Food Me

It’s like this: I’m slowly developing what I consider to be “my” versions of certain recipes. These are recipes that, by and large, I’m happy with. Last couple of weeks I’ve nailed down recipes for chili and Sloppy Joes — these are not ultimate recipes in an objective sense, but they’re recipes that I’d make again following the same recipe I put forth.

I never used to operate this way: I generally made it up every time using some clumsy pastiche of recipes I already knew, and while that was certainly exciting, it left room for much variation. One day it was, “Gosh, this chicken is delicious!” Three weeks later it was, “This chicken mysteriously tastes like candle wax dripped on the perineum of a professional wrestler.”

With a child on the way, I’m going to have less time to, as it were, fuck around at meal-time.

It is therefore time to establish some kind of culinary canon here at Der Wendighaus.

Every house eventually develops one, I think. Or, at least, families do. You always hear, “Oh, you need to try my Grandmother’s gnocchi,” or, “My mother’s ham salad recipe will tear off your nipples and choke you with them it’s so goddamn good.” Hell, some people will get in fights about it. “My family’s spaghetti recipe is the best!” “No, mine is!” “Get your axe, for now we go to war.”

My Mom-Mom had a host of recipes that live in infamy: pierogies, bleenies, koshe. My mother had and has her own: apricot-glazed chicken, turkey tetrazini, slow-cooked coffee-marinated beef. Hell, my Dad made this elk-meat chili using itty-bitty Thai hot peppers that would melt your molars, but it was awesome.

Anyway, I think I’m orbiting around the point.

I’m opening this to the hive-mind:

What recipes are recipes you think everybody should know? Like, on a generic level, “Oh, everybody should know a meatloaf recipe.” Or lasagna, or fried chicken.

Second follow-up question — if you say, “Everybody should totally know a kick-ass pancake recipe,” then I further beseech you, what is your pancake recipe? Do you have one? (And by “pancake,” I really mean, “whatever recipe you consider crucial.” I’m not asking you specifically for a pancake recipe.)

What meals are canon at your house?

And, how do you make ‘em?

Once more, I crowdsource to you because you people are smarter — and, let’s be honest, much prettier — than I am. Hop into the comments if you’re feeling kind, and jam your wisdom into my craw.

47 comments

  • Green chile, my friend. Spicy hot. It’s edible in a bowl, on a burrito, or even licked off your forearm. Hell, your wife’s forearm.

    The best recipe is the simplest recipe:

    Roast a huge hunk of fatty pork until it’s good and brown on the outside, but just slightly pink on the inside (roughly 160 degrees Farenheit if you’ve got a thermometer). Cut it into little cubes, which is tedious but makes it easier to eat.

    Brown some flour in oil. I like olive oil, but you can use Wesson. It just doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you get it good and brown, almost burned. Watch it closely.

    Brown some onions. Oil helps here, too.

    Get yourself some fresh-roasted green chiles. At least a bushel. I recommend medium unless you’re Satan, then get hot. Peel away the blackened skins, removing as many of the seeds as possible and throw the chiles into a blender. Blend.

    Blend the flour into some water. Throw it into a large crockpot with some more water, leaving enough room for the pork and the onions. Season with salt, to your taste, unless you’ve killed your salt receptors with Cheetos. In that case, season with salt to your wife’s taste.

    Cook it until the pork falls apart when you try to pick it up with a fork.

    Eat some of it. Freeze the rest. It’ll keep forever and keep on giving long after you forget what that first bowl tasted like.

  • One of the benefits of staying up late is that I get to read your posts when they’re still fresh. Wait. That didn’t sound right.

    Okay. Truth? You’re about to have your first child. Well, we hope it’s a child. This involves your lovely wife, so I’m sure it will be, in fact, a child. You won’t need a kick-ass culinary canon for at LEAST a dozen years. If I thought you’d have any use for it, I’d give you my mom’s recipe for caramel cinnamon rolls. But you won’t.

    My son, the first born, would eat anything. And everything. Seriously. Food. Non-food. Dog food. Worm food. Dirt. Any-fucking-thing. Recipe optional.

    My daughter, second and last born, would eat exactly six things: Cheerios, milk, hot dogs (no bun, no condiments), mac and cheese, peanut butter sandwiches, chicken fingers. I. Am. Not. Kidding. We could not go out to eat anywhere unless they served at least one of those things. For sixteen years, that’s all she ate. Really. Then, while in high school, she went to Spain for a month, where apparently they have NONE OF THOSE THINGS, and her culinary world exploded. In college (yes, in spite of her nutritional deficiencies, she was accepted into and graduated with high marks from a very good college) she started dating a guy from New Orleans. She now eats things that make me cringe.

    So this is really good research you’re doing here. Just don’t expect to need any of these recipes until you’re filling out FAFSA financial aid forms for the spawn. At which time you won’t be able to afford more than peanut butter sandwiches anyway. You’ll be all set for when the grandkids come to visit.

    Who says I can’t write horror?

    • Heh, @KD, no, it’s not about a kick-ass culinary canon for my kid — it’s so I have a series of go-to recipes ready to rock since with a new baby time is going to be, erm, less free. My son will probably eat hot dogs off one of the dogs if we let him — I’m talking about needing recipes that I can go to in a pinch since I’ll have far fewer usable hours in my day.

      So, I still need recipes, gul-durnit.
      :)

      – c.

  • This is one of my faves, as it’s delicious, ultra-easy, and seems to impress poor fools who don’t know better. It’s channelled via my Greek half :D

    Tim’s Lamb and Spinach Ragout.

    1lb (450g) Lamb fillet, cubed to about 1/4″
    1lb (450g) Leaf Spinach — that’s about 3 cups frozen, or 7 cups fresh chopped.
    1.5 cups (200g) Potato, chopped
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 can chopped tomatoes, or equivalent
    4 cloves crushed garlic
    2 tsp Rosemary
    2 tsp Oregano
    2 tsp Paprika
    1 tsp Black pepper
    A couple of dashes of Lemon juice
    1/2 tsp Ground clove
    2 tbsp Olive oil.
    Salt to taste.

    Serve four ppl, with fresh, crusty bread; rice; or mashed potato.

    Fry off the lamb in the olive oil to brown and seal, then turn the heat down, add the onion, and soften it. You can either do this in the pan you’re planning to use, or use a frying pan and tip the oil in too.

