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. 

How I grocery shop. Part 2.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that the grocery shopping shouldn’t stop at the actual acquisition of groceries.

Sure, ya gotta get your goodies home and then put them away. Most probably stop there.

I don’t.

A slight digression.

Once upon a time, the family and I rented a house on the East Side of Cleveland. What we didn’t know at the time was the fact that the rental company that we rented from was run by a bunch of clowns who really didn’t give a fuck about the property as long as we were paying the rent on time.

As such, things like telling us that the basement was a wet basement wasn’t a priority. What was even less of a priority was the fact that when they replaced the roof (which they did without prompting) they didn’t think to check the integrity of the roof from the attic point of view. If they did that, they would have seen that the roofers that they had hired split one of the roof planks (thereby leaving a six inch gap the length of the entire roof that was only covered by the roofing paper and shingles that they used). In case you didn’t do the math, wetness from the basement + wetness from the attic = a mold sandwich that was waiting to happen.

What that sandwich had was a heaping side of really shitty windows. These were the turn of the century types that required you to put the storm windows on from the outside and had the accordion screens that stayed in place from the weight of the window.

As such, this house was the absolute fucking worst when it came to maintaining the integrity of our fruits and vegetables.

What also didn’t help was the fact that once the weather turned warm, it was game-fucking-on for the fruit flies. Seriously: check it out.

Greatest. Invention. Ever.

Greatest. Invention. Ever.

One day, my wife turned me on to vinegar. I don’t know if she knew this from previous experience or if it was something that she had found on Pinterest. Once I started soaking our produce, it has lasted twice as long.

As an added aside, you can do essentially anything with the stuff. Cleaning. Food. Cooking. Plus, it’s going to smell like Easter up in your house.

Giving your produce a vinegar bath certainly seems like one of those things thats easy to blow off. But you have to look at it this way: you know nothing about the life of the food that you want to eat. Wouldn’t it make sense to take the initiative to kill whatever bacteria is lurking (either through natural means or as the result of someone who is underpaid and under appreciated) on the food that you want to put in your belly?

So here’s what I have been doing to get our money’s worth out of our produce. 

 IMG_3325 IMG_3321In general, there seems to be a bit of a dispute as to how much vinegar that you are supposed to use and how long you should let your shit soak for.

Personally, I slosh enough across the top to make sure that more than half of the produce has gotten some vinegar.

Then, I fill the sink up with water and I go do something else. Typically, that something else is putting the rest of the fucking groceries away.

In general, I don’t let them soak for more than 15 minutes or so.

Make yourself useful and take care of those snacks you bought! Don’t look at me like that, I know you’re a mindless eater!

It’s the same routine as the produce: get all of the shit together. Then, put it in the tupperware that you and you’re wife bought. For me, it’s not so much about seeing exactly how much everyone is eating. It’s about keeping the tupperware cabinet empty because every time someone goes into that cabinet it looks like there was a fucking Earth quake.

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TA!

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FUCKING DA!

So, now that you have gotten the snacks and what not squared away (and probably had a little handful of everything because you feel entitled) turn back to the produce that you left swimming.

Time to rinse that shit!

There’s no real trick to it: drain the sink, transport the veg to the bin that you left open and pretend like you’re one of the jailor’s at the county lock up who likes delousing people.

Like, so.

Like, so.

You could go the extra mile and dry all of that shit by hand, but I like to work smart, not hard. I let everything air dry.

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This is usually where I fuck off and do something else for 30 minutes or so. After the appropriate amount of time has gone by, then I put all of that shit away.

The house is safe for another week.

The house is safe for another week.

Thus concludes “How I Grocery Shop”. Got a routine of your own? Share it in the comments section at the top of this post!

How I grocery shop. Part 1.

I don’t remember the first time that I went grocery shopping as a stay at home parent. What I do remember is what led up to this being my responsibility: my wife and I would constantly quibble about who’s responsibility it was. She wanted it to still be her’s (even though she was working full time) and I wanted it to be mine (because I had the time to get it done).

Seems kind of stupid, but she had good reason not to trust me: I was raised on junk food.

My parents, although well meaning, didn’t know shit when it came to food and how it logically impacts your health. Things like “what to eat vs. what not to eat” and “how much is enough?” were ideals that were never really impressed upon me. I suppose that if I were to put myself in their shoes, they naively saw that I derived some sort of fucked up happiness through gorging myself. However, through this naivety I became the token fat kid in the neighborhood. I thinned out as I got older but my need to eat garbage has never really gone away. As a result, my weight has gone up and down like a bride’s nightie.

