Sunday, April 29, 2007

Spaghetti and Meatloafballs

Made spaghetti and meatballs Saturday and they was tasty!

Take the "Little Meat Loaves" recipe in an earlier blog and instead of mini meat loaves, form the mixture into meat balls (made about 40 small meatballs) and bake as directed.

A jar or two of Spaghetti sauce depending on how saucy you like it. Bring the sauce to a boil, add the meatballs and then let them simmer for 30-45min.

I think this recipe might have made such good meatballs because of the Italian it a little extra something.

Probably won't be doing much, if any, cooking this week. I've got to stay after school three of five days this week and I spent the ENTIRE day there today...a Sunday at that! So I imagine it'll be sadwiches and cereal or gasp-fast food for supper this week.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Poultry for the Glum

NO cooking this week. Too busy at work. How many more days till Summer Vacation?

The Gallery of Regrettable Food. I stumbled on the book while browsing Amazon for books about 1950's lifestyles or I could have been looking for retro cookbooks, I don't remember. Anyway, I ended up buying a whole mess of books including, Retro Housewife(cute for the illustrations, but not a lot of substance), Googie Redux(awesome pics, haven't read much yet), Bless You're Heart Tramp(vert funny Southern gal) and The Gallery of Regrettable Food. This has got to be the most hilarious book I've come across in a while! I have nearly laughed myself silly over the last three nights reading it. It's the kind of book you could easily sit down and read in an hour or two, but I've purposely made myself read just a little at a time, so that I could make it last a bit longer. The book features lots of pictures of really odd and inedible looking food from1950's cookbooks. Such as a black and white picture of something that looks like it MIGHT be chicken wings sitting in a bowl of runny mashed potatoes...the heading for this particular section of the book is "Poultry for the Glum". The pictures are entertaining, in a weird sort of way, on their own, but add Lileks commentary and it's downright hysterical...Irreverant, gross, smart alek, and awful in an Avenue Q/Idiocrasy kind of way, but laugh out loud funny.

I know you aren't all going to run out and buy the book, but you might want to check out the author's website You can find an earlier version of the Gallery of Regrettable Food in his "Institute of Official Cheer" section. And there's lots more to see in the institute section, my favorite ...Meet the Dayalets. Creepy yet hysterical. He also has a section on there somewhere of motel postcards from the 40's and 50's that are really cool. It's a fun website to visit if you have some time to kill. As for me, I'm going to go have some ice cream, park on the couch and read about disembodied 50's housewives and the scary food they cooked.

Remember, that's

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Now don't be sad...cause two out of three ain't bad...

I decided after the Island Chicken Nightmare that the best thing for me to do was to jump right back into it and immediately try another recipe before I decided to give up completely. I've done a decent job on everything else I've tried...unintentionally "blackended" fried chicken not included.

I decided to get acquainted with meatloaf. The kind you eat, not the creepy overweight no-talent singer. I've never really been a fan of meatloaf and I think it has to do with the way it looks more than anything(not unlike the "other" Meatloaf). It's funny looking, there are little bits of this and that on the inside and the color is a little strange. Kinda like my grandma's ham loaf. It TASTES really good, but I don't want to look at it. It all looks a little too SPAMish if you ask me.

Despite my weird visual hang ups, for some reason this is another of those things I'd been wanting to try. It's one of those comfort food dishes that everyone just seems to know how to throw together and I thought I should too. I found the recipe on a while back and saved it because the reviews were all good. People who claimed to hate meatloaf or their husbands/children hated it liked this version. And I liked that it made six small loaves which I can freeze if I need to, rather than one big loaf...half of which would get tossed. I just realized that while any moron could have figured out that you can make the big meatloaf smaller, apparently I needed a recipe to figure it out. Good Grief!

This was an easy recipe to follow and the best part was that it tasted pretty darn good. Now, it still looks weird, but the taste overrides the visuals. I get grossed out fairly easily and I didn't really enjoy the mixing of the meatloaf ingredients by hand. But it was less nasty than messing with raw chicken. OK, before I begin to ramble on endlessly, here's the final analysis:
This recipe was easy to follow.
The meatloaf has a really good flavor and I like the firm texture.
It was actually better on day two.
I will most likely make it again.
I AM posting the recipe for this one!



2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup crushed buttery round crackers
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried Italian-style seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound ground sausage
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cracker crumbs, milk, cheese, onion, Worcestershire sauce, Italian-style seasoning, garlic salt, ground beef and ground sausage. Mix this together well and form into individual loaves. Place the loaves in a 9x13 inch baking dish.

3. In a separate small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Mix this together well and spoon some of this sauce over each loaf. Garnish each loaf with some Parmesan cheese and seasoning to taste.

4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 to 60 minutes.

