quasi grunge

okay, sorry, this does not look at all appetizing. and, well, maybe i shouldn’t blame it on the camera phone for this one…


one of my favorite dishes that my mom used to make was called grunge. it was soooo delicious, especially over hot rice. it was her way of throwing in vegetables to the mix so that we’d eat it. my sisters didn’t fall for it, though, and refused to eat it, but i liked it (although, i had no problems eating vegetables, either, so i guess that was the difference). it’s something i can make today, and it’ll instantly take me back to small kid time. plus, it’s cheap to make, so that’s always a plus for a tight budget like mine.

granted, grunge does not look very appetizing. that’s probably how it got its name. it’s ground beef with veggies mixed in, all cooked in cream of mushroom soup. it’s a thick, gray lump of meat and veggies, scooped over steaming rice, and sprinkled with fresh, ground pepper. so, yeah. a big, gray lumpy sauce with bits of green poking out, and black flecks all over it. it’s not very pretty, but, ohhhh, it’s so yummy — especially when you use the french cut green beans. unfortunately, it does add another unappealing color to the mix, but it gives it a nice, juicy snap. i’ve also used the canned veggies (the ones with potatoes, peas, and carrots), whole green beans, corn, and broccoli tops at one time or another. but the things that remain the same are the ground beef and the cream of mushroom soup. i suppose those could be substituted as well, but then, to me, that won’t be grunge. at least not the grunge *i* know.

after spending a lot on dinner last night, i thought i had better stick to something in the kitchen. i had a box of rotini that i thought i’d make. i felt like something tomatoey, but alas, i had no spaghetti sauce, nor did i have any tomato sauce or paste. shoots. i did, though, have a big can of cream of mushroom. i stared at it for a while, then thought, hey, why not do grunge, and pour it over the rotini instead of rice? that would match, right? almost like stroganoff (another one of my favorites that my mom would make), but without the sour cream, and using rotini instead of egg noodles. i thought i’d try it out.

however, upon opening the freezer, i saw i had no ground beef. shoots again. i did have chicken–but that won’t be grunge. i put the chicken back and looked in the refrigerator. i did have a small bit of spinach left from those big costco bags i got from my sister. i figured i better eat it before it wilts, so i took it out, and kept searching. nothing. i closed the ice box door and looked around the kitchen.

that’s when it hit me. what if i make it like a creamy pasta sauce? then i can eat it over a bed of spinach. so i started to cook it. i added some cut mushrooms into the sauce and let it bubble for a while before it dawned on me–why can’t i add the spinach to the sauce? that way it’ll melt all in and it’ll be like a spinach alfredo thingie! so i threw the remaining leaves into the sauce and let it wilt into the sauce and get all soft. then i added in the rotini and sprinkled it with pepper. it smelled good! after scooping it in the bowl, i crumbled some cheese over it and thought yum!

it wasn’t that bad! it wasn’t grunge–i really think the beefy juice is what makes the taste, and i had no beef. but it was similar looking, and it was close. i think if i ever went vegetarian, this is something i would make–cheap and filling, and palatable. 😀 but i guess like me, it wouldn’t win any points on presentation. 😉 ah well.


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