All of that aside, throughout the years, I have refined my grocery shopping approach. When I first started out, I was able to feed a family of 5 for $120 a week. I accomplished this by being the king of boxed food at the time. Pretty easy to be cost effective and time effective when that’s the case.

As I have progressed in my knowledge of food and have come to terms with the fact that fruits and vegetables have to be a priority, our grocery bill has inflated slightly to somewhere between $150 to $190 a week.

FYI: I don’t do coupons. Too much of a pain in the ass. Also, 65% of my cart is normally produce. Sadly, I have yet to shop somewhere that actually has coupons for their fruits and veggies.

That’s still pretty good if I do say so myself.

“But what about meals and planning meals and shouldn’t I make shit to eat that everyone will like?” I’m sure you’re thinking that if you haven’t all ready.

Yes, you have to plan meals (It’s a part of your job). No, they don’t have to be things everyone will like. And no, you don’t have to plan meals every night of the week (that shit gets exhausting real quick). In short:

FUCK THAT NOISE.

You are in charge of all aspects of the food that comes into your home. Not your wife. Not your kids. You. While you may want to please everyone, it’s fucking impossible. There’s always going to be someone around the table who doesn’t like the dish you put in front of them, or they don’t like something that is a part of the meal. They’ll get over it.

Personally, I aim for three planned meals a week. I could do more, but two out of my three kids have places to be in the evenings. As such, I have “throw away” meals built into dinner time for the week.

“Throw away meals”? These are things that I can make in under 40 minutes that generally don’t come out of a box and can be considered health conscious.

In sum, grocery shopping is a snap if you have a system in place.

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See how useful this motherfucker is? Holds recipes for the week like a fucking champ!

Envelopes are your friend.

Envelopes are your friend.

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Seriously, they are. Hell of a lot harder to lose a grocery list if it’s written all over an envelope.

 Behold the might of the Envelope in all of it’s splendor!

One glorious day, I turned around and saw them: the envelopes that I have had since I have moved in with my wife. They were just sitting there, taking up space and collecting dust on a shelf. Then I had a thought. I thought:

I’m gonna use the fuck out of them. 

For real: The best thing that I have ever done in terms of my system for grocery shopping was switching over to envelopes.

I have tried scraps of paper. Lost every single one of them.

I have tried a “food notebook”. Way too cumbersome.

I have tried creating lists in my “smart phone”. Also way too cumbersome because you have to turn the fucking thing on and off. While it seems like your trying to get your monies worth out of something that you have invested in, you’re really not: it’s just another reason to be tethered to something that has the potential to brainwash you.

Shopping has been a breeze since then. I don’t have to worry about remembering if I brought my list. I don’t have to fuck around with something that is unwieldy, and I certainly have gained some distance from my fucking phone.

Got a shopping system that works for you? Share in the comments section at the top of this post!

The Story of Daniel J. Burgers.

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There is no other meal staple that encapsulates being a husband, a father, a man, more succinctly than the hamburger. I’d even go so far as to say that you could tell a lot about a man given the state of his burger making skills.

Jump in the Way Back machine with me, Sherman, as we go back to the first time that I got a wild hair up my ass to make burgers for my family. 

It was nearly 2 years ago. I was in a rut as far as making dinner was concerned and I was rather bothered by it.

You see, cooking for me at that time was my meditation. The kids were still young (and if I am not mistaken, this was the year that they were home-schooled. More on that later.)

When it was time to make dinner the tone of the entire day for me changed for me when I got into the kitchen. The kids knew not to fucking bother me when I was cooking and they also knew not to act like damn fools because if I had to stop what I was doing, it was guaranteed that I’d go ghetto on their little asses.

(For the record, I still hold them to those standards to this day.)

At the time, my wife was against ground beef and meat based dinners (which was and is, perfectly valid) but I needed to do something. I needed to branch out. So I decide that I’m going to make burgers.

Yes, that’s right: I was 3 years into being a stay at home parent before I fucked with ground beef. 

Fuck everything that you have ever heard about ground beef. Seriously, just forget it. In terms of versatility, ground beef in unparalleled. Hamburgers, lasagna, pasta dishes, meat balls, chili, tacos… You can do a lot with this shit.

