Monday, November 12, 2007

Not My Mama's Chili

Like I said, this isn't my mama's chili, it's my boyfriend's mama's chili. Oh, my GOD. My roommate and I finished off the leftovers in a little over 24 hours. It was so good! Better than my own mama's chili (she uses beef tips which I think is weird).

After the last meal he made without recording the recipe, I hounded my boyfriend to keep track of what he was doing while he was making this gem. We're actually going to enter it in a chili cook-off this Saturday. If you think you've got the stuff, maybe YOU should enter this recipe in a cook-off . . . just not the one we're entering, that would be stupid.

What you'll need:
  • chili powder
  • 1 large cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 large can tomato juice
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • salt
  • 1 small can kidney beans
  • 2 lbs ground beef
As always, brown the beef in a skillet, drain, and then place back on the burner. Add your onions and peppers to the beef and let the flavors mingle and mix.

In a large pot, put in the tomato juice, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, kidney beans, and the beef/pepper/onion mix.

This part I was a bit startled by but I'm not about to argue with what works. Take 1/3 of a 2.25 oz bottle of chili powder to the pot. It sounds like a lot, it is a lot, but it works somehow. Then add your sugar and salt. As the pot is simmering, taste your chili frequently to see if it might need more salt, sugar (takes away bitter tastes), or a little extra spice. For this I suggest a small amount of cayenne pepper ( if you add to much you could ruin your chili) or crushed red pepper (like you find at pizza places).

What I really like about this recipe is that the spiciness doesn't attack your tongue like it usually does. In fact, the spice gets you after you've swallowed the chili by leaving a wonderful after-taste.

So you've got everything in your pot, have you? Well done. Now comes the waiting. Let your chili simmer for 30 minutes to 4 hours. I give you this large time frame because the longer you let your chili simmer the more integrated the ingredients become and the better the chili tastes.

I hope you enjoy this hot little number. Wish us luck on Saturday!



BBQ Meatloaf

I don't know why on TV everybody's like: "Meatloaf for dinner?! Ugh!" I LOVE meatloaf, it's so good! IF you make it right. This is a super duper easy recipe, which is appropriate for the title of this blog I suppose, so here we go.

This is my Mamma's BBQ Meatloaf recipe and this is what you'll need:

  • 2 lbs of ground beef
  • 1 cup of BBQ sauce (any brand)
  • 4 slices of white bread, diced
  • 1/8 tablespoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of Grey Pupon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of minced onion

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Here's the gross part, I didn't like it very much but it's TOTALLY worth it, with your BARE HANDS mix the beef, salt, pepper, mustard, BBQ sauce, and minced onion together in a medium sized mixing bowl. I'm sorry, but you have to do it. When it's mixed up real good, place the beef on a greased cookie sheet (you can grease it with butter, margarine, Pam Cooking Spray, etc.). Mold the beef into a loaf shape and pop it into the oven for 50 minutes. After it's done, take it out and pour some extra BBQ sauce on the meatloaf and let it cool.

See? Super easy recipe.



Tuesday, November 6, 2007

My Nanna's Shepherd's Pie

My Nanna makes THE best Shepherd's Pie. Personally, I can eat it morning, noon, and night and I did for years. At least, that was how it was until I went to college and I was sad.

THANKFULLY my Nanna gave me her recipe a few months ago. Now, for the first time ever, I'm sharing this recipe with you, my beloved public.

Preheat the oven to 350 and here's what you'll need:
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 2 cans of whole corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 6-7 Idaho potatoes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3/4 cup of milk
This recipe might confuse you because you'll be making two things at the same time; the beef and the mashed potatoes. You might want an assistant on this one. But if you're flying solo it's no problem.

First off, we'll start with the potatoes since they take longer. Put a big pot of cold water on the stove. Don't fill it too high because when you add the potatoes the water might over flow. Put a lid on the water and while you're waiting for the water to boil, peel the potatoes. After they've been peeled, rinse them off, cut them in half, and put them in the boiling water. It'll take a while before the potatoes are ready for mashing, so while that's going on we'll prepare the meat.

Moving on, brown the beef in a large frying pan, skillet, or sauce pan. While the beef is browning, dice the onions and garlic. Drain the grease from the beef when it's done and put it back in the pan with the onions, garlic, and salt for seasoning. Stir it up, mix it around, and when the onions seem cooked, add 2 1/2 cups of cold water. Bring the water to a boil put in the cornstarch bit by bit and mix it in.

Put the beef in a medium sized baking dish like so:

Now crack open those cans of corn, drain the corn juice, and spread the corn evenly over the beef.


