Tag Archives: Hubs

excuses for no excuse


In all honesty there is no excuse for my not writing once a week, I missed last week even though I DESPERATLY wanted to get on here and type my tiny little heart out however my day job amped up AND my business amped up at the same time not to mention the family stuff and plain ol fatigue.

I do have several things to write about (if I haven’t already mentioned my hand), I did attempt this Friday night when I was waiting for a very old and dear and VERY pregnant friend for coffee. In which I was using the tiniest keyboard I have ever used which makes my fingers look like sausages and I am constantly pressing the wrong buttons then as she walked in the door I too quickly closed the page and thus my painstaking hard work and tiny words were lost in the underverse of the internets. (insert LONG sympathetic sigh here).

Finally here I am several days late explaining why I am so late. The other factor is, I almost have to be in the mood (which I am so often in the WRONG situation) and of course my best ideas strike right when I am stressed and in the middle of something VERY important. I am glad I was never commissioned for anything like Michalangelo was, I would never get anything done. The ceiling of the Sistine would be a sun dyed white to date. Alas I am here and I am writing that counts for something right??? As mom always said “No excuses”  and in all honesty there is no such thing as a good excuse. The fact is I should have remained committed to both blogs and wrote my heart out no matter the hour in the evening. So my dear flakies I apologise for my absence.

Well my nights in the kitchen have been interesting to say the least, I nearly sliced off my hand, I screamed and swore at pizza dough and I burned my face off 3 times in one week. It was BAD, for some reason most of the fam didn’t mind what I called “epic fails” they liked the extra heat in my dishes and no one died so that is a good sign too. In nearly slicing off my hand the knife skills I was teaching myself went by the wayside, I was attempting at halving a butternut squash in half to stuff with vegetarian chili luckily hubs was there to point out I was about to cut my hand off, and in a nasty way because I also discovered cutting a squash, let alone 3 of them, is really tough business.

I have since learned from my dear facebook friends (who occasionally are a wealth of knowledge when they aren’t being absolutly hysterical on thier status updates) that if you ask the produce department very nicely they will go and cut the squash for you.

I learned that one cannot substitute chipotle chili powder for regular chili powder, it doesn’t even subsitute when you halve it. Whenever one sticks it in the dish it will end up burning my face off (for spicey heat wimps like me).

Be wary of zests and how much you put in. I’ve experimented with lemons, limes and now oranges (the latter being the WORST) and always pay special attention to just how much fresh zest to put in the dish. I recommend that when orange zest and sweet potato are to be mixed with sour cream AND butter just to ignore the orange part…. and maybe the sour cream. I can’t describe what happened in my mouth though I don’t think anything can be as bad as a durian. (Apologies to those who love the durian!)

When making your favorite soup, don’t make it if you don’t have what you need to give it actual flavor, I ended up with beans in slightly flavored water which wasn’t appetizing at all.

Did I mention DON’T **&(^*^&%$ with orange zest?

So always make sure your knives are sharp, cut away from yourself, don’t stick your hand under the blade. Don’t mess with orange zest, its more punch in a teaspoon than Brock Lesner. To burn your face-off add copious amounts of Chipotle Chili powder to recipes that call for regular chili powder. If there are no parmesan cheese rinds, fresh thyme, or rosemary about, skip the soup (if it is a veggie or light chicken flavored one).

And the best part, make time for your friends, tell the ones you love them and say something positive to yourself and someone who needs it. Which in my experience is everyone.

Happy Eating!

Advertisements

The potatoes were obscene….


Welcome to another instalment of Burned Cornflakes! Not a whole lot has happened since my epic feast was served on the big holiday however I nearly screwed up an “old faithful” of mine. Growing up I watched meal after meal with any leftovers they would be placed and labelled in a container and placed in either the fridge or freezer for future use, I was always lectured on the importance of NOT WASTING. Let me just say that this lecture didn’t really sink in (sorry mom… in ways it did! Promise!). I am absolutely NO SAINT in this area; I bin a lot of food, some of it is still good, some beyond rotten from the depths of a lunch bag or worse. I get upset about it, whine or nag only sometimes but mostly I just methodically toss things in the bin with a pursed lip and a guilty conscience.