Burger night rolls around and the recipe that I consulted told me that you can basically put anything in your burgers (beans, veg, cheese, fruit, etc) and still have it taste good as long as the seasoning you use doesn’t fuck everything up.

(Seriously, take it as gospel.)

Regardless, I decided a chopped up onion (it just felt right) and conservative seasoning was the way to go. The end result was a pretty decent burger for my first time out.

Cut to a few days later. It was lunch time and I didn’t have any buns so I decide to make a “burrito burger” out of the left over burgers. Everything came out good, so I decided to Instagram that shit (because at the time, it wasn’t that obnoxious to do so).

It took my sister to point out to me that our father used to do the same thing.

At this point he had been dead for about 10 years.

Boom. Not only did my burgers have a name, they brought back vague memories came back to me of when I was a small boy and it was Dad’s turn to cook (this was 30+ years ago).

Next up: I'll take you through making burgers on your own. It's easier than you think.

Next up: I’ll take you through making burgers on your own. It’s easier than you think.

Have pleasant food-related (or perhaps, induced) memories? Don’t be shy, share them in the comments section at the top of this post!

How to Make “The Fried Chicken”.

If you are relatively new to the kitchen, or you are a novice and the idea of Salmonella scares the shit out of you, cooking chicken in any way can be a terrifying experience.

Don’t feel bad, I was the same way. For the longest time I would overcook chicken to the point of practically jerky-ing it because:

  1. I was young and stupid and not very picky about what I ate.
  2. I figured that the longer I cooked it, there was less chance of it being undercooked.

For the record, chicken is not supposed to taste or look like shoe leather. In the grand scheme of things, chicken is a versatile and indispensable part of any kitchen because it goes with nearly anything. As such, anyone worth their salt ought to know how to prepare it in a couple of different ways.

Today, you’re going to learn how to make Fried Chicken.

Materials Needed

  • Chicken tenders You can try breasteses. Me? I prefer the chicken tenders because they are easier to work with and if you make enough of them, you have leftovers. Leftovers are good. 
  • Eggs. That’s right: eggs. The eggs act like the glue that hold the breaded deliciousness onto said chicken. The quantity depends on how much chicken you are frying. With a 5lb. bag of chicken, you can expect to use at least 3-4 eggs.
  • Breading material of your choice. People get a little freaky with this. You can use corn flakes, pork rinds, traditional breading, basically anything that can be refined to a powder can be used as breading. For this particular example (and my breading of choice) I use almond flour.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT!!! Do not fuck around with store bought almond flours. Yes, it may have certain benefits (health, taste or otherwise) but in my experience they are expensive as fuck! For this recipe I bought sliced almonds and then gave them a go-around in the food processor. Sure, it looks chunky but it’s still consider ‘almond flour’.

  • Seasoning. This is strictly all on you. You like it sweeter? Figure it the fuck out and get some sweet shit up in that. I tend to go the savory route as you will see in the following pictures.
  • Cooking implement of your choice. I have the blessing and curse of having a fryer. It certainly makes frying shit easier. You can fry on your stove top with the pot and/or pan of your choice.

ADDITIONAL PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT!!! When I was still trying to get my sea-legs as the stay at home parent, I ventured into making fried chicken on the stove. Basically the recipe called for a pot and a fuck ton of oil that had to be at an appropriate temperature. Me being a rookie, I got the food thermometer out and tried to take the temperature of the oil that I had been heating on the stove. What I didn’t know was that dropping something metal into a heated, semi-volatile substance, will indeed, scare the living shit out of you.

BEFORE YOU GET STARTED, HEAT UP YOUR OIL!

It doesn’t matter if you’re using the stove top or a fryer like I have in this recipe. Breading the chicken is a bit tedious. The last thing that you want is to go through all of this shit AND THEN have to wait for the damn oil to warm up.

STEP 1. THAW THE CHICKEN!

STEP 1. THAW THE CHICKEN!

Again, while chicken can be a tasty component of any meal, it’s really easy to get sick from mishandling raw chicken. I recommend having the water running to ensure ease of rinsing hands. Additionally, it is not advisable to have thawed chicken sitting in it’s own juices. Why? I have no fucking clue. I just remember that from my ‘retail days’ and the occasional reiteration when I settle on watching the Food Network.

STEP 2. MAKE THE FLOUR!

 Almonds seem to be the miracle nut. You can use them as a breading, a substitute for pizza dough, if you leave them in the food processor long enough, they’ll eventually reduce to almond butter.

