Sometimes You Just Have To Throw Shit in a Pot

This is a multi-part recipe. As in, you will be doing one thing while another thing is cooking. PLEASE READ THIS POST ALL OF THE WAY THROUGH. Unless you know, you want to meet your peril.

This is one of those recipes that can be filed under “original”, to a certain extent. To be perfectly blunt, I don’t remember if I came up with this assembly of food on my own, or if it was one of those polite suggestions my wife had. Regardless, it is super simple to make and there’s plenty of wiggle room to make it your own.

What You Need: 

  • Pasta (Try and get the kind that says they’re made out of vegetables. Yeah, it’s not much more than a gimmick but you’re significant other will recognize the extra effort you’re trying to put in towards their overall health. Every little bit helps, yo).
  • Sauce (Whatever you got a taste for).
  • Vegetables (I try to stick with some combination of eggplant, mushroom, onion, squash, or zucchini. These roast up the best).
  • Anything else you think you need to add in order to really make this dish (like meat)

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STEP ONE: Begin the vegetables.

Preheat the oven to 35o. You’re going to slow roast these bitches. That is to say, you’ll be cooking them over the course of a couple of hours. (If you’re running short on time, you could turn up the temperature. Just be sure to keep an eye on them).

Cut ’em up however you like, just make sure you got enough of the fuckers. Personally, I like to quarter them: so’s I can say I HAVE DRAWN AND QUARTERED THE VEGETABLES.

IF YOU ARE USING MEAT, go ahead and skip down to STEP TWO-A. Just be sure to start that shit before you get up on the vegetables. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy: ground meat will do. Just do yourself a favor and make sure you defrosted it before you throw it in your pan.

By now, if you’re new to cooking, you may be pooping your pantaloons at the fact that you have a ton of veg in a baking tray and you have no idea how you’re going to turn the veg.

FEAR NOT, FRESHMAN! Veggies (much like your willy when your significant other is on the warpath) shrink when you cook them. Remember: they’re being slow roasted. Eventually, they’ll all cook down and you’ll be left with some deliciousness and a good smelling house.

STEP TWO: BEFORE YOU PUT THE VEG IN THE OVEN, make sure you grease those little piggies up with the cooking oil of your choosing and season them. Veggies are fine when they’re cooked on their own, but with the right seasoning they’re really FINE.

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Try and make yours, look something like the pic above.

As the veg cooks down, they’ll eventually look like the pic on the right side here. DON’T FORGET ABOUT THEM. They don’t need to be turned every five minutes. Just get in there with a big ass spoon and stir that shit up to ensure maximum flavor.

The veg will be done when it looks something like the sideways-ass pic on the right. Generally look for carmelization and good-smelling-ness.

STEP TWO-A: Meet your Meat

THIS STEP IS OPTIONAL. You don’t need to throw meat up in this recipe if you don’t want to. I do it because I am a fan of left overs and when you rely on leftovers to fill in any gaps in the menu, every little bit helps when you’re trying to stretch things out.

There’s really nothing to cooking ground beef. If it’s frozen, defrost it. If it’s not frozen, throw the fucker in a pre-heated pan and start breaking it down with the wooden implement of your choosing.

Once everything starts sizzling, get in there and stir things up. After the first stir, go ahead and season your beefiness with whatever you want. Since this is a pasta dish, I went for the Italian seasoning. You can do whatever the hell you want, though.

STEP THREE: OODLES OF NOODLES B’IATCH

By now, you ought to have the vegetables roasting (DID YOU REMEMBER TO STIR THAT SHIT UP?)and the meat sizzling away in the pan. Time for the noodles!

Towards the end of the meat actually turning into its act form of meat (instead of, you know, ‘dead cow’), get the biggest pot you have and fill it up with hot water.

  • How much hot water? That usually depends on how much noodles you’re making. When I make this, I aim for two boxes because leftovers are our friend. If you’re making one box, fill your big ass pot 1/4 full of hot water. If you’re nutting up and using two boxes, fill it up halfway from the bottom of the pot and the rivets of the handles. Keep in mind, you want enough water to cover whatever amount of noodles you are using.
  • Why hot water? Because it boils faster. Dumbass.

