The Bad Mommy Cooks—Virginia

While not the first official state (that’s Delaware), Virginia was the first colony and the site of the first English settlement, Jamestown, in 1607. (That’s the settlement that didn’t disappear, by the way.) In fact, in 1584 the Queen at the time gave the name “Virginia” to all the land being explored by Sir Walter Raleigh. This land actually stretched from present day Maine all the way down to South Carolina. The beginnings of America started in Virginia and therefore, our Virginia meal reflected that.

It really wasn’t difficult to choose the components of this state meal. Of course we had to make Virginia ham—the state’s name is in the food for crying out loud! But what to make with it that screamed “Americana”???? None other than mashed potatoes, broccoli, and Apple pie. Is there anything more American than apple pie?

We had a ham in our freezer that has probably been there since last Easter. Our supermarket gives us gifts like a “free” ham or turkey at holiday times after we spend a certain amount in the store. I think it’s something like five million dollars—steep, but somehow we seem to earn the “free” meat product every time. (They used to give us 10, 20, or 30% off coupons…man, I miss those days…instead now I get an 11 pound ham 🙄.) Eleven pounds of ham is a bit much for three people (yup, Mister Picky Teenage Boy who is living on McDonald’s and Coco Puffs will not eat ham) so you can understand my reluctance to make it the ham before pulling Virginia out of the hat. Oh, by the way, my daughter wrote out the states back in August and until we pulled “Virginia” we didn’t know that she had spelled it completely wrong…yup…we pulled “the state of female anatomy” out of the hat. Cue inappropriate jokes from Hubby. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Hubby also refused to help me cook this ham. I’ve never made a ham and the sheer size of it terrified me. Go ahead, make your own inappropriate jokes…I’ll wait.

img_1049 Of course I had to google how to make the stupid thing and I panicked when I realized I didn’t have anything to make a glaze. Until I discovered a bottle of Pampered Chef Pineapple Rum glaze in the cabinet that was even older than the ham. The whole bottle fit nicely on the whole thing:

img_1050 As soon as I dumped it on the ham, hubby surfaced from his basement lair and informed me that I should have taken the skin off the ham. I gave him the finger and told him to bite me. I know, I know…so mature. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Anyway, the ham went into the Craptastic Oven from Hell at 430 degrees since the recipe online said to cook it at 375 and the oven is off by 55 degrees. I set the timer for 2 hours and 45 minutes since it needed to cook for 15 minutes per pound. The whole thing seemed like a word problem you’d find in a third grader’s homework 🤯 (I hate math).

Meanwhile I peeled the potatoes for the mashed potatoes and cut them up. Kind of off topic, but does anyone else shudder when they read a recipe and discover you need to “cube” roundish objects like potatoes? Seriously, how does one actually accomplish this? 🤔 I usually end up in tears because there is no way possible to cube all the potatoes into squares that are the same size. It just is geometrically impossible.

Ham in the oven. ✔️ Potatoes boiling. ✔️ Time to make the apple pie. I have to confess, I love apple pie, but I haven’t had it in years because it always reminds me of that scene in American Pie. You know the one I’m talking about. Wow, Virginia really does bring out the inappropriateness in people, doesn’t it? Oh well, Virginia is for lovers after all. 😏

So…anyway…the pie. I realized after I bought frozen pie crust that I’ve used for pies in the past, that I needed the refrigerated crust so I could have bottom and top to the pie. Back to the store I went. Oh and I had to get apples anyway. Apples are kind of the star of an apple pie.

img_1051   I like a medley of apple flavors so I used Granny Smith and Honeycrisp. The Honeycrisp is sweeter and the Granny Smith is tarter. I had a bit of a nervous breakdown because the apple-peeler-corer-slicer that I’ve had for sixteen years decided to crap out on me right then and there…just when I needed it the most…just when I was making my first apple pie.

I got over it and peeled and sliced the apples myself, all the while bitching about how much easier it would have been with the apple-peeler-corer-slicer. And while sticking to the floor because the juice was going everywhere.

The rest of the ingredients were simple: 3/4 c. sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 2 TBSP all purpose flour, 1 tsp lemon juice:

img_1056   Add to pie crust and cover with second crust:

As you can see from the last picture, I tried to get fancy with the cut-outs on the crust but I’m not really up to that level yet, you know? The pie went into the oven at 455 (55 degrees off, remember?) for 40 minutes. There was nothing left to do but cross my fingers.

