Tuesday, January 29, 2013
new food crush: cook simple's tamale pie dinner kit
When something, or someone, makes my life easier, healthier, and happier I have the tendency to develop a crush. One of my first crushes was on Rico. Oh Rico, how you still make me swoon. And then we all know that whoever "Don" is, behind Don Bars had me at the first bite... even if he did play hard to get. Sometimes my crushes are cheesy. Sometimes they're nuts. Anyway, I've developed a bunch of crushes over the years.
My latest crush started last night. I do not consider myself a "boxed food" cook. You all know that. But what busy mom isn't sometimes blinded by the bright lights and promise of a night off, hmm?
Here's the scoop: My kids had been dismissed early, due to icy road conditions. Early, as in before lunch. I'd gone to the market in the morning and spent an outrageous amount on organic carrots, packages of organic pre-sliced apples (since I wanted them to be eaten-- no freak out moments about browning apple slices), some intriguing sweet potato snack thing, and crowd-pleasing pretzel crisps as 'snack mom' for my son's "Odyssey of the Mind" team. But, at 8am, I wasn't thinking about dinner. Fast forward to mid-afternoon: the kids are home, it's gray and icy, the fire's going, carrots and apples don't really constitute dinner, and I have zero interest in going back to the market. I took inventory of the freezer, and there were a few options, but I like to keep those for nights when "I need them". (Note that I also have an issue with wearing certain things, for fear that I should save them for a special occasion....) Anyway, so I was thrilled to find this boxed dinner kit in the pantry. I'd picked it up on a whim during one of my Whole Foods runs a few months back. A skim of what other ingredients were needed?: 1 lb ground meat + diced tomatoes + honey + water and an egg. I had ground beef in the freezer...honey...water...an egg. Hmm, but no diced tomatoes. Throw in the towel or improvise slightly? I opted for the latter and substituted a diced onion and a can of black beans for the texture I would have gotten from the tomatoes, then added some tomato sauce for, well, the tomatoes. The whole thing took me about 15 minutes to chop, sauté, and pop into the oven. Maybe not even that? Then I went back to the fire and the nutrition lectures I was listening to... the timer buzzed 18 minutes later and voila, a dinner everyone in my family enjoyed. And that, my friends, is why this demure box has become my latest food crush. Most days, I'll still cook from scratch, or close to it. But is sure is nice to know I've got a little mealtime helper hiding in my pantry too.
So far, I've only tried the Tamale Pie version, but you can click here to learn more about all of their different dinner kits. Let me know if you try another variety and like it!