Monday, November 30, 2009

I Hate Grocery Shopping

Monday Menu: Lunch: Grilled Cheese and Soup (Choice of Tomato or Chicken Noodle)
Dinner: Chicken Carbonara, Salad and Garlic Toast

Some days it’s really better not to get out of bed, don’t you think? I knew I should have called in sick this morning. I knew it when I first peeked my nose out from under the covers and felt the freezing air (we forgot to put the heat on last night…). So after battling the lovely Atlanta traffic, then being blocked off from parking at work for ½ an hour (stupid Sysco truck!), I finally made it work this morning, 40 minutes late. Not that there’s anyone monitoring when I get in and when I go and what I do in the mean time; I mean frat boys simply can’t be expected to be that responsible. Then the incident with the grilled cheeses (see the fratboyism for this week below). It was a rough start for any day let alone the Monday after a holiday. Then I remembered I had to get groceries.

I hate getting groceries for the frat. I hate it with a burning passion. I used to love getting groceries for Tyler and I, ambling up and down the aisles deciding what I wanted to eat that week. I used to love it, but not anymore. There is no time for ambling, and I have to know exactly what I need and how much of it I need. I only get one shot to get everything I need for the week, which means being super prepared and organized. This might be the time to mention that organization and preplanning are not my strongest suits. We’re talking an itemized, 3 page, single spaced list that has everything grouped by store location and which store I get it from.

Then there’s the amount of groceries. Have you ever seen $650 in groceries? I mean $650 in everyday groceries, no alcohol or caviar included. It’s a lot of stuff. And, I mean a lot. It fills the back of my SUV practically to the top. We’re talking 7-8 banana boxes full of groceries just for one week. I have to get a running start just to push the cart it’s full (I’m not kidding either, you should she the people laugh at me). And then there are the questions… When you’re walking around Sam’s with groceries piled so high the piles wobble and sway and threaten to send everything crashing to the floor, you tend to get weird looks and questions. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if I was having a party or where the party was, I would be able to retire sometime next semester. Seriously people, who throws parties like that? Why am I not invited? Sometime, I’m going to go in a long skirt and tell people I’m one of the Duggars and I’m shopping for my 47 brothers and sisters.

And then if that weren’t enough, I have to get the stuff out of the car, into the frat and put away. Wait, when I say put away, I mean hidden. I strategically hide the foods the frat boys would be most likely to get into, and if I can’t hide it, I put duck tape all over it and cover it with signs threatening life and limb if it’s taken (again, I’m not kidding). All of this is why I normally do my shopping on Fridays when I only have to prepare the morning meal. Today I still had to get back and have stuff put away in time to make dinner. Sigh… I’m tired and my turkey noodle soup smells done. I think today I might forgo the recipe and make tomorrow another 2 for Tuesday.

Frat Boyism of the Week (Nov 30)

Now just to get this clear, this past weekend was Thanksgiving, the holiday of overeating and gluttony (and all that other junk like family and being thankful). I’m fairly sure the boys all went home and stuffed themselves silly with turkey and all the fixings. Please keep this in mind for what I’m about to tell you. I fixed the usual amount of grilled cheese sandwiches this morning, two of those really huge Sunbeam loaves. You know, the ones that say they’re 2 pounds or something like that. Which adds up to around 35 grilled cheese sandwiches. That, with the gallon and a half of soup that I fixed, should have been enough for a normal Monday lunch. But, as I was getting ready to go do the weeks grocery shopping half an hour later, a head poked into my kitchen.

Disembodied Head- “Umm… are there any more sandwiches coming?”
Me- “No, why?”
Disembodied heat- “Because they’re all gone”
Me- “What?!?”

Yes, 35 sandwiches disappeared in 30 minutes. Where did they go? Nobody seems to know. So the mystery of the day is who took all the grilled cheese sandwiches. Did someone decide to take up competitive eating? Are there incredibly large, smart rats that can open and close serving trays (unlike a frat boy who cannot for the life of him figure out how to close the tray and thus keep the food warm) Luckily I had extra bread and cheese, and was able to save the day with more sandwiches.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday Comes

Menu: Lunch: Pizza Hut Buffet Dinner: Golden Corral Buffet

Happy Black Friday! I think it only makes sense that the day after the holiday of gluttony is the day for spending more than you ought to on stuff you most likely don’t need and won’t use. Ok… so I’m not much of a spender and even less of a shopper. My husband is just the opposite. So you can guess who got up early to shop and who stayed in bed… We are currently is the lovely southern small town of Fitzgerald, GA, known for its wild chickens. No, I’m not kidding. There are wild chickens running around everywhere here (and crowing at 5am).