    Add the spinach, the tomato, the potato, the garlic, and enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, and then simmer reasonably briskly. The potato is there to disintegrate for thickness. When it’s reduced enough to come to a sauce-like consistency, add the herbs, spices and lemon, and simmer gently for another five minutes or so.

    Then serve.

    Common tweaks include:
    * adding some white pepper, either as well as or instead of the black;
    * adding some tomato puree for extra tomato flavour if the chopped toms are bland;
    * adding the herbs and spices early on, and then adding (smaller amounts) of extras of all the non-pepper ones at the end to bring the flavours back up but leave the well-cooked embedded flavours too;
    * not adding the potato, to make it thinner (and very Atkins-friendly);
    * cooking rice (or even breadcrumbs) in with it for a more peasanty, all-in-one experience;
    * replacing the potato with eggplant (aubergine), or even adding eggplant as well to go for extra thickness;
    * and, finally, using lamb mince instead, and then turning the end result into a filling for a moussaka/lasagne-style thing.

  • Thai curry easy and flexible

    Blend:
    2 shallots
    3 cloves garlic
    2 inches ginger
    1tsp cumin
    1tsp coriander
    Chilis to taste

    with optional extras including
    lemongras (1 stick, chopped)
    Coriander leaves, stalks and roots
    Lime peel
    Peanut butter
    Shrimp paste.

    Fry off your meat/fish/tofu and set aside

    Fry your blended paste for a minute or so, then add meat and a tin of coconut milk. Stir.
    Add fish sauce, palm sugar (or brown sugar), lime-juice etc to taste.

    Pour over (cooked) rice or maybe noodles.

    Eat.

  • This is from Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman’s website and is one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.

    Braised Short Ribs

    Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 2 Hours | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 4
    Print Recipe 3″x5″ Cards 4″x6″ Cards Full Page
    Ingredients

    * 8 whole Beef Short Ribs
    * Kosher Salt & Pepper To Taste
    * ¼ cups All-purpose Flour
    * 6 pieces Pancetta, Diced
    * 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
    * 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
    * 3 whole Carrots, Diced
    * 2 whole Shallots, Peeled And Finely Minced
    * 2 cups Red Or White Wine
    * 2 cups Beef Or Chicken Broth (enough To Almost Cover Ribs)
    * 2 sprigs Thyme
    * 2 sprigs Rosemary

    Preparation Instructions

    Salt and pepper ribs, then dredge in flour. Set aside.

    In a large dutch oven, cook pancetta over medium heat until complete crispy and all fat is rendered. Remove pancetta and set aside. Do not discard grease.

    Add olive oil to pan with the pancetta grease, and raise heat to high. Brown ribs on all sides, about 45 seconds per side. Remove ribs and set aside. Turn heat to medium.

    Add onions, carrots, and shallots to pan and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape bottom of pan to release all the flavorful bits of glory. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes.

    Add broth, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Taste and add more salt if needed. Add ribs to the liquid; they should be almost completely submerged. Add thyme and rosemary sprigs (whole) to the liquid.

    Put on the lid and place into the oven. Cook at 350 for 2 hours, then reduce heat to 325 and cook for an additional 30 to 45 minutes. Ribs should be fork-tender and falling off the bone. Remove pan from oven and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes, lid on, before serving. At the last minute, skim fat off the top of the liquid. (Can also refrigerate mixture, then remove solid fat from the top.)

    Serve 2 ribs on bed of creamy polenta, spooning a little juice over the top.

    • This is awesome.

      @Patti, I have long been looking for a kick-ass braised short ribs recipe, so thanks for getting me started on this. Nice!

      Thanks one and all and all who are yet to post.

      – c.

  • Plus One on Tim’s Lamb & Spinach Ragout – I’ll be making that again this weekend.

    My go-to is a BBC recipe for salmon burgers that I learned a few years ago and have made about once a month ever since.

    4 boneless, skinless salmon fillets , about 550g/1lb 4oz in total, cut into chunks
    2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
    thumb-size piece fresh root ginger , grated
    1 tsp soy sauce
    Handful fresh coriander, chopped
    1 tsp vegetable oil

    It’s a BBC recipe so it only has two steps. This annoys me greatly and somewhere I have the proper steps written out. This has some modifications from the original.

    Briefly fry the curry paste with a smidge of oil to bring out the flavour.

    Tip half the salmon into a food processor with the paste, ginger, soy and chopped coriander.

    Pulse until minced. Tip out the mix and shape (with the other half of the salmon chunks) into 4 burgers.

    Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, then fry the burgers for 4-5 mins on each side, turning until crisp and cooked through. (4-5 minutes may be excessive – start with 2-3)

    Serve the burgers with rice.

    For veg I usually wilt some spinach with crushed garlic (and roasted pine nuts depending on how my diet’s going) as this can be done while the pan you cooked the burgers in is still hot and the burgers will still be hot when the spinach is done.

  • My easiest recipe is Green Pork, best made if you live near a Wegmans. I have two versions of it, the easy and the deluxe.

    You need:
    salt – Kosher is best
    garlic – I have a big jar of pre crushed garlic
    fresh crushed black pepper – I use a pepper mill set on coarse
    Pork tenderloin
    A jar or two of Salsa Verde (green salsa). The Wegmans store brand of Roasted Salsa Verde works best, but this has been successfully made with five different salsas so try it with whatever is handy.

    Easy – crockpot
    You need one package of pork tenderloin, clean off the silver-skin, chop in to chunks, in the size you like. (I usually do about 2 inch cubes.)

    Put cubed pork into crock pot, add a spoon full of garlic, salt and pepper to taste (usually two or three large pinches of salt)

    Pour salsa over top.

    Cook all day.

    Serve with tortilla, sour cream, cheese, guacamole, and whatever sides you like.

    Deluxe version
    Pan-sear the pork with salt in oven safe pan, then combine ingredients as above.
    Move pan to oven and roast at 375 degrees until done. (I’m at work, I have no idea how long… probably an hour or so.)

  • Ham in coca cola is a fave of mine.

    2Kg (4.4 lbs) gammon
    2 litres coca cola (no diet or zero as need the sugar)
    an onion
    peel and cut onion in half
    put onion, gammon, and cola into pot.
    cook for an hour.

    Making big batches of a bolognase type sauce is essential. freeze it in portion pots. can add to potatoes/rice/pasta. Same goes for chili.

