Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ow Ow Ow My Face Is On Fire Holy Hell It Hurts Chili

Yesterday I decided to revisit my chili. I wasn't happy with how it turned out last time, and really - how hard is crock pot chili?

I begin cutting up the veggies...2 onions (complete with burning and tearing eyes), garlic, a green pepper, and...a jalapeno. I always knew that jalapeno peppers left oils on your hands so that you aren't supposed to touch your face after you handle them. I decide to wash my hands. And I wash them again. And then one more time for good measure. The oil should be off, right?

I take the chopped meat out of the package to find that apparently it was beginning to go bad. Time to run out to the store. I decide that since the baby is fed and happy that I would take a quick shower before I go out. I soap up, wash my hair, and move to my face. Oh crap - the oil is still on my hands. OWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!

After about 5 minutes of standing under the water trying to get the jalapeno oil off without using my hands, I get out of the shower and dry off. Now for those of you who know me, you know that I'm pretty much blind without my glasses. The only reason I didn't have my contacts in while I was in the shower was because of the chance there was oil on my hands. I figured that since I washed my hands and took a shower that the oil had to be off of me by now, right? I go to put my contacts in, and OWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW! Alright...glasses it is.

I head on over to the grocery store, pick up what I need, and come back home. I brown the meat and throw everything into the crock pot. Kelly comes home and makes himself a plate to bring to work. Apparently it wasn't that good. Well I went to all of that trouble to make it, so there's no way I'm eating crappy chili again. I throw in some more salt, chili powder, another onion, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and believe it or not a half a can of beer. I let it cook for about another hour, and it turned out pretty good! Yay me!

Lessons learned:

1) Jalapeno oil sucks...make sure you get it ALL off before you touch anything
2) The more onions the better
3) Beer is for more than drinking
4) I like it hot

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese FAIL

In order to make up for the fact that I didn't cook anything last week due to Jackson's stomach virus, I decided that I'd cook twice this week. Unfortunately, I got cocky with this recipe - and it completely backfired. Here's the original recipe (from Family Circle Magazine):

Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese (serves 8)

  • 1  box (1 pound)  elbow macaroni or rotini
  • 1  pound  ground sirloin
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1/4  cup  ketchup
  • 2  tablespoons  yellow mustard
  • 1  tablespoon  unsalted butter
  • 1  tablespoon  all-purpose flour
  • 1  can (12 ounces)  evaporated milk
  • 3  cups  shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2    medium-size tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2  tablespoons  seasoned bread crumbs


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 2-quart oval baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boiling. Add pasta and cook 10 minutes, according to package directions. Drain.
3. While pasta cooks, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sirloin, breaking apart with a wooden spoon. Cook 6 minutes, until no longer pink. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Remove from heat and stir in ketchup and mustard. Transfer to a bowl.
4. Return skillet to medium heat and add butter. Once melted, whisk in flour, then add milk in a thin stream. Bring to a simmer and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2 cups of the cheese. Stir in pasta. Pour into prepared dish. Top with meat mixture, remaining cheese, sliced tomatoes and bread crumbs. Spritz with nonstick cooking spray.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Increase heat to broil and broil for 2 minutes.

I didn't have all of the ingredients, and it was raining, but I really wanted to try this. So this is what I did.

MY Mac and Cheese (serves ?????)

  • 1 Box of Velveeta Macaconi and Cheese (Mistake #1)
  • 1 frozen clump of mystery meat (I'm pretty sure it was hamburger meat)
  • Ketchup (I didn't measure)
  • Whole grain mustard (I didn't have yellow mustard and again I didn't measure)
  • One big ass tomato sliced up
  • Breadcrumbs (Unmeasured)
  • Salt and Pepper 
1.  Set oven to 350 degrees and spray a pan with Pam. In my case I thought the pan I used was the right size but it ended up being huge. So what do I do? Smoosh the mac and cheese over to one corner. Smart, right?
2. Brown the meat in a pan (hey at least I am getting the hang of THAT). Remove from heat and add salt, pepper, ketchup, and mustard.
3. Make macaroni and cheese according to the box.
4. Mix mystery meat in with the mac and cheese. Add some breadcrumbs.
5. Put mac and cheese in the pan.
6. Put tomatoes on top of mac and cheese and sprinkle breadcrumbs on top.
7. Bake in the oven for an undisclosed amount of time (in my case until it looked like Jackson was going to start screaming - about 8 minutes).

