Archive for June, 2009

Spicy Curry Garbanzo Beans


I like spicy foods. So much so that either pepper, red pepper flakes, and/or Ms. Dash Extra Spicy are in almost every savory dish of mine, and often all three.

No pictures yet, still working on the photography and camera :)

1 can garbanzo beans
1/2 box of frozen corn (leftover from Mashed Potatoes)
A few shakes of Mrs. Dash Spicy
1 tsp hot curry powder (This was from the Central Market in Austin)
1 tsp Garam masala (Basically, this is one of the things you think of when you think “Indian food.”)
Garlic salt, pepper, and regular salt to taste.

Throw into a pot, and cook until warm. If you like rice this would go very well over rice.

Took me about five minutes of warming things up, and throwing spices in to be ready. I also put a lot of salt into it, but I like things salty :)

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Anatomy of My Cooking Mind

In this post, I shall discuss how I made: Instant Mashed Potatoes.

Not that this is some magical story, or the potatoes were amazing, or that I don’t have anything else to write about. But, as I was in the process of making these, I realized how it really summed up my typical cooking experience. So, enjoy :)

On the train home, I was hungry. I did the typically “Do I want to order out? No, I’m trying to save money. I have chicken at home that I can defrost and throw with pasta.”

I get home. Decide that defrosting chicken in water (because I have no microwave) is too much. I look in the freezer and I have corn. Mmm, corn and mashed potatoes, a starchy favorite.

I briefly read the back of the corn, and then just throw about half the box in with some water. I also found peas in the freezer, and threw them in as well. There was enough water to cover them, so I let them boil.

I realized that I threw away the packaging for the instant mashed potatoes, so I started an internet search for it. I found the PDF file from the government about Dehydrated Potatoes, which called for 2 cups of water, 3/4 cup of milk, and 2 cups of potatoes. I didn’t want 3 cups of potatoes, so I cut the recipe in half. Which involved interesting fractions in my head.

I also did not have milk, so I had to figure out how to get 8 oz of milk from my quart of dry milk powder packet. The outside box had no instructions, but the inside package said 5 heaping tablespoons would make 8oz of milk. Which works out to slightly less than 1/3rd of a cup.

Corn and peas are boiling and hot, so I drain them (using a pasta spork thing), and I place them in a boil with butter. I add garlic salt and pepper to the vegetables. Realize that I over salted the vegetables, and vow not to salt the potatoes until after mixing.

I put slightly less than two cups of water back into the same pot, and bring to a boil with a little bit of salt. I also grate about about 1/4 of cheese for the dish.

Water is boiling. I turn off the water, add the dry milk powder and stir, then add about a cup of instant mashed potatoes. And stir until it is not lumpy, and let it sit. Decide after two minutes that it is not thick enough, and add more potatoes, and stir.

Realize I have a huge pile of stuff, I decide to mix everything together and divide into two portions. Everything gets mixed, and the salt ratio events out nicely. Half the mixture goes into the fridge for tomorrow, the other half gets topped with cheese.

And, yum :)

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Lasagna Procedure and Result

It went well!

I followed the “recipe” mostly as I wrote it (well, because I was following my own instructions :) I put the diced tomatoes into the mini crock pot with some of the jarred sauce to see if it would cook some, but I did not start them early enough, so they were just warm.

I went light on the red pepper flakes, since I was cooking for someone who couldn’t handle really spicy foods. So, it was just kinda spicy.

I found out during the cooking that I had not bought Italian seasoning yet, so the seasonings were garlic salt, pepper, and Ms Dash Spicy Seasonings. So, the sauce was not the best, but still yummy.

I had to break the lasagna noodles in half to fit both in the water to boil as well as the pans. I ended up using two disposable 2lb. foil loaf pans, which held all of the sauce that I made. I ended the top layer with sauce, then covered the pans for transport.

After removing from the fridge, I placed the pan, uncovered, in a 400 degree oven. 350 would have been safer, but we were hungry :) It took about 30 minutes to get hot, at which time I topped it with two slices of mozzarella cheese. Another 10 minutes for the cheese to melt, and it was done! And delicious.

These lasagnas also freeze well. You can cook them from a frozen state, just cook at 300 to 350 until hot, then top with cheese. Might take 45 minutes to an hour, so check on it at 30 minutes,t hen about every 10 after. Once hot, top with cheese, and bake until cheese is melted.


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Lasagna Ingredients and Recipe


Italian Sausage: 6 links at 2.99 a pound = 5.35  (Sale at Whole Foods)

Garlic Salt, Pepper, Italian Seasonings, Garlic, Onion

Pasta Sauce Jar = 1.50 (Target)

Diced Tomatoes = 2 at $1 = $2 (Target)

Half a box of Lasagna Noodles = 1.25  (Im not sure :)

Cheese, Sliced Mozzarella, .5 pounds at 5.99 a pound = 2.98

Cheese, Romano .25 pounds at 9.99 a pound = 2.50

Basic Recipe:

Cook Italian Sausage, with onion and garlic.  I tend to add red pepper flakes, but I like really spicy food. Drain sausage.

Combine Jarred Pasta Sauce (yeah, im cheating, so what?) with diced tomatoes.  I like how the jarred sauce is almost spiced correctly, but I like the chunkyness that diced tomatoes add.  I have attempted to make my own tomato sauce, with tomatoes and tomato paste, and it never quite comes out right.  I even attempted Alton Brown’s Pantry Tomato Sauce;.  (The tomatoes never roasted.  They got hot, and that was about it.  Utter waste of two hours of oven time.)

Add spices and cook (very slow simmer) for a while, taste to see if spice is right, and cook more.

Boil the lasagna noodles, and lay out on foil or parchment paper to cool.

Micrograte the Romano.

Put Italian Sausage into the tomato sauce, and let cook for a few.

I use 2 pound disposable foil containers, because I like to freeze my lasagnas.  Spoon some sauce into the bottom of the container.   Lay a noodle on top, and spoon on more sauce, then cheese, then noodle, then sauce, then cheese, then noodle, then sauce.

(So, noodle sauce cheese, except the last layer, you want to be just sauce on top, as cheese on top can burn.)

Stay tuned for how it turned out! :)

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Lasagna Background

Today’s attempt will be lasagna.

Yeah, though, I have already made lasagna in the past.  And, its turned out pretty good.  Meat, tomato sauce, pasta, and cheese, it can be hard to mess up.

Though, I have messed it up in the past.  Typically, I make lasagna to freeze.  I used no boil noodles, which do not handle freezing and reheating well.  After eating crunchy noodle lasagna once, I always cook my noodles.

I think my best attempt was using marinated mozzarella as the middle layer.  It was excellent, and I must do that again sometime.

My secret is using Italian Sausage in my meat sauce.  I tend to use turkey Italian sausage, as it seems more healthy than pork sausage.  Then again, I used pork sausage once to make Italian Sausage soup, which was the time that I found out about my gallstones, so I might be biased against it.

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Attempted Cooking

I love to cook.

I love to look at recipes, I love to try new things, and I love feeding others the results of my labor.

Problem?  Almost anything I attempt comes out, well, not what I expected.  When cooking for myself, I can typically try to rescue it.  Baking still eludes me, I cannot seem to do it.

This is my blog about my attempts.  So many cooking blogs seem like they effortlessly read a recipe, and produce a photography ready piece of food.  My blog will not be about that.  Well, perhaps, but you will see all the previous attempts as well.

So, Welcome!  Let me know if you want to see how I fail at your favorite recipe. :)

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