Sunday, June 6, 2010

Things That Matter and Things That Don't

SM is HOME! Yeah! 

That means I'm cooking today.  TWC is predicting 95 today. 

When it gets this hot I consider 3 options.  Eat cold or leftover food, (since SM was gone last week I didn't cook at all) grill everything outside (a good option but I'm not feeling it) or cook very early in the morning while it's still cool-ish.

It's 9am, 82 degrees (real feel 85) and I've already made my chicken macaroni salad.  My barbecue meatloaf is in the oven (as I take a moment to blog). 

Here's the finished result.

I don't think I'll be placing recipes on this blog.  I will provide links or mentions to sites where I've grabbed a recipe and tried it. 

Remember the "no-knead bread"?  (winner)

Or the cinnamon rolls (needs more flavor intensity IE: try brown sugar/add more cinnamon/nuts)? 

When it comes to baking, I always follow the recipe provided and I consider myself a beginner with everything other than cookies and cakes.  (I'm pretty good at those already).

When it comes to savory cooking, I might read a recipe for an idea, but then it's all freestyle from there.

Take my meatloaf.  I get requests for the recipe all the time but other than telling you the ingredients, you're on your own. 

How much of this?  How much of that? I couldn't tell you as I just use my senses...It looks right, smells right, feels right.  If those 3 three things apply, it generally tastes all right too.

I improvise alot

My standard meatloaf has ground beef (80-20) Jimmy Dean Hot Pork Sausage and ground turkey.  I use Lipton's Beefy Onion, lots of Worcestershire sauce, 2 eggs, katsup and Progresso Italian bread crumbs. 

I couldn't begin to tell you how much of anything...I never measure.  I also never use loaf pans to make meatloaf.  Fat=Flavor, but as you can see I want the fat to drain away and the flavor to stay.

(Mmmmm.... leftovers)

What I didn't have today was Worcestershire sauce, Hot sausage (I used regular pork sausage instead) and ground turkey.  I also usually top the loaf with green pepper strips but at $0.98 cents a pepper, I thought I'd pass. 

I decided to zing it up by adding barbecue sauce (3 different brands), spicy brown mustard and some horseradish. 

So something new.  Is it a winner?  Yep, it's moist and has a nice kick to it.

I always used to buy name brand products exclusively.  Since food has gotten more expensive, we've dabbled with the store brands more. 

Some things DO taste different and somethings don't. 

Things like tinfoil, plastic wrap, garbage bags don't matter.  I've found that they function the same.

We tried Trader Joe's Dishwasher great, (no weird smell).

Walmart Brand potato chips, sprinkle cheese, salad dressing, kidney beans, all their pastas, sugar, oils...all these have passed our taste tests.

(Walmart Brand taco chips, instant SF puddings, rices.... all suck.  IMHO)

We purchase our meats mostly from Sam's Club. They have great bulk meats and I love the Endelmans (?) Hot Italian Sausage they have.  And never forget Sam's rotisserie chicken.  ( I de-carcass-ify them and use the meat in sammies, wraps, soups and salads).  

I guess the point of this blog entry is to encourage you (and myself) to try something new...improvise.  It might just work out great.

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