You can see the many reasons why this recipe failed. Lesson learned - I suck at cooking so stick to the recipe.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Teriyaki and Pineapple Meatball Stir Fry

Here's a quick and really easy recipe for nights when you don't have a lot of time - which seems to be the case for me lately (poor Jackson had a stomach virus last week and is now teething and going through a growth spurt!).

Serves 3-4

1 package Aidells Teriyaki and Pineapple Chicken Meatballs
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large red pepper, cut into 1-inch slices
1 large green pepper, cut into 1-inch slices
1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch slices
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup of white rice
Sweet and sour sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Make rice according to package. In a separate pan, sautee red pepper, green pepper, salt, pepper, and onion in olive oil. Add garlic and meatballs to the pan. Put the rice on a plate and add the meatballs and vegetables. Serve sweet and sour sauce on the side.

Now for what I did wrong (because I wouldn't be an incompetent cook if I didn't screw something up...). The meatballs definitely needed to be cooked longer - they were luke warm. I also think that next time I would add more garlic and onions because the veggies could use more flavor. I might even add chunks of pineapple. This recipe was definitely missing something...I'm just not sure what. Suggestions are welcome!!!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Chili and Pan Bagnat

Technically I made this on Wednesday this past week, but because Jackson was being a cranky-pants (he's teething) I just haven't had an opportunity to write about about it.

Earlier this week I had a craving for slow-cooker chili. I haven't had it in a while (and Kelly isn't a huge fan of chili so we rarely eat it) but I reaaalllly wanted it. I used this recipe with a few modifications - mainly more garlic and more onions. Truth be told, I wasn't a huge fan of this recipe. In my mind, chili has to have a little spice in it. This didn't really do it for me in that area. It had a nice taste, it just wasn't spicy enough. I served the chili over rice and topped it off with cheese and sour cream. Kelly said that he liked it even better the next day. I say that if you want to make the recipe, add hot sauce!

OK on to the Pan Bagnat. I got this recipe from the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook. According to the cookbook, "Pan Bagnat" is French for "soaked bread". Here's the recipe (it makes 4 servings):

2 very ripe tomatoes, peeled
One 8-ounce loaf of day-old French or Italian bread, halved lengthwise
1/3 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp white-wine vinegar
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Halve each tomato horizontally; with a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds and pulp. Dice the tomato shells.
2. Pull out the soft insides of the bread and tear into pea-size pieces. Transfer to a medium bowl; stir in the tomatoes, cheese, parsley, scallions, vinegar, oil and pepper.
3. Fill the bread loaf with the tomato mixture; close the bread and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight; just before serving, cut into 4 sandwiches.

First of all, I had no clue how to peel a tomato. I was about to pull out the vegetable peeler when I read the recipe a little more (it always helps to read the directions...), and this is what I learned.

"To peel tomatoes, cut an X on the bottom, just deep enough to cut the skin. In a medium saucepan, bring 4" water to a boil. Drop in the tomatoes and boil just until the skins split, 10-15 seconds. With a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes and hold under cold running water; rub off the skins."

*I should note that I had to boil the tomatoes about 30 seconds to get the skins to split.

This recipe is DELICIOUS, even though I didn't follow the recipe exactly (yet again). Remember, this is Weight Watchers - they try to keep it healthy and sometimes have to sacrifice taste to do it. I ended up added more cheese, garlic, and salt. The garlic makes it really tasty - I suggest 2-3 cloves.

Oh, and I attempted another omelet. I'm getting better!!!