As you might guess, I’m not cooking for the boys today. In fact, I’m not cooking for anyone. We’re at my in-laws this Thanksgiving, and my in-laws are big fans of going out to eat, especially when it includes a buffet. So this afternoon we’ll be hitting the stores (again… sigh) in search of “awesome deals” and then hitting the buffet. The only cooking I will have done this holiday is the enormous pile of mashed potatoes and the gallon of gravy. I didn’t even make my signature pies this year. While I love to cook all sorts of things, desserts are probably my first love in cooking. Maybe because I have such a sweet tooth… Instead the role of pie maker in my family fell to my sister this year. My sister is an excellent and creative cook, and I was sure desserts for my family were in good hands. I even handed over my pie crust recipe. Not really much of a secret as it’s based on Emeril’s recipe (only based on, I can’t help but try to improve on everything). The great secret in perfect pie crust making isn’t really as much in the recipe as it is in how you make it, and this is where even the best cooks get frustrated. The two keys are keep it cold, and don’t mess with it more than absolutely necessary. So, here is how I make my pie crusts.

Sweet Pie Crust
Makes 2 9-inch crusts

2 cups of Flour*
¼ tsp Salt
1 ½ tsp Sugar
½ cup Vegetable Shortening**
½ cup Butter **
½ cup Ice Water

Refrigerate both the butter and the shortening overnight; do not remove until you’re ready to make the crust). Mix the flour, sugar and salt. Put butter and flour mixture into the food processor and pulse until the mixture is coarse crumbs. Do not over process. Put crumbs into a mixing bowl. Mix in 3 tablespoons of cold water with your hands. Add more water as necessary until dough just begins to come together. Form two equal-sized disks, and cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Roll out the crust on a lightly floured surface until its 1/8 inch thick.

* Do not sift flour before measuring
** For a crisper, more buttery crust, use 1 cup of butter rather than ½ shortening and ½ cup butter

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'll Have Extra Tryptophan on Mine, Thanks

Wednesday Menu: Lunch: Oven Denver Omelet, Toast and Fresh Fruit Salad

Happy Turkey Day Eve! It’s a short week, and I’m only cooking one meal today. Everyone, like me, will be off this afternoon to their respective destinations to celebrate Thanksgiving and gluttony. Turkey day is truly a day for gourmands. Instead of giving you the boring old recipe for Oven Denver Omelet (which I’d be more than happy to give, if you ask me for it) I thought I would pass along a helpful recipe that my mother sent me. Ok, actually she gave me 2 recipes and said, “I combine these, you can work it out I’m sure”. But, it’s for make-ahead gravy. Do you see the utter genius? You no longer have to keep people waiting after the turkey’s done, so you can use the drippings to make scrumptious gravy. And, you don’t have to *gasp* use gravy mix. This is Thanksgiving people, show a little respect and make it from scratch. The best part is it makes a ton of gravy so you can top both your turkey and your potatoes (esp. helpful if you happen to have any gravy hogs in your family. *cough cough* David! Tyler!*cough cough*)
Until next time, drive, fly, boat, and cook safe! Happy Thanksgiving!

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy
Makes 8 Cups

4 Turkey Wings
2 Medium Onions, peeled and quartered
4 Celery Stalks, roughly chopped
4 Carrots, washed and roughly chopped
8 cloves Garlic, smashed
½ tsp Dried Thyme
8 cups Chicken Broth
1 stick Butter
1 cup Flour
Salt and Pepper

Heat oven to 400. Put wings in a single layer in the roasting pan. Scatter vegetables and garlic on top. Roast uncovered for 1- 1 ½ hours or until wings are browned. Transfer contents of roaster into large stock pot, being sure to scrape all browned bits from the bottom of the roaster. Add 6 cups of broth and thyme. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for 1 ½ hours.