You'll know you're potatoes are ready for mashing if a fork can pierce straight through them. If you can do that, drain out the water and turn off the heat. Cut up one stick of butter and put it into the pot with the potatoes and then add 3/4 cup of milk. Mash them up real good. Taste the 'tatoes every once in a while to see how lumpy they are. If they're not buttery enough or milky enough for you just put in some more. I don't know about you, but I add salt AND pepper to my mashed potatoes, so maybe you do too. Get my drift?

By now you're beef should be at the bottom of the baking dish, the corn should be on top of the beef, and you're mashed potatoes are smooth, fluffy, and buttery good. There's just one more step before you throw it in the oven. Spread the mashed potatoes over the corn. It's a little tricky because you don't want to get corn or beef mixed up in your 'tatoes. What I do is plop some down in the middle and smooth it out from the center.

It's okay if you have extra potatoes left over, you don't have to use it all. Put it in the oven on 350 and in 30 minutes you'll have my Nanna's Shepherd's Pie!



Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cornflake Baked Chicken

Something wonderful happened - not only did I get a flash drive so I can put pictures in now, but I found a freaking awesome chicken recipe!! It's amazing. I made it for dinner tonight. This was the first time I've ever made a chicken dish and it came out perfectly. This is SUCH an easy recipe, perfect for first time chicken cookers. I got it at yahoo in the food section. So let's bust a move:

• 4 skinless chicken legs
• 4 skinless chicken thighs
• salt
• ground pepper
• 1 large eggs
• 2 cups of crushed cornflakes
• 1 tablespoon of olive oil
• ½ teaspoon of cayenne powder (optional, but HIGHLY recommended)

Get that oven preheated at 400 degrees, to start off.
Rinse the chicken and pat it dry. Like I said this was my first time with chicken, so yeah, it feels totally nasty. The easiest way to clean the chicken is to first set out some paper towels to set the raw chicken on after you rinse it. Then, pat it dry with another paper towel. After you’ve dried the chicken, season it generously with salt and pepper.

In a soup bowl, whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water. In a large bowl, crush the two cups of cornflakes with your hands until they’re nice and little and then mix in the oil, a teaspoon of salt, and the cayenne if you’d like your chicken with a little spice!

Get out a baking pan with a rim and cover it with some aluminum foil.

Now dip one piece of chicken in the egg mix and then into the cornflakes (it’s okay if some of the salt and pepper comes off the chicken). Make sure you get them cornflakes on every bit of the chicken by pressing them on and then put it on the pan. Do this with every piece of chicken.

You might end up needing more cornflakes, just to let you know. I doubled the recipe because we eat a lot in my house and I like leftovers. But doubling the recipe wasn’t really enough for ten pieces of chicken instead of eight. So I figure you might run out, maybe.

Once you’re done with the chicken, put it in the oven for thirty minutes or until its golden brown and crisp. After thirty minutes, my chicken came out perfectly! I was so happy! It was so moist and flavorful, YUM. Well, when it’s done, sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.

For side dishes, I recommend: mashed potatoes and salad, green beans and potatoes au gratin, or French fries and cold slaw. Personally, I had mashed potatoes and salad, but those other two options sound awesome, too!

On a separate note, my boyfriend made some fantastic chili the other night. I put up the recipe on I might put it up on this blog as well at a later date.

Anyways, I had a really good time making this chicken. It was new and fun and, more importantly, so friggin’ good! I hope y’all enjoy it as much as I did.



Monday, October 8, 2007

Mississippi Mud Cake

This is a very special recipe: my Mamma’s Mississippi Mud Cake. So. Freaking. GOOD! It’s a ridiculously thick chocolate cake. I did a speech on how to make it for my speech class a few quarters ago, and they loved it AND me, because I brought in Mississippi Mud Cupcakes.

Here are the ingredients:

• 2 cups water
• 4 squares unsweetened chocolate
• 1 stick of butter
• 1 2/3 cups sugar
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 2 cups flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• dash of salt
• baking pan
• saucepan

First preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Put the 2 cups of water and the four squares of chocolate in your saucepan. Turn the heat under the saucepan up to high so it boils. Once the chocolate is melted, remove the pan from heat and add 1 stick of butter, 1 and 2/3 cups of sugar, and stir until the contents are smooth.

Now add the two beaten eggs and STIR QUICKLY! If you don’t stir quickly, the eggs will cook in the heat of the chocolate and then you’ll have chocolate-y scrambled eggs, which is nasty. Then add a teaspoon of vanilla.

