As of Sunday, all of my belongings are either in a PODS storage unit or at my parents home. It was incredibly disheartening to see the apartment at which I have lived almost 5 years completely barren. My last night there was spent watching a movie with my parents on my computer, sitting on the floor of the living room while eating the last of my ice cream, followed by a luxurious slumber in a sleeping bag.
Since I wasn’t quite prepared to leave Memphis yet, I am still residing here for a few extra days with my friend Maggie. I haven’t decided exactly when I will leave and have a feeling it may need to be a “rip off the band-aid” situation where I leave without warning. I don’t do goodbyes very well especially in times like this where I know I will turn into a sobbing idiot. Just a heads up to my Memphis friends – catch me while you can!
Anyway, yes I still have recipes for you this week because I am a psycho and made all of these before I packed up my apartment. Dedication or insanity? Either way you cannot complain. My godmother made this Mexican version of stuffed shells over the holidays and I immediately asked her for the recipe. For some reason I normally shy away from combining pasta and Mexican food but this was so incredibly good I had to make it again for myself.
One year ago: Brussels Sprouts with Honey Vinaigrette
After sharing my dad’s cookie recipe yesterday, I figured I should go ahead and share another one of his recipes. Over the years, this skillet lasagna was a popular request for when I came home for the holidays (followed by a request for his apple harvest oatmeal or applesauce pancakes in the morning). The entire recipe is cooked in one large skillet and takes under 30 minutes making it an easy decision for a weeknight meal.
In packing news, I’ve already gone through two rolls of packing tape! I knew I should’ve purchased the bulk package. I ran out of the second roll while packing up my root beer collection. Which by the way, taking that down and the shelving, aside from being a pain in the butt, left that wall feeling very barren and sad. Packing is super lame.
Every day that goes by is a day closer to my last day living in Memphis. 6.5 years ago I couldn’t wait for this day but now, nothing could have possibly prepared me for the emotional roller coaster created by this reality. I have even added Tennessee to my job searches, despite my desire to be relieved of the infernal summers here. As far as packing goes, I still only have two boxes packed because I find the idea of living in a packed up apartment depressing. Just seeing those two boxes and the three empty shelves that correspond to their contents makes me sad. I am not sure what would be better: pack and move earlier to rip off the band-aid, or continue slowly to get used to it? I’ll stick to the latter for now.
If you’re still with me and reading this after that whiny rant, then reward yourself with a homemade version of hamburger helper. It will comfort your worries away, if only for dinnertime. And I will try to be less of a Debbie Downer.
One year ago: Pumpkin Pie with Brown Sugar-Walnut Topping
Two years ago: Berry Detox Smoothie
Awhile back I shared my dad’s chili which he and I have both entered into several chili cook-offs and either won or came in second place. For the a recent cook-off with his pickleball crew, he entered a slightly altered version and won again (and hence the name of this version)! He is a master of his recipes, even when it comes to making changes and improvements, and as a result I trust his recipes/modifications before all others. Yet he claims that I am the cook and he just follows recipes. Such modesty!
But anywho. My dad shared his newest chili recipe with me and I decided that the perfect time to make it was when my friends came to visit this past weekend. It helped that everyone was in a chili mood with fall all around us. So while lounging around and just spending quality time together on Saturday, this simmered away on the stove top until we couldn’t bear the teasing aromas any longer. Crammed around my dining room table, it pleased and satisfied everyone’s taste buds! A couple people added a little hot sauce to theirs but that’s to be expected as everyone has different spicy preferences.
It was so great to have 5 of my favorite people in town for the weekend and was very sad to see them all leave yesterday. We had crazy conversations and nerdy-intellectual conversations, played games, watched movies, ate and cooked a lot of great food, went out to Beale street and just did what friends do best. Now back to the stinky norm of living 8+ hours away from them. Beware Memphis friends, I may be extra needy this week.
One year ago: Sweet Potato Pie Dip with Pie Crust Dippers
Secret Recipe Clubbing time! This month I was assigned to Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen and it is cozy indeed! With recipe like redneck eggs benedict and shrimp with tomatoes and feta cheese (except I would made it with chicken) my eyes were even comforted by the sheer appearance and thought of eating them. From the awesome list of recipes I decided upon her Sloppy Joses with Avocado Cream. I can never turn down avocado!
In case you haven’t figured it out, the Sloppy Jose is a Mexican version of a homemade Sloppy Joe. Not only is this baby topped with an avocado cream sauce, but it’s made with bacon, jalapeno, and even beer. I even sprinkled some cotija cheese on top for fun since I had some handy. My favorite part was actually mixing the bits the dropped out from my sandwich into the potato salad I served it with. (Potato salad compliments of my dad, who gave it to me when he visited for my defense a week ago.)
Ah it feels good to be back in the swing of this on the blog. Just in time to participate in this month’s Pass the Cook Book Club. Samantha of Little Ferraro Kitchen picked the cookbook Seoultown Kitchen: Korean Pub Grub to Share with Family and Friends by Debbie Lee, for us to cook from this month. I went with the kebab recipe because even though the rest of the country is experiencing fall-like weather, it’s still short sleeve season here in Memphis.
The original recipe used larger chunks of steak and only tomatoes, but I prefer more veggies on my kebabs so I added green bell pepper and cut up the steak a little more to even out the ratio of meat to veggie pieces. There was no need to increase the amount of marinade or seasoning, because there was plenty to go around. Speaking of seasoning, these kebabs were the most flavorful I’ve ever had. I was actually a bit worried when I dumped the full tablespoon of chile powder that it would be too much but it wasn’t at all. It went really well with some brown rice with some extra marinade (not the portion that had the raw meat in it).