After you get the hot water in the pot, and the pot on the burner, grab the corresponding lid and put it on the pot, just not all the way on. You want to leave a sliver of space between the lid and a full seal with the pot so the water turns to a boil faster. Think: Jaunty beret

Once you do that, get the strainer out so you can de-water the noodles and put them back into the pot without burning yourself.

Now, take a deep breath and enjoy feeling like an accomplished adult. DID YOU FORGET ABOUT YOUR VEG??

As soon as the water is boiling, throw the noodles in and give them a bit of a stir. The noodles will be done once you see a visual change in them (depending on what type of noodle you’re using, they’ll plump up because they’re sucking up water) and you’ll be able to eviscerate one of said noodles easily with your veg-stirring spoon.

When the noodles are done, and de-watered they’ll look something like the picture above. 

Congratulations: you multi-tasked a meal. NOW PUT ALL OF THAT SHIT TOGETHER. 

STEP FOUR: Throwing all of that shit in the pot.

That’s it: Throw it all together. It doesn’t really matter what order you do it in. Just be sure to stir it all up really good so that the pictures below…

 

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…look like the picture above. 

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What I Did On My Summer Vacation.

I have never really been a fan of summer. Doubly so, since I have lived in Florida for the past couple of years. (I try not to stereotype, but there’s really no reason for anyone to actually live in Florida. Sure, a fraction of the general population leaves something to be desired, but nothing is helped by the fact that the Sun is essentially trying to kill everything that attempts to go outside between the months of March and December).

What also doesn’t help my general dislike of summer is the fact that it’s been designated as the time of year for vacations, as well as for kids to think that they should get a break from life. I’ve also thought that those two factors were absolute bullshit. Vacations should happen whenever it is appropriate and economically convenient for the person or people involved.

As far as kids thinking that they’re entitled to a break, fuck that noise. My kids don’t get a break. Every year, my wife and I have made a point of securing workbooks for our children for the grade that they would be entering in, in the fall. You know what? They have been consistently ‘better off’ for it. I’m not Hitler about it. They devote an hour a day and they also help out around the house. Other than that, they are generally free to do what they want as long as no one, and nothing, dies.

For the record, 2 out of the 3 have maintained ‘honor roll’ status (the 3rd has been a solid ‘B’ student). Point of fact? When I was a kid, my parents thought I should be able to “enjoy” my summer and “do what I want”. The following school year was always an educational nightmare for me because I retained little of what I learned the year before and no one was making sure that I was doing anything intellectually stimulating (defined as, the opposite of what I was doing: watching reruns of My Favorite Martian and playing endless hours of video games).

I digress. 

This past summer, through an unusual, but expected set of circumstances, my wife, a Captain in the USAF, received orders to relocate herself and her family to Japan.

That’s right: I am now littering the Internet from the Land of the Rising Sun. (Fun fact: while I haven’t confirmed this, I’m fairly certain that Japan is referred to as that because THE SUN RISES AT 4 IN THE FUCKING MORNING DURING THE SUMMER). Suffice it to say, there will be more writings about Japan, our journey here, and the usual drek I tend to prattle on about.

In sum, I will leave you with how I found out that we were moving to Japan. You may get a chuckle out of it, or it may confirm what you all ready know about me (that I’m an idiot). Regardless this is EXACTLY what happened. 

One day in the kitchen of my former, Florida abode, I was using our food processor to get down on some dinner prep before I had to pick up my kids from school. After I had cleaned up and was ready to leave, I go to put the food processor away and the damn thing slipped out of my hands and hit the floor. Rather than try to save it or perhaps catch it on the rebound, I got the fuck out of the way because it’s heavy as hell and can easily break a foot when it is in a gravitationally dangerous state.

After I regained composure, I surveyed the damage.

This is a present-day photo

Naturally, I was sweating bullets because my wife had bought this a while back. The name plate was popped out and, as you can see, there was a massive crack in the housing. My first thought was, “Welp: I’m fucked. There’s no way that this is going to work”. After I checked the remaining integrity of the base and popped the name plate back in, I plugged it back in to see how bad it was.

It worked perfectly fine. I switched out multiple attachments and it was still fine. My next move, I thought, was fairly obvious. 

I packed up everything nice and neat, put it in the one cabinet that she’d never go in, and buried it under other kitchen gadgets. All of this was done, thanks to the thought “I’ll blame it on the movers the next time we move”.

Five minutes later, I got a text from my wife saying that we were moving to Japan this summer.