So let’s put a pin in the pie saga and return to the ham which was now finished. Hubby caved to my commands and cut the ham for me:

img_1062   It came out perfect with a nice flavor from the glaze. The mashed potatoes weren’t too shabby either:

img_1065   (Even the dog loved them)

img_1066   By the time I finished cleaning up dinner, the pie was done. Oh, by the way, in case you ever make apple pie—after about 15 minutes in the oven you should take the pie out and put two inch strips of foil around the edges so they don’t burn.

img_1069   It looked good. It smelled even better. The problem was, the pie was supposed to sit for at least two hours. I wanted to eat it before then. It appeared a little deflated and watery—it could have been because I cut it too soon or it could have been because I didn’t use enough apples. After the broken apple-peeler-corer-slicer ate up two of my apples, I was down to 4 apples when the recipe called for 6. I didn’t think it mattered that much, but apparently it does. Next time I will definitely use 6. And I will also use a little more flour as well. Still, the pie was tasty and warm inside…a slice of Americana:

img_1070   (You can make a joke now…I know you’re dying to.)

The Bad Mommy Cooks—BBQ Steampots

There must be something in the air…two successful cooking attempts in a row! I know what you’re thinking…the last successful cooking attempt was Mother’s Day…that was like two weeks ago. Well, I hate to admit it, but we haven’t cooked a meal in two weeks It’s been night after night of take-out, restaurants, cereal for dinner, and even a night or two where we completely forgot to eat dinner. Welcome to baseball season at our house—the season of never knowing when we will be home for dinner! The first few years my son played baseball I seriously tried to organize meals, but games would get rescheduled, rained out, and rescheduled again…always at the last minute. Some games would last an hour, while others would go three hours. I finally gave up trying to feed my family sometime in his sophomore year of high school. We just never seem to have time to pull together a meal.

Which is why I love this Steam Pot meal. While it’s not actually a Steam Pot, that’s what the kids call it when I make this particular dish. When we go to seafood restaurants, we all like the Steam Pot meals with the shrimp, sausage, corn and crab legs. They’re so easy and quick to recreate at home. The best part is you don’t even need the pots—

The dish consists of uncooked shrimp, Andouille sausage, corn, and red skin potatoes. You basically cut the potatoes and sausage into cubes, quarter the corn, defrost the shrimp, dump them all on a sheet of heavy duty foil, season with Old Bay, and top with several TBSP of butter for good measure. That’s it. Since the sausage is precooked, you don’t even have to precook anything…although I would recommend sticking the potatoes in the microwave for about 5 minutes before you cut them up and add to the foil since they tend to come out too hard if you skip this step.

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We didn’t have crab legs this time, but you can easily add them to the mix. (Make sure you use the heavy foil since the crab legs tend to rip through.) We had a little disagreement about how long the foil packets should stay on the grill. I took them off after 10 minutes (5 minutes on each side) because I ended up spilling part of the packet. I forgot to make sure to close the foil on the SIDE, not the top or bottom, when I wrapped them. This may cause the packet to open up if you flip it over on the grill too rapidly.

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See? I should have put them on the side. Since I didn’t, one of the packets opened up and I had to rewrap it and the grill started smoking because of the butter dripping and I got frustrated and nervous about all the smoke and took all the packets off the grill even though they weren’t done. (I’m sure you’re elated to know I can mess up even the simplest of meals.)

Anyhoo, they went back on the grill for another five minutes or so and they turned out perfect in the end:

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There were no leftovers…next time I will make a 5th packet so that we can all have some extras. I’m sure you can wrap each item up individually and cook it as well, but I think the flavor created from mixing everything together is part of this dish’s charm.

So if you’re short on time this grill season, whip up a couple steampots for your family. It’s quick and so easy that even I can do it.

How To Enjoy a Beach Day With Kids In 39 Easy Steps

What summer vacation isn’t complete without a trip to the beach? If you’re fortunate enough to live close to the ocean, you can enjoy a beach day with the kids using these 39 easy steps.