    If want to go really quick get big jar red sauce and hebs (or passata and add own herbs if can), chop and fry bacon first if you like. Then fry onion and garlic to taste to frying pan, then add meat (quorn mince works great if you are veggie or on a diet). Once meat browned (no waiting for quorn) add red sauce and half pint stock. season to taste, simmer and reduce it down. season again to taste at end.

    Oh and once weaned baby get those big ice cube tray things and blitz and freeze and leftovers from dinner. Much cheaper and healthier than baby food.

  • Maria’s Utility Belt Penne is going to be pretty close, here, Chuck, but let me start by saying this, from one new dad (my daughter is a year old) to a soon-to-be dad: I hope to hell you love pasta.

    Because a universal truth about children is that they love pasta. More than just love it — they are pasta-consumption machines. What I’m telling you is, buy some stock in Barilla. Get a Costco or Sam’s Club membership. Build an addition on to your home, and fill that sonofabitch with crates of pasta.

    Okay, on to the recipe. Yes, you’ll have a canon before too long — ours is in the form of a thick-ish binder. I give you our regular staple: Tomato & Olive Penne

    Ingredients:
    salt & pepper
    1 pound of penne
    1/4 cup of olive oil
    2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
    2/3 pound cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more or less)
    1/4 cup Kalamata olives
    1/4 cup chopped parsley, fresh
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (Duncan, my wife, sometimes substitutes Feta, which gives it a whole new flavor).

    1. Cook the penne.
    2. As it’s cooking, heat the oil in a skillet, add the garlic. Add the tomatoes, oregano, red pepper, and 1/4 tsp of salt, and 1/4 tsp of pepper. Let it cook on low for just a few minutes — 3 or so (until the tomato juice starts to run a bit).
    3. Add the penne, olives, and parsley and 1/4 cup Parmesan to the skillet and toss it all around. Add the rest of the cheese after.

    And there you go. Simple, easy, good. And your kid will love it.

    Happy eating.

  • Thai Basil Chicken

    1 lb chicken (I like thighs, but breast is fine)
    1 heaping handful fresh basil, chopped
    1 bunch green onions, sliced
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    2-3 thai chilis, minced (can be seeded if you’re weak)
    fish sauce to taste

    Start the onions and garlic in an oiled up frying pan or wok. When the garlic just starts to brown, add the chicken and chilis. Cook until the chicken starts to brown as well and add the fish sauce. Turn off the heat, but leave the pan on the hot burner. Add the basil and let it cook and wilt just a bit before serving over rice, preferably basmati.

  • French Toast is awesome, and kids love it. My kids ask for it almost every day. Very easy, but you have to plan ahead because … cut the bread and leave it out to get semi-stale overnight. Here’s the recipe:

    1) Prep your bread. Use challah. If you can’t find challah, you can use Hawaiian bread. If you can’t find that, you can still use any kind of bread. Cut it into slices half to three-quarter inch thick. Leave it out overnight (covered by a paper towel if you care about such things).

    2) In a bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Ratio is one egg to one-third cup of milk. That covers about two slices. If you’ve got more slice just multiply. Splash with high-quality vanilla extract (quarter-teaspoon if you measure such things) and whisk it in.

    3) Place the stale bread in a single layer In a plate or pie pan. Pour some of the mixture into the dish and wash the bread soak it up. While it’s soaking, set a thick pat of butter in a large frying pan over medium heat and let it melt. Flip the bread and let the other side soak. When it has absorbed all the liquid, the butter should be melted, and the pan should be heated.

    4) Put the soaked bread into the pan. While it’s cooking, sprinkle the top with cinnamon. When the bottom gets nice and golden-brown, flip and cook the other side until golden-brown.

    Most people like maple syrup on their French toast. Not bad, but I prefer table sugar. The crystals provide a nice textural balance to the creamy toast, and the neutral flavor lets the vanilla and cinnamon shine through.

  • My pancake recipe can be found on the back of the Bisquick box. It’s obviously not solely mine, but that’s the one I like the best (so far).

    I don’t have any specific recipes, but I think everyone should probably know some simple casserole dishes. My family makes one with Campbell’s mushroom soup, tuna, peas, Velveeta cheese, a bit of milk, and macaroni noodles. Cook noodles, stir in everything else, bake in oven or microwave for ~20 minutes. I’m sure there are so many that you could customize to your family’s tastes.

  • I am a terrible cook.

    Mac and Cheese and wieners.

    You will need:

    Kraft Mac and Cheese – Thick and Creamy – it MUST be Kraft and MUST be of the Thick and Creamy variety
    Butter or margarine
    No milk – don’t listen to the lies on the package
    1 wiener

    Boil Mac and Cheese, place wiener in toaster oven. Wait approximately 8 minutes
    Strain and dump macaroni in bowl
    Add cheese sauce and a heavy spoon of butter. Again, no milk.
    Stir until the viscosity is appealing
    Remove wieners and slice
    Add to bowl

    Eat entire thing until you sweat.

    The entire meal will cost you about 2 bucks. I ate this a lot when single. Not so much these days.

    Also, caramelized bacon is super easy

    Bacon in pan
    Wait until a little crispy
    Sprinkle Brown Sugar on bacon
    Remove from heat before it burns
    Let cool
    Consume

  • If I were food, I’d be cheap, fast, and easy. When my son was born, easy-to-make food saved our butts. Here’s a couple recipes that taste good and take practically no effort:

    Mushroom Pork Chops
    1 giant can cream of mushroom soup
    4 pork chops
    Fresh-ground pepper (optional)
    A little milk, as needed

    Throw everything in a crock pot a few hours in advance. Add milk if it starts to dry out. Pair with instant mashed potatoes and frozen veggies.

    Sweet and Sour chicken
    1 can pineapple chunks
    2-4 chicken breasts, cooked
    1 cup vinegar
    1 Tbsp brown sugar
    Assorted veggies (I like onions, bell peppers, and sugar snap peas)

    Throw everything in a frying pan and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes. Enjoy over Minute Rice.

  • The other way into cooking in less time – and I recommend doing this now to stock up for baby’s arrival – is cooking double (or bigger) portions then freezing them. That way you’re only cooking every other night. For instance, I cook up meat sauce in big batches – say a couple of kgs at a time – with only basic seasoning. Then I freeze in containers that hold two nights’ worth. When it comes time to defrost, I heat up half with spaghetti bolognese seasoning, keeping the other half in the fridge, so the only cooking on that night is the pasta. The second night I heat up the remainder with Mexican seasoning, and hey presto, we have burritos. The kids are not yet sold on the virtues of these meals, but they are damn convenient for me. You could google something like “freezer cooking” or “once a month cooking” and see what turns up (in addition to the hive mind’s delectable suggestions, of course)

  • I’m all about the chocolate since it goes so well with books.