If you don’t have a food processor or a half way decent blender, I recommend one of the less healthier options of breading.

This is what the final product should look like. Don’t worry about the clumps. As long as it has a powder-like consistency, you’re good to go.

STEP 2-A: SEASON THE FLOUR!

Almonds on their own taste like ass. They are the healthier of the nuts in the Nut Kingdom but in terms of flavor, they are pretty lacking.

Seasoning is a personal thing. Some people prefer smoke, others prefer fire. Myself, I like to fall somewhere in between.

IMG_3283DON’T FORGET TO MIX THAT SHIT UP!

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This is what the final product should look like. 

STEP 3: BEAT THE FUCK OUT OF THE EGGS!

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While it does seem a bit cruel and sadistic to use chicken embryos like glue on chicken corpses, there isn’t a better thing out there for what we are trying to accomplish. Make the above picture, look like the below picture. 

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My tool of choice is the fork. I just don’t have the coordination to whisk anything. Should you use the fork as well, make sure you get enough lift in your eggs. That means, hold the bowl at a slight angle over your sink so that everything pools to one side and then stir like a motherfucker. 

STEP 4: ASSEMBLE THE ASSEMBLY LINE!

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This is what I do. You may want to play with this to find out what work for you. Should you be using a fryer, put something underneath the son of a bitch as the breading will find a way to fall through the holes during the journey from the assembly line to the fryer. 

STEP 5: START BREADING!

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TAKE THE CHICKEN!

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DROWN THE MOTHERFUCKER! (BE SURE TO GET BOTH SIDES!)

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DROP IT IN THE SEASONED BREADING!

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HIDE IT IN THE BREADING WITHOUT LOSING IT!

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NOW, PUT IT IN THE BASKET! OR WHATEVER!

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LATHER, RINSE, AND REPEAT UNTIL YOU ARE OUT OF CHICKEN!

See? Simple yet tedious. 

STEP 6: START FRYIN’!

Did you read the thing about the oil at the top of the page? Sure fucking hope so. Doing all of that work and then having to wait is a buzzkill.

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When I cook, I generally don’t use a timer. I go by sight, smell, and texture. If you’re just starting out, don’t be a goddamn hero: use the timer until you get good enough to eyeball whatever the fuck it is that you are cooking.

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When it comes to the almond-flour-ed chicken, you want a light change in color. Yep, you want to see it go from brown, to light brown. Dark brown is ok too. Not everybody has the palette for that though. It’s not that it tastes horrible. People prefer to not have burnt nuts in their mouth.

STEP 7: FINISH HIM!

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TA DA! It’s a meal. Chicken, not just fried chicken is simple to make as long as you know what you are going to do with it.

Got a preferred method of chicken making? Let’s hear about it in the comments!

How to make a “Daniel J. Burger”.

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Ingredients

This is a general list. Don’t take it as gospel. At the core of any burger is the meat and the egg (because it acts like an adhesive that holds the meat and goodies together). To make a Daniel J. burger you need those two things and a good onion. That’s it. 

  • Meat
  • Egg (The actual number you use varies depending on how much goodness you’re trying to stuff in your burger. I generally stick with two eggs. If it’s too wet {don’t puss out, you’ll know how wet is too wet} cut that shit with some bread crumbs).
  • Onion (Whatever the fuck you got works. Me, I stick with the sweeter variety).
  • Sauces (hot sauce, teriaki, ketchup, mustard, whatever). *OPTIONAL
  • Seasonings (Whatever you’re trying to get rid of will work as long as it compliments everything else.).
  • Goodies (Beans, veg, fruit, get freaky with it. It’s your damn burger.). *OPTIONAL
  1. It starts with the meat.
Take the meat, break it up in a bowl with a spatula or whatever you have handy.

Take the meat, break it up in a bowl with a spatula or whatever you have handy.

2. Season that shit.

Start with the dry stuff first. Don't just dump it on there and leave it, dummy. Mix it in with whatever the fuck you used to break up the meat.

Start with the dry stuff first. Don’t just dump it on there and leave it, dummy. Mix it in with whatever the fuck you used to break up the meat.

Do the same thing with the sauces. Yes, you have to mix that in too.

Do the same thing with the sauces. Yes, you have to mix that in too.

3. Put the meat to the side and cut up the onion. It’ll give the beef a chance to suck up all of      that goodness you just assaulted it with.