#1. Pick a day where it’s not raining, there’s no chance of thunderstorms, the UV index is below 6, and the wind isn’t blowing fifty miles an hour.

#2. Throw your kids and their bathing suits in the car (don’t forget towels, a blanket, beach umbrella, baby powder to get the sand off of feet, chairs, sand toys, pop up tent for your kid that burns like a lobster, hair brush, hair ties, ear plugs for your kid that gets swimmer’s ear, boogie boards, sunblock, lunch, drinks, enough snacks to feed everyone in ten mile radius on the beach because one of your children will undoubtedly friend a family with eight kids and invite them to your blanket for snack time, and a book or magazine for yourself that you’re not going to be relaxing to read in a million years).

#3. Drive to beach.

#4. Unload all aforementioned items into your sand cart and beg your kids to carry the rest as you drag the cooler, push the cart, and try to walk with a wailing child, who just got sand in their eye, attached to your leg.

#5. Reach the beach after stopping ten times to adjust your load and once to remove splinters from the foot of the child who insisted that she didn’t need to wear her flip flops on the board walk.

#6. Dump items on the sand and pause to catch your breath and wipe the sweat that is dripping off your body.

#7. Try to set everything up while your kids ask you no less than 187 times if they can go in the water yet. Rescue beach umbrella as it blows down the beach.

#8. Tell your kids (nicely) to stop screaming and no they cannot go in the water until they get sunblock on. Fend off dirty looks from the annoyed twenty-somethings in thong bikinis that are sunbathing on a blanket nearby. Grab nearest child and begin rubbing sunblock into his or her skin. Don’t forget the tops of his or her feet, the ears, and every other place you would never imagine you could possibly get sunburn unless it’s happened to you and you’ve laid writhing in agony all night.

#9. Drop sunblock on the sand to run to the water’s edge to drag back the child who has ran down to water while you are trying to sunblock the first. Try to sunblock that now wet child. Listen to child scream about sand in the sunblock scraping up her skin. Resort to using the spray sunblock. Child runs off before you can rub in spray sunblock.

#10. Start to sunblock yourself.

#11. First child comes running back to you to announce that she has to go potty. Discretely tell child that she can pee in the ocean. Shush child as she yells “Pee in the ocean? Mommy that’s gross!” Ignore looks from twenty-somethings who have now removed their bikini tops and are face down on their blanket.

#12. Pull second child out of ocean to go back up to the bathroom to bring first child who is now wailing about having to go potty. Drag both kids to bathroom. Take child to stall and try to remove her now wet bathing suit from her bottom. Ignore her screams that are akin to you lighting her toenails on fire. Figure you might as well pee while you’re here. Pull down your own bathing suit and shush your child as she loudly asks why you have fur on your hooha.

#13. Return to beach with both kids.

#14. Sit on beach blanket or beach chair for 3.6 seconds before leaping to your feet because your youngest child is already in over her head.

#15. Save child. Shoot evil eyes at lifeguard who didn’t even move while you saved child.

#16. Drag waterlogged, sobbing child back to blanket. Yell at other child to stay close to shore. Get dirty look from both other child and sunbathing topless girls next to you.

#17. Calm sobbing child and try to get her to put her feet in the water while she clings to you like a window stick-um.

#18. Encourage older child to stay close to you and try to teach him how to use the boogie board without letting go of younger, stick-on child. Yell at him several times for going out too far. Have several heart attacks when wave knocks child over and you can’t see him for a few seconds. Sigh with relief when he announces “that was cool!” Try to enjoy the water.

#19. Give up when younger child repeatedly asks if it is time to eat. Wave in a reluctant older child to trudge back to blanket and check phone to discover it is 10:32 and you’ve only been at the beach for an hour.

#20. Let kids eat their sandwiches anyway. Try to pick the sand out of the sandwiches when the kids complain about it. Give up and tell them to just drink more water.

#21. Take youngest child to bathroom again after she drinks all that water.

#22. Tell older child he needs to wait a half hour before going back in the water for some reason that you’ll never understand.

#23. Try to engage kids in building a sandcastle. End up building sandcastle yourself. Yell at kids for flinging sand at each other. Apologize to twenty-somethings who have tied their tops back on and are now moving because they got sand in their eyes from your kids.

