9-39: Zesty Meat Casserole

9-39: Zesty Meat Casserole

Not every Simply Delicious recipe is a home run. With 9-39: Zesty Meat Casserole, perhaps unsuccessfully, tries to break the mold. By not forming the beef into a patty, meatball, or kebab, this casserole tries to do something different. To cook this recipe, I had to prepare a parsnip, something I’m not accustomed to. I made this dish before a trip out of town and brought it with me to have something homemade to eat.

I cut my vegetables in a manner similar to the photograph, but my substitution of milk for half and half made the sauce come out runny.

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17-42: Luscious Lemon Bars

17-42: Luscious Lemon Bars

17-42: Luscious Lemon Bars were the second of my holiday baking batches this year (XMAS 16), and one that I’ve baked in the past, given my rather bold notes. I think I was on a cheesecake kick, and thought these would be easier than making an actual cake. “BAD DO NOT MAKE” doesn’t exactly bode well for a recipe–why make it again?

Here’s why: sometimes it’s important to try again, even when the first experience wasn’t exactly a positive one. The first time I made these lemon bars was my junior year of college, so about 10-12 years ago. I had just moved into my first off-campus apartment with my friend, and we had a full kitchen, something I hadn’t had access to for a few years while living away from home in the dorms.

I remember making these in that kitchen (yes, I dragged these books with me all the way out to Colorado and back) and struggling with this recipe. Out of that frustration (and failure) came the note. I’ve learned a lot since then (culinarily and otherwise), so I think it’s time to figure out if it was the recipe or it was me.

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1-22: Onion-Potato Diamonds

1-22: Onion-Potato Diamonds

Finally, an appetizer from the first section of the book. Another story for you: in my first apartment after I graduated college and moved back home to LA, I threw an 80s Valentine’s Day party, and 1-22: Onion-Potato Diamonds were one of the appetizers I made for it–another was 5-20: Golden Cheese Tartlettes.

Look at them. Something about them just screams 1980s cocktail party to me. This time around, I made them to take to a get-together I was attending, along with 17-36: Grandma’s Spice Cake. Both ended up being big hits.

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