Remove meat and vegetables (save meat for another use, makes great soup). Let fat and stock separate and skim as much fat off the top without removing broth or refrigerate overnight and remove the hardened fat with a spoon.
In a large saucepan, melt butter. When butter is completely melted, whisk in flour. Allow to cook for 1 minute. Then stir in broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thick. If you need to thicken, allow the gravy to cool than create a slurry of flour with a small amount of water and whisk in to room temperature gravy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

2 for Tuesday

Tuesday Menu: Lunch: Buffalo Wings, Celery and Baby Carrots
Dinner: Russian Chicken, Buttered Noodles and Mixed Veggies
Dessert: Pumpkin Roll (AKA Pumpkin Ho-Ho)

Today is 2 for Tuesday as I am throwing in an extra recipe: Russian Chicken and Pumpkin Roll. Ok, so the pumpkin roll one isn’t actually my recipe. It is, in truth, off of the Libby’s Pumpkin can, but it’s on the back of the label and therefore hard to get to. And then, you go embarrass yourself by trying to peel the label off in the store to make sure you have all the ingredients you need, and everyone’s looking at you like you’re nuts, and some store clerk comes up and asks you if you need help… Ok, so I have some issues when it comes to Libby’s Pumpkin Roll. Not the least of which is that my family calls it pumpkin ho-ho. Which I feel demeans all the hard work that goes into actually making it. It is not some glorified chocolate Twinkie, but it is a delicious dessert that makes an excellent accompaniment to any holiday meal.

Russian chicken is a recipe I borrowed and adapted from my old boss. I was lucky to fall in with a company that loved food (and drink) as much if not more than I did, and we were always swapping recipes. She made this one at work for us one chilly winter day. The prep is soo easy. Throw a couple things together and throw them in the oven for a while. And the smell… oh the smell. You know when Russian chicken is in the oven; you spend all day salivating over it. The chicken is absolutely fall off the bone, and it turns a delightful red.

Libby’s Pumpkin Roll
Serves 10 (I’m making 5)

Powdered Sugar
¾ cup Flour
½ tsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Ground Cloves
½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
¼ tsp Salt
3 Eggs
1 cup Granulated Sugar
2/3 cup Canned Pumpkin (not the pie filling kind)
1 cup Walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 15x10 jelly roll pan, line with parchment paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton towel with powdered sugar (Note: Not a terry cloth towel. If you don’t have a flour sack towel, you can use a clean sheet of parchment paper. Just be sure it measures out longer and wider than your cake)
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in mixer until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly in prepared pan, and sprinkle with nuts.
Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together. Allow to cool completely.

½ lb Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Powdered Sugar, sifted
6 Tbsp Butter, softened
1 tsp Vanilla
Powdered Sugar

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla in mixer until smooth. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread filling mixture evenly over cake. Reroll cake . Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Russian Chicken
Serves 26

28 Chicken Leg Quarters
9 bottles Russian Salad Dressing (If not available, use Catalina)
9 pkgs Onion Soup Mix
4 jars Peach Jam
1 cup Sliced Jalapenos, the canned variety

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together salad dressing, onion soup mix and peach jam until thoroughly combined. Arrange chicken in a greased baking dish, skin side up. Pour dressing mix over chicken. Sprinkle with jalapenos. Cover and bake for 1-1 ½ hours, uncovering the last 30 minutes.

Fratboyism of The Week

Overheard... Boy 1"I woke up in a chair clutching Tom's cooler of alcohol"
Boy 2 "Why were you holding his cooler?"
Boy 1 "If I knew that I wouldn't be telling you"

(Names have been changed to protect the somewhat less than innocent)

Monday, November 23, 2009

But... It's Not Themed!

Monday Menu: Lunch: BBQ Little Smokies, Chips and Fruit Dinner: Tacos, Spanish Rice and Green Beans

For the week of Halloween I did a special themed menu. Funny names and spooky food. Halloween is my birthday, and my favorite time of the year, so I thought it would be fun… Little did I know it would come back to haunt me. This morning I received an e-mail alerting me to the fact that the boys were “disappointed” that I had not done a thanksgiving themed menu for this week (not a stitch of turkey anywhere on the meal plan), and requesting that I do a Christmas theme for next week’s meals. All of this is code for “Kristen you’ve spoiled them, and they’re a bunch of whiney babies”.

I figured they were done with themed menus after a slight mishap with some chicken wings that caused food coloring to be banned (unfairly… see the whiney baby part above and maybe add wuss to it). Besides, why do a Thanksgiving meal when, on Thursday, they are all going home to have Thanksgiving meals? So, now I’m at a loss. What exactly can I do to make a Christmas themed meal? While I’m sure they would love a meal of nothing but Christmas cookies, that is out of the question, and I’m fairly sure immoral somehow. Elf shaped meatloaves seems wrong. And, as I mentioned before, food coloring has been banned. A horrifying thought just came to me! Does this mean they’ll want themes for every holiday? Am I doomed to fashion Easter bunny meatballs? What on earth will I serve for Presidents’ Day? How do I get myself into these messes?