#24. Coax younger child back in water while older child dashes far ahead of you despite yelling at him to stay where you can reach him.

#25. Drag both kids out of the water again when younger child poops in bathing suit.

#26. Discover older child has eaten all the snacks while you were in the bathroom.

#27. Calm younger child while she screams about sand in her heinie. Try to empty sand out of child’s bathing suit discretely.

#28. Let older child go back in the water with explicit instructions not to go farther in than knee deep. Panic when older child goes in waist deep.

#29. Reapply sunblock to younger child despite protests of pain. Make her sit underneath umbrella. Call older child in from the water when you see the tops of his shoulders getting red.

#30. Offer child a shriveled up nectarine when she tells you that’s she’s hungry because her sibling ate all the good snacks.

#31. Decide to pack it in when child gets sand in her eyes and won’t stop screaming.

#32. Carry all items back to the car in no less than four trips while holding the hand of a screaming child and a whiny protesting child.

#33. Shake baby powder on children’s feet to prevent sand from getting in your vehicle.

#34. Cringe when both children empty the sand out of their bathing suit bottoms onto the back seat.

#35. Get in hot car and immediately discover that you have sunburn on the entire lower half of your body because you never finished step #10—applying sunblock to yourself.

#36. Drive home. Stop several times because child has to pee.

#37. Dump all sandy items on your front lawn and vow to deal with them tomorrow.

#38. Open bottle of wine and drink.

#39. Decide to skip steps #1-37 next time.

The Bad Mommy Cooks—Crock Pot Cinnamon Rolls

I did it! I made a decent meal! Okay, so it was a slow cooker breakfast food, but still, I didn’t mess it up. You laugh, but don’t forget, last week I screwed up a cake made of pudding and whipped cream.

For Mother’s Day we had my mom, Hubby’s mom and my sister over for brunch. While Hubby doesn’t mind cooking for a houseful on Christmas Eve, I help him with that. It’s kind of difficult to cook for our crazy families (okay, it’s mostly my family that is crazy…) alone. On Mother’s Day I think I should get a small break, right? Hubby wanted to make a complicated egg and hashbrown dish—I wasn’t too interested in helping with that. Nor did I want to make anything else that would be equally complicated. I considered trying to make donuts in the air fryer, but then I thought about it and realized it would be too much work for Mother’s Day. I mean, I wanted to help Hubby out with cooking, but not with anything too strenuous. It was supposed to be my day, you know? (Mothers everywhere, insert sarcastic laughter here. )

But still, we couldn’t just have the egg hashbrown thing for brunch. Sure Hubby was making bacon, too, but if you’ve ever seen seagulls descend on beach-goers with sub sandwiches, you have an idea of what our kitchen looks like when bacon is made. We needed more to eat. Hence, the Crock Pot Cinnamon Rolls.

There are several recipes on Pinterest for Crock Pot Cinnamon Rolls, each with a different name like Monkey Bread, Crock Pot Cinnamon French Toast, or Cinnamon Roll Casserole. It’s all basically the same thing with various additional ingredients. You simply cut up Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in quarters, toss them in a mixture with brown sugar and butter, and pop them into the crock pot for a few hours. This recipe had some extras, like pecans and GREEK Yogurt. I’m kind of on a Greek yogurt kick so I really couldn’t resist. (Greek yogurt is healthy!)

The mixture is made up of 1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt, 3/4 c. packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup of melted butter, 1 TBSP of vanilla extract, and 1/2 c. chopped pecans. Toss the quartered cinnamon rolls in the mixture and pour the whole thing in the crock pot. You’re supposed to spray it with a non-stick spray before you do that, but I like to live dangerously and on the edge, so I didn’t bother and everything was fine. I had a mess to clean up anyway, so what’s a little sticky cinnamon roll leftovers from the crock pot? (Heaven forbid my kids clean up the dishes on Mother’s Day…)

It took about 3 1/2 hours to cook on low till the rolls were done—I then poured the icing that came with the cinnamon rolls over the top and let everyone shovel out what they wanted on their own plate. They were gooey and a perfect Sunday morning treat.

