When I was growing up, my mother went through a phase of buying Swanson Frozen TV Dinners for the family. She loved the idea of sliced turkey, mashed potatoes and green peas organized in their own compartments on a lightweight aluminum tray. Taste was a distant third to convenience and novelty.
I didn’t go that route. Once I realized that food could be more than just something to put in my mouth, I wanted good tastes. The Meatball Sandwich I discovered at a take-out counter on New York’s West 43rd Street, just down the block from my first real job, tasted better than any homemade food I had in my youth.
Okay, maybe I’m stretching the truth. I enjoyed the Shrimp Cocktail at my uncle’s house every Christmas. My grandmother occasionally made Chopped Liver and Garlic Pickles, both of which I happily devoured. My mother eventually learned how to prepare a pretty good version of Oven-Baked Chicken. But I had to think about this for a while to find four examples of dishes I’d like to have again.
Taste is the main reason I started cooking, and it’s the main reason I don’t buy commercially prepared frozen entrees. Maybe I’m too picky, but I’d rather spend time making food I like. I even created my own mini-version of a Meatball Sandwich.
Mini Meatball Sandwiches – serves 2
4 dinner rolls or a 12-inch length of French bread cut into 4 sections16 small cooked meatballs1 cup spaghetti sauce1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Slice the rolls or bread 3/4 of the way through, so that they are still hinged on one side. Place them on a baking sheet.
Put 4 meatballs in each mini-sandwich and top with 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons mozzarella cheese onto the sauce.
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the mini-sandwiches are heated through and the cheese has melted. Serve immediately.For more recipes, order "Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen!"