My changes: I used Italian Sausage and I didn't have fresh onions so I used some dried chopped onion and cut the amount of them WAY down. Instead of cooking them in a baking dish, I put them on wire racks over a cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil so that the grease would drip off . Also I halved the amount of sauce/glaze/whatever it is, thinking i wouldn't really like it. Next time I'll make the entire amount called is very tasty and the meatloaves could swim in it and I'd be happy.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Island Chicken Nightmare

The recipe that I tried tonight was simply called Island Chicken. The full color photograph shows a lovely chicken breast, browned to perfection with grill marks and a sprinkling of exotic looking spices atop a pinapple/brown sugar glaze. Aside lay pinapple rings, also adorned with grill marks and above mentioned spices; they sit next to a bed of fluffy brown rice. It looks so good, you want to lick the photograph.

...and, I have had dishes called "carribean chicken" and remember eating something similar on one of our cruises and it was very tasty. I had been wanting to try this recipe since I bought the cookbook (Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade Cooking Light) and I just had a feeling that this was going to be good.

I fired up the George Forman, grilled the chicken and follwed the recipe. And it tasted terrible. Not just terrible, but Weird-Terrible. Like something was off but I couldn't quite put my finger on it so I kept on eating it trying to figure out what it was until I finally came to the conclusion "This is Just Nasty" and tossed the whole dish. I KNOW it wasn't anything I did wrong, because I didn't really have to do anything but grill the chicken and stir the sauce which consisted of pinapple juice, a tbs. of brown sugar and some jerk seasoning. The sauce was actually the best thing about the dish and it wasn't good. The recipe suggested to serve the dish alongside brown rice. BLAND rice is more like it. I tried it with chicken and I tried mixing some of the sauce with it...didn't help. It was terrible all the way around!

I believe the culprit to be the carribean jerk seasoning that was used in the recipe. Something in that mix is off--weird. The stuff was on every part of the dish. The chicken, the pineapple, and in the sauce. It has to be what made it so bad. And bad it was. I grilled up some of the pineapple pre-chicken so that Mark could have grilled pineapple and rice. He took one bite and said "What's wrong with this pineapple?" I'm not going to bother posting the recipe. First recipe I've tried from that cookbook. May be the last. I'm really dissappointed.

Something I discovered while cooking this dish... The GF, while it may be the best kitchen appliance ever, is not particularly suited for grilling GIANT chicken breasts. I bought a bag o' chicken breasts at Kroger and they are HUGE. Normally I get the tenders and cook 2-3 at a time. They grill up quick and easy and are always perfectly juicy. The giant ones tend to end up a little dry if you leave them on the GF till they're good n' well done and I do because, as my friend Cara says, " I Don't want no samonella!". Anyway, I'm not sure what to do with the giant chicken breasts. Bake? Broil? Any suggestions? After this disastrous experiment, I'm thinking I might as well try frying chicken again. Couldn't turn out any worse tasting than tonight's Island Chicken Nightmare.

OH, I ALMOST FORGOT. King Arthur---FANTASTIC! I knew it would come to me.

Nuthin' Doin'

Not much cookin going on. I HAVE been watching a lot of movies lately. It's the whole no cable thing, I guess. That and I like watching movies. Most of them have been out a while, but I'm just getting around to watching them OR I just felt like watching them again. A few I actually watched at the theater. No rhyme nor reason to the order, just listing them as I remember them and as I tend to ramble on and on and on, I'll keep my two cents short...four words or less.

Music and Lyrics -- Opening video worth admission
Meet the Robinsons -- animated goodness, GO WATCH
Idiocrasy -- Hysterically funny but awful
Happy Feet --- Mildly annoying; don't bother
Chicken Little -- goofy, silly, I laughed
Premonition -- Confusing AND slightly boring
Capote -- Rent this movie
Wild Hogs -- Wildly Entertaining and funny
Casino Royale -- FIRST enjoyable Bond flick. WOW! ( I know, five words, but the WOW is necessary)
Daltry Calhoun -- Unexpectedly GOOD Knoxville movie
The DaVinci Code -- Overrated with creepy monks
Disney's The Three Musketeer's -- always entertaining
The Incredibles -- ditto above
Rumor Has it -- Enjoyable despite Kevin Kostner
Fun with Dick and Jane -- Like'd, didn't love it.
Little Miss Sunshine -- Hysterical Ending

The movie that I was most surprised by was Daltry Calhoun. I'm not a fan of Johnny Knoxville. Don't know that I've watched any of his (what four?) movies. This was sitting in the cheapy aisle at Movie Gallery. I'd never heard of it, but it looked like it might be something different, so I grabbed it. It was, like I said, unexpectedly good. Worth the 3 bucks to rent for sure! I know I am forgetting a couple more movies. There was something really really great that I rented around the time that I watched Little Miss Sunshine, but for the life of me, I can't remember what it was. I remember Shea and I talking about it. It was one of those movies I knew I wouldn't like, but I ended up loving it. It'll come to me later I guess.

I'm cooking "ISLAND CHICKEN" later tonight. Tune in again for the rundown.