After the “epic holiday feast” was done there were leftovers which we mostly took care of in the amazing turkey soup I helped hubs make. Further down the list of leftovers were potatoes, I didn’t know what to do with them and having a family audience (read this as “my mom has eyes like a hawk and would BUST me for wasting if I dared“) so I squashed them between 2 gently used pie plates (yay for recycling!) and tossed in the freezer. Yes, IN THE FREEZER. I figured they would be alright because I saw advertised a big company preparing mashed potatoes to whip out of the freezer on a whim and show off to your relatives. (side note: I do find the ads very annoying). That aside when in doubt I toss EVERYTHING in the freezer, if it ends up freezer burnt it will probably either have one of 2 fates… tossed into a dish that over cooks everything or in the bin. LOL.

Once that was all done I kind of forgot about them until hubs asked for dead shepherd for dinner. I could imagine the light bulb going off over my head as I remembered the potatoes. So I set on my merry way to preparing a beloved family dish. I sliced up 8 extra potatoes to ensure I had enough coverage as when I make my dead shepherd it is usually fit to serve about 10 people. There I was happily cooking away listening to my potatoes & parsnips boil, the meat brown and the microwave struggling to defrost 2 lbs of pre mashed potatoes. Once my meat & onion had browned completely I drain the fat off and add in the rest of my ingredients. I went to my faithful freezer of random food and started pulling out random chopped things to add in; I noticed this little Tupperware container in the back with something unknown in it, with a shrug of the shoulder and not a second thought I tossed the puppy in with my other random finds. Not until this mystery substance melted and created a large liquid content did I start worrying. Then came the aroma (it smelled pleasant) and I got to thinking….. what the heck did I just put in the dead shepherd?

I panicked.

Only slightly.

Promise.

Until I realised with a sweet wave of relief that we had saved of my epic experiments making Au Jus for gnarly beef dips, this one in particular was roasted garlic au jus (yum!). With a (small) leap of joy I happily finished up and served the “Frankenstein” dead shepherd. (I have a dear friend who calls experiments Frankenstein’s, I loved the term so much I added it to my vocab). So I got lucky….this time. It could have possibly still lead to disaster as one of the sauces I had put in as part of my “wild card” flavorings was a brown sugar flavour, so I passed this one by the hair on my chinny chin chin.

As for the potatoes they were a tad obscene, I may have made too many. Actually, I will admit it I did make too many as the topping was HUGE. I had about 2-1/2″ thick worth of potatoes (I had combined the left over mashed potatoes with 2 parsnips and 8 freshly boiled potatoes mashed with unsalted margarine). So a lesson learned from an old classic recipe we adore.

As a treat I’ll sound off my classic “un-Frankenstein-ed” version of Dead Shepherd.

NOTE: makes approx. 10 servings! (good for making a big batch and freezing mini meals for later).

What else is great about this is you can add or subtract anything you like and you’re almost guaranteed a great dish. Experiment with different ground meats, ingredients and toppings!!! Though I have no idea what one would do for a vegetarian version of this…. Possibly mashed beans/lentils and Portobello mushrooms (?)…. Have to brainstorm on that one!

Thinking about it, this is almost the un-recipe of recipe’s as there are no real set rules! Dare I say an anarchistic dish?! *gasp*

Kitchen Stuff you will need:

  • 2 largish pots
  • an ovenproof dish
  • strainer or lids to pots
  • stovetop or hot plate
  • oven or toaster oven
  • a spatula or spoon to stir
  • potato masher (a fork works but it is labour intensive)
  • cutting board
  • knife (sharp, preferably unserrated)