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Behold! The Might of the Onion! As it makes most things tasty!

 

 

After the onion is chopped to your liking, add it to the meat.

After the onion is chopped to your liking, add it to the meat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, do the same thing with the sauces and spices. Mix that shit up real good homey!

Then, do the same thing you did with the sauces and spices. Mix that shit up real good homey!

4. Now for the eggs.

They don't have to be brown. I'm not an egg snob like that. They can be whatever you want. I just happened to have brown on hand because The Wife wanted them. I will say this though, in terms of fried eggs and omelets and such, the brown egg is unparalleled. Too bad it costs too damn much.

They don’t have to be brown. I’m not an egg snob like that. They can be whatever you want. I just happened to have brown on hand because The Wife wanted them. I will say this though, in terms of fried eggs and omelets and such, the brown egg is unparalleled. Too bad it costs too damn much.

Crack the eggs and start mixing that shit with your hands. This is what it looks like when you have done it right.

Crack the eggs and start mixing that shit with your hands. This is what it looks like when you have done it right.

5. Start making patties, beotch.

I don't know what the proper ounce rate is for a burger. I generally try and make them a bit on the smaller side so there's left overs and because my peeps don't eat with wooden legs in mind.

I don’t know what the proper ounce rate is for a burger. I generally try and make them a bit on the smaller side so there’s left overs and because my peeps don’t eat with wooden legs in mind.

Put that shit on a plate, you patty making fool!

Put that shit on a plate, you patty making fool!

When you've gone through all of the meat, wrap that shit with plastic wrap.

When you’ve gone through all of the meat, wrap that shit with plastic wrap.

Then put them in the fridge. Most people would dispute this, but I swear by it. By letting the meat chill, your letting it recoup thereby ensuring that the patty keeps it's shape. I've made burgers without this step and they've always fallen the fuck to pieces on me. Generally, I let them chill for an hour. You don't want to let them sit for too long. If you do that, you'll start losing juices. *Beavis laugh* Juices.

Then put them in the fridge. Most people would dispute this, but I swear by it. By letting the meat chill, you’re letting it recoup thereby ensuring that the patty keeps it’s shape. I’ve made burgers without this step and they’ve always fallen the fuck to pieces on me. Generally, I let them chill for an hour. You don’t want to let them sit for too long. If you do that, you’ll start losing juices. *Beavis laugh* Juices.

6. Get cookin’ sucka!

There's plenty of ways to cook a burger: grill, pan fry, baking, whatever. I used the panini because it cuts down on the cooking time. It's a bitch to clean but it's worth it. You just have to make sure the fucker is hot enough.

There’s plenty of ways to cook a burger: grill, pan fry, baking, whatever. I used the panini because it cuts down on the cooking time. It’s a bitch to clean but it’s worth it. You just have to make sure the fucker is hot enough.

Yes, the panini cooks on both sides. Mine is cheap so I still have to flip whatever I'm cooking on it to get the same look on both sides. This was after one flip.

Yes, the panini cooks on both sides. Mine is cheap so I still have to flip whatever I’m cooking on it to get the same look on both sides. This was after one flip.

7. Don’t forget to eat the son of a bitch.

See? Burgers are easy. Cooking is easy too (just so long as you don't freak out and act like a little bitch).

See? Burgers are easy. Cooking is easy too (just so long as you don’t freak out and act like a little bitch).

In the end, regardless of who you are and in spite of what you have going on in your life, cooking is an essential skill. 

Got a burger recipe? Wanna let me have it for the amount of “fucks” I put in my entries? Sally forth in the comments at the top of this post! 

A brief word on food.

One of the cornerstones of our society is the necessity of food. While our bodies can survive for nearly three weeks without it (Gandhi, yep the “Be the change you wish to see in the world guy”, also known as Sir Ben Kingsley to others…. survived 21 days of complete starvation. Obviously he had water or else he would have been dead inside of 5 days) one would think that it would be common sense for an individual to have a working knowledge of food preparation (e.g. you know the difference between your ass and a hole in the ground when you step foot in the kitchen).

Sadly, most people cannot make the aforementioned distinction. 

If you marked my progress in the kitchen from when I first started out as a stay at home parent, to now, it would be a thick, black line that traveled through smoke (the smoke being whatever the fuck it was that I was cremating in the oven), traversed canyons of boxed dinners (mac ‘n’ cheese was not only friend to my family but also really friggin’ versatile: seriously google it. People have taken that staple a real long way) and is currently supporting someone who cannot only improvise on the fly, but also follow some pretty complicated recipes.

