I’ve been in awful moods lately. Perhaps it is my kind-of-fun-but-largely-unfufilling job, perhaps it is family illness worries, perhaps it is wedding planning stress (Dr. Boyfriend is in medical school and too busy to help, really. Not to mention the fact that he moved us across state so I am planning it long distance without even my mother nearby for assistance). Whatever the reason, I have got the blues bad.

So, of course, I immerse myself in things that make me happy, and that mostly consists of COOKING! On Friday, I despaired because Saturday is our grocery shopping day, leaving Fridays to be “scrounge in the fridge, throw your hands in the air in frustration and eventually just order pizza” day. Instead,  i  found the one fresh food item we had (broccoli), and threw it with staples we always have to create this amazing cassarole. I used my modified Better Homes and Gardens mac and cheese recipe, and the end result was a cross between mac and cheese and a vegetable lasagna.

I cooked the pasta as usual (mostly macaroni, with rotini and small shells as well for texture and catching the sauce). I chopped up broccoli and carrots and pre-steamed them. I chopped garlic, shallots, and onions and cooked them in a little butter until tender, added flour and pepper. Then milk, stirring until thickened and bubbly. I added two kinds of cheese, pepper jack and velveeta (mostly for the color), stir until melted, then stirred in the  chopped broccoli and carrot (unevenly chopped for an interesting texture). Remove from heat, mix with pasta, then pour in a pyrex container, cover with bread crumbs, and bake for 30 minutes. Such comfort food!

Saturday we sprung for expensive steaks, expensive meaning they were REAL steaks as opposed to me just treating up some cheap beef, still way cheaper than if we went out to a restaurant. (bad weather makes for no restaurant dining. Also, the combonation of not having a car and large sections of the city closing at 5 pm doesn’t help either. I would kill to go to an awesome restaurant.)

Sunday is my usual day for “cook something huge that takes forever as an excuse to not leave the house”. This time I used a pork shoulder/boston butt that was super super cheap from the grocery store. I never cooked it before, so I went to the trusty interwebs. Between recipes for bbq pulled pork and recipes for pork osso busco style, I came up with my own recipe, seasoning the shoulder and cooking in a mixture of white wine, water, leftover jar spaghetti sauce, and BBQ sauce. It braised for four or five hours, falling apart and making it super easy to shred, leaving me with delicious subtly tomato and bbq flavored meat. I said it tasted “porky”, which Dr. Boyfriend found funny, but that’s what I was going for, a subtle sauce that didn’t overwhelm the taste of the actual meat. Cooking with the bone in probably helped. I paired this with Dr. Boyfriend’s favorite crispy baked potatoes. (Cut potatoes, cook in microwave. Toss with onions and garlic, spray with oil, season, put on cookie sheet and pop in oven until all is cooked and crispy.)

Yesterday I put together a quesadilla bar and my friend/neighbor/fellow librarian R came over.

I have no idea what I will make tonight, but I need something that will chase the blues away and put the fear of God into it for never coming back.