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg lean gr. Beef (or preferred ground meat, if using ground turkey you WILL need to use olive oil or cooking oil to ensure the meat doesn’t stick and burn to the pot)
  • 0.3 – 0.5kg of lean gr. Pork
  • 1 Medium to large red onion chopped
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning (to taste)
  • Worstershire sauce about 3 tsp (I eyeball it)
  • Barbeque Sauce or Fruity HP Sauce * optional* about ½ cup; in place of this you could put in about ½ cup of beef broth or French onion soup mix. Experiment and make it yours!
  • 1 can of Baked beans *optional* experiment with flavors! J
  • Vegetables of your choice you can use freshly chopped or mixed froxen vegetables. I use about 4-5 cups of frozen vegetables.
  • 7 potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2-3 parsnips peeled and sliced *optional* – I add these in for added nutrition and sneaking more veggies in to my resident picky eater
  • Water
  • Margarine or butter *optional* about ¼ cup
  • Sour Cream *optional* to taste or serve alongside your dinner if people like potatoes and sour cream!
  • Shredded cheese *optional*

Directions:

Set oven to “broil” (my oven defaults the broil temp to 500 degrees and I don’t change it.) ensure your oven rack is set to the right height to accommodate your oven dish.

Place potatoes and parsnips in large pot fill water to cover them and place on high heat to boil. Once they bubble violently turn down the heat to medium. The potatoes will be cooked when they slide off the fork.

While the potatoes are boiling brown the meat in the other large pot with the onion on med-high heat. Sprinkle with Montreal Steak seasoning (or not!). Once the meat has browned drain the fat into safe container and dispose of the fat safely. DO NOT POUR IT DOWN ANY DRAINS!!!!

Return the meat pot to the stovetop and add in the worstershire sauce, the bbq sauce (if you are using) and the baked beans. Stir. Add in your veggies stir and let them soften/warm through. Once this is done remove from the heat (turn off your burner). Slide all your ingredients into your waiting oven dish.

Once your parsnips and potatoes have finished boiling, remove them from the heat, drain and begin mashing. Once the mashing is on its way add in the margarine and continue mashing to your desired consistency. I like to sometimes add sour cream and mash it in too. It is up to you and your taste buds.

When you have your desired mashed potato awesomeness grab a spoon and top your meat base with them. I like to draw a pattern in mine so when the potatoes brown in the oven it makes a cute picture. If you so desire sprinkle the cheese top of your potatoes for a kid pleaser (and cheese lover!)

Place in the oven for about 15 minutes until the potatoes reach your desired browned/crispyness.

Serve.

This recipe is great to refine to your particular tastes and what your guests, family likes or make it the way your family did. Plus it is super easy!

Remember to label your leftovers (with everything) to avoid disasters in the future!

Happy Eating J

 

The 18 were stuffed like a Christmas turkey….


Well Christmas has come and passed, all that planning, prepping, cooking, stressing is over and I am almost at a loss without so many people inside my tiny little house. We had 18 people on Christmas day and what a day it was. I was SUPER stressed however for the first Christmas in my life I DIDN’t have a melt down. (Call the guinness book of world records, it is a date in history!!) I had a lot of help from hubs, my sister in law, my kids, thier kids, mom, dad, and probably even the cat!

It. was. amazing.

I am so grateful to have a great and supportive family and what made it even more awesome is I don’t think I said “Oh Sh*t!” once while cooking dinner…. but don’t quote me on that one. 🙂

Not all of it went down as smooth as ice however it went over pretty good. What helped was a few days before company arrived I cooked my “Clint Eastwood Style Chili (which mom aptly named “Chili for wimps” <– mom I have changed the recipe) and for the FIRST time ever it did not burn my face off. (Are you calling Guinness yet? There is another one for the history books)

Secondly ALL the help I had: My sister in law helping me cut, chop, prep, season, stir, mix, advise, check, double check, fix, refix everything I was doing. It saved my life. My mom doing Christmas baking so I would have enough cookies to go around, she even blessed us with her butter tarts AND melt in your mouth shortbread (I love you mom). My dad bringing over the extra stuff I decided I needed on Christmas day ON Christmas Day (a toaster oven, meat thermometer). Both my folks for helping me with the vegetarian dishes, turns out we had LOTS with what I added to it. The kids for helping stir, sort, organise, clean, check and recheck & smash things for baking. As well as clean up like taking out the gabages and dishes and so forth.

