What to Cook When You Can’t Leave the House and All the Meat Is Gone

Ah, yes: the joys of parenting. This week, my daughter and I had a nasty upper respiratory virus. Neither of us wanted to do much except watch movies, play board games, and color. Further complicating the situation was an unfortunate stock-out at our farmers’ market delivery service, which meant that we ran out of meat on Wednesday and had only six eggs left after lunch today.

What to do for dinner tonight? I made like a fifties housewife and casseroled it:

Set 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese out to soften.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Steam fresh broccoli florets by placing in rice cooker’s steamer basket, which is resting on top of a pot with one inch of water in it; boil the water until the florets turn bright green. Place the steamed florets in a Pyrex dish; cover it to keep them warm.

Make pasta. I like Mrs. Leeper’s organic corn spaghetti; I made half of the package.

Drain the pasta; then stir in both packages of cream cheese over low heat. Add 1/2 bottle of honey mustard. Stir until thoroughly mixed, then add steamed broccoli. Stir the whole thing together, transfer it from the pot to the Pyrex dish, and bake it (uncovered) for 15 to 20 minutes. Enjoy!


Delightful Chocolate Icing

I mentioned earlier that I made a variation (using Living Intentions Original Sprouted Super Flour instead of wheat flour and grapefruit marmalade instead of strawberry puree) of Martha Stewart’s Sprinkles cupcakes for my mom’s birthday.

You might be curious to know what I used to ice the cupcakes. I didn’t make a fruit-flavored icing, in part because I thought these cupcakes demanded something a bit richer. The icing I made is simple, in the sense that it only has three ingredients, but a little bit tricky, because it involves frequent taste-testing to ensure that it has just the right level of chocolate flavor and sweetness.

Here it is: Soften 2 bars of cream cheese and whip them in a mixer while gradually adding cacao powder. Use a spoon to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and to scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure complete mixing of the cream cheese and the cacao powder. When the mixture is the same color as a milk chocolate bar (or when it tastes chocolatey enough for your liking), stop adding cacao. Now it’s time to sweeten the icing. While the mixer is still going, fluffing up that icing nicely, gradually add agave nectar until the icing is sweet enough for you. I don’t like my chocolate incredibly sweet, particularly when it’s going on top of a cupcake that’s already sweetened, but everybody’s taste is different, so just add the agave nectar slowly and keep tasting it. This may be the best-tasting chocolate icing you’ll ever eat. I dare you not to lick the bowl after you’ve iced your cupcakes.