Here’s another instance of rebelling in very small ways: learn to make all your favorite restaurant foods for pennies at home, and foil the Dining Industrial Complex!
Then, make your kids do the dishes.
It’s almost exactly like eating out, but you can give “tips” like “Finish up and get to bed, or you get double the math worksheets tomorrow!” No way can you do that at the chain steakhouse.
Speaking of the chain steakhouse, have you noticed that every single one of them has pretty much the same appetizer menu? I can’t bring myself to spend $8 for a little half-cup appetizer portion of artichoke dip, even if it’s brought by a really cute waiter.
The home-crafted version tastes the same, but you can make a massive batch (I’m talking, two 9″ pie plates full!) for the same $8. It freezes just fine, too. I like to make one batch and portion it out to mini-loaf pans, then freeze and wrap them for storage. You can either thaw one in the fridge for a day, then heat through, or pop the frozen brick out of the pan and nuke/stir/nuke/stir for a far more instant gratification of your dip desires.
If you’re the only person in your family with an addiction to this dip, or if you’re single, etc, you can also portion it out into a cupcake pan, freeze for about 2 hours, then dip the bottom of the pan into hot water and pop them all out. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap, then bag them in a gallon-size freezer bag. You’ll have single-serving size dips that are perfect anytime.
Just paddle together the ingredients until smooth, pop into a pan, and either bake at 350* until golden brown and hot through, or freeze and do it later.
10 ounces chopped frozen spinach, thawed and well-squoze (technical cooking-type term. Really, just thaw and squeeze it out really well. You want spinach as an accent, not as a boggy nasty splodge on your plate.)
8 ounces cream cheese (or it’s lower-fat, tangy cousin, neufchatel)
1/2 cup sour cream (I suppose you could go lower-fat with this, too, but that’s where it ends.)
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I use the cheap stuff in the bulk section at WinCo, actually, not fresh. Again, rebellion. Small, small rebellion.)
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 large can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped. You could use plain, or marinated (yum!)
Serve with bits of baguette, or bagel slices, or wheat crackers, or whatever you want to dunk. It’s all your iron and dairy fat in one spot (for about a month!), and really, really tasty.