Whats for Dinner?

These casseroles are mighty fine when you're just cooking for yourself. Very similar prep to the last dish I made with scalloped potatoes, only this was more traditional, with mashed potatoes topping it.

Deer stew casserole:

1 lb venison stew meat browned in the skillet with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Threw it in a pot with:
  • Penzey's 'Old World' seasoning, about 2tbs
  • 1 tbs "Better than Bullion" mushroom concentrate
  • 1 can button mushrooms, with juice
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bag frozen peas and carrots
Cooked down at a simmer until the liquid was thick. Poured in a baking dish (removing bay leaf), topped with Idahoan instant mashed potatoes (4 servings), a handful of mozzarella, a handful of cheddar, and dashed with both sweet paprika and sumac. Melted under broiler.
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Because I'm bored (and apparently a masochist), I bought one of every kind of "Hormel Compleats" instant meals that were available at my local grocery store, and kept a log as to my opinion of them as I ate them (and the opinion of my cat based on whether or not he wanted to lick the bowl afterwards).


I did it, now you have to read it, because that's how this works.

TypeRating (out of 5)Description
Chili Mac0Almost nauseating. There are some things even Sriracha can't fix. Cat wouldn't touch the dish after either.
"Tender" Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes, and Gravy1Vague notes of burned wood. Despite being completely submerged in "gravy," roast beef was dry and unpleasant. Potatoes barely taste like anything. Gravy tastes like it is brown water that was given a verbal description of the taste of gravy 10 minutes before I ate it. Cat seemed to like licking the dish after though.
Chicken and Noodles1On its own, pretty much unpalatable. Dominated by an odd artificial flavor that doesn't seem like it should be there. But a dash of sriracha makes it halfway to ok. Not good, but better than the two items above, and probably the first one I didn't immediately and actively regret eating.
Chicken and Rice2Edible, but bland and unappetizing. As with everything, Sriracha makes it better. Cat didn't care for it.
Beef Pot Roast3The gravy isn't too bad, but the beef seems to be the same tasteless stuff that was in the roast beef - just cooked longer to make it more tender. It does cut with a fork. A little Sriracha and I could see myself eating this again. Cat agrees.
Chicken and Dumplings4Surprisingly pleasant given all that has come before it. Taste is mild but agreeable, texture is decent. Didn't require sriracha.
Beef Stroganoff2Not terrible, but the sauce is kind of bland and not enough beef in the mix. Cat found it tolerable.
Salisbury Steak2This is actually a pretty good score because no Salisbury Steak is ever better than 3. Cat agrees.
Chicken Alfredo2The Salisbury Steak of Poultry. Hard to screw up, but the bar is low, and so is the ceiling. It's creamy and bland, it's chicken alfredo.
Spaghetti and Meat Sauce1Spaghetti. So basic. So ubiquitous. So easy to get right. So often screwed up. Not quite as bad as Chili Mac, but close. Cat wouldn't touch it.
Turkey and Stuffing2A pretty sad Thankgiving. Turkey barely has any flavor, and the gravy is only slightly better. Texture on the stuffing is alright if you like mixing it with gravy. Cat seems to like it though.
Chicken Pot Pie1Starts off not so bad, but after more than a few bites, it starts to taste like watery bread-soaked vaguely-chicken-flavored snot with an unpleasant aftertaste. Cat no likey either.
My classic struggle meal. Rice padded out with mushrooms, onions, broccoli and whatever the cheapest protein I can with a can of mushroom soup or whatever sauce I can whip together with some mushroom soy sauce and whatever's in my fridge. Made enough to last the week.