    Here’s a link to some of my favorite pancake recipes. Posted yesterday on Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day: http://dyingforchocolate.blogspot.com/2011/03/shrove-tuesday-chocolate-pancakes-all.html

    As far as a great go-to recipe: CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRIES TO DIE FOR!

    INGREDIENTS:
    1 quart fresh large strawberries, with tops
    1 cup semi-sweet chips or 60-70% cacao, broken
    1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips or 75-85% cacao, broken
    1/8 tsp ancho chile powder (optional)
    3 Tbsp. heavy cream

    DIRECTIONS:
    Quickly rinse strawberries and dry thoroughly, keeping tops on. In small microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and heavy cream. Microwave on medium power for 2 minutes, stir. Continue microwaving in 30-second intervals if necessary, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. You can also do this in a saucepan over another saucepan with simmering water (or a true doubleboiler).

    Dip strawberries in chocolate mixture and place on waxpaper or parchment lined cookie sheet to allow chocolate to harden.

    HINTS:

    Wash the strawberries and pat dry with paper towels; set aside. Make sure the strawberries are completely dry. Even a drop of water in melted chocolate can cause it to “seize” and turn the entire mixture into a mess.

    How to dip: Grasp the stem of the strawberry and dip into the chocolate, swirling to partially cover with chocolate. Give the strawberry a small shake as you withdraw it from the chocolate. When the strawberry is completely withdrawn from the chocolate, swirl it in a quick, clockwise motion to let the excess chocolate drip off. Place on cookie sheet lined with waxed paper or parchment. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries.

    Either put strawberries in the refrigerator or set aside to allow the chocolate to harden (about 30 minutes). Transfer fruit onto a serving platter to serve.

    As I mentioned, you can add 1/8 tsp ground ancho chile powder into the chocolate/cream mixture. Gives it a kick!

    How easy is that?

  • I am so pissed someone got their braised short ribs recipie in here before me! Damnit! Well I’m givin it to you anyway!

    I like to serve this over penne pasta or, even better, creamy risotto.

    Ingredients
    4-6 pounds beef short ribs – or buy boneless and you’ll get more meat and spend less $
    salt and pepper
    Olive oil
    1 large onion, diced
    As much garlic as you like – I like a lot – minced
    5 Roma tomatoes, cut into eighths
    1 cup red wine
    3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    2 cups beef broth

    Directions
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    Season the ribs with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven or ovenproof stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. In batches, add the ribs and brown on all sides. Remove the ribs and set aside. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine and mustard. Bring the mixture to a boil and scrape up the brown bits. Return the ribs. Add the beef broth, cover the pot and place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat shreds easily with a fork.

    Then remove ribs, shred the meat (discard bones if you used bone in). Skim the fat from cooking liquid, use emersion blender or pour liquid into a blender, add heavy cream and blend to make sauce. Taste test for flavor. Then add meat back to sauce, serve over penne or risotto.

    Awesomesauce.

  • Everyone should have a great vegetarian soup to simmer while doing other things. This CURRIED LENTIL SOUP is perfect. You can tone down the curry if you like or dial it up.

    2 fat carrots, peeled
    3 leeks, cleaned
    1 large brown onion
    ½ package green lentils, picked over
    Handful kosher salt
    2 tsp. black pepper
    2 tsp. garlic powder (or 1 Tbsp. crushed garlic from jar)
    3 Tbsp. curry powder

    Prepare the lentils:

    If you have one of those colanders meant to rinse rice, use that. Otherwise, pour the lentils into a bowl, making sure there aren’t any rocks mixed in.

    Run cold water over the lentils until the rinse off water is clear. Leave the wet lentils soaking up moisture will you prepare the rest of the soup.

    Prepare the broth:

    Fill a large soup pot two-thirds full of water and put on the stove to boil.
    Add the salt, pepper and garlic to the water. You can add a dash of olive oil if you like (but not butter).

    Chop the carrots into coins. Peel and roughly chop the onion. Chop the white part of the leeks into disks. Note: leeks are sneaky vegetables. They tend to hold silt in their tightly packed layers. You might want to peel back the first layer to make sure they’re free of grit.)

    Add the vegetables to the broth. Allow to boil for about 10 minutes, then add the lentils and the curry powder. Cover the pot and reduce heat. Simmer until the lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.

  • Super-easy Sunday breakfast favorite – Dutch Baby Oven Pancake

    Get you a big, round casserole dish, or a high-sided cast iron skillet. Set the oven to pre-heat to 400. Toss a few tablespoons of butter in the pan, put it in the oven while it’s pre-heating to melt the butter.

    Take three large eggs (I find letting them sit for a bit so they’re not right-out-of-the-fridge cold helps here), break ‘em into a bowl. Whip ‘em up. Gradually add 1/2 cup flour, and 1/2 cup milk, and a pinch of salt. Whip it good.

    Take the heated pan out of the oven, and roll it around so the bottom and sides are buttered, pour the batter into the hot pan, return to oven.

    Let that bastard bake for 20 minutes. Plenty of time to get some writing in and enjoy a cup of coffee.

    When that buzzer dings, take it out, slice it up like a pizza, plate it up, and dust with powdered sugar and cinnamon, honey, a squirt of lemon, whatever suits your fancy.

    Best breakfast ever.

  • Potato Leek Soup.

    Holy hell, so delicious and easy. Once I started making it, it’s a regular around our house and all my friends scream for it on Game Night. It’s easy, and better yet, its CHEAP to make.

    Now, here’s the deal: I cook very intuitively, which means that if something tastes a little “this way” or “that way” I add stuff until it’s right. You’ll have to do the same for my recipe, which is horribly vague. That said, potato soup is VERY forgiving.

    So here it is. Customize it as you will. I’m sure it will be delicious!

