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Over the holidays I took a break from the kitchen. After Thanksgiving it seemed like the leftovers were too overwhelming and limited funds hindered my experimental cooking for dinner. In other words, we ate a lot of pasta and pizza.

The night prior I had made pasta with kielbasa sausage bits in it so when I got home from work last night to find my part of the pantry basically filled with pasta I cringed a little bit.

One of my favorite meals that my Mom would make when I was growing up it consisted of three ingredients – mashed potatoes (always instant), baked beans and a pack of hot dogs chopped into bite sizes pieces. It is the easiest dish I have ever tried to make, once you chop the hot dogs up you simply add them to your pot of bake beans and cook. In another pot cook your mashed potatoes. When everything is finished serve the bake beans and hot dogs mix over top of the mashed potatoes – stir if desired.

A few years ago I was in my first apartment and in my second year of college; it was my first year of actually having to cook for myself. I took my Mom’s classic recipe and tweaked it to fit the ingredients I had, it resulted in The Camping Bowl (click the link to see one of my very first abandoned projects).

Last night in a sea of pasta, sauce and canned ravioli I found a box of instant mashed potatoes and some baked beans. I pulled them out and remembered having hot dogs in the fridge, so I began prepping everything, and by prepping I mean boiling water.

Last summer I had made this dish for friends but tossed in some left over corn kernels from the night before, it added a great color and taste to the dish making it a smashing hit. So I thought I would try that again and maybe add a splash of broccoli this time for a hint of green.

As I convinced myself my dish was not getting to colorful I pulled out the hot dogs I had stashed away in the fridge. Little did I know I was about to learn a very important lesson – even when refrigerated things don’t last forever. Crapmy hot dogs were green. I am no food or health expert, but I am pretty sure that hot dogs are not a safe food to eat when they are a ripe shade of green.

With everything already past the prep stage and cooking I was past the point to turn back. While I personally would have lived with mashed potatoes, bake beans, corn and broccoli for dinner, Jared is not one to enjoy a dish of sides (it took me four years to learn this) – my dish needed some type of meat.

I opened the freezer to find pounds of ground beef and frozen chicken legs… neither seemed like a great option for my dish. I stood back and thought about what I had at my disposal and what I was left with was breakfast sausage links or baconI choose bacon.

I cut ten strips of bacon into smaller pieces (still bigger then bacon bits) and cooked them in the frying pan like you would normally cook bacon. My water with margin and salt was coming to a slow boil for the mashed potatoes as was the other pot of corn and broccoli. Soon before I knew it dinner was done.

I have no name for this “masterpiece”  but if you would like to make your own here is what you will need:
-Instant Mashed Potatoes (enough for 4-6 servings
-1 can baked beans (the larger the better)
-One family side serving of frozen corn
-One family side serving of broccoli
-10 strips of bacon cut into smaller pieces

The Prep:
-Follow instant mashed potatoes instructions
-Bring corn and broccoli to boil in large pot
-Cook bacon as you would on Sunday morning
-Drain corn and broccoli, put back in pot on medium to low heat
-Add can of baked beans to pot of corn and broccoli
-When bacon is finished add that to pot of veggies and baked beans as well

Serve mixture of meat, veggies and beans of a heaping scoop of mashed potatoes; mix all contents together if desired.

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