Thirdly and most importantly: The whole family having balls (and stomachs) of steel for being willing to eat something I had never attempted before.

For those about to rock (eat) we salute you.

So what did I make??

December 24 after dinner myself, my S.I.L. and kids from all families helped me do my Christmas baking…. 5 hours of it. (I am a slow one in the kitchen, mom will never let me forget!)

  • Gingerbread CupCakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Double Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate chips
  • Apple Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie (x2) made with ice cream

December 25 (the big day for the 18!)

  • Hors ‘d’ouvres –>Vegetarian Samosas, vegetarian spring rolls, spinach & feta spanakopia, mini meat balls, sausage rolls, chips and dip, veggies and dip, crackers with cream cheese and spicy red pepper jelly, assorted cookies and treats (homemade and store bought) Artichoke & Asiago cheese puffs (care of my sister)
  • Turkey – approx 7.6 kg. Cooked over root vegetables, fresh herbs and some broth. I also put an onion and more fresh herbs up its bum to add more flavor.
  • Stuffing – not from scratch. From a box.
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Corn, Carrots, Peas, beans.
  • Buns
  • Broccoli Casserole (Care of mom)
  • Roasted Veggies (Care of mom)
  • Fresh Gravy (made from the broth and drippings (not droppings!) from the bird)
  • Cranberry jelly

Dessert:

  • Pumpkin Pies (x2)
  • Apple Pie
  • Gingerbread Snaps (care of Sister)
  • Sugar Cookies (Care of Mom)
  • Gingerbread Cupcakes
  • Double Chocolate Brownies
  • Ice Cream – Vanilla and Stawberry

And that is how you stuff 18 people like a Christmas turkey!!!!

There were plenty of leftovers, so we could have fit about 4 more people at our table and had them well fed as well. I should mention 4 of the people at our table are older teens/young adults (male) with hearty appetites as well as all the members of the families having healthy appetites. So having left-overs and in the quantities there were is amazing.

We had a big setback, we  planned dinner for about 230 pm however I don’t think we ended up eating until past 4 due to the bird. Not sure what went wrong as everyone said they had never seen it happen before: One leg and part of one side of the bird did not cook on time so we had to keep taking it out and putting it back in again. We don’t know if it was an element, the way I cooked/positioned it in the oven, or if it was the oven itself (its not convection). Luckily we had enough nibbles to keep the hungry monsters at bay. A lot of patience and several people inside who knew a lot about cooking turkeys. A good back up plan is to get the Barbeque ready. Speaking of BBQ the one thing I defrosted and prepped for turkey dinner were ribs and cornbread however time and oven space dictated they be removed from the menu. Good thing we did or we would have been screwed for table and stomach space.

Other things I learned: I learned what a turkey baster was, what it does and how to use it. Yes I am 28 years old and had NO idea what that was. I also learned what the neck, heart and giblets look like from inside the turkey (I nearly fainted, I have an aversion to birds…cooking them… mostly because all I can see are them strutting around outside when I am trying to cook them). I also learned how to get the most out of your turkey thanks to advise from mom, the S.I.L and the people over at Stirr for posting on thier facebook page how to make Turkey Soup. But it was a big thanks to HUBs for making it. I don’t think I could have made it as the carcass was grossing me out.

This is what he did (I helped with the veggies):

What you will need:

  • leftover turkey carcass, GIGANTIC pot, stove, water. Anything you want to toss into the soup for flavoring.

He put the carcass in a HUGE pot of boiling water and just boil the meat off the bones. He had it on there for hours (I am pretty sure) remove the carcass and any fallen off bones.