In a medium sized bowl, mix the 2 cups of flour and the 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Slowly add the flour/baking soda to the saucepan, bit by bit. Every time you put a little in, mix it in well so that you can’t see any of the white flour and there are no big lumps.

Once you have all of your flour and baking soda mixed in, add a dash of salt. Now beat the mixture until it’s totally smooth. (If you can’t make it completely smooth that’s fine. It’s almost impossible to really make it entirely smooth without using an electric mixer.)

All you have left to do is pour the mix into the ungreased baking dish, and pop it in the oven. After a half hour, check on the cake by sticking a toothpick in the middle of it. If the toothpick comes out with chocolate-y goo, the cake’s not done. Keep doing the toothpick check every fifteen minutes. When the cake is done, the toothpick will come out dry. There may be a few crumbs, but as long as it’s not moist when it comes out, the cake is done.

Let it cool for ten minutes; don’t burn your little tongue.

What my Mamma likes to do is sprinkle confectioner’s sugar on top and serve it with a side of whipped cream. Damn, it’s so good.



Sunday, September 23, 2007

Beefy Potatoes Au Gratin

Ok, so this is a recipe for a delicious concoction I call Beefy Potatoes Au Gratin. I got this from a small recipe book I got at the grocery store, but my retard ex-roommate threw it out or something. And then I changed the recipe! So there you go.

SO! Here are the ingredients:

• 2 lbs of ground beef
• 3 boxes of Au Gratin Potatoes (I use Kroger brand, but whatever brand you can find will work the same.)
• Any and all ingredients listed in the box of potatoes’ cooking instructions
• Salt
• Pepper
• 1 medium pot
• 1 big pot
• 1 4 quart baking dish, obviously must be oven safe
• 1 strainer
• Aluminum foil

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Then start browning the beef. Cook the beef in the medium pot, chopping it up, moving it around, until it’s all brown. Once it’s brown, dump the beef into the strainer to separate the grease. Put the beef into the big baking dish. Spread the beef evenly over the bottom of the baking dish.

We’re going to use the big pot for the potatoes au gratin. If your box says that you boil water, start with tripling the amount of water and bring it to a boil. Then if your box says that it requires butter, triple the amount of butter and let it melt in the boiling water. If the box calls for milk, AGAIN, triple the amount of milk BUT DON’T ADD IT YET. Adding milk to the hot water could spoil it. So wait for later. Then add your potatoes, and cheese mixes – whatever else it tells you to do. Then, if the box says you need it at all, add the milk. Add a tablespoon of salt and a teaspoon of pepper. Mix.

By now, you should have 2 lbs of beef on the bottom of the baking dish. Your big pot should be filled with 3 boxes worth of au gratin potatoes. Finally, your oven should be preheated to 400 degrees.

So now that you potatoes are ready, pour them on top of the beef. Spread the potatoes evenly over the beef. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and put it in the oven. After 30 minutes, take the foil off and put it back in the oven for 10 minutes. When it’s done, take it out and let it cool for 10 minutes.

I suggest serving this entrée extraordinaire with salad and ranch dressing. Enjoy, my little dumplings!



Sunday, September 16, 2007

Pasta Sauce

Ooooh! First recipe, exciting!

This is a very simple way to make home cooked pasta sauce that my mamma taught me a while ago. Here are the ingredients:

• 2 medium onions
• 3 cloves of garlic
• 1 large can of crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)
• 1 large can of whole peeled tomatoes (28 ounces)
• 1 box of whatever pasta you fancy
• Table salt
• Ground Pepper
• A bottle of olive oil
• A large cooking pot
• A frying pan
• A medium-sized cooking pot
• A pasta strainer

Ok, get that big old pot and frying pan, and put them on the stove. Leave the medium-sized pot off to one side.

Pour some olive oil on the bottom of each.

Now, leave that alone, don’t put the heat on yet, just leave it the hell alone.

Go get your onions and dice them. That means cut them up into tiny pieces. Put the diced onions into the frying pan and turn the heat on low. Stir them up every so often. You don’t want them to stay in the same place in the pan or they’ll burn and be gross. What we’re going for with the onions is NOT to caramelize them. We DO want them to be cooked though, not very crunchy, almost looking clear white.

Moving on to garlic. These must be cut up tiny-tiny. Don’t use the ends of the cloves.

Just to sum up what should be happening in your kitchen right now:

The big pot on the stove has olive oil in it, just enough to cover the bottom.
The diced onions are cooking in olive oil in the frying pan.

Now, shove all of the onions to one side of the frying pan. Add a little more olive oil into the deserted part of the pan and put the diced garlic in it. When you cook garlic, you want it to turn a golden color. If it cooks too much it’ll turn brown, and it’s going to be bitter and ruin everything.