Cooking is not scary. It is following directions. That’s all that it is. 

If you’re not completely sold on the idea that you should be working on being considered a wizard in the kitchen, cooking is also SCIENCE. And I would be remiss if I did not point out that (even if you aren’t a dad, husband, whatever) chicks dig a guy who knows his way around the kitchen.

Currently, I have a very modest collection of recipes here. Unless otherwise noted, most of them ARE NOT MINE. 

If they are not mine, I will obviously say so. I will link to the origin site, the original recipe or (if it’s something out of a book, for instance) I will link to the Amazon page featuring the book (if there isn’t any other stones for me to turn over).

While a lot of people would consider this a “hack” thing to do, I would also like to point out that they are missing the obvious: IF  A RECIPE IS ON HERE, IT’S BECAUSE THE ORIGINAL RECIPE DIDN’T HAVE ANY FUCKING PICTURES. 

My main goal in making recipes a part of this site is to educate people (men, specifically) that they should be cooking more instead of relying on simpleton shit like fast food or boxed dinners or any other garbage. The sad truth is that Men are less likely to get their asses in the kitchen if there aren’t any pictures. 

It is my hope that in posting the steps, with the pictures, and the general amount of time it took me to work through the recipe, that some of the sting will be taken out of learning how to cook.

Additionally, if people have a general problem with what I’m doing (be it the creator of the recipe or people in general), I warmly invite them to shut up: if you didn’t want people giving you free publicity about something you created, you shouldn’t have put it on the internet in the first place.

How to make Mac & Cheese not shitty.

One of these days it’s going to happen to you.

You’re going to walk into your kitchen with the intent of making dinner for the family that you “love” and you’re going to think to yourself, ‘Man! I  just don’t want to deal with this shit’. 

You don’t have a fucking thing to feel bad about. Do you know why? Because making food for people who have a tendency to treat you like an afterthought gets old. Doubly so if they’re a picky bunch of fuckers. Triply so if you gotta make shit that you’re just not into. Quadruply so if you wait until the last fucking minute to do food prep.

Speaking for myself, I give myself a night off every week. In doing so, I have found that I give more of a fuck about cooking the other 6 days of the week if I know that I have ‘throwaway meal’ that I can use to get a breather from feeding the family.

Since it’s the winter months, it’s usually soup. That’s right canned soup. Why? Because that shit is economical and easy to prepare.

When it warms up, I make mac & cheese. On it’s own, you’ll be lucky if you sate your own appetite. If you combine it with a few odds and ends you can turn it into a fucking meal with leftovers to spare.

Ingredients.

  • Mac and Cheese (Whatever you’re partial to. I do Velveeta because that shit with the powder is bonafide cancer in a box).
  • Peppers – chopped, uncooked (Whatever you want. I like to do a mix because colors).
  • Frozen Corn – thawed (Just because it’s cheap and the government has been sneaking this shit in our food for years. Not really. I use it to make the mac and cheese last because leftovers are your friend).
  • Protein – precooked (Again, whatever you want. I tend to use chicken because I have that on hand the most, precooked)
  • Extra vegetables? (This is your call. There’s enough veg all ready. I used broccoli in this version of this recipe because I had company over and I didn’t feel like fucking talking to them).

 

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  • First things, first: start boiling a pot of water (and turn your oven on if you’re making the broccoli). Medium heat for the water and 350 degrees for the broccoli. While you’re waiting for the oven to heat up and the water to start boiling starting prepping your veg.

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  • I tried (roughly) this same recipe with cooked peppers and everything came out fairly shitty. DON’T COOK THE PEPPERS. Just give them a rough chop and move on with things.
  • KITCHEN HACK: running out of things to hold prepped things? Lids for pots and pans double as bowls, homey.

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  • Like so!

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  • So, you got your veg all prepped and (hopefully) you were aware enough to catch when the water started to boil to throw the noodles in.
  • At this point, if you have extra veg (because you’re concerned about your families poo) now is the time to put that in the oven. 
  • PRO-TIP: Only assholes throw noodles at the ceiling in an effort to know when they’re done. DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE. Noodles are done when you want them to be fucking done. Want them a bit on the crunchy/chewy side? Don’t leave them in the water that fucking long. When it comes to mac and cheese noodles, I have found that they visually double in size the longer that you leave them in there. Just saying.
  • When you drain your noodles, use a bit of caution. If you’re a rookie, get the damn colander out (that thing that looks like a pot but can’t be a pot because it has holes in it) and drain your noodles that way. Mac and cheese is best when you drained all the fucking water out of it.
  • Nobody likes eating drippy noodles.

