Me: It sounds dumb when you say it THAT way!
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In the noble tradition of Marie and Pierre Curie, I have decide to risk my own health and that of my husband for the pursuit of Science. I have made the Cheapie Weenie Casserole (an' Slippery Peach Delight for dessert).
Part One: Preparation
I made the recipe as stated in Elly's letter, except I didn't cut the "weenies" in half after I cut them lengthwise because I forgot. I decided to make the fancy gourmet version and mix peas and chopped green onions into the mashed "spuds". I used all beef wieners instead of the random-animal-parts type, because I figured they would be marginally better. I used instant mashed potatoes on maggie_texas's suggestion because I didn't have any leftover mashed potatoes.
Figure 1. The wiener layer
Figure 2. Tomato soup layer
Figure 3. Mashed spuds with peas and green onions
Figure 4. Grated cheddar cheese layer
Figure 5. Casserole has been baked at 350 degrees for 50 minutes
Part Two: Consumption
I plated the casserole with a piece of parsley because when I was about 4 years old, I told my parents that adding a sprig of parsley to a plate makes a meal fancy (big laffs). It didn't improve matters much. When searching for the perfect wine to accompany this meal, I decided the only thing fitting for this approximation of a meal was an approximation of a beverage. Thus, grape Kool-Aid.
Figure 6. The plated dish
Figure 7. Dear God...What have I done?
This casserole is really, really salty. By my rough calculations, one piece of this casserole has about 110% of your daily recommended amount of sodium. If you must eat this, for the love of your kidneys, drink lots of water (or Kool-Aid).
Part 3: Dessert
I made the Slippery Peach Delight for dessert. It isn't horrible, but I would have rather had the fresh fruit with a scoop of vanilla ice cream instead of the syrup and marshmallows.
Figure 8. Mmmm...Slides down the throat!
Part 4: How cheap is it?
1 pkg* hotdog weiners.........$2.49
1 can tomato soup.................$0.89
1 pkg instant potatoes...........$2.00
1 bunch* green onions.........$0.99
1 bunch* parsley....................$0.79
1 bag* frozen peas................$3.49
1 block* cheddar cheese......$6.49
1 bag* mini marshmallows...$1.49
1 can peaches in syrup.........$2.29
1 pkg* strawberries................$2.99
1 pkg grape Kool-Aid.............$0.47
TOTAL COST: $24.38
I had to buy a bunch of stuff to make this meal, since I didn't have hardly any of the ingredients in stock. I already had apples, oranges, and bananas, so I did not count them towards the total cost.
* = I did not use the entire package in this recipe.
Part 5: Conclusion
In conclusion, this meal is neither cheap, nor tasty. The most favorable descriptions my husband and I could come up with were "not horrible" and "better than dog food". Creating a nutritious meal from scratch is far cheaper than this garbage. A meal for two at McDonalds is about the same nutritional value, and $10 cheaper.