Side note: I got up at 6 am to prep them and then I went back to bed, but you can even prep them the night before and stick them in the fridge till the morning. I guess you would have to get up anyway to turn the Crock Pot on. Or do they have slow cookers that you can use a timer on?  I don’t even know…I must go investigate this. But first, let me go clean up my kitchen. 😒😒😒

strawberry icebox cake

The Bad Mommy Cooks—Alabama (Part 2)—IceBox Cake

Part 2 of our Alabama meal was dessert and it was a DISASTER. I was scrolling on Pinterest as I often do, and I came across this Strawberry Icebox cake recipe. I watched “Sweet Home Alabama” a billion times and I remember the part where the mom says she has a bologna cake in the icebox. I figured this strawberry icebox cake looked a heck of a lot more appetizing than a bologna cake. Plus, every year my husband’s mom makes him this “Boop Cake” for his birthday with really similar ingredients so I figured he would like it.

Who Names a Cake “Boop Cake”?

In case you are wondering, my mother in law got this recipe from my husband’s 5th grade teacher who’s last name was “Boop”—she’s made it for him every year since. I hate this cake with a burning passion. To me it is a gross combo of ingredients—crushed Ritz crackers and vanilla pudding? Yuck.  He loves it though. The strawberry icebox cake seemed a little more my speed with graham crackers and cheesecake pudding instead. I was dreaming that he would love it so much that he would request that instead of the Boop Cake for his birthday…fat chance. That didn’t happen because I messed it up.

How can you Screw up An Icebox Cake?

So this cake was one of the simplest recipes you can imagine. There were only 5 ingredients and it was NO BAKE (that was the most tantalizing aspect of this recipe to me if I’m going to be honest).

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I was really disappointed that I couldn’t find cheesecake pudding so I had to use yucky vanilla instead. I don’t think that was the biggest problem with the cake, though. The problem was that the directions were not super clear. The list of necessary ingredients also varied from the actual ingredients used (I found this to be the problem with the Alabama White BBQ sauce as well—could this be an Alabama problem?).  And I could not get a clear answer from Google on how much Cool Whip constituted 3 1/2 cups. We got answers ranging from 8 oz to 32 oz. We ended up buying $15 worth of Cool Whip and only ended up using half.

Plus, I pin too many versions of recipes. I think the ingredient lists get all muddled up in my head and I’m not sure where I read what.

Could That Be Where The Mistake Lies?

Maybe. Who knows. The directions on how to make the pudding were a bit fuzzy as well. First it said to follow the package directions (using milk). Then it said that I could use 8 oz. cream cheese to make the pudding if I was using vanilla pudding, but omit the milk. Um, how the heck can you do that???? How do you boil cream cheese on the stove in lieu of milk???? That sounded like a fire call waiting to happen.

It also said to let the pudding sit for five minutes and then fold the Cool Whip into it. It was still runny and I didn’t know if putting more Cool Whip would make it worse. Also, I didn’t have a 8 X 8 dish, so I needed to improvise. with that as well. I poured my first layer and boy was it liquid-y.

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When I added the graham crackers on top, they sort of oozed into the pudding mixture.

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Still, I continued to layer it with pudding, strawberries, and graham crackers keeping my fingers crossed. I figured that since it needed to set overnight, that would fix all the problems.

News Flash—-It Didn’t

My nephews came over the next day and it was my middle nephew’s birthday. He was complaining he didn’t get a cake (he got taken to dinner at Benihana and he got ice cream and they sang to him but apparently that wasn’t enough…) I realized Wait! I have a cake! An icebox cake! I stuck some candles in it and viola! Instant birthday cake!

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While the cake looked pretty nice on the outside:

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Once I cut it, it was an instant Pinterest fail:

This is what it was SUPPOSED to look like.       This is what it ACTUALLY looked like.

Oh well. You win some, you lose some. Try it at home and let me know if it’s just me or you’re icebox cake comes out crappy too. I’ve included the directions below.