While the garlic is cooking, keep stirring the onions, making sure that they are still separate from the garlic. Also stir around the garlic every once in a while.

Get your cans of tomatoes, open them up, and pour them into the big pot. Put the heat on medium low. Stir it up a bit and try to smash some of the whole tomatoes in half with whatever you’re stirring with.

Once the garlic is that nice light golden color, mix it in with the onions and let them cook together for a minute or so.

After that, turn the heat off on the frying pan and dump the onions and garlic into the big pot with the tomatoes. Stir them up and let them simmer together for about ten minutes.

My roommate thinks that simmering is when you keep the heat on low. It’s not. It’s when the contents of the pot are bubbling softly, rather than bubbling violently like when it’s being boiled.

So, after it’s been simmering for a bit, add the salt and pepper to taste and keep smashing the whole tomatoes in half.

As the sauce is cooking, fill up your medium-sized pot with cold water. Don’t fill it to the top, though. You’re going to be adding pasta to it. If the pot is filled too much with water, it will overflow when you add the pasta, duh.

Alright, put the pot of water on the stove and set the heat to high. Put a lid on it, if you have one. It doesn’t really matter, the water will boil either way. It’s just going to boil faster if the lid is on.

Once the water is boiling, add salt to the water. This will give the pasta a bit of flavor on its own.

To measure out how much pasta you want to use, this is what my Nonno does: take a bowl (whatever bowl you’re going to use to serve the pasta in), and fill the bowl according to how many people are going to eat. So for two people, put in two bowls worth, three people three bowls, etc.

Dump the appropriate amount of pasta into the boiling water. Make sure you stir the pasta around every few moments so that it doesn’t get stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Test the pasta by periodically taking out a piece with a fork and tasting it.

If it’s tough, it’s not done.

If it’s chewy, it’s not done.

It has to be tender.

If it’s mushy, you over did it. It is now inedible by Italian standards.

Once you find the pasta to be perfect, dump it out in a strainer over the sink.

By now, your sauce should be ready to serve.

I taught this recipe to my friend Diego and he added his own little spices to the sauce because he’s Costa Rican and he has to. I use hot peppers from my Nonno’s garden. What my mamma suggested is to put the tiniest pinch of cayenne pepper in. But when using cayenne, be careful. Too much of it will make your face explode and more importantly ruin the sauce.


To make it a meat sauce, simply add a pound of ground beef to the big pot before putting in the tomato sauce.

Brown the beef in the olive oil. This means that you smash up the beef with your stirring implement and keep shifting it in the pot until it is brown throughout.

When it’s done, pour the beef out into a strainer. This gets rid of all the grease. Then put the beef back in the pot and add the tomatoes.


1. Use lean beef. It’ll either say 8% fat or 92% lean. You want the fat content to be somewhere in that area.
2. Keep washing your hands! Especially after dealing with raw meat.

Sweet! That was the first of many entries in this recipe blog. I hope your meal turns out great. Please feel free to comment on any part of the recipe or if you couldn’t understand some parts or if you just have questions in general.

I’m off to go eat Mexican food now. ADIOS, HOMIES!!!



Thursday, September 13, 2007

Rippity Rap, RAP-TASTIC!

Greetings, hungry undergrads! In this blog I will give you several recipes that are totally easy to make, really really good, and will most importantly stop the braying beast that is your hunger.

I’m only 21, I don’t know how to make fancy stuff really. But what I do know how to do is keep my roommates full and happy.

If you’re new to the cooking scene — don’t worry. I’ll explain all the technical cooking lingo and take you step-by-step on how to make these simple recipes. Some cooks don’t realize that it’s kind of weird to learn how to brown beef or even boil pasta correctly, even though doing the slightest thing wrong can mess up your entire dinner.

To keep disasters to a minimum, I’ll include photos of what you’re doing should and should NOT look like. For instance, I just fucked up some onions. So when I do something wrong I’ll take a picture and let you know what your food should not look like.

As I write, I’m making pasta sauce, hence the onions. To give you an idea of how I do things, there’s only five ingredients: onions, canned tomatoes (crushed and peeled), garlic, and olive oil.

Who wouldn’t rather have homemade sauce instead of nasty Prego? I don’t know about you but there’s just something wrong about sauce from a jar. Maybe it’s because I’m a Guinea/WOP (Italian), I don’t know.

Anyways, whether you are a total stranger to the kitchen or already know the basics but just don’t have the time for friggin’ duck a l’orange (which is really good by the way) — I’ve got recipes for you.