Last weekend a snowstorm descended on Bossy’s small town, and Bossy’s mom, who lives one block away, had a brilliant idea. “I’m throwing a Cook the Contents of Your Freezer and Pantry Party,” she said — the idea being to get creative with what you have on hand and allow yourself to be snowed-in.
This party idea was tailor made for Bossy, who is not typically a recipe follower — and Bossy is nothing if not up for a cooking challenge, especially if it includes Bossy’s neighborhood friend Barry, whose pantry castoffs include enough martini makings to drown a Not Stray cat named Baby David.
So Bossy retired to her kitchen, where retired equals walked the three steps within her shoebox diorama dressed as a house.
But somewhere within that hot mess which is actually quite icy, Bossy located this, which was given to Bossy when she found herself in the middle of a family emergency two years ago:
Using the frozen spinach manicotti as her foundation, Bossy raided her refrigerator and pantry for the rest of the ingredients:
The first thing Bossy did was fire up her black iron skillet with some olive oil and throw in the scant red onion remains, the shallot, and garlic:
Next Bossy dumped the bag of frozen spinach into the onion mixture and cooked until assimilated:
Meanwhile, Bossy began to create a faux béchamel sauce. Come to think of it, faux perfectly defines most everything in Bossy’s makeshift life. In this case Bossy dumped a bunch of half and half into the bottom of her saucepan and added lots and lots of nutmeg:
Next Bossy added some flour to the mixture:
With the faux béchamel sauce complete, Bossy walked clear over two inches to her right and dumped the fresh spinach, capers, parsley, and chopped dill into her skillet:
Next Bossy grated one carpal tunnel syndrome’s worth of fresh pecorino cheese directly into the hot pan to melt:
With her main dish in a holding pattern, Bossy got all ambitious and decided to raid her pantry for a quick something she could add to the appetizer table. First Bossy brought out her latest batch of favorite:
Then Bossy heated another black iron skillet with olive oil and added scads of sea salt and tons of cinnamon sugar:
And then Bossy tossed her cashews into the pan and cooked them until they were caramelized and crunchy:
But back to the entrée. Next Bossy tended to the skill-intensive preparation of her frozen manicotti:
Next Bossy put some faux béchamel and some of her spinach mixture in the bottom of an oven safe casserole pan and placed the manicotti on top:
And then Bossy topped the manicotti with the remaining béchamel and spinach and more grated cheese:
Bossy placed the experiment in an oven preheated to 400 degrees and cooked it for thirty minutes and then walked in the snow to her mom’s house, where the guests were beginning to assemble:
And everything looked so festive:
A half hour prior to sitting down to eat, Bossy reheated her recipe, heretofore known as Snowstorm Manicotti:
And then Bossy placed her finished dish on the table along with the rest of the freezer and pantry delicacies:
And everything was delicious! Bossy’s friend Barry said Bossy’s Snowstorm Manicotti had a sophisticated flavor set, where sophisticated equals the very ingredients you will use to make cinnamon toast tomorrow morning.
Bossy thinks the very next time you are snowed in and have a package of two-year-old frozen spinach manicotti along with fresh spinach and capers and one-half of a very old, very strong red onion and a shallot and some garlic and a thing of half and half and some dill and parsley and nutmeg and panko, you should consider making this dish. Or call for pizza.
WebSavyMom saysDecember 23, 2009 at 9:52 am
–>I don’t think I could throw things together like that and it not taste like mud. Not that I know what mud tastes like or anything….
I love Bossy’s Mom’s house especially through the red wine setting.
Z. Mulls saysDecember 23, 2009 at 10:05 am
When I was a kid we had to walk ten miles in the snow to get fresh edamame
Meg at the Members Lounge saysDecember 23, 2009 at 10:09 am
I just read Martini Man’s caption as “Barry Manning”. Dear Barry Manning, I’m paging you to come make martinis!
vuboq saysDecember 23, 2009 at 10:15 am
Hello, Chef’s Little Helper! What a great idea for a party. My neighbors and I did something similar. I made soup. Mmmm.
Jean saysDecember 23, 2009 at 10:37 am
WOW. Looks great. Bet it smelled great, too. Your mom sure throws one heck of an impromptu party. I’ve been to a lot of potlucks and they never looked like that! What a great neighborly thing to do. Happy holidays to Bossy and her family!