On a lighter note, I served this casserole up this past Friday, and apparently it was a big hit. Something about the sausage and the crispy hash browns and the cheese…

Sausage and Hash Brown Bake
Serves 20

18 cups Frozen Hash browns (do not thaw)
7 pounds Bulk Sausage (browned and drained)
6 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
26 Eggs
1 1/4 cups Milk
3 cups Small Curd Cottage Cheese
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 shallow (2 inch deep) commercial baking pans. Layer pans equally with hash browns, sausage and cheese. Beat together eggs, milk, cottage cheese, salt and pepper. Pour over hash brown mixture. Bake uncovered 45-50 minutes or until hash browns are crispy and center is set.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chicken Cordon Bleu it ain't

Aren’t weekends lovely… nothing to do but lay around and be lazy, or in my case, be miserably sick and still cleaning carpets because the dog got them muddy. Is anyone looking for a large, horse-like dog or a small, cuddly but still supremely annoying cat? (Just kidding, mostly). So, now that the carpets no longer resemble a barn floor. I can relax and play a little catch –up.

Friday Menu: Brunch: Cheesy Sausage and Hash Brown Bake and Fresh Fruit Dinner: Chicken Cordon Bleu, Green Beans, Corn and Rolls

I would like to say for the record that Friday dinner was not prepared by me. It was a special week, and the boys were doing dinner for themselves Friday night. They just asked me to pick up the groceries for them while I was at the store. Now you might think, Chicken Cordon Bleu, pretty fancy for a bunch of frat boys. Well, clearly you haven’t been to Sam’s Club lately. In the freezer section they have these frozen, prepared chicken things they call chicken cordon bleu. I’ve had the stuff before, and it’s not terrible. But to say that this frozen chicken product is the same as real chicken cordon bleu is like saying mahogany and MDF are the same thing. Funny enough, the “chicken” in Sam’s chicken cordon bleu has about the same consistency and amount of taste as MDF...

The only bonus I could see to getting these as opposed to making chicken cordon bleu yourself is that these make fart sounds when you press them and they poop out cheese. I’m not kidding. If you can stand paying $13 for 6 mediocre frozen chicken patties stuffed with cheese product and ham, buy them. Heat them up, and then poke ‘em a couple times. They are sure to amuse your inner frat boy.

If however you want to experience the delight of real chicken cordon bleu (which is actually relatively simple to make). See below. This recipe will be in standard family size as I haven’t adapted it for frat use yet. Maybe I’ll make it next semester…

Super Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu (sorry, no fart sounds included)
Serves 4

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
4 slices of Ham (8 if they are thin sliced)
4 slices of Swiss Cheese
2 Eggs
1 cup Bread Crumbs
2 tbsp Butter, melted
½ tsp dried Thyme
½ tsp Garlic Powder
½ tsp Paprika
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Between 2 sheets of wax paper, gently pound the chicken breasts to ¼ inch thick taking care not to tear or rip holes in the chicken. Place a slice (or two if thin sliced) ham on each chicken breast and top with a slice of swiss cheese. Roll the each chicken breast into a tight jellyroll-like shape and tuck ends in. Secure with a toothpick. Beat eggs and season with salt and pepper. Mix together bread crumbs, garlic, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Dip the chicken breasts into the eggs, and then roll in bread crumb mixture until coated. Place chicken breasts in a greased baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

* Note: If you really want to get fancy, you could trade the ham and swiss for prosciutto and gruyere. Or, you could do cooked slices of bacon and smoked gouda… the possibilities are endless.

Friday, November 20, 2009


So, I have a post with a recipe half ready. But this morning when I woke up, the cold I have been battling for weeks took a nose dive (another pun? yes I think so) straight into full on horribleness. So, pathetic and miserable, the most strenuous thing I've managed to do today is nap. Please forgive me, I promise to get the full post up tomorrow in all it's awesomeness.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

To Photo or Not to Photo

Thursday Menu: Lunch: Buffalo Chicken Twice Baked Potatoes and Carrot Sticks Dinner: Beef Stew, Rolls and Brownies