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  • Time for the cheese that makes it mac & cheese. There’s nothing to it. Open the packages. Squeeze that shit in there like in the picture above. Mix it well like the picture below. There’s nothing to any of this really. It’s a throwaway meal, remember?

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  • When it’s completely mixed, add your vegetables of choice.
  • PRO-TIP: You’re adding cool, if not cool food to food that is rapidly cooling. Turn the burner back on to medium, even low heat. When you add all of your veg, stir that shit up good. Everything will kick back up to a palatable temperature.

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  • This is what it should look like after you mix everything up properly.

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This is what mac and cheese typically looks like in my house. Not an elaborate meal, but a meal that you can bang out in 20 minutes with zero prep work to sweat.

Do yourself a favor, pick a night for a throwaway meal night and give yourself something to look forward to. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Sometimes you just need to use the food that you’ve been avoiding. 

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I know that in the past, I have talked high and mighty about the need for prepared meals in the life of any given family. Meals shouldn’t come out of a box or a bag (specifically tv dinners or anything with the word ‘helper’ after it).

The day will come, Dear Reader, when you can give no fucks about preparing food. You could be short on time.  You could have had a bad day (or week). The people you are preparing said food for could be a real bunch of assholes about what you have made in the past. You could just simply be out of steam.

The point is, is that it’s ok, to reach for that which you have been avoiding with respect to the menu your personal kitchen produces (as long as you make it your own). 

On occasion, I will do this quite simply because I can. Preparing meals is really difficult when you are doing so with the intent of people actually eating the food you put in front of them instead of just moving it around on their plate or whining about any given facet of the meal. In short, it’s a nice little break you can give yourself. Me? I try to do it at least once a week.

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My answer to the dilemma of ‘making it my own’ is to throw in so many goddamn vegetables that not only am I changing the very nature of whatever package I’m working with, but also I’m ensuring that leftovers will result.

Leftovers are good. They are your friend. They will be there when you don’t know what to make those ingrates for lunch. 

I digress.

The trick with veg-ifying Ramen, is to leave everything in the pot for as long as possible. In doing so, the noodles, veg, and whatever else you may want to throw (Chicken or shrimp works in this instance. Personally I throw the chicken in the bowl prior to serving. Throw it in the pot and it’s liable to disintergrate on you) in their sucks up the boullioned water thereby ensuring maximum flavor output.

IMG_2953 TA DA! It’s a ‘healthier’ take on ramen. 

A word to the wise: Ramen leftovers are shit after a day. If you’re not having it for breakfast or lunch, don’t bother.

Don’t want to fuck with Ramen? I can’t blame you. You can achieve the same goal with that ‘american classic’, macaroni and cheese. 

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Mac & Cheese is a versatile staple. You can throw anything in it and it will come out ok. Hot dogs, tuna and peas, bacon & broccoli: whatever you want. You’re the one eating it.

On a personal note, through a lot of trial and error (because I live with some picky sons of bitches) I have landed on a solid combination.

IMG_3167Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (with corn & mixed peppers), a side of broccoli, and chicken. 

This combo produces empty plates, consistently, in record time.

In closing, preparing food is great because you are keeping the best interests of your family in mind, but sometimes you just need to take a goddamn break.

Have a cheater meal that is your go to? Don’t be shy: share it in the comments, mang! 

How to turn “taco night” into “taco week” while being a sneaky son of a bitch!

IMG_3008I like tacos. You like Tacos. We all like tacos. The only problem with the tacos is that they never last long enough. People are either just too into the taco or else you didn’t buy enough of the things that make tacos great.

Today I’m going to show you how to make the ingredient that makes the taco (the meat) last all week. As an added bonus, you’re going to learn how to properly season your meat.