Next add what you like for flavoring here is what we did:

  • leftover roasted root vegetables (carrots, celery, parsnips, onions)
  • leftover regular vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, green beans)
  • leftover gravy
  • added 4 more carrots, 1 parsnip, a turnip, and an onion
  • One outside Rind of Fresh Parmesan Cheese
  • a sprig of fresh rosemary (just toss it in, the leaves will fall off in the cooking process)
  • a sprig of fresh thyme (again, toss it in the leaves will fall off and you can pull the stick out later)
  • one bay leaf (remove before consuming)
  • a sprinkling of Montreal Vegetable seasoning
  • a squished clove of garlic

Let this bubble for a while (30-40 minutes or until the veggies soften) then you can serve (this makes TONS OF SOUP) or what I did was I put aside a HUGE container of the soup for a healthy meal in the future and then put some in single serving dishes and froze for lunches. With a lot still left over I reserved the rest in a smaller soup pot and placed in the fridge which has given us several lunches and dinners of turkey soup.

What is great is there was no loss of nutritional value as everything was cooked with itself, nothing was strained or drained (granted the saturated fats are probably up there but so is the value of the good stuff) and it made the dollar value of Christmas dinner become VERY economical. So really it is an all around win.

Now with all the visiting relatives gone, I am missing everyone DEARLY. It is like the house (as small as it is) is empty. It really made me see how much I love and care about my family members.

I hope all your Christmas’s, holidays, festivities and food adventures are full of wonderful things.

 

From my table to yours, happy eating.

 

xoxoxo

 

Did you say “ribbed”??? and saying “Thanks”


Again it has been a while since my last posting here on burned cornflakes however I assure you I have been creating in the kitchen from delicious homemade soups, to chilli experiments and discovering how hard it is asking for help. Quite frankly when I get the help (whether asked for or not) I realise now just how awesome it is to have it. I broke my hand just 2 weeks ago, it has been a learning curve to get things done one handed and asking for help on the simplest of tasks and I have been dealing out gratitude by the truck load. Some of the many things I needed help doing have been cutting, slicing, grating, turning lids, pulling lids off, holding the plate/pot/misc item still while I work which probably looked a tad ridiculous….. Which is why sometimes the task was simply lifted from my fingers, which I gotta admit, is kinda nice.

So I have a recipe for you that hubs has recently perfected, taste tested by the family and has an overall 5 star rating for ease, simplicity and yumminess. It is a pork rib recipe I was taught by my cousins and hubs nailed the new cooking process.

This is how it goes:

Kitchen stuff you will need: sharp knife, cutting board, large bowl, tongs, grill, large pot, stove top (possibly hot plate depending on its heat abilities)

Ingredients:

  • Pork back or side ribs (bone in)
  • water
  • Fresh Ground Sea Salt to taste
  • Lemon juice (hubs used juice from 7 lemons)
  • Fresh Ground Pepper (if desired)

Directions:

In a large pot bring ribs to a boil and bubble on med-high heat for 45 min

During the last 5 (or so) minutes preheat your BBQ to high (about 500 degrees)

Remove ribs from pot and take out to your hot grill, cook 10 minutes per side for a total of approx. 20 min.

On cutting board slice ribs to individual pieces and place in large bowl. Douse in lemon juice and salt (and pepper), toss and mix (careful these will be hot)

Place on table and bask in glow of awesomeness as the “mmmmm’s” and “nom nom nomming” start rolling in!

I recommend serving with corn, green beans and mini potatoes.

Happy Eating!

the next morning…


Okay folks, I am no longer intoxicated by any means. I’ve been to the gym, read a few bummer  e mails, drank 1 of 2 coffees and there was no hangover… surprisingly a miracle happened and I sprung out of bed this morning which NEVER happens because I AM THE farthest thing from a morning person. I am still bummed my post from last night disappeared into the vast space of nothingness in which many words take a sudden violent unexpected and unexplainable death (don’t get me started on what I see posted online sometimes….*shiver*)

