Monday, September 1, 2008

Mashed Potatoes meets Artichoke Dip

The last few weeks, I've pretty much eaten garbage, albeit vegetarian garbage. It's taken a toll on my wasteline AND my finances, as that Wendy's egg, cheese, and tomato panini with a large diet Coke costs about $5--every day. Lunches have been nonexistant or have come from the school cafeteria, neither of which is a good choice. Dinners have been a boring blur of quick standbys or take out. So, this weekend I decided I really wanted to get some cooking done ahead of time so that I could eat something that at least came from my own kitchen.

Add to that that I've had this weird craving for artichokes. I don't know why. I never had artichokes as a child, and my exposure as an adult has been limited. Nonetheless, artichokes in anything have made my ears perk up. At the same time, I've been craving some of the creamy comfort of mashed potatoes, but when you don't eat meat, it can be hard to find something to serve them with.

It was destiny, I suppose, to find this recipe for Parmesan Artichoke Potato Casserole over on the CLBB. It goes together quickly and uses few ingredients. It makes a large casserole full, so it is even economical. But best of all, it's good. There's something about the piquant tone of the artichokes that offsets the potatoes perfectly. There's just enough tang, just enough creaminess, to make it all work well together.

I put this together this morning, just to take for lunches. Then we had an impromptu gathering of our children and grandchildren. I still tossed the casserole in the oven to finish it off. Frankly, I didn't think they would eat it. Artichokes? Faggidaboutit. Mayonnaise? Their proper raising doesn't always stop them from making gagging sounds. My nice full pan of casserole? Down by 1/4. And I didn't serve it to them, which explains why there are so many spoons and little bowls in the dishwasher. Like little chicks, they just kept going back and pecking at it while we waited for our "real" lunch to be ready. So, I would say this one definitely qualifies as a winner. Sorry I have no pictures yet, but you can see it in your head. My pretty green casserole dish filled with white creamy goodness, with that crispy-cheesy topping of bread crumbs, parmesan, and paprika baked to crackly goodness. Mmmmmm....lunch will be good this week, for sure!

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