A Gourmet Recipe That Definitely Isn’t Just Veggies in a Sauté Pan


1 cup of optimism

2 tablespoons of determination

Garlic, too much

1 heaping palmful of fear (social media induced is best, but familial based is fine)

¼ cup of lemon juice

1 bag of spinach

Assorted vegetables, moderately freezer burned

1 cup of rice, or pasta, whichever is least expired

2 cups of water

¾ bag of potato chips, for snacking during cooking

Cheese, all of it

1 podcast for background noise (this recipe uses true crime but whatever gets your brain juices flowing)

Cooking spray, for the pan and the rest of your stove top


1. Take out your sauté pan. Damn, you’ve got a sauté pan, look at you hot stuff! 

2. Turn heat to medium-low. Spray pan and rest of stove top with cooking spray.

While you’re ignoring the mess you made, start the podcast.

3. Remove garlic skins by smashing your knife against the cloves like they do on TV, while smugly muttering, “Where’s MY Food Network show?”

4. Start eating chips.

5. Dice garlic, or chop it. No one’s going to eat it but you, so frankly whatever size hunks you’re into are the right size for this recipe.

6. Woops… we should have started a pot of boiling water. It’s fine, just do it now.

7. More chips feels right.

8. Add garlic to your sauté pan, wait for your kitchen to smell niiiice, but not so long that it starts smelling like you screwed up. 

9. Fast forward through the stamps.com ad on podcast.

10. Hem and haw about what to throw in next. Go with frozen veggies. Scoot them around the pan with a wooden spoon. While your vegetables are unfreezing, start thinking up captions for Instagram posts. Eat more chips.

11. Is your water boiling? It’s not. 

12. Add spinach, ponder how so much raw spinach cooks down to two thimbles of cooked spinach. 

13. Rewind podcast to catch the gory details you missed during the deep thoughts about spinach.

14. Your garlic is burnt. Eat chips. 

15. Start adding cheese. Your choice, but something grated is the least gross here. 

16. 15 minutes before your pasta is done, grow impatient, strain it too early and dump it in that gorgeous, non-stick sauté pan that signals you’re an adult who is in control.

17. Add more cheese, eat more chips. 

18. Crap, there’s lemon juice in this. This is going great.

19. Plate and garnish with parsley. Here is a good time to snap your Insta photos.

20. Finalize your caption.

21. You’re full from chips. Find the plastic wrap and put this fancy grown up dinner away.

22. Leave dishes in the sink and go lay down, call a loved one and tell them how hard you’ve worked.

Image: The Pioneer Woman

Laura Manasewich is a comedian and humor writer. She runs on French fries and petting other people's dogs. Please don't leave her a voicemail.