The Bad Mommy Cooks—Alabama (Part 2)

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 c. Cool Whip
  • 3.4 oz package of cheesecake or vanilla pudding (2 c. cold milk to make the pudding)
  • 12 graham crackers
  • 2 c. of sliced strawberries

Instructions

  1. Make pudding according to package directions. Allow to thicken.
  2. Fold in 3 c. Cool Whip.
  3. Spread a thin layer of cream mixture to bottom of 8x8 pan.
  4. Cover with graham crackers (you can break them up to fit them).
  5. Spread another layer of the cream mixture on top of graham crackers.
  6. Layer with strawberries.
  7. Repeat.
  8. Top the final layer with the rest of the Cool Whip. Top with a few strawberries.
  9. Chill in fridge overnight.
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Alabama Smokehouse burger with white BBQ sauce

The Bad Mommy Cooks—Alabama (Part 1)

Alabama is going to be a two part blog because I got cocky and decided to make a meal AND a dessert. Both the Smokehouse burgers with Alabama white BBQ sauce and the Strawberry Icebox cake I looked at seemed simple. I didn’t think I could mess it up. Apparently I don’t know myself very well.

Anyway, the first part—the successful part…

Smokehouse Burgers with Alabama White BBQ Sauce

As you might remember, when we started this state challenge, I tried several times to make our first meal. We originally were going to do this in alphabetical order, but I met a lot resistance to the fried catfish that I planned for Alabama. I actually ended up throwing out the catfish I bought. That’s when we decided to pull each state out of the hat.

Needless to say that when Alabama got picked (they had to realize at some point it would happen…) there were faces made. So instead of putting them through the “catfish” ordeal again, I searched Pinterest for some new ideas. That’s where I discovered Smokehouse burgers made with ground pork instead of beef. We often have burgers at our house, but we’ve never had pork burgers, so I decided to try those.

The Alabama White BBQ Sauce

The Alabama white BBQ sauce included in the Smokehouse burger recipe didn’t sound as awesome as some of the other recipes for White BBQ sauce that I pinned. Being the rebel that I am, I COMBINED the Smokehouse burger recipe with a different Alabama white BBQ sauce recipe. Yeah, you read that correctly. I. Went. Rogue.

The White BBQ sauce seems to be an iconic staple in Alabama—everywhere I turned there were recipes for a different version. The one I used had mayo and Greek yogurt along with apple cider vinegar, honey, hot sauce, lemon juice, garlic and dijon mustard.

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All those flavors mixed together? The result is crazy good.

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It’s got a tangy ranch sauce kind of vibe going on…difficult to describe, but worth trying. Even after we were done with our burgers I was dreaming of all the other foods I could drizzle this sauce on…like wings. Mmmmm.

While I worked on the sauce, Hubby made the burgers. He wouldn’t let me make them because he is picky when it comes to burgers. I used to just buy the frozen Costco packages of burgers—he nearly had a heart attack when he discovered that. So ever since then, the only burgers we have are made lovingly from scratch:

These burgers had ground pork, smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. We served them on kaiser rolls with smoked Gouda and strips of bacon. (I wanted to have them on potato rolls but Mr. Chef of the Year would never dream of varying from the recipe…he’s not a rebel like me…) The result?

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Very nice flavors married together into a delicious burger. My only complaint is that it was drier than I’m used to—next time I think we will mix in some ground beef or use meatloaf mix. Anyhoo, I’d highly recommend this recipe and the Alabama White BBQ sauce. I’ve got some leftover…I wonder how it would taste on Fried Catfish? 😏

The Bad Mommy Cooks—Alabama (Part 1)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4 burgers

Ingredients

  • For the White BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c. mayo
  • 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • Either 2 TBSP of apple cider vinegar or 1 TBSP of apple cider vinegar and 1 TBSP of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (or more if you like spice)
  • salt & pepper as needed
  • For the burger
  • 1.5 lbs ground pork (or meatloaf mix)
  • 1 TBSP smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 8 slices of Bacon
  • 4 slices of smoked Gouda
  • lettuce
  • 4 kaiser rolls

Instructions

  1. Mix ingredients for white BBQ sauce together and chill in fridge.
  2. Cook bacon in skillet and reserve the bacon grease.
  3. Combine meat and spices.
  4. Add bacon grease into mixture.
  5. Form 4 patties.
  6. Heat grill (med-high)
  7. Cook, turning only once until internal temp is 160. (you may want to add the cheese directly to the burger on the grill to melt it a bit)
  8. Toast rolls on grill.
  9. Assemble the burgers on the roll with white BBQ sauce, lettuce, 2 slices of bacon (and cheese if you have not already added it)
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pan-seared scallops and risotto