So it all started yesterday at somepoint when I decided to make Philly Cheesesteak (which would be 730 am enroute to the office) I see it all over the place and figured… can’t be that hard.   About 230-3 pm I realise….. eff do I have everything I need???? On the way home I knew we needed hoagie buns in a bad way……So I get home from work after 6pm and I realise that the steaks that were taken out of the freezer that morning were still frozen, I thought…. no big deal…. I spent forever looking for the needed ingredients, I had already sent hubs out the door for buns which is what I thought was the only thing I was missing…. it was not. Thank goodness for parents living close by. I chopped the garlic, squished some more, chopped the onions and red pepper, things were going great despite the fact that poor baby had no one to play with and was desperate to get my attention so she was clamoring onto me the WHOLE evening. I came up with a genius idea (#1 of the evening) and requested our 12 year old put her boombox in the kitchen, well my and babies amusement with the music lasted about 2 minutes…. then came genius idea #2….in order to amuse her I gave her a big can of Graduates peach things which I know she loves…. well while I am elbow deep in cutting up raw beef she decides to dump the ENTIRE contents of the floor. Well the wine was already uncorked & I had already poured me a smallish glass (and by glass I really mean a fancy kids plastic cup) I took a swig &  got myself cleaned up to take care of the cracker fiasco that occurred all over the kitchen floor, took the giant bottle of crackers away from baby and gave her a bowl full of peachy cracker thingys (of course was promptly spread all over the floor again) but on the plus side she stayed amused for a long while.

I had to get back to cookin’. I finally got the beef all cut up (Dad popped by to drop off the missing OXO I needed!! Thanks pop!) and started to “caramelize” the slivers of beef. (I had no idea how to caramelize beef or even what it meant….) I spent ages doing batches and batches of this…. only to realise as I finished the last batch up & was reading to figure out my next step… “Cook over high heat for 3 minutes” ….. more wine. Baby became not amused anymore by tasty crackers and was wanting me again…. another diversion needed “AH paper towel” here yah go baby, which she discovered bopping things with paper towl was fun followed by the “unravelling”. I had a kitchen covered in crackers AND paper towel, with of course the bowls and cook books she had pulled out of the cupboards …. did I mention there was a chair in there too… yeah there was a chair I had to also dodge as I scurried about the place. … more wine. What is the time….. 8:15… what the??? I was STILL cooking….and hubs just got back from the store (the man is a saint and did a little more than just picked up buns, he did some re-stocking…. bless him)  830 rolled around and I finally finished cookin the veggies, making the sauce and then dumping everything in (sloppily) the sauce to make it all more flavorful…. or something to that effect.

The end result was a philly cheesesteak dinner with a sauce made a little to heavy on the wine (I added more glugs after the requirement) on untoasted buns (they were supposed to be toasted, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with cheese and retoasted) with a very intoxicated me. Hence… attempting to blog after drinking….. not a good idea.

Which pretty much brings me to today.

Oh and I happened to go onto facebook and talk a lot about balls on someone’s page afterwhich I started singing upstairs which is the most awful sound in the world. Think of screetching cats = me singing. *shivers*

Sometimes it is just the simplest things…..


There are days where I worry, plan, stress, plan more, organize, read and re-read recipes to get not only the shopping list right but the things I need to make it (utencils/skillets etc) that I become completely obsessed with the whole cooking process. Sometimes I worry for days on upcoming recipes I have never tried before which leads to “THE BIG FREAK OUT” while I am prepping or cooking which further leads to COMPLETE ABANDONMENT.

This all leads me to yesterday which reminded me “who” exactly it is that I am cooking for…. my family, not the prime minister, Queen Elizabeth or Bobby Flay. Cooking, much like writing, it is important to realise who your audience (eaters) is and what they want. Let me see here, I’ve got 5 kids and a hubs with very good appetites with taste buds that pull them toward creature comforts and novelty. Somewhere along the way I have gotten carried away on exotic flavors, techniques and complex recipes….

Which brings me to today where I just realised sometimes it is the simplest of things that will bring those “Rave Reviews” I am always hoping for. Last nights dinner was a hit, a complete success and was the hubbub of the evening. The only part I played was purchasing the goods required. The rest was up to hubs and he downright nailed it and I have to say I am pretty darn proud because he is ALWAYS reminding me to relax and take it easy.