I love food blogs with lovely, colorful photos showing every step of the cooking process. They make the recipe so appetizing. They make you want to jump in your kitchen and start cooking that dish right away! And I would love to have that kind of photo gracing my every post. I would post photos that show that I have a lovely clean workspace, spotless kitchen appliances, and beautiful picture-worthy cooking utensils. Ahh… What a sweet dream. There’s just one problem (actually several). I work in a frat house kitchen. A kitchen which the frat boys clean, and which is older than dirt (I think the first dirt invented is actually in that kitchen). I do, when need demands, rewipe a surface or rewash a pan. But the major part of the cleaning is up to the guys, and I’m sure I mentioned before that frat boys are among the dirtiest and most foul creatures on earth. So, I would be terrified to show pictures of a sauce simmering on the stove, only to show that the backsplash is so black and grimy that it defies logic. I’m sure that anyone reading this would immediately close the blog, shudder, and then fast for a week because the image so nauseated them. Ok, maybe it’s not that bad, but it’s not a pretty picture (that pun’s for you Lee). It is an industrial kitchen, it is older than dirt, the pots and pans are dinged and dented, the knives are dull and notched, and the walls are stained yellow with years of cooking.

The other major obstacle to posting photos is that I am no photog. I can point and shoot. And, that is the extent of the capabilities of my poor old camera. It can point and shoot. The photos for other food blogs are made with fancy expensive cameras, and they use words like aperture and flash. I don’t even know how to spell aperture correctly (spell check corrected it for me).

On the other hand, I hate cookbooks that don’t have pictures of the finished product. I like to know what the food is supposed to look like so I’ll know if it’s all going horribly wrong, and that no, indeed, the pan sauce is not supposed to be purple. So, I’m in a quandary, do I post pictures or no? I’ll have to think about this one.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Grill Thou Art Mine Enemy

Wednesday Menu: Lunch: Chicken Mac & Cheese and Apple and Orange Slices Dinner: Spicy Cajun Shrimp Kabobs, Rice and Broccoli

I have a hate-hate relationship with the grill at the fraternity. I hate it, and it spews smoke in my face and catches on fire. I have begged, pleaded, whined and cried about this grill to anyone who will listen. Unfortunately, no one listens. I am, after all, only the chef and a girl. What do I know about grills? Well, I know that I hate this one. And much to my chagrin, the boys at the fraternity love grilled food. So much so, that it is a requirement of the job that every Wednesday be grill day. This means every Wednesday afternoon I must face the beast, that pint-sized dragon that haunts my nightmares and burns the food.

Grill battle must begin much earlier than normal food prep because it is so temperamental. Normally I mosey away from my computer and facebook stalking around 2, but on grill days I generally start prep right after I serve lunch at 10:30am (that’s when the guys want lunch served, it’s weird , I know). To make matters worse, I made kabobs today. I don’t know what goes through my head sometimes when I’m planning meals… Shrimp kabobs, honestly! Do you know how long it takes to fill 120 kabobs with marinated shrimp and bell peppers? It took me an hour and a half. Then I had to grill them… Two hours and a few burnt shrimp later (the grate fell into the flames for no apparent reason) the main dish was done and it was time to move on to the sides. Thus ends the saga of the shrimp. Did I mention that I don’t like shrimp…?

Spicy Cajun Shrimp Kabobs
Serves 40
(Note: This recipe is also excellent with chicken in case you don’t like shrimp)

12 lbs large Tail-On Shrimp, deveined
5 cups Olive Oil
5 cups Lemon Juice
½ cup Cajun Seasoning
20 Green Bell Peppers, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 cups Butter, melted
½ cup Tabasco Sauce

Mix together oil, lemon juice, and seasoning. Pour over shrimp, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Remove from marinade and put on skewers alternating shrimp and peppers. Mix together butter and Tabasco Sauce. Brush kabobs with butter mix and grill until shrimp are pink.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Note on Bacon

Tuesday Menu: Lunch: Pepperoni and Cheese Calzones with Marinara and Fruit Salad Dinner: Jerk Chicken Alfredo, Salad and Garlic Toast

Ahh Tuesday, I like Tuesdays. It seems to be the most laid back day of the week. There is almost no chance of the boys having a party Monday nights so I’m less likely to find vomit in the drinking fountain, and less likely to be missing the 5 pounds of shredded mozzarella I need for today’s lunch. Also, today I’m making one of my favorite recipes. It’s my version of a dish I had once in a restaurant near my alma mater. I’ve made it before for the boys and they love it; it has bacon in it.

A note on bacon: It is an undeniable fact of nature that you can put bacon on just about anything and a frat boy will eat it… because it has bacon. I’ve tried this out on several different occasions. One week I sliced a pound of bacon into the green beans for dinner and they were the first to go. The next week, just out of curiosity, I made the green beans without bacon, and most of them ended up in the trash. Now whenever I want them to try something new or get them to eat their veggies, I just sprinkle on a little bacon.

