Yesterday, I panicked. After I posted about the toffee, I decided to take a few minutes and see what was happening in the wonderful world of food on the internet- read a few of my favorite blogs, check out what was new on epicurious, etc. As I was bookmarking sites and saving recipes to try to later, and they were piling up, as they inevitably do, the panic began to set in. Here I am, overdue with my first baby, and I realized that I NEED MORE TIME! When I saw a recipe for a lovely lemon layer cake on one of my favorite blogs, I realized I still haven’t found my ultimate birthday cake recipe. And despite my best efforts, I still can’t get into the habit of baking my own bread every week, much less finding extra time to give this lovely little number a whirl.
See, what I’m trying to get at is… I kind of thought that by the time I became a mother, I’d have some of these things sorted out. For as long as I remember, I’ve been sure that I’d be the kind of mom that makes loaves of white bread for her kids sandwiches and is able to prepare Brussels sprouts in ways that even the pickiest toddler will eat. I envisioned every Saturday morning as an endless parade of homemade cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip pancakes, and fruit cut up into little heart shapes, perfect for my darling’s cherubic little fingers. I’m pretty sure at some point I made the bold statement that I would never feed my child one of those frozen dinners with the cartoon characters on the front.
I don’t know where I got this from. This kind of crazy doesn’t run in my family. Other kinds of crazy, sure, but not this kind. And the really bananas part is… the thought of all that is completely overwhelming to me at this point. I kind of thought that by the time I had a baby, I’d be ready to get my act together and being a pulled-together-mother-type would come easily to me. I didn’t anticipate the fact that at 40 weeks and 2 days pregnant, I’d still be wondering to myself if some lil’ smokies and cucumber slices could be considered dinner in a pinch. (Side note: It would, right? You’ve got a protein and a veg!) Yep, I definitely need more time.
Trouble is… I think I’m out. I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty certain you can only stay this preggers for so long before you, you know… give birth. I needed something to make me feel better, more pulled together, more in control, ASAP. Like I said, time is of the essence. So I started to go through my pile of recipes I wanted to cook. And in the process, I found a bunch of things that I had already made and I pulled them out to make again. As I was going back over all these recipes, some long forgotten, some speckled and stained and full of memories, I started to calm down. It was like going through a photo album of old friends, each one reminding me of something I’d done, of a special occasion I’d made it for. Each one made me feel a little bit better. My feelings of inadequacy were replaced by thoughts like, “Oh yeah, I made homemade gnocchi! That was impressive!” and “Yep, these really were the best cheese straws I’ve ever had.” and “Ahhh, remember when we pulled more green beans out of the garden then we could possibly eat?!”
In the end, I settled on making… lunch. Just plain old lunch for me and my hubby, who was home from work today (for Presidents’ Day? I think?) Actually it wasn’t just plain old lunch, it was this delicious Cheeseburger Salad that I found on the Pioneer Woman blog. I’d made it a while back for dinner and I’ve been getting the itch to make it again for a while. I’m really into the whole hot and cold salad combo thing (like steak salad, for example), so this is right up my alley. And who doesn’t love cheeseburgers?? And then, of course, there is my favorite reason for eating things like this: If it has the word “salad” in the recipe, it’s pretty much a health food. Whatever my reasoning for making Cheeseburger Salad this afternoon, it boils down to the fact that it’s just downright tasty. It didn’t make me feel better about impending motherhood or give me any kind of considerable confidence boost or anything like that. But it sure did taste really darn good. And I think that’s good enough for now.
So yeah, maybe I would reconsider giving my kid a frozen dinner. And my guess is that most of the fruit consumed in this house will be conspicuously un-heart-shaped. But you never know, I might just get this little one to eat some of these delicious Brussels sprouts someday. A girl can dream, can’t she?
adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Keep in mind that most of these quantities of ingredients are more like guidelines. Pretty much anything can (and should!) be adjusted to suit your taste. I upped all the original quantities of ketchup, mustards, and BBQ sauce, because I liked my meat mixture a little saucier. The same goes for the quantities of all the other elements of the salad… better to go by feel.
2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup ketchup
1 TB yellow mustard
2 TB Dijon or spicy mustard
4 TB barbecue sauce
2 whole hamburger buns
1/2 stick butter
2 heads Romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 whole Roma tomatoes, diced
6 whole dill pickle spears, cubed
1/2 whole red onion, sliced
Brown the meat in a large skillet over medium heat. Then remove it from the heat and drain off the fat. Add ketchup, mustards and barbecue sauce to the meat and stir to combine. Taste and add more of whatever you think it needs. Keep warm.
Cut hamburger buns into 1-inch cubes. Melt 1/4 stick of butter in a separate skillet over low heat, then add the bread cubes and toss to coat. Toast the croutons in the skillet over low heat for about 10 -12 minutes, adding a few tablespoons of butter every couple of minutes until you’ve used the whole stick. (This will ensure all the croutons soak up the butter and toast nicely.)
To assemble each salad, pile torn lettuce on a plate. Add the tomato, red onion, and pickles on top of the lettuce. Pile on a good quantity of the meat mixture, then top with plenty of grated cheddar. Then sprinkle warm croutons all around the plate.