    Amy’s Potato Soup

    Ingredients:
    - 4 tbsp butter
    - 2 small or 1 large onion, white or yellow, chopped
    - 2-3 leeks (only the white and lighter green parts), chopped*
    - 2 tsp salt
    - roughly 4 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
    - 7 or 8 potatoes, peeled and cubed, Russet, or a mix of whatever kind of potatoes you like **
    - roughly 8 cups of chicken stock
    - 1 cup 2% milk or light cream ***
    - roughly 4 oz. cream cheese (light or regular)
    - salt and pepper to taste

    Fixins’:
    - cooked, crumbled bacon
    - blue cheese crumbles
    - shredded cheese
    - sour cream
    - chives

    * How to prepare a leek, if you’ve never done so: You get these big horrible gritty plants from the store. First, just slice off the entirety of the top leaves, which is all the dark green garbage, and the knubbly filthy root bits at the bottom (keeping as much of the lovely white bulb as you can). The light green and white core is the preccccccious. After you’ve removed the top and bottom, fill a big bowl with water, slice the leek cores in half, and separate the leek bits into the bowl. Swish them around violently then let them sit for a bit, and all the grit should sink to the bottom, while all the lovely leek bits should float. Give them a good second rinse before putting into your cookpot, and you should be grit-free. If you don’t want leeks in the soup, substitute with 2 medium white onions.
    ** A mix of regular idaho russet potatoes, golden potatoes and one smaller sweet potato makes a lovely soup, but a plain old bag of Russets makes a delicious and affordable soup too.
    *** The original recipe called for heavy cream, but I like a little more soup with my calories, so I use milk and it’s just fine.

    Recipe:

    On med-heat, melt the butter in the bottom of a large soup pot. Add the onions and leeks and stir until the vegetables are coated in butter. Heat the ingredients over medium heat until sizzling, then add potatoes and garlic, stirring thoroughly again, until veggies are sizzling again. Add about 3-4 tablespoons of stock for moisture.
    Cover veggies, turn heat to low. Sweat the veggies for about 12-15 minutes until tender and gooey (check once to make sure they’re not burning – if too dry, add a little stock and stir).
    Pour in the rest of the stock and 1 tsp salt, give it a good stir to get all the good brown flavorful bits off the bottom, raise heat to med-high, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat again to med-low and simmer for about 20 minutes, until veggies are tender (taking care to stir occasionally, don’t let the bottom burn).
    Once veggies are soft, stir in the milk and cream cheese, stirring to incorporate. The use either an immersion blender or a potato masher to mash and break up potatoes and mix soup to desired smoothness or chunkiness (take care not to blend too much, as this will make soup too gluey and lose all those chunky good bits.)
    Season with salt and pepper to taste. If soup is too thin, cover mostly (leaving a crack in lid for steam to escape) and heat on medium, stirring regularly, until soup thickens. If soup is too thick, stir in more milk or stock to attain desired consistency.
    Ladle into bowls, adding shredded cheese, bacon, sour cream, chives or other fat-dripping loveliness.

    Amy

  • The best cookies you’ll ever eat, and the easiest to make. I think its originally a Paula Deen recipe.

    We call them DIRTY SNOWBALLS. And yes, they may be served with bacon.

    Ingredients
    • 1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 (18-ounce) box moist chocolate cake mix
    • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

    Directions
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner’s sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and “gooey.” Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

    And for Dinner:

    Quick and Easy Pasta

    1 Package of penne pasta (or bow ties, or whatever)
    Broccoli
    1 green bell pepper
    2 carrots, sliced
    1 medium sized onion
    Chicken breasts or thighs, cubed (boneless and skinless)
    juice of 1 lemon
    1/4 cup olive oil
    Creole seasoning (salt. pepper, chili powder, paprika)

    Fry the chicken in the creole seasoning and a bit of olive oil. Chop the vegetables a tad larger than bite sized. When the chicken is halfway done, toss the carrots in with it. When the chicken is 3/4 done, toss in the rest of the vegetables. Cook until chicken is done, and veggies are tender.
    Cook and strain your pasta according to package directions. In the pot, toss the veggie/chicken mixture with the pasta, add the olive oil and the lemon juice.
    Done and done! Serve hot or cold.

  • These are all fairly recent discoveries instead of Family Old Timey ones, but all of them have earned a spot in my regular rotation.

    Tuscan Chicken with spinach and white beans. And bacon. http://tinyurl.com/tuscanchix It is incredibly good for how easy it is. You can substitute chicken breasts or thighs for the sectioned whole chicken, I’ve done it both ways. My husband said he would eat the bean/spinach/bacon component separately as a side dish but I haven’t tried making it that way yet!

    Thai Chicken Sautee: http://preview.tinyurl.com/thaichickensautee easy and quick and definitely spicy even as written! A rarity on that note.

    Hot Garlic Shrimp and Asparagus: http://tinyurl.com/shrimpasparagus meant to be served as a broth with toasted bread, you can easily double the liquid and thicken with cornstarch, then serve over pasta or rice. I add more of both peppers, we like spicy.

    Spicy Pumpkin Soup: http://tinyurl.com/spicy-pumpkin Coconut milk and fresh jalapeno give it a pseudo-Thai flavor to me, vs many pumpkin soups that use curry to add heat. My immersion blender makes this one possible. And delicious.

  • Fast and Easy will be your friends.

    Bowties with Asparagus, Sugar Snap Peas, and Grilled Chicken

    Grill some chicken breasts. I dunno how you like them, but Rich like them dry. Gack.

    While they’re grilling boil a stock pot of water with some salt and olive oil. Dump in a box of bowtie pasta when it’s boiling. Rinse and cut up some fresh asparagus and get your sugar snap peas washed. Do not shell the peas. When about 3 minutes are left to the pasta Dump the asparagus and snap peas in. They should do this lovely floaty then bright green deal by the time the pasta beeps. Drain the whole pot, put a lid on, and dice up your grilled chicken. Toss the chicken into the pasta deal and drizzle with olive oil, toss some more, chuck in some shredded parm, toss some more, and serve.

    Can be made without chicken for Lenten purposes.

  • Okay Chuck,

    I don’t have a great recipe for you. I kind of throw together bits and pieces for whatever’s in the freezer.

    Best advice I ever got: Invest in a crockpot and a crockpot cookbook.

    I’ve got two kids. Six and fifteen months. Oddly, I have more time in the morning after the older has been shoved through the doors of Kindergarten Knowledge and the younger is happily nomming on her bottle. Chug your coffee, throw junk in the crock and turn it on low. It will help when dinner time comes around and the kid wants to be fed, the wife needs a foot rub, laundry is piling up and Lord knows what else comes up.