Ingredients

  1. Taco receptacle of your choosing. (Whatever you want to use in order to get the deliciousness from your plate to your face. Old El Paso has a metric-fuckton of kits in your local super market. Word to the wise? Kids are clumsy as fuck. Mine still have a hard time tilting their head in order to take a bit out of a taco shell. As such, I like to alternate between the stand and stuff tortillas and taco salads. With the salads, I just break up the taco shell and throw all of the fixings in a bowl).
  2. Ground meat. Want to use turkey? Knock yourself out!
  3. Mushrooms (aka THE SECRET FUCKING INGREDIENT).
  4. Seasonings
    1. chili powder
    2. red pepper flakes
    3. garlic powder
    4. onion powder
    5. salt
    6. pepper
    7. cumin
    8. oregano
  5. Taco fixings. (Whatever the hell you want: sour cheese, lettuce, taco cheese, salsa… It’s your damn fiesta: LET ‘ER RIP, NEPHEW!).

Before you do anything else, take another look at the picture at the top of this post and then come back. That white, plunger looking thing is CRUCIAL to the expansion of your precious taco meat. It’s made by Oxo and I have no idea what the proper name for it is.

In the event that it is discontinued or your retailer of your choosing doesn’t carry anything remotely like it, THERE ARE PLENTY OF OTHER WAYS TO BEEF UP YOUR TACO. You don’t need to use mushrooms. You could use peppers, onion, and more importantly MORE MEAT. If you are opting out of the mushrooms, skip ahead to the “Seasoning your meat” part of this recipe. 

Deploy the mushrooms. 

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Once upon a time, I brought up my taco-quandary to my beloved and she hipped me to the idea that mushrooms, when prepared properly are nearly indistinguishable when they are cooked with ground meat. Got some fuckheaded kid in your house that won’t eat the vegetables or else won’t fuck with more mushrooms? THIS’LL FIX THEIR LITTLE RED WAGON!

What you see above are the pre-sliced mushrooms. Typically, these cost a little more. It should be noted that I am a cheap son of a bitch and if I have pre-sliced mushrooms in my fridge, I got them on sale. Don’t want to fork over the extra wapum for the sliced fungi? I don’t blame you.

Prior to the insertion of mushrooms into your chopper, THEY DO NEED TO BE SLICED. It just makes it easier. You can throw them in whole, what the fuck do I care? It’s your kitchen.

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                                      After you’re done processing the mushrooms, they’ll look like this.

If you take off your glasses and squint really fucking hard, this totally looks like ground beef.

Seasoning your meat

Depending on your choice of meat (ground beef, turkey, small child) there is absolutely no reason for you to be compelled to “drain your meat”. However you are preparing it, that shit will cook off. Just leave your meat in the pan until it does.

Mushrooms have a lot of water in them. When you add them to your meat, you should expect to see that water brought out by the heat. Don’t freak: it will cook off.

When you cook the meat, it should go without saying that you need to break that shit up. However, people are stupid. So I have to say it: break up the meat when you throw it in your heated pan.

When it comes to cooking the ground meats, I don’t stick with one particular setting of flame.

If I have a lot of other things to do in the kitchen, I keep the flame to medium, or low. If I’m in a hurry, I leave that shit on high.

KEEP IN MIND if you are cooking on high heat, you can’t get distracted. If you do, your meal is fucked.

Right about now, your meat has had a minute to start sizzling in the pan. Here’s where your spidey-senses need to kick in. Once things are cooking, but not completely cooked, that’s when you add the mushrooms. After you throw those bad boys in there, stir them up with the meat to get everything nice and coagulated.

Season your shit once the mushrooms start putting off moisture.

As I am sure that I have mentioned before, I don’t measure seasonings. I just don’t have time for that shit. You want to measure your seasoning? Feel free. Nerd. 

I season to taste. What this typically breaks down to in the realm of the taco is that I go down the line of seasonings and I shake that shit on the taco meat as it cooks in the pan. What you want to do is not dump a stupid amount of whatever in there. Just add enough to change the color of the meat. Then mix that shit up and give it a minute.

After you give the taco goodies an appropriate amount of time to take on the seasonings that you added to it, get a spoon and help yourself to a sample. Taste ok to you? Fuck it: you’re done. Taste a little light on a certain seasoning? Fix it up how you want it.

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This is what you should get when you’re all done. No, I’m not showing you what a taco looks like jam-packed with all of this goodness. What you see here will last my family a week.

Want yours to last longer? Add more of whatever you want. More meat? Why the fuck not? Can’t get enough of the ‘shrooms? Add some more.

You’re the one doing all of the work: Add whatever-the-fuck you want.