Dawn in Austin saysDecember 23, 2009 at 10:46 am
What a great idea for a party! I live in Texas, so we don’t have snow (thankyouverymuch) so I’m thinkin a “It’s over 105, let’s make a martini” party would be in order. What was Barry’s number?
confused saysDecember 23, 2009 at 10:49 am
Hmmm… wonder what I can make with a shriveled clementine, old leftover chili, 1/2 cup mustard and 3 cocktail olives????
Gaby saysDecember 23, 2009 at 10:49 am
Bossy and her mom seem to throw wonderful parties in their equally beautiful homes! Must be in the genes. Merry Christmas, Bossy!
PATTY saysDecember 23, 2009 at 10:54 am
you guys are amazing…
carson saysDecember 23, 2009 at 11:17 am
I’m really wishing I lived in your neighborhood and your mom had invited me, too.
alwyn saysDecember 23, 2009 at 11:29 am
*sound of thundering applause*
That would have been SO right up my alley! I’m still pushing for the adoption thing, Bossy’s Mom. Please consider it. Remember, no babysitting of grandchildren required.
Amity saysDecember 23, 2009 at 11:39 am
“If it’s still bag-shaped, it’s not done.” BEST THING I’ve read on the Internets in a while. I feel like that should be a tagline somewhere…
MariaV saysDecember 23, 2009 at 11:41 am
Loooks good to me, Bossy. Three cheers for Bossy’s Mom. She knows how to motivate people to keep warm in a snowstorm.
monnik saysDecember 23, 2009 at 11:53 am
Wow – what a fun idea! I cook like that too, without a recipe.
Most of the time it works. Sometimes it wows. Sometimes we have to order pizza.
Grandma J saysDecember 23, 2009 at 12:08 pm
Since I’m in Texas, where we don’t get enough snow to keep us out of Walmart, I’m gonna wait for the temperature to rise to 105 and head on down to Dawn in Austin’s place for martinis.
Momo Fali saysDecember 23, 2009 at 12:12 pm
I don’t have any of that other stuff, so I’m just going straight to the red wine part.
Em saysDecember 23, 2009 at 12:41 pm
“If it’s bag shaped, it’s not done” I second Amity’s comment. Bag shaped = hysterical. And excellent advice, too.
Jenn @ Juggling LIfe saysDecember 23, 2009 at 12:43 pm
This is the post where Bossy gets discovered and Bossy and mom are offered a cooking/decorating show.
AnnP saysDecember 23, 2009 at 1:07 pm
You guys know how to have fun!
DemMom saysDecember 23, 2009 at 1:08 pm
First of all, I wish I lived in your neighborhood. Second and third, my new favorite lines are “If it’s still bag shaped, it’s not done,” and I too laughed out loud when I read “I just sprayed my nutmeg balls.” Ha ha ha… Beavis.
MidLifeMama saysDecember 23, 2009 at 1:27 pm
MidLifeMama cannot get past the idea that Bossy keeps boxes of dried pasta in her freezer. WHY?
Lindylou saysDecember 23, 2009 at 1:43 pm
Classic I am Bossy. 🙂
You made my morning! What a magical party your mom threw together…(Lucky)
P.S. Thanks for the vote, we were first runner-up!
yvonne nc saysDecember 23, 2009 at 2:00 pm
Nice impromptu dinner! We and the neighbors skipped the food and just had hot toddies all afternoon. Three inches of snow will do that to you.
PS ~ love the candles on the table!
Reeb saysDecember 23, 2009 at 2:08 pm
BECHAMEL SAUCE??!! I can barely spell it, let alone have it occur to me to use it, even though its purpose was to restore some ancient manicotti. Hmm, what would I make with ingredients on hand? What would you have done with cabbage? I have a lot of that right now.
Your house is charming in the snow, with all the glow-y lights and all the little snow cones of varying sizes.
Cactus Petunia saysDecember 23, 2009 at 2:24 pm
Bossy’s little shoebox diorama looks incredibly warm and cozy, as does Bossy’s mom’s house…and the food is making my mouth water, but dang it, Bossy, now you’ve got me rooting through my paint cabinet looking for a can of gold spray paint for my nutmeg balls!
Stop by buenos burritos later for a chance to win some fudge.
Miss Spoken saysDecember 23, 2009 at 2:30 pm
Totally stealing this idea ….