    If you have a crock and not a cookbook, there are websites all over the crazy place and groups dedicated solely to crock pot cookery.

    If it doesn’t burn, it usually tastes like the best thing you’ve eaten ever in your life (since yesterday, when the magic food cooker made the best thing you’ve ever eaten in your life since yesterday when…)

    Best of luck on your culinary expeditionary feats.
    Maddy

  • Things in steady rotation on our dinner planner: Chicken lo mein, chicken Parmigiana, chicken Divan, chicken with white wine mushroom sauce, chicken with vodka sauce (can you tell we like chicken?), sesame pork tenderloin, Szechuan flank steak, beef gyros.

    If you’re actually interested in any specific recipe hit me up with an email.

  • I think I might be able to help you out. Keep in mind, I have gestated, downloaded a person, lactated, and still have a little cognitive thoughts from time to time.

    I also have issues but hey, so does C Sheen, Mel Gibson, and Jack Chick

  • Geez, now I feel bad. Can’t have you starving to death, can we? Okay, fast and simple recipe that my daughter requests every time she comes home:

    Lemon Garlic Chicken

    Combine in glass measuring cup:
    Olive oil and lemon juice (I make 1 cup with 2/3 c. oil & 1/3 c. lemon juice — adjust proportions/volume to your taste and to how many servings you’re making)
    Add crushed garlic and basil to taste (also sometimes oregano or thyme, or dill instead– this recipe is easily adaptable)

    Take HALF of that and use it to marinate some boneless skinless chicken parts. If you’re in a hurry, skip the marinating and just pour it over the chicken in the pan.

    [Those individually frozen chicken pieces are great for this. You don't need to thaw them.]

    Put the chicken in a non-stick frying pan and cook until done, turning occasionally.

    Use the reserved oil/lemon mixture to pour over pasta of your choice. My kids love angel hair. Fettucini works too.

    Steam some asparagus or broccoli and you’re done.

    - – - – -

    And speaking of pasta, I guess everyone should have a basic recipe for this, right?

    Creamy Tomato Vodka Sauce

    Saute minced onion and garlic in olive oil (in a large frying pan)
    Add 28 oz can of plum tomatoes
    Break up pieces with a spoon or put through a blender first if, like me, you don’t appreciate clumps
    Add 1/2 c. vodka and dried red pepper (flakes or powder, your choice)
    Optional: basil, oregano, fennel, parsley, whatever…
    Simmer 20 minutes or so until sauce thickens
    Add 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream or half & half (room temperature)
    Stir until heated through, about 5 mins.

    Pour over favourite pasta. I like using rotini or radiators because the sauce clings to all those lovely spaces.

    If I’m feeling wealthy, I buy some sliced proscuitto and chop it up and brown it in one of the first steps above. OMG, delicious. Or serve with grilled Italian sausage. Or make meatballs.

    - – - – - – -

    Okay, now I’m starving and need to go make some dinner. I might come back later and give you the recipe for Monster Cookies. I make a lot of different cookies, but these are without a doubt THE most requested by my kids (and all their friends). But I can’t tell you off the top of my head. Have to dig out the recipe.

    Unless you don’t like cookies… then I won’t.

  • The chef at an Indian food restaurant told me that chili peppers vary in heat throughout the growing season. Three chilis one day might equal five chilis a few months later. I did not know that! YMMV

  • *cracks knuckles*

    Okay. Let’s see. I gots some pretty great recipes up in here.

    Everyone should know a good Lasagna Recipe:
    (I hope HTML works in these things.)

    Ingredients
    No-boil lasagna noodles
    1 Classico jar of sauce (we use Vodka sauce the most, but four-cheddar or whatever else works)
    ~16 Costco frozen meatballs
    ~8oz of goat cheese
    ~10oz of frozen spinach
    A big-ass bag of mozzerella
    A tablespoon and then some of pesto

    First, you cook the spinach in the microwave according to instructions. Usually those instructions are stick that sucker in a micro-safe covered dish for five minutes and stir half-way through. Oh and probably put in a tablespoon of water, but I only do that when I remember to. Then when that’s done, you throw in your eight ounces of goat cheese, mix it all up until it’s melted, and set it aside. Throw in a tablespoon or two or three of pesto while you’re at it, if you feel the need for extra deliciousness. I’m not a fan of ricotta — goat cheese is where it’s at. Just don’t go over 8oz or it’ll be all you taste.

    Next, or meanwhile, whatever, cook your meatballs. I stick them in the oven for fifteen minutes. Then I halve them all and stick them in a different bowl, and mix them with 3/4 of the sauce.

    Then I get out the baking dish, and pour half of the remaining sauce in the bottom to keep that shit from sticking. Also you have to saturate the noodles or they won’t soften. Anyways, usually, three noodles will fit in the bottom of the pan. Then I put the cheese-spinach mixture down, then some mozz. Then more noodles, then the redsauce-meat mixture. Then more mozz, then more noodles. The last bit of sauce goes on top, then put a shitload of mozz on top.

    Tent that thing with aluminum, stick it in a 375 oven for twenty five minutes. Yank off the foil for the last five.

    Everyone should know a good… Bean Dip recipe:

    Ingredients:
    1 can of refried beans
    1lb of ground beef
    2-4cups of shredded cheddar
    A cup or so of salsa
    8oz cream cheese

    Spread the beans at the bottom of a baking dish.

    Slice the cream cheese up into slices and layer it all over that thing.

    Brown the beef, mix in salsa, put that on top.

    Cover in delicious delicious cheese.

    Back in 375 oven for 25 minutes, tented. Rip off that foil for the last five, then let sit and cool before you burn your mouth on the deliciousness.

    Everyone should know a good… Garlic Bread recipe:

    Ingredients:
    1 loaf of french bread from the grocery store. Make sure it is substantial and wide, not that tiny baguette shit.
    3/4 lb of monterey jack, shredded
    A stick of butter
    A couple cloves of garlic
    2-3 shoots of green onion
    1/2 cup of mayonnaise (just bear with me)

    This recipe was bastardized and warped from The Pioneer Woman’s olive cheese bread recipe which is delicious in its own right. But this, this has been known as ‘crack bread’ amongst our friends and family.

    First, cut that bread in half, lengthwise.

    Next, make your cooking bitch (er, sous chef) chop up the green onion and garlic. Separately. Please. While they’re doing that, melt you that butter in a sauce pan. Throw in the garlic and sautee a little bit until it is fragrantly delicious.

