Difficulties in Cooking….

Does anyone else have something they absolutely can not make no matter what? No matter how hard you try, no matter how many different recipes, etc.?
Mine is lemon bars.

Please, please, give me some fool-proof recipe for lemon bars!

And also share your troubles so we can band together and help!

The Easiest Way to Mince an Onion EVER

I hate onions. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, probably for the rest of my life. When I want to use them, I want them to be as SMALL as possible, and I know a lot of my peers feel the same way. I’ve tried that cool pro trick of holding the onion and slicing down the middle and then mincing, but it never seems to work for me. So, this is my awesome trick:D

First, slice the onion into rings.

 

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Then, slice in half.

 

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Last, mince from the corner to corner. The rings really do all the work for you!

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Broiled Asparagus

I’ve always hated asparagus. I thought it looked weird, thought the strings were choking me (when not cooked perfectly,) and the main reason: they were green and I was a typical kid.

One day, shortly after my boyfriend moved in with me, he actually ASKED for me to make asparagus. Now, he’s the kind who eats anything, never ever complains (except for olives and mushrooms,) and lets me come up with anything I like. So this was a strange request. But of course I complied. And when I opened the oven, it smelled so delicious, I’ve been having asparagus at least once a week now since that day. I can not get enough of it; I’m even going to try to grow some this spring.

In case you need any more evidence in the argument for making asparagus a dietary staple:

Vitamins k, a, b1, c, b2, e, b3, b6, b5. Folate, iron, fiber, manganese (which is what makes your pee smell,) potassium, phosphorous, protein, choline, zinc, magnesium, selenium, calcium.

 

 

This is my go-to method because it is quick and easy. Translation: delicious and I don’t have to wait for it.

Set your broiler, position your rack near the top. Lay the asparagus flat on a baking sheet. Pour on melted butter, salt, and pepper. Broil for 6-8 minutes.

Ta-da!

Note: You can customize this so easily. Most of the time, I add garlic. Sometimes I’ll throw mushrooms into the mix. You could use red pepper flakes. Its awesome. Also, if you drink your 8oz of water (like you already should be!) you can forego the pee smell:)

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Non-Crock Pot Pot Roast

This was my first time ever not using my crock pot to make a roast. I don’t know if there was much of a difference, but it sure did make me feel like a gourmet chef spooning out the fat and mixing in wine and stuff. And also, it WAS really good – but still prob could have used the crock pot.

Ingredients:

Onion (I only used half because we don’t like onions)

2 carrots

2 ribs of celery

2 garlic cloves (I used about 5)

2 parsnips (didn’t know what the heck these were! Basically, they are a MUCH sweeter version of a carrot.)

3lb boneless chuck roast (I used angus)

olive oil

2 tsp sugar

2 cups chicken broth (called for 1 cup chicken, 1 cup beef, but I like chicken:) )

thyme (used parsley instead, but thyme would prob be better)

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup dry red wine

Chop the onion, carrot, celery into small pieces. Mince the garlic. Preheat oven to 300F.

Trim off any huge chunks of fat, leaving on a thin layer. Pat the roast dry with paper towels, then press in salt and pepper on all sides. Heat 2 tbsp. oil until just smoking, then brown your meat on all sides. Transfer the meat to a plate to sit. Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the fat in the pot and cook on medium until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and sugar (this is when it REALLY starts smelling good.)

Stir in broth and thyme, scraping up the bits on the bottom. Return the roast and any juice. Add water until it comes up halfway up the sides of the meat (you might not need any at all, I didn’t.) Bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer to the oven.

At this point, my dutch oven BROKE! The bottom fell right off and my food went spilling across my stove top. Luckily, I had just cleaned it all soooooo I just transferred everything to a glass dish.

Cook for 3 1/2 hours, turning every 30 minutes (roughly, don’t fret over the timing.)

Slice your parsnips, (I also added sliced mushrooms, which were PERFECT with the sauce at the end) add these to the liquid while in the oven, and cook for another 40 minutes.

Transfer roast to aluminum foil and tent, then do the same for your veggies. Let the liquid in the pot sit for a couple minutes, then scoop off any excess fat with a spoon. Add your wine, and cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper (mine didn’t need any of either.)

Put the veggies and roast back into the dish, then pour the sauce on top.

Note:

The original recipe also called for sliced potatoes to be added, but smelling our food, we were starving and didn’t want to wait for them to cook. Plus, I’d made mashed potatoes to go with it, so we were set in the potato arena.

 

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Garlic Mashed Potatoes

 

Everyone always says that making mashed potatoes is a labor of love. Well, these were not! I love chopping stuff with my big chef’s knife though so maybe that’s why. Anyways, very simple and delicious:) And when I say simple, believe me, you can do it.

Ingredients:

4 lbs potatoes (I used a mix of russet and red baby)

12 tbsp. butter

12 garlic cloves (used a whole lot more than this too)

1 tsp sugar

1 1/2 cups half and half

1/2 cup water

 

Simply, peel majority of potatoes (we like a little of the skin in ours) and then cube them. Cut the butter into pieces, and put 8 tbsp. back in the fridge for a while. Mince your garlic.

Melt the butter and sauté the garlic with the tsp of sugar, about 4 minutes. Rinse your potatoes in a colander, then add these, half and half, water, and salt to the pot. Bring this to a boil, then reduce to medium-low, cover, and let sit about 30 minutes. Stir this occasionally so all the potatoes cook evenly.

Off the heat, add the rest of your butter, 1/4 cup half and half, salt and pepper, and mix with an electric mixer.

 

Note: Next time I make these, I’ll probably melt in some cheese and add some scallions.

Any suggestions for cheese?

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