The tasty delight was *drum roll please*

Nachos and cheese.

TA-DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Gawd I love that man.

The night of flying spatula; A tale of Evil Chicken and giving up.


 Alas it has yet again been a long while since one of my slices from the kitchen; let me tell you it has been a bustle of activity at the ol’ homestead. I blame it slightly on the kids getting back to school; starting up a new home business and just being plain disorganized with a large helping of absent mindedness.

The whole thing starts with a printer, a brand new shiny colour printer and I was SO excited to use it. So I took the weeks menu (something I dread doing and struggle with continuously) which is usually covered in chicken scratch, bits of food, cross outs, arrows and other random doodles and phone messages, opened up my fancy pants laptop and made a professional menu, gave our kitchen a snazzy restaurant style name and in the price column I replaced the dollar amounts with page numbers. I printed it off and proudly displayed my hard work on the fridge. We had Beer Braised Chicken (evil chicken), Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup (which turned into a stoup), grilled steaks with crispy shrooms (which we ended up ditching the shrooms), Chicken Francese (which was all around DE-LIC-IOUS!) and Taco Stoup served with Taco Salad (which I only ended up making yesterday and was soooooooo delicious).

The beer braised chicken (I’ve aptly renamed “Evil Chicken”) looked easy enough, few ingredients and what seemed like a few fairly straight forward instructions. I was to cook bacon in a big pot and set aside, then take the boneless skinless chicken breasts in the big pot (my first mistake = pot not big enough) after lightly flouring them and cook them in the bacon fat. Really simple, however I forgot that (1) I had more chicken thighs than square inches of cooking space (2) I had more chicken thighs than the recipe called for (3) I didn’t read the instructions CLEARLY enough. Which was to cook the dang thing in batches, instead I tried stuffing all the thighs into one pot, which ended up not getting the desired cooking effects, instead of lightly browned we got very burned, and in the process lost lots of the floury coating that would help seal in the juices for braising. Then when you add more things to the cooking surface you are supposed to adjust the cooking times because the added chicken thighs steal the heat from the other chicken thighs so if I had the proper amount of chicken thighs to begin with the browning process SHOULD have taken 5-8 minutes.

Well 5-8 minutes gone and passed…. Then 10…. Then 15… Around the 30 minute mark I was huffing and puffing (though not blowing any piggies houses down) getting more frustrated by the minute. Hubs came and started helping me turn over the chicken thighs, I was one cranky cat, I was swearing and then re-read the instructions where I discovered another “oops” by learning to cook them in batches.

Swearing at myself I quit. I completely gave up, I was SO angry, I was crying, frustrated and my feet HURT from standing in the kitchen for over an hour. A meal that was supposed to only take 30minutes had passed the hour mark and we only just started the braising process, I added all the remaining ingredients (again discovering I was supposed to cook the onions and other veg with the chicken first), I literally DUMPED in the beer as the last ingredient. Quit once again and retired for the evening.

I was beyond P-O’d. I heard that the dinner was good, though very beer-y (I added too much beer) Hubs had helped and finished the dish without so much as breaking a sweat or furrowing a brow. He came to my rescue when I needed him too, listened to my frustrations, tried to get me to NOT stress about it (impossible), dodged a flying spatula (or three) and became my knight with a shining spatula for the evening. The recipe got the better of me this time though it is defiantly on the “DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT DOING THIS AGAIN” pile, and I scoff at the magazines headline “Cook like a star” thinking, “imagine if I had a camera crew filming my mishaps, I’d have more bleeps in one episode than Gordon Ramsay. Then of course the network would probably want some sort of cook off between the two of us and it would end up being some sort of cursing competition. In which the end result would be me holding up some sort of burned looking concoction and him with some fancy froo froo dish looking all smug.”Bugger it”. *sigh* All in a nights work.

On a happy note all the other dishes I made ended up being scrumptious.

Happy Eating!