I've been asked how I decide what to make each week (and that's a question that I would like to pose to all the other cook-through bloggers). I don't think I do it in a typical way...I sit down with TJOC and go through the whole thing, eyeing the different recipes and deciding what I think we should make. I make a list of what I would need for these recipes and go grocery shopping. If there are any great deals, we buy them and then I retroactively look for recipes. And I have a list of ideas for the week. It's not a particuarly efficient method
One recipe that has been on my list FOREVER is Sloppy Joe (p. 530). Honestly, this recipe has spent months on my to-make list. Why? First off, it's an easy recipe with ground beef. Second, I like sloppy joes but I don't like them too sloppy. So why haven't I made them? Simply put, Josh dislikes them. So I always figured that I would make them when he wasn't home but whenever I was in the mood for SJ's, we had no buns (and I didn't want loose-meat SJ's). But everything came together and I decided to finally make them!
Easy start--onion, garlic, celery, and thyme, salt and peppered, and fried up in vegetable oil. You then remove it to a bowl. Personally I think that the mix is beautiful! What pretty colors!
Next, the ground beef is cooked up....I have to say, 1.25 lbs of beef is a bizarre amount to call for. A really annoying amount actually :)
Then you add chili sauce or catsup (catsup!), beer or water (beer!), Worcestershire sauce, and some hot pepper sauce (Tabasco!). Then it's simmered until it's thick. So it starts here:
And it ends here (quite a bit more thick!):
So how was it? Really tasty! I was out of buns so I used toast--but it was really good! It wasn't particularly "sloppy" and it had a really good flavor. Plus, it is really easy to customize! Even Josh admitted it was pretty good (and he ate his on hot dog bun).
For some mysterious reason, I also decided this would be the perfect weekend to make a Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Spread (p. 76). Why? No idea. Usually it's nice to have some spread or dip around for lunch, for when I'm hungry and don't have much time--but I was obviously going to have a lot of leftovers from all of the other food I made...I must have been excited about my garlic-roasting success.
This recipe takes a LOT of garlic--four roasted heads. The garlic I had was absolutely tiny so I made six.
All of the roasted garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, basil, and salt and pepper gets mixed together in the tiny food processor. That part is easy enough...
For some reason I chose not to stir in any Kalamata olives...I have them...so I'm not sure why I didn't use them. I guess I forgot until I looked at the picture and read the recipe. Hmmm...
How was the spread?
Eh. Okay. I think it was too strongly Parmesan-y when I would have liked it to be more garlic-y. Strangely, Josh ate it spread all over rice and said it was extremely good...I'm not sure what motivated him to combine those two foods...but he said it was really good. I think it would be really good with three or four other dips at a party.
I used a lot of the chicken stock in the cream of asparagus soup but I still had a ton of boiled chicken left over...what to do with it...hmmm...Chicken Chili Verde (p. 435)! This recipe is a LOT easier if you use cooked chicken because it cuts off quite a bit of time--pretty much the first quarter of the recipe.
You start with onion, celery, and garlic (I spared you a picture of this since there are already about fifty pictures of onion, celery, and garlic cooking in a skillet on this blog already!) and then add chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt. I'm always worried at this point because it really doesn't take much for the spices to burn.
Tomatillos are then added. I used fresh although canned will work--I have no idea what canned tomatillos are like so I can't compare the two. The recipe then calls for an entire bunch of cilantro separated into leaves and stems.
You have to be kidding! That would take FOREVER. There was no way I was doing that. I separated what I thought was enough cilantro and then called it good. After stock and peppers are added...you have chicken chili verde! Exciting, right?
Apparently I thought that this was a boring recipe because I have no "after" picture--I cooked it down for quite a while and ate it on corn tortillas.
How was it?
Eh. Not bad, but not that good. Pretty boring. I probably won't make it again.