David saysDecember 23, 2009 at 2:35 pm
I’ll be ordering the pizza.
Debbie in GA saysDecember 23, 2009 at 2:58 pm
laurellee saysDecember 23, 2009 at 4:15 pm
Bossy, how do I love you, let me count the ways.
1. nutmeg balls
2. bag shaped
3. your martini man
4. your mama
5. your MAD SKILLZ, yo.
6. and on and on until infinity. Don’t ever quit blogging, PLEASE! Best.blog.ever.
Erin saysDecember 23, 2009 at 4:19 pm
THIS is a great idea and it looks like a lot of fun! I really did like the recipe/pictures too! I think I’ll try this next time it snows around here (I live in CT)! Thanks!
amy saysDecember 23, 2009 at 5:43 pm
I love this post, mostly because I feel I make “empty your pantry and cook it and serve it for dinner” almost every night. It’s all comfort food to me!
Lizzy saysDecember 23, 2009 at 5:58 pm
Dang. I wish I had your talent. Or your wine. Or your mom’s dining room table with the great bookcases. It’s all good.
Bush Babe (of Granite Glen) saysDecember 23, 2009 at 8:31 pm
Wow… how long did THAT take? (The blog post I mean). Heaven’s Bossy… impressive and gorgeous!
PS. your Mother’s house is divine.
PPS Your coffee giveaway was won by my SISTER – she’s stoked!
PPS My sister just had a baby girl who is scrumptious… pics here:
and here: http://jeanieinparadise.blogspot.com/2009/12/welcome-to-world.html
Blog Princess G saysDecember 23, 2009 at 9:41 pm
Bossy, what’s with the vase o’ candles and the line up of spoons on the table? It looks like an interesting ritual is about to take place. I love how your whole ‘hood seems to be non-stop party central.
paula saysDecember 23, 2009 at 10:08 pm
As one of the guests, I can attest to the fact that the manicotti was one of the best d.ishes i have ever tasted…IT WAS DROP DEAD!!! Little did i know that i was eating “aged ” manicotti!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mary B. saysDecember 23, 2009 at 10:45 pm
How great that your Mom is so spontaneous. I envy that. I need three days to get ready for anything it seems. Hope you all had a wonderful time. Happy Holidays to all of Bossy’s family and your great beast, Stella.
Kate at And Then I Was a Mom saysDecember 23, 2009 at 10:47 pm
Faux bechamel? Really, how could you not love a sauce named with not one, but two! French words.
I am inspired.
Jenni D saysDecember 23, 2009 at 11:21 pm
Sheesh. I’d have brought waffles and van de Kamp’s fish sticks. No wonder I never get invited anywhere.
CupcakeMurphy saysDecember 23, 2009 at 11:43 pm
I never wanted that to end. Can you make something else?
josh saysDecember 24, 2009 at 12:50 am
Spinach manicotti?! I would have just lied to myself and said that the freezer burn gave the pasta a little bit of a kick. One time I found a yogurt in the fridge that had just started to go bad and I still ate it. Though I had a terrible stomach ache for the rest of the day, I never regretted it! Nuffin’ hurtz mah soul more than throwing away food that I bought with my own money!
Maria saysDecember 24, 2009 at 1:33 am
I haven’t read all the comments and because there are so many I”m sure it’s already been said but I’m all “Barry Manning” and Dear Bossy’s Mom the candle centerpiece was inspired. Totally.
sugarpie saysDecember 24, 2009 at 1:49 am
I’m envying your snow and nutmeggin’ legerdermain.
Cindy Z saysDecember 24, 2009 at 11:08 am
Merry Christmas to Bossy and her family!!
Katie saysDecember 24, 2009 at 11:53 am
I was with you until you put the cinnamon sugar on it.
Texas Susan saysDecember 24, 2009 at 11:52 pm
Great post, Bossy! Made me laugh as “It’s a Wonderful Life” is making me cry. “Here’s to my big brother George. The richest man in town!”
g saysDecember 27, 2009 at 11:33 pm
My freezer just has a bottle of Stoly in it…..what could I make with that?
Life with Kaishon saysJanuary 3, 2010 at 9:16 pm
That snow storm was something… I am surprised people traveled in it. Well, as I say (or type…) I guess that my Dad and husband went out in it for work. Just not for pleasure. I stayed nestled in my cozy bed during it! Brrrrrrrrrrrr!