Welcome to my attempt at sharing the regular mistakes I make in the kitchen. I'm constantly telling friends that I am a disaster in the kitchen, but they rarely believe me, so here is my proof. Step-by-step examples of how I ruin a perfectly good dish. Even though I ruin meals on a regular basis I still love to cook. And I am DETERMINED to become a good cook, or you know, at least make food that is edible on a regular basis.

***All stories are true and not exaggerated.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mexican Lasagna

I found this recipe a month or so ago on Mel'skitchencafe.com, I love her blog, I find a ton of recipes there (if you haven't noticed, I'm always linking up to her).  I should just rename my blog "Testing the recipes from Mel."

Anyway, so this looked interesting and I had all the ingredients on hand, so I thought, what the heck?  And made it a few weeks ago.  Oh, my goodness, it was so delicious!  My kids and hubby were a bit skeptical at first, but they loved it as much as I did.  We were all so glad there were tons of leftovers.  I ate it for a week and still was not sick of it.

Here you are, enjoy!

You should be able to click on the recipe and print as an 8 1/2 x 11 page.

The Kitchen Disaster in Action: Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

So I posted not long ago my love of a new recipe for Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffins.  I seriously love these.  I make them regularly (you know, by regularly I mean since I found the recipe 2 months ago), and the last time I made them they did not turn out.  See, no one believes that I am the disaster I claim I am.  Here is proof:  I've made these muffins at least 5 or 6 times and they turn out great every time.  They turn out exactly the same as the previous time I made them.

Until this week.

They burned while cooking.

They don't taste the same.

I've had them for 3 days and the one pan that turned out isn't gone.  They are just sitting on my counter. 

I'm so pissed and sad.  I was so upset I threw them away without taking a picture.  Then I kicked my self for doing so because now I have no proof.  It's great that I can occasionally make something that tastes yummy, but it would be so nice if I could make it taste the yummy EVERY time.

Seriously, I'm *soooo* glad I dirtied all my muffin pans, made a mess of my kitchen, and wasted all my ripe bananas.

So, take a page from my book and do NOT double the recipe.  I'm blaming that instead of the chef.

I'm a woman, it's my prerogative.

Friday, April 8, 2011

My Kitchen Tips: Storing flour and sugar

I hate having open bags of flour and sugar all throughout my pantry.  It drives me crazy.  Plus when I go to use one of them I end up spilling all over the floor.  Drives. Me. Crazy. I tell you.

I figured out early on that those cute little canisters for my counter drove me even crazier.  They end up being too small to store a usable baking amount of flour or sugar so I ended up filling them all the time.  Or pulling out my bag in attempts to not drive myself more crazy.

My solution?

The small buckets in the painting department of Home Depot or Lowe's.  I think they were about $2.50 each and the flour bucket holds 10 lbs, plus a little extra; and my sugar holds 20 lbs (if I remember correctly).

They have made me immensely happy.  Plus, they fit in my dishwasher so I don't have to hand wash them.  *Love*

Thumbs up: Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffins

Oh.  My.  Yummy.

I had some extra bananas a few weeks ago and decided to try and find a whole-wheat recipe for banana bread/muffins.  I try to cook healthy for my family, my philosophy is that we eat enough garbage when we eat take-out/fast-food/at restaurants that when I cook I try really hard to make healthy, yet tasty, food for the family.

I have a regular banana bread recipe that I love, but I don't think you can just exchange white flour for whole-wheat.  I'm pretty sure you have to have some other changes or it will turn out hard and dry.  Not my idea of tasty.  So, thanks to allrecipes.com I have a winner!  I found a basic recipe, read all the comments, and with a few tweaks created a masterpiece.

Seriously, I make them at least once a week because I keep eating them nonstop.  I'm considering buying stock in a banana company based on the amount of banana's I now purchase.

My kids love them.  I love them.  My sister and mother-in-law love them.  Heck, even my husband loves them, and he is the pickiest person to cook for.

Take my advice and make sure you have some extra bananas on hand ripening while you enjoy eating the ones you made.

Whole-wheat Banana Nut Bread (or muffins):

1/3 cup applesauce (or oil, I prefer applesauce, it's healthier)
1/2 cup honey (I'm sure you could use sugar too)
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
2-3 ripe bananas
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (or you can do 1 c whole wheat flour and 3/4 c flax seed, which I do.  Have you read about the benefits of flax seed?)
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1 t baking soda
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts ( I use closer to 3/4 cups, I LOVE nuts)
1 cup chocolate chips- optional.  I typically do 1 tray of regular and 1 tray of chocolate chip, just for fun.  In that case only use a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 325*

Beat applesauce and honey together.

Add eggs and mix well.

Add bananas and vanilla, mix well.

Stir in flour, salt and cinnamon, mix well.

Add baking soda to hot water, add to mixture and mix well.  I don't know why it says to do this step, but I actually followed the instructions and love my result, so I don't argue.

Mix in walnuts and chocolate chips if preferred.

This will make 2 pans of mini muffins, plus a row or two; 1 loaf pan; or I don't know how many regular muffins.  I don't like regular muffins as much as mini, I think mini end up moister.  If you want regular you can figure out the cooking time, that's the benefit of having your own blog :)

Mini muffins: cook 12-14 minutes.  If you do one pan at a time my oven makes them perfect in 12 minutes.  If you do 2 pans at once add a minute or two.  Toothpick test them to check for doneness (which I'm sure is not a real word).

Loaf pan:  make sure it's greased and bake for 55-60 minutes and cool on a rack for a half hour before slicing.

Enjoy!  Oh, and when you make them bring me some because I can pretty much guarantee that mine will be all eaten.