    Then, pour that over both halves of the bread. I use a pastry brush to make sure it’s evenly spread. It helps if the bread is on a foil-lined baking sheet at this point because delicious garlic butter will go everywhere.

    Mix the cheese, onion, and mayo in a bowl, and then spread it over the bread.

    Bake it at 325 for 25 minutes. Usually we pull it out early because it is so damn delicious. CRACK BREAD, I TELL YOU.

    Everyone should know a good… Meat Salad recipe:

    And mine is Chicken and Grape salad. Granted, I don’t quite remember the proportions because I wing it. So adjust accordingly.

    Ingredients:
    Some boneless skinless breasts, poached (or baked, if they were frozen… basically make sure they aren’t too dry) … Or rotisserie chicken works too if you want to pick the skeleton clean.
    2 cups of Mayo
    a bunch of pesto
    A couple stalks of celery
    A bunch of grapes, halved

    So, chop up that chicken breast. Chop up everything, in fact. Mix the mayo and pesto together, and then mix it in. Eat on bread, tortilla, or just in a bowl. Aaaagh so good.

    Everyone should know a good… Other Pasta Casserole Thing recipe:

    And this one has been deemed Pasta Karnage, because there’s nothing left but carnage when I bring it out.

    Ingredients:
    16oz of macaroni (we have tried lots of pasta types; this works the best)
    1 jar of red sauce
    1 jar of alfredo sauce
    An assload of mozzerella (metric measurement, somewhat less than a fuckton but more than a shitload)
    16ish frozen Costco meatballs

    Cook yon meatballs. Halve them when they’re done.

    Cook yon macaroni. Drain that bitch.

    Mix most of your redsauce with your meatballs.

    Get a baking dish. Throw down a little red sauce to avoid stickage. Then layer, macaroni, red sauce/meatballs, mozzerella, macaroni, white sauce, mozzerella. Cook it at 375 for 25 minutes, tented foil, yadda yadda, five minutes without tented foil.

    Everyone should have a good… Pasta Salad Recipe:

    I don’t usually like pasta salad. I could fucking eat this pasta salad for every meal. And I have.

    Ingredients:
    1 12-oz bag of garden spiral pasta
    1.5 C of boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked/cubed
    1 C broccoli florets
    1/2 C diced red bell pepper
    1 C chopped Italian zucchini
    1/2 C chopped yellow zucchini
    1 tsp dill weed
    1/2 tsp oregano
    1/4 tsp sweet basil
    1/4 tsp tarragon
    1 sm tomato diced
    1 C chopped green onion
    1/2 C parmesan cheese
    1 tsp salt
    3/4 C Olive oil
    1/2 C mayonnaise
    1 tsp black pepper
    1/3 C red wine vinegar

    Blanch broccoli, bell pepper, and zucchini 3-5 minutes in hot water and chill.
    Cook pasta as directed on the packaged; drain well. Add spices to pasta and toss to coat.
    Combine salt, olive oil, mayo, black pepper, and vinegar in a mixing bowl and hand whip until smooth.
    Add dressing to the pasta, mixing thoroughly. Add blanched veggies, chicken, onion, and tomato. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve.

    I think I’ve run out of recipes… for now. Our recipes aren’t exactly healthy (except for the salads) but they’re great for feeding a bunch of people at gaming. :9

  • Monster Cookies
    (disclaimer: my youngest sister gave me this recipe, not sure where it originated)

    Cream together:
    1/2 c. butter, softened
    1 c. granulated (white) sugar
    1 c. brown sugar

    Blend in:
    3 eggs, beaten
    4 teaspoons vanilla
    1 tablespoon light corn syrup (Karo)

    Stir in:
    1-1/3 c. creamy peanut butter
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    4-1/2 c. oatmeal (ahem, dry, not cooked)
    1/2 c. chocolate chips
    1/2 c. M&M’s (dark choc are good!)
    1/2 c. nuts (pecans or walnuts)

    Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet
    Bake: 350 degrees, 12-14 minutes
    Yield: 5 dozen (depending on how big you make them)

    Watch them disappear.

    • Dang, I want those Monster Cookies in my belly right now.

      RIGHT NOW.

      *sob*

      Everybody: thank you for contributing to the culinary canon of Der Wendighaus. Can’t wait to start trying some of these recipes.

      – c.

  • I’m a pescetarian (and I can even spell it), so my protein palette is slightly more limited than others. Soy is my friend.

    Here are my fallback recipes. Each one takes about 20 minutes.
    1) Stir-Fry. Remember to use high heat and don’t let the food stop moving in the pan and you’ll be golden. You can use whatever ingredients you’ve got available in the house and it’ll taste like a million bucks.

    You need 3 bowls of stuff to prep before heating the pan: about a pound of your protein cut into bite-sized pieces, about the same amount of your veggies cut into bite-sized pieces – broccoli and carrots are my usual go-to veggies here, though bok choy works too – and a sauce.

    Our usual sauce goes like this:
    1c water or stock
    3T Oyster sauce or Hoisin sauce
    3T soy sauce
    3T vinegar (rice wine vinegar preferred)
    1t sugar
    1-2t corn starch

    Cook your protein in some oil until it’s got some brown on it. Take it off the heat.
    Cook the veggies until they’re soft but still crunchy. Dump in some water to keep them from carbonizing. Take them off the heat.
    Grate up some ginger and/or mince some garlic. Cook it in oil for 30 seconds, then dump the sauce in. Let it get a little thick, then dump your protein and veg back in to coat it and get it warm. Serve over rice, or cook up some udon noodles and dump them in at the end for a one-bowl meal.

    2) Linguine with clam sauce. Yes, it’s Rachel Ray, but it’s fast and tasty. Throw a salad together and toast some garlic bread, and you’ve got some fairly classy mid-week eats.

    3) Tofu Wings. Get a pound block of extra firm tofu and cut it into sticks a half inch square (I usually get 21). Get two cutting boards and the 2 heaviest cookbooks you own. Make a sandwich of cutting board-paper towel-tofu sticks-paper towel-cutting board and put the books on top to press some of the water out of the tofu for 5-10 mins.

