheese and one egg).

While I bought a sharper knife thinking I would be able to "mince" onions and such better, all it did was make cutting onions more dangerous. I never got past dice.

Ok, it's late and I am tired. I thought making the hard-boiled eggs would be easy. Something went wrong, maybe I cooked them a minute or two too long, or maybe because I was using eight eggs contributed to this disaster. The eggs were overlooked and so hard to peel I lost two eggs because most of the egg came away with the shell. I salvaged six eggs but cut myself in the process and could not stop thinking of all the illnesses you could get from eggs.

I couldn't find my original peanut butter ball recipe and took a chance on trying to remember how it went. It was another failure, I tried to salvage by making a "peanut butter" pie topped with crushed cookies. As another attempt to make a dessert, I tried Stove Top Coffee Cake, but I could tell I was done because I forgot to grease the pan and I suspected it will turn out to be just one big pancake, I think I tried it before.

I still have to make the tuna and bean something and peel the cucumber etc.

Dread, dread, dread....

Ok it's 3:00 pm and I am exhausted/ The frig holds three ground beef mini meat loafs, 1 nut loaf, 1 plate of deviled eggs, 1 bowl of pasta, 1 bowl of salad and a stone top coffee cake.

It was funny. After it was all done and the table was set, I did not feel so bad.

I had three disasters, the Vegetarian Nut Loaf (a bit dry and still pink),  the peanut butter balls became a pie. The Stove Top Coffee Cake was ok (next time, I will use a different pan and more baking soda).

I managed to salvage the deviled eggs instead of 16 halves, I had 12 and they were tasty but next time I need to remember to cover them in the frig.

Please ignore the Mercado/Discount/Mom's items/Recycled mix & match table settings.

While everyone enjoyed the meal, there was plenty left over. I had made two extra mini-meat loafs, so I was eating meat loaf and pasta for a week.

While it was both a disaster and a success, I now have a good fall back main dish -- mini-meat loaf.

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