Believe it or not, not everyone likes to recreate four start Micheline restaurant dinners.
For those of you that may be freaking out, yes, I know there is no such thing as a 4-star Micheline restaurant.
When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is grab a cup of coffee and my phone to see what the food world was up to while I was sleeping. Instagram is my first stop. The photographs are enticing and drool-worthy. Micheline star worthy.
When I step back and reflect on the recipes that come across my screen, the reality is I don’t cook or bake anything I see posted. Sometimes they spark an idea or some other inspiration. Most of the food photos I see require ingredients I don’t have or every dish, pan, and fork I own ending up dirty in the sink (they don’t show you that part). That’s what restaurants are for.
When I go on these sites and see what “influencers” are up to, I’m like heck—no! No to multiple pans, hours in the kitchen, and special ingredients I’ll never use again—like the juniper berries or soft green peppercorns in vinegar—both have been sitting in my cupboard for at least ten years.
So, what’s a Micheline star? Over 100 years ago, a travel guidebook was produced by French tire manufacturers. The goal was to get people on the road when cars were first invented. Remember the big giant Micheline Man who looks like the Pillsbury Dough Boy all grown up? Yup, that’s the company. Marketing genius. However, it started a trend of excellence that is coveted by chefs across the world.
When a new guide is published in France each year, it ignites media domination in newspapers and on media websites. The French are passionate about their food. I’ve been to a 2-star restaurant in France. Was it worth it? For a moment I felt like royalty —until the bill arrived and I realized we’d eaten the equivalent of a small used car loan. And that was a two-star! The most stars you can get are 3.
I’ll stick to my simple meals at home and leave the multi-dish and exotic ingredients to the experts. I have a job, kids, and biking to do.
One-pot meals can be extraordinary. Are they worthy of a star? No, but you’ll thank me when no bill comes, and your evening dish clean-up is finished in 3 minutes or less. To me, that’s worth something more than 3 stars.
The Creamiest One-Pot Skillet Casserole
Serves 4 adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
½ cup onion, chopped
¼ tsp garlic powder
8 oz egg (170 grams) noodles uncooked
2 cups chicken broth
1 ½ cups heavy cream
2 - 5oz. cans of tuna, drained (Chicken can be substituted)
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup French’s crispy fried onions
In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the onion until tender in 1 Tbsp of butter. Transfer onions to a plate and set aside. Return pan to heat and add the mushrooms and remaining tablespoon of butter; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the uncooked noodles, garlic powder, chicken broth, and cream to the pan. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes. Stir in tuna, cooked onions, and peas. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Sprinkle with French’s crispy fried onions and serve immediately.
Lisa Erickson is a food columnist who loves adventure and food. You can find more recipes by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.