Crock Pot Rice

April 24, 2009 at 3:04 pm | Posted in Crock Pot, dinner, Oops | 3 Comments
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Well, this week has not been a good one for me, food-wise. I screwed up a couple of different meals in minor ways. One not-so-minor. But I am getting ahead of myself. Because we decided to go ahead and start house-shopping, as well as be good citizens and pay our taxes, as well as be good consumers and buy stuff, as well as be good debtors and pay for things we owe money on … and so forth … we are on a strict budget right now. And when I say strict, I mean … well, we’re not buying anything. Nothing. Not at all. This brings the idea of “budget gourmet” to a whole new level.

So I’m trying to make-do with what we have in the house. Normally not an issue for me. However, I’m starting to run out of ideas. So yesterday afternoon I got the brilliant (?) idea to make rice in the crock-pot. I hate making rice, even though it’s really cheap, because it just takes so DANG long. And the pot ends up really nasty with starch when I’m done. So I thought if I put it in the crock-pot and used a liner, this would be great!

Well … here’s an up close photo. See if you can guess what went wrong:

It was a nice try, anyhow.

It was a nice try, anyhow.

That’s right – some of the rice cooked up nice and fluffy. And some wasn’t cooked at all. Eww. I don’t know how to fix this, either. I don’t know if I didn’t put enough water in, if I went overboard on the quantity, if I cooked too “low and slow”, if I should have stirred it … so all we can do (sadly) is eat my mistake and try again next time. I think I’ll go with less rice, cooked on high, for less time. That will (hopefully) fix the problem.

Unless someone out there has an idea or a foolproof method? Leave me a comment!

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Cheater, Cheater, Cheater.

April 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Those of you who know me well know that I am all about doing things the old-fashioned way – from scratch. However, I will admit that I am not always in the mood for the hour-long process that is homemade spaghetti sauce.

I am also a big fan of supporting small businesses and local companies.

So how do you combine these two things to get a meal that tastes like “from-scratch” without the hassle? My favorite jarred spaghetti sauce (gasp!) …

The best alternative to "from-scratch" I've found

This is a company local to my hometown of Canton, Ohio. (Okay, they are actually located in Navarre, but close enough) They still make their sauces the old fashioned way, simmering in (relatively) small batches. As yet, I haven’t found a “big-name” brand that’s even close. In fact, their sauces are better than most of the so-called “gourmet” brands, too. The thing I like best about their sauces is that if the spices are not quite to your liking, you can add more without completely changing the character of the sauce.

So … if you get a chance to try MID’s, whether its pasta sauce or pizza sauce (also yummy), do it. You won’t be disappointed.

Back to Basics: A Confession.

April 9, 2009 at 8:43 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Well, up until now, there were very few things in my life I was positive I couldn’t live without. My family, some sort of food, and a viable means of transportation were pretty much it.

Or so I thought.

Allow me to make a confession – I am a microwave addict. I never realized it until just now. But I am. It’s amazing for someone like me (who loves to do things as “old school” as possible) to admit, but I’m addicted. Here’s the back story. About two weeks ago our microwave just up and quit. It would blow a breaker every time you tried to turn it on. Although it was frustrating, I thought, “Well, time to buy a new microwave … ” and move on. However, those of you who know me well know that I suffer from what I like to call “Sesame Street Syndrome” which means that, essentially, I ascribe non-living items with humanoid attributes. In this case, the microwave was a gift from my parents and I felt like I was betraying an old friend. No other microwave would do.

So I hit the Panasonic website. Ahhh – a certified repair center right here in Dayton! To make a long story short, for the past week, the microwave has been “in the shop” so to speak. I have NO microwave at all. And a stove which can only be described as crappy on its best days. So all the things I’d been taking for granted (like heating water to the exact right temperature for my bread, melting butter, and defrosting meat) are taking me by surprise.

For example, I have my bread-making routine down to a science. I know how long the water has to go in the microwave for, how long it takes to melt but not boil the butter, and so forth. Doing all these things by hand (particularly melting the butter) was not only weird, but completely threw off my “groove” so to speak.

All that being said, I am sure the microwave, my old faithful friend, will be back soon and better than ever. Or at least I hope so.

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