One year ago: Crunchy Oven-Fried Ravioli
During my undergraduate career at Ohio State in Columbus, OH I met and became friends with a lot of people from the state of Ohio. However, despite this I never met anyone that ever heard of the famous peanutbutter from Bearden’s in West Cleveland. I even asked those whom I know are from that area and they were clueless. Apparently the next time I visit those friends we will have to fix that issue and hunt down that restaurant. In the meantime, I made it at home!
This burger is proof that I have a deep love for peanut butter and will put it on just about anything. Yes you heard me. Peanut butter melting on top of a burger was as glorious and a gooey peanut butter cookie fresh out of the oven – at least to me. But the burger is only a part of an entire meal. It is the star but there are other necessary players in order to complete this belly-fulfilling-journey. Emphasis on the FILLING.
What’s a burger without fries? I personally prefer my fries to be crispy and often order my fries to be double fried at restaurants, but these slim fries are baked which means they are a little healthier and easier to control how crispy they get. Of course being slim fries they got crispy faster than thick fries would, which was also fine by me! Definitely a good fry recipe for all kinds of burgers.
Last but not least there’s the milkshake. Paired with a peanut butter burger it’s a no-brainer to choose chocolate. Unless you are me and tend to not enjoy chocolate shakes. However, in this situation paired with the peanut butter, it was perfect. Especially with the malted powder, which I used vanilla instead of chocolate just due to my personal preferences. I did drizzle some fudge sauce over the top but I think it would’ve been prettier if I had put a dollop of whipped cream on top first.
Overall, this was a fantasticly indulgent meal and much needed fat-kid food to sooth my recent stress levels. Would I put peanut butter on my burger again? You bet I would! Maybe next time I will get daring and do it with cheese too.
One year ago: German Chocolate S’mores Gooey Cake Bars
It’s June’s edition of Pass the Cook Book Club! This month we cooked burgers from Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries, and Shakes and I have to say if the burger I tried is any indication of the rest of the cookbook, then it’s a dangerous one!
This burger was so insanely good, I had to put comfy pants on afterwards. Bobby certainly knows what he’s doing when it comes to burgers and you really cannot go wrong with half an inch of cheese and crunchy potato chips. Of course then there’s the sauce which you’ll want extra of so I doubled the recipe for you. Thanks to Kita and Bobby, I look forward to being in a bathing suit this weekend even less than before but it was absolutely worth it. I almost paired it up with onion rings but decided it had enough going on already, but I couldn’t skip the Bobby Flay milkshake O:-). Post soon!
The other day I spotted a 2.5 quart crock pot in a sale bin at Kroger. For $9.99. With purple polka dots! With my need for a smaller crock pot, minimal funds, and love for purple it’s like it was meant to be mine and therefore I swiped it up and purchased it (and heck yea for extra gas points). Hopefully cooking smaller volume recipes in this smaller crock pot will solve my issue with things cooking too fast in my larger 5 quart one, although it still lacks a timer setting on it so I will still have to depend on my plug timer.
Unfortunately, I bought the 2.5 quart crock pot after making this recipe I am sharing with you today, so I cannot yet report on it’s functionality just yet. So as usual for my 5 quart crock pot this recipe cooked twice as fast and therefore be sure to adjust the cooking time based on your crock pot’s mannerisms. But cooking time adjustments aside, this was an awesome meal. The beef was tender and the sauce was so good I ended up using every last drop on top of some leftover rice. Yes, I ate just the sauce over some rice because I enjoyed it that much.
Today I am sharing a very special local dish from where I grew up, known as the Garbage Plate. Not a very appetizing name right? Let me explain… A Garbage Plate is a combination of one selection of typically cheeseburger, hamburger, red hots, or white hots. But you can also choose Italian sausage, chicken tender, haddock, fried ham, grilled cheese, or eggs (yes eggs and it’s called a Breakfast Plate – it’s delicious). Then you choose two sides of either home fries, French fries, baked beans, or macaroni salad. On top of that are the options of mustard and onions, and a proprietary hot sauce, made with spices and slowly simmered ground beef. And then it’s all served with Italian bread and butter on the side. I like to use the bread to swipe up any remaining sauce when I’m finished! There’s actually a specific way to put it all together too. Click HERE to see how!
Are you hungry yet? Okay I know what you are thinking, and yes, it is definitely more popular to the college student crowd. Although I’ve actually eaten it sober many many more times than under the influence. Nick Tahou Hots is the originator of a the Garbage Plate and it’s popularity has spawned several imitators in the Greater Rochester area, including Mark’s Texas Hots (“The Sloppy Plate”), Gitsis Texas Hots (“The Gitsis Plate”), Empire Hots (“The Trash Plate”), Fairport Hots (“The Hot Plate”), Tom Wahl’s (“55 Junker Plate”), Jimmy Z’s (“Five Star Plate”), and others. Another fun fact, Health.com named the Garbage Plate the fattiest food in the state of New York, which is not all that surprising.
As for me and my history with the Garbage Plate, I used to get it with baked beans instead of mac salad, but I slowly converted over the years to enjoying the mac salad more. Today my perfect Garbage Plate is cheeseburger with mac salad, home fries, and a huge amount of ketchup. I go though half a bottle in one sitting, no lie. After cutting up the cheeseburgers and mixing it all together I swear it all gets absorbed and nearly disappears. Here is my plate before being cut up and mixed. I thought of posting a mixed picture but it’s not really a pretty sight.
As for my Memphian friends who I subjected this upon, they all loved it! Granted most of them had a half sized plate, but that’s really how much you should eat unless you like testing out how clogged you can get your arteries in one sitting. The bonus to this meal was the Genesee beer, found at a local grocery store! Never thought I’d see the day that a Rochester brewery would have a market in the south.
One year ago: Baked Oatmeal with Blackberries and Bananas