Tuesday, February 2, 2016

World’s Best Meal – According to Me

And it is not something you can get at a fast food joint. That would mean you have to put on socks and shoes and dress better and you have to stand in line to get served. Besides they use a lot of processed stuff in their mix so it really isn’t that healthy either.

I am talking about something you prepare right in your own kitchen and it really doesn’t require a lot of skill or equipment. You will need a sharp knife, microwave, dinner plate, some parchment paper and some food items that you will look in your refrigerator to use up since you didn’t eat them all in one sitting.

So pick a nice plain microwave safe dinner plate and that means no gold trim that will want to arc like crazy in the microwave. Get out the box of parchment paper and tear off a strip about as wide as the dinner plate is round. Then take a sharp cutting tool (I use my Olfa cutter) and cut that down the middle into 2 sections and store the second piece in the drawer where you got the parchment paper.  

You also will need some tortilla chips as the base layer that goes down on parchment paper that is on the microwave safe dinner plate which tends to keep the chips from getting really soggy and limpy. My personal favourite is Tostito’s Multigrain Scoopers. The fact that they are multigrain adds some added flavour and some added food value to this meal. The Scoopers are formed in such a way that they create cups to hold ingredients. So place them nicely in a pattern that covers as much of the plate without overlapping each other. Save all the partial pieces for topping soup or stews.

Now get out a good barbecue sauce and drizzle it over the tortilla chips. My personal favourite is Diana Sauce (www.dianasauce.com) which takes me back to the days of working at the old Eaton’s store in the sporting goods department. We went across Yonge Street and dodged the traffic for coffee breaks because Diana Sweets served quality food and quality coffee as well. The sauce does not list corn starch as an ingredient which might explain why it flows very smoothly unlike the cheaper mass brands do which come out of the bottle in blobs.

Now it is up to you to what you put on as more toppings because it is your creation and sort of like an in house pizza without having to wait for delivery and pay through the nose for over salted food that is delivered by someone with an attitude, if the tip doesn’t meet with their liking. Almost any previously cooked meat works quite well and my ‘fridge always seems to have lots of that around.

Corned beef, roast beef, ham, turkey, chicken, pastrami, kolbassa, and many other packaged slice meats work well. You can also use leftover meats but just cut them up into small pieces to spread out over the chips and sauce. I usually grill extra chicken breasts just for that purpose in warmer weather. Now you can keep going and I at least shred some cheese on top of this as a basic mix and you can season it to taste with stuff like basil, onion powder, garlic powder, etc. Don’t add salt since there is enough in the cheese and meats usually.

But I usually kick it up a notch (out of respect for Emeril) and add more ingredients. Recently I have tried thinly sliced mushrooms, baby spinach or regular spinach, pineapple tidbits, fresh broccoli (sort of shaved into really tiny pieces) and all work well. I have used lettuce as a final topping but only after the mixture was heated. Cut up grape tomatoes would work well in that fashion also.

I plan to try raisins, shredded carrot, cooked bacon, cooked chicken-bacon, canned peach slices (cut up into really small pieces), green onions, red onions, sunflower seeds, and anything else that I have in the fridge (and sometimes in the cupboard) that might taste good and create variety.

You only need to microwave your creation for about 90 seconds to melt the cheese and give the rest of the mixture warmth and bind it all together since it makes a really wonderful finger food. Just let it sit for at least a minute or two after it comes out of the microwave so you don’t cook the inside of your mouth (the process of microwaving continues for a bit after the unit finishes beeping). Always have a cold beverage of some sort to go along with this creation. My personal favourite is some sort of fruit juice to get some more good food value out of this meal.

There is not much to clean up after and usually the plate just needs a quick washing in the sink with the soap pad and rinse. When you are hungry and don’t feel like making a full meal this combination is a really easy one to prepare and you get to use up stuff in your fridge that might go bad in a few days and get a healthy meal to boot. It's a pretty good choice all around but don’t eat it near the computer keyboard. It is a bit of a sticky mess and you will need to wash your hands after it is devoured but that isn’t much work really. None of this was much work and it usually just tastes excellent.

It all seems pretty perfect to me, but I am pretty easy to please.

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