Pasta and Meat Sauce

Here’s a recipe I made up as I went.  Straightforward but a lot of multitasking.  I rate it “good enough.”

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce (Prego!)
  • 1 tsp of oregano
  • 1 tsp of basil
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 of an onion
  • Pasta
  • A little oil

Chop your half onion into small pieces and saute it in a large pan.  This is when you use the oil, dummy.  Smash, chop, and saute the garlic along with it.  You can use minced garlic or garlic powder later on, but I found smashing the cloves cathartic after a bad test and a three hour night-class.

While those are starting to saute, empty the jar of prego into a medium sauce pan and simmer it on low to medium heat.  Add the basil and oregano to the sauce and stirrrrr it up.  If you’re not sauteing garlic, put some garlic powder in the sauce too.  Also fill a large pot with water put it on high heat for the pasta.

So once your stuff is done sauteing, add that to the sauce too.  Stirrrrrr it up, bro!  In the pan you sauteed your veggies in, start browning the pound of beef.  This is why you needed a large pan!

Your water is probably boiling by now so put your pasta in.  I used fettuccine because I like it!  Make sure to stirrrrrr it up immediately or it’ll all stick together like mine did. 😦

Browning the beef is pretty straightforward.  Mash it up real good for a more consistent sauce or leave it kinda chunky if you want, your call.  Now just alternate stirrrrrrring everything up!  When the beef is done browning, drain it, add it to the sauce, and stirrrrrr it up!  This is why you needed a medium saucepan!  Your pasta is probably almost done so keep mixing this and that until done.  Drain your pasta and put it on a plate and EAT IT.

…OH I’M SORRY WHAT DID YOU SAY?? I’m a sellout because I’m using Prego and not making my own sauce from scratch?  Screw you I don’t care.


Steak and Potato Stoup

This is a modified Rachael Ray recipe which you can find if you Google “steak and potato stoup.”  Don’t bother though because my version is WAY better.

First, something you should know.  This is “stoup” because it’s supposed to be a cross between soup and stew.  When you first make it, it’s gonna be pretty soupy and not very stewy.  The key is to eat it as leftovers!  As it sits in your fridge, the potatoes break apart and make the soup much thicker and heartier and better.  If it’s for a dinner party or something where it will all be eaten at once, make it a day or two in advance so it stews up good.

Here’s what you need!

  • Some oil for sauteing
  • 1 lb steak
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 Idaho potatoes (or if you don’t want to buy a whole bag of potatoes like me, 2 russet potatoes because they’re way bigger)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bottle of dark beer (I’ve used Guinness Extra Foreign and Negra Modelo so far)
  • 2-3 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups of beef stock

Buy stir fry beef.  It comes already cut up! It’s so easy!  Cut any long strips in half or thirds.  IT’S SO EASY!

Here’s how to make it!

Get a huge pot, pour a bit of oil in, and set it to medium heat.  Season your steak with salt and pepper and brown it in the pot.  Watch out for oil splatter because it will burn your entire arm if you aren’t careful.  It’ll cook pretty fast because its cut into such small delicious pieces.  Spoon the steak onto a plate and set it aside for a while.

Cut your onion into pieces.  Slice your potatoes into thin discs and then cut those in half if they’re too big.  You can mince or grate your garlic but mincing is more fun.  Dump all these vegetables into the pot, add a little more oil if you want.  Saute until the onions are tender, don’t worry about the potatoes being done yet.  I also added pepper in here and sprinkled a bit of cayenne powder for good measure.

While that is happening, slice up your carrots.  Pour some of the beef stock into a small pot and boil the carrots for 5-10 minutes until tender.  You could boil them in water, but this makes them way more flavorful.

When the carrots and the onions are both done, pour a bottle of beer into the big pot and scrape the bottom because you probably have a bunch of potatoes and onions stuck down there.  Pour in the carrots, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, and the steak.  Remember the steak?  This recipe is about steak.  Simmer  until the potatoes are tender.  The original recipe says about 5 minutes but I did it for a lot longer because I felt like it.

If you’re so inclined, eat your stoup out of….. A BREADBOWL!!  This time I used a sourdough boule and it was sooo good.  Remember, it’s even better as leftovers so pop it in the fridge for later.  Enjoy the pictures!

(Soup in a) Breadbowl

Tomato Bisque BreadbowlIf you like soup, then you probably like breadbowls.  This ain’t about making soup, because I don’t know how to make soup, but breadbowls are easy!  I bought a premade tomato bisque from the grocery store and a hunk of bread that calls intself a “Simple Neo-Tuscan Boule,” but I think the “boule” part is the only important part.  Cut a hole in the top and pull some insides out like a pumpkin.  Plug it back up and pop it in a 400° oven for 7 minutes to get the crust exta cripsy. Heat up the soup while that’s going on, and when everything’s done, unplug the bowl and fill ‘er up and eat it!  I sprinkled some shredded Swiss on top cuz I likes to get my cheese on, which is recommonded.

Update: I’ve tried making a sourdough breadbowl as well, and I have to say… I greatly preferred the “neo-tuscan boule.”

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Even though this is a blog about cooking, my first post is about BAKING!  Shout out to my buddy Tanu for the recipe.

1. Pumpkin Cupcakes!

Here’s the recipe as given:

  • 1 cup of Sugar
  • 1 cup of All Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup of Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • ¾ cup of Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp of Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp of Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp of Salt

First mix the sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin, and then mix in the rest.  I added extra pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon because I’m a fiend for that shit.  This is a delicious tasting batter and I kind of want to just drink it.

Fill each cup in a 12 cupcake tray about 3/4 full, then bake at 350° for about 20 minutes until your toothpick comes out clean.  Mine took between 21 and 23 minutes.

Wait for them to cool completely before you frost them with…

2. Cream Cheese Frosting! (make it an hour before you frost the cupcakes)

Here’s the recipe for the frosting as given:

  • 4 oz of Cream Cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp of Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • ½ tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp of Milk
  • 4 cups of Confectioner Sugar

Stir up the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until its smooth.  I give it a few quick shots in the microwave to soften it up so it would mix without having huge chunks of butter in it.  Once that’s good, add sugar.

So far I’ve added about 2 cups of sugar and it’s already way too fucking sweet (but in a good way), so I don’t think I can add any more sugar with a clear conscience.  But it’s really just up to you, so start small and add more until you get it where you want it.

Last, add the milk.  Put it in the refrigerator for an hour to firm it up.

3. Frost it!

Now that your cupcakes are cooled and your frosting is chilled, pop in on them ‘cakes! If you’re pro, use one of those bags with a starshaped tip and squeeze it onto the cupcakes to make them look really cute.  If you’re like me, use a spoon and knife or something and plop it on any way you can.

Hot diggity, those are some good cupcakes.  And don’t they look good too?