    Get a frying pan and heat some olive oil on med-high heat. Dump the tofu sticks in and cook on all 4 sides for about 2 minutes each, until they’ve got a golden brown crust. Get some wing sauce – we use Quaker Steak & Lube Medium, or Google one of the Anchor Bar Wing Sauce recipes if you want to do make something from scratch. Dump some over the tofu – AVERT THINE EYES or there may be some tears. Flip ‘em and dump some more wing sauce. Cook for a minute until the sauce thickens, then remove the sticks onto a bed of lettuce leaves. Drizzle a little more wing sauce over them, then eat with carrot sticks and ranch dressing. Yum.

  • Everyone should know how to make bread and pickles, which are a dying craft, I think.

    Here are two bread recipes that will significantly add to the size of your rear end.

    This one, a white bread recipe, stays soft for a few days, unlike most homemade bread. It’s a little more complicated than the other.

    http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Country-White-Bread

    This one is easy. My husband can make it, and it’s very fast as yeast breads go. I’ve also made the same recipe and put cheese in the middle of the loaf, turning it into a baked grilled cheese sandwich. Num, especially with the classic tomato soup.

    http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Italian-Cheese-Bread

    If you would like to know how to cook, but need help, use the Taste of Home website. It’s the fastest way to find the best recipe. Do a search for a recipe, and then sort it by the ratings. The best recipes float to the top, and I’ve never been disappointed.

    Lastly, I can’t survive without homemade pickles. I based this recipe on one of my grandmother’s. The pickles are very sweet and spicy and taste NOTHING like grocery store sweet pickles. The predominant flavor is that of cloves.

    I left all of my Grandma’s language in the recipe. I can’t bear to correct the grammar. I made the batch notes below the recipe so I could see if the changes I made to the recipe caused them to spoil. So far, they’ve kept 8 months without any problems that I’ve seen. I think the 2nd batch have tasted better. It’s tricky to know if you’ve water bathed and sealed them correctly, and Grandma’s recipe didn’t have any specific times or temperatures. Don’t do this recipe unless you’ve canned before. It has a bit of a learning curve.

    Grandma Dorothy’s Three Day Sweet Pickle Recipe, revised

    Wash your cuke wells and slice about 3/8 to 1/4 of an inch.

    1-Soak 8 pounds of sliced cukes in 2 gallons with 2 cups of lime and a tsp of alum for 24 hours.

    2-Rinse well and soak in ice water for 2 hours. Drain.

    3-Soak OVER NIGHT in the following mixture.

    10-1/2 cups of sugar.
    12 cups of apple cider vinegar
    1 tablespoon plus 1 t. salt
    1 t plus 1/2 tsp. each of Whole Cloves, pickling spice and Celery Seed

    4- Next morning bring to a boil and simmer for about 40 minutes or until cukes are steaming. Fill your jars making sure that you wipe the rims good. Seal (water bathe) and place jars of pickles upside down on a towel until cooled.

  • I couldn’t choose so I give you three. Oh, and I took home Joe’s recipe for salmon burgers and my husband (the chef) made them that very night and they were WONDERFUL with his dill cream cheese and sauteed red onions. So thanks for that.

    Ginger Chicken and Rice:
    2 cups jasmine rice
    1 package chicken breasts (1-1.5 lbs)
    8-10 cloves garlic
    Lots of black pepper
    Salt
    One large fresh ginger root, grated
    8 or so scallions (1 bunch)
    1 bunch cilantro
    Sesame oil
    Fish sauce
    Cook rice; sauté diced chicken in plenty of black pepper, salt and garlic. Add cooked chicken to rice.
    Chop and grate scallions, cilantro, and ginger and add them (yes, raw) to the chicken and rice. Just stir it all up still hot, and the veg will wilt perfectly.
    Serve with fish sauce and sesame oil.

    Tortellini Salad:
    Buy the tortellini of your choice; I like some combination of cheese, spinach, and/or mushroom for this but go crazy. You could buy ravioli but I don’t like the larger size so much for a salad, and if you cut them the filling leaks out…
    Tortellini
    Cherry tomatoes, halved
    Fresh basil
    Garlic
    Oregano
    Scallions
    Parmesan
    1 package frozen shrimp (size of your choice) with shells/heads on
    Homemade salad dressing (see below)
    Cook your pasta.
    Add shrimp to boiling water for 3-4 minutes; drain and then clean heads, tails, shells. (Cooking with these parts adds flavor.)
    Combine all ingredients.
    This salad works warm or cold but everything has more flavor if you warm it a little.
    Salad Dressing:
    3pts olive oil to 2pts red wine vinegar.
    OR
    3pts olive oil to 1pt balsamic vinegar.
    Season to taste with: celery salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, garlic/garlic powder, onion powder

    Hank’s Cornbread
    My dad’s cornbread is the best I’ve ever known; enough said. You will be VERY impressed. Serve with soup or stew (crumbled into it is nice as well as alongside) or cut a wedge in half, toast, and cover with honey.
    2 cups cornmeal
    ½ cup whole wheat flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp baking powder
    1-1 1/2 tsp salt
    2 eggs
    3 T olive oil
    1-1 ½ cups buttermilk
    Preheat oven to 425 and here’s an important part: oil your cast-iron skillet now with 2 Tbl olive oil and put it in the oven from the start to preheat to 425 along with the oven.
    Combine wet ingredients in one bowl, dry in another, and combine. Tweak the consistency of the batter to a thick pour. Pour into the very-hot skillet (it should sizzle and stand out from the sides; this makes a crispy fried crust, yum!). Bake 23-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Slice into wedges and turn them on their sides in the skillet to cool (you’ll have to remove some to a rack); this keeps them crispy. Enjoy!

  • I highly recommend buying a crock pot. You throw all the ingredients in and let it do it’s thing all day long. I usually make a batch of pasta sauce once a week and then freeze smaller portions for during the week which you can easily nuke. You’re going to make a great Mr. Mom, Chuck :o )

  • I agree with those who suggested a crock pot- get one now if you haven’t already. There are a lot of easy crock pot recipes online, and crock pots are pretty forgiving. Just make sure you add enough liquid.

    And get a good, strong blender. Go smoothie-crazy. You can make smoothies out of anything. (Again, liquid is your friend.)

    Good luck. :)

  • I know this comment is a little late, but Leftover Soup was a savior for my parents when I was little. Put some broth in a big kettle, and empty out all leftovers in the fridge. Vegetables, meats, anything. We put mac and cheese in sometimes. It usually ends up different, so you never get tired of the taste. And if you eat leftover Leftover Soup, the flavors and spices have had time to do their thing. It was pretty handy, and it requires little to no thought.

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