The Bad Mommy Cooks—Risotto & Scallops

So this week was a momentous week for our family. It’s only Thursday and we managed to cook not one, not two, but three kick-ass meals this week. (We got take-out one day.) What?!?! You mean you didn’t go out to eat this week? Well, due to hubby’s annual bout with poison ivy, we have opted to stay in. Poor guy…every year he gets all motivated to clean up the yard and do some gardening and within days his face and arms are covered in poison ivy. He didn’t want to be seen in public in case he sent children screaming in fear. (I can’t really blame him—he does resemble Quasimodo a bit…) 😵 Hence, our home-cooked meals this week. We had nothing prepared for dinner tonight. Hubby was supposed to be at work, but once again, due to the swollen eyelids from the poison ivy, he was home. I had been planning to grab some more take-out. Then I realized that I could buy some scallops and we could quickly and easily whip up some pan-seared scallops and risotto.

What? You must be joking!

Yes, you read that correctly. And no, I’m not joking. It’s a quick and EASY weeknight recipe that I discovered about a year ago and have made several times since. It’s well received by the children and adults in the household alike. And the best part is…I haven’t screwed it up yet. Even though it’s risotto, and risotto is supposed to be complicated, this one isn’t. If you don’t think you can make it, I am here to assure you that YOU CAN DO IT!

Okay, so the first time I made it, I was sweating buckets. Hubby was supposed to make dinner that night and he got called to work right before he started dinner. I was left holding the pan…literally. He had been planning to make the scallops and some complicated risotto, but I have watched him make risotto before and it scared the bejezus out of me. Plus pan-seared scallops? Soooooo many ways I could screw that up. There was no way I was attempting to cook two things that I had never cooked before. So instead of marching blindly toward certain failure, I searched trusty old Pinterest for the easiest risotto recipe I could find. And boy, I was NOT disappointed.

So how do you make this magic risotto?

Start off by melting 4 TBSP of butter in a pot over medium heat:

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Add the cup of risotto and toast it up for about 3-4 minutes:

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Add one cup of chicken stock and stir. Let that simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid is almost completely absorbed:

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Add another cup of stock, repeating the process:

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Finally add a third cup of stock and allow to simmer until almost all liquid is gone. The rice should be the right consistency at this point—not crunchy, but not too mushy either. Remove pot from heat. Stir in 2 cups of cooked chopped broccoli. (You could probably use asparagus or green bean if broccoli isn’t your thing.) Then stir in approximately 2 cups of shredded cheese until it is as cheesy as you like. I used cheddar, but next time I plan to use asiago:

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I added some black pepper and smoked paprika for some extra flavor, but this is totally optional.

While I was doing this, Hubby was making the scallops. You CAN do it all at once with only one person—I’ve done it. But he gets so excited when he has the opportunity to use his new cast-iron skillet, so I let him make the scallops. Big of me, right?

He started off by sauteing garlic in the skillet. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it was fun for him.

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He then pan-seared the scallops to a nice golden brown color:

And that was it. His big contribution. 🙄 I guess I need to go easy on him since he’s “injured” and all that.

Finally, the two components of the meal came together for this Instagram worthy photo:

img_0873 Sooooooooooo good. There was not a bite leftover…much to the dog’s dismay. It didn’t stop him from trying, though:

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The Bad Mommy Cooks—Risotto & Pan-Seared Scallops

Ingredients

  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 3 c. chicken stock
  • 1 c. Arborio rice
  • 2 c. chopped broccoli
  • 2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • pepper
  • smoked paprika
  • 1 lb sea scallops

Instructions

  1. Cook broccoli and set aside.
  2. Heat butter over medium heat in a pot.
  3. Add Arborio rice and toast for about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add 1 c. of chicken stock. Allow rice and stock to simmer, stirring occasionally.
  5. When liquid is almost dissolved, add another cup of stock, repeating the process.
  6. Add the last cup of stock and stir.
  7. Simmer until liquid is almost completely absorbed. Remove from heat.
  8. Add broccoli to pot and stir.
  9. Add cheese to pot and stir.
  10. For the scallops, rinse and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  11. Melt butter in skillet.
  12. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, taking care not to burn them or flip too soon.
  13. Plate scallops over risotto and ENJOY!
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