Jerk Chicken Alfredo
Serves 50

½ cup Jerk Seasoning Blend
½ cup Italian Seasoning Blend
1 cup Vegetable Oil
13 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
3 lbs Bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 5/8 quart Butter
5 lbs Cream Cheese, room temperature
2 heads Garlic, Minced
3 quarts Half and Half
2 quarts Milk
4 lbs Grated Parmesan
6 ¼ lbs Penne Pasta, cooked
2 quarts Frozen Peas
Optional ¼ cup Cayenne Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a large baking pan. Coat chicken lightly with oil and then sprinkle generously with jerk seasoning, Italian seasoning and cayenne pepper (optional). Put in pan and cover with foil, bake until chicken is cooked completely through (approx 20-30 minutes in a convection oven, approx 45 in a regular oven) Let cool and dice into large chunks.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese and garlic and whisk until smooth. Mix together milk and half and half. Add milk mixture to cream cheese a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps. Stir in parmesan cheese. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. If needed, thin with milk. Toss sauce with hot pasta, stir in chicken and frozen peas and top with crumbled bacon.

Fratboyism of the Week

Here is the fratboyism of the week: "I would rather have sharp knives than hygiene"

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Monday... so crazy

Monday Menu: Lunch: Meatball Subs with Cheese, and Potato ChipsDinner: Pork Chili Verde with Tortillas and Rice

Yup, it’s Monday, and in college land that means quick tell the chef what we forgot to tell her last week! So rather then spending today easing into the week, I got the rude wake up that… oops we forgot to tell you that there would be 40 people eating every night this week instead of the usual 25-30. Oh, and while you’re out, we’ll need a meal for Friday too ( which I don’t normally fix). Every job has it’s hazards, mine is slipping in spilled beer and not getting the information I need to successfully complete my job. Oh well, they are only frat boys after all. Perhaps I should note, a meal for 40 college boys is equivalent to a meal for 50 regular people.

After making lunch, I scurried around trying to get everything I needed for an extra 10 people per night. But thanks to my superhuman shopping skills, I got almost everything I needed and got dinner on the stove in time. I am now just waiting for everything to get done. If you would like the recipe in a more family friendly size... just let me know.

For those interested here is the recipe:

Chili Verde
Serves 50 (or 40 college boys)

13 lbs Boneless Pork Butt, cubed
2-3 cups of FlourBacon Drippings from 2 pounds of Bacon*
4 large Onions, chopped
16 cloves of Garlic, minced
3/8 cup Mexican Oregano
¼ cup Cumin
68 ounces of Diced Green Chili Peppers (the canned kind)
11 cans of Chicken Broth
6 cans Tomatillos
4 lbs Frozen Corn
Salt and Pepper

Season the pork with salt and pepper and dust with flour. Heat the bacon drippings (or oil) in a large pan. Brown the pork on all sides. The pork will need to be browned in several batches to prevent crowding in the pan. Meanwhile, drain canned tomatillos and puree. When all the pork is browned, remove and sauté the onions and garlic until the onions are tender. Put all ingredients into a large pot and simmer until pork is tender, approx. 1 hour.

*Note: I am using the bacon for something else later in the week, ¾ Cup of vegetable oil can be used instead, but bacon dripping just give it a little je ne sais quoi

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Trying Something New

I've always been a big advocate of trying new things, so when my sister suggested writing a blog during my downtime rather than facebook stalking for hours a day I thought it might be fun. After hours of research I discovered two things: I cannot and will never comprehend html and I have no desire to do so. I think I better stick with what I know, which is cooking and consequently what this blog is about. More to the point, I want to share with you all my adventures (and recipes!) in being a fraternity chef.

Being a recent college graduate in desperate need of a job, I stumbled upon an opening in my little brother's fraternity. They needed a chef who could cook; I could cook and needed a job. Seemed like a win-win situation. Never mind the fact that I had never cooked for more than 10 people, my BA is in French not culinary arts, and I am somewhat germaphobic. After taking the job, I came to the realization that there is little to no information about how to cook for large groups, and doubling or quadrupling a recipe simply doesn't work. Also, frat boys may actually be the dirtiest most disgusting and uncivilized creatures on earth, but they crack me up and make every day interesting. They also really appreciate good-old-fashioned home cooking (in very large quantities), and even put up with my attempts at recipe creation.