Writer’s Workshop: Glop

Great prompt for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop:

The least healthy foods you eat.

Mary and I wouldn’t exactly qualify as “healthy eaters.” We do have fruit, but that’s about all. At times she makes a turkey breast in the slow cooker (her secret: put an entire stick of butter into the cavity), a “healthy” dish or soup (she makes excellent soups). I often joke that her contribution to haute cuisine is cheese, because many of her dishes contain that ingredient.

A few years ago, we found ourselves with two boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (or it might have been the store-brand equivalent) and a pound of ground beef that was about 24 hours away from going bad. She said, “I have an idea. Why don’t we fry up the ground beef, make the mac and cheese, and mix the two of them together?” I was game, so that’s what we did. And we loved it. I remember saying, “let’s make this again,” and that’s what we did. It became a staple of the Holton dinner table.

A few months later, she found a recipe that took fried ground turkey, canned tomatoes, diced jalapeño peppers, rice, and of course cheese. That was another winner, so that was added to the menu. After a while, they earned the names “mac glop” and “rice glop.”

We haven’t made those in some time, because we’ve discovered a new favorite dinnertime ingredient: Rice-A-Roni, The San Francisco Treat.

One night, I was preparing a box of Rice-A-Roni for dinner, and I read the back of the box, where the manufacturer talks about how to “Make Rice-A-Roni A Meal!” It was the same idea as rice and mac glop, except after preparing the meat, you make the Rice-A-Roni in the same frying pan by dumping the ingredients in with the meat, bringing them to a boil, and allowing to simmer for fifteen minutes, just like it says to on the package. We just had ground beef with beef Rice-A-Roni last night, and some time in the near future (Sunday, maybe), we’ll make ground turkey with broccoli and cheese Rice-A-Roni. A while back, we had a couple of chicken breasts that had been in the refrigerator for a week or so. We needed to use them soon, or they’d end up stinking up the refrigerator. No problem! Mary cooked them up in the microwave, chopped the meat, and we mixed it with chicken Rice-A-Roni. Deeee-licious!

A closely-related ingredient is Noodle Roni; we’ve used it much the same way as its corporate twin to invent dishes using ground meat. There are more options for the noodles, including Knorr’s noodle side dishes and the noodle sides that come under the Kroger brand.

Not exactly the healthiest diet, mind you, but we never starve… they’re cheap (less expensive than Hamburger Helper, I think), quick to make, and most importantly, tasty. Besides, we can’t have hamburgers, hot dogs, and pizza (the frozen pizzas available today are far and away better than they were in the Sixties and Seventies, and certainly better than anything we can order here) every night.

I’m looking forward to hearing what your favorite unhealthy foods are!


Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

21 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: Glop”

  1. Well, pizza ranks #1, I think. Especially my “Home Alone Pizza”, which I can only order when nobody else is in the house. One of the local pizza shops, “Hello Faz Pizza”, has a limit of 5 toppings, so I make the most of them: sausage, green olives, banana peppers, garlic, and anchovies. The delivery guy always has a sour look on his face, because my pizza stinks up his car for the rest of the day.

    Your mac glop reminds me of a childhood family favorite. Once, when we went to visit close family friends Helen and Chet, Helen said she’d make chili for dinner. Well, we expected chili — you know, meat and beans and other stuff in a stew. What we got was macaroni with tomato soup and ground beef. Therefore, it became “Helen’s Chili”.


  2. I used to make variations of the “glop” you describe and frequently made Hamburger Helper when my kids were growing up. Recently, now in their adult years, they’ve let me know they were never fans of those dishes. I always loved them. I’d like to make them now but my wife won’t let me. I think she’d like it if she tried it, but she gets pretty fussy about her food.



  3. Glop is good food now and again. Mac n’ cheese is such a comfort food. I used to love Rice-a-Roni, and when my kids were small, I often fed them some with chicken in the mix, just like the back of that box.
    Poutine is my worst for me food. I make it about once a month. Now and again I like some sugary breakfast cereals, too. I dunno, I eat pretty healthy when it comes to meals. We eat vegetarian at least 3 nights a week, and even still, I eat very little meat. I do binge on noodles in the winter…But ice cream — oh ice cream! lol 😛 That’s an all-year, worst food!


    1. I know a lot of people love poutine, but the thought of dumping cheese curds and gravy on French fries doesn’t appeal to me, although it’s better than dumping mayonnaise on fries, like the Dutch do. That’s just gross.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I certainly remember the Rice A Roni ads and, well, cheese makes anything good. I have a old family Velveeta cheese recipe that uses meatballs, green peppers, carrots & rice that you bring to boil, simmer till the rice is fluffed, then top with a several slices of Velveeta to melt then mix in for delicious cheesy goodness. (I use frozen meatballs, frozen pepper strips & carrot matchsticks) I made some the other night. It’s called “Golden Meatballs,” but is basically another kind of glop.


    1. My grandparents used to make spaghetti with Velveeta. That sounds like a good dish; I’ll have to look it up, although I could probably work off your description… thanks!


  5. Hi John – I’m afraid I’m usually a healthy eater – lots of veg, fruits and salads … but I fall down with cheese and butter – and a wee dram! well wine … I’m trying to reduce those now – not as nice, but I feel easier and better … cheers Hilary


  6. Pizza. I could eat pizza every meal. For serious. Or Mexican food.
    I’ve never had Rice-A-Roni, but I do sure love San Francisco and someone that currently lives there.
    Oh, speaking of San Francisco, there are many excellent restaurants within 2 blocks of the condo that I love eating at. I usually eat and drink way too much at those places, especially Epic, when happy hour specials are happening.


    1. I’m from Chicago, so pizza’s always a go-to, even when I’d be in New York. Best I had was at a parish carnival in New Jersey: it was homemade by little Italian grandmas in black dresses. Great stuff, because they put love into it. And homemade tomato sauce…

      My brother and his wife used to live in Presidio Heights. They live in Orinda now, but I got a couple of chances to see them when they lived in the city. Beautiful place to visit, but I’m not sure I’d want to live there. Too many hills…


  7. Hormel chili with beans. Has to be Hormel. No other brand will do. Must be eaten with saltine crackers. Absolutely necessary to have a bottle of Tabasco sauce nearby to make the chili almost too hot to eat. Very good over elbow macaroni or over a baked potato. Also, a good way to make a fast dish of different spaghetti. It’s 9:30pm Chicago time- if it weren’t so late I’d open a can right now!


    1. We buy canned chili occasionally, but I don’t think I’ve had Hormel’s, strangely enough. We usually have it with oyster crackers. I’ve had Skyline chili in Cincinnati over spaghetti with cheese and had to add Tabasco to that. When we make our own, we usually put the macaroni in the chili. I inherited my father’s stomach, so the mac acts as a buffer…


  8. I’m a big fan of glopping all kinds of food together to salvage what’s left in the kitchen. All of those meals sound delicious!


    1. They are. We had ground turkey with Broccoli Cheese Rice-A-Roni for lunch, and added a small can of peas after it was cooked. Quite tasty, although I’m going to push for corn next time.


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