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AuntJone

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Gourmet slow cooker recipes

One thing to keep in mind is the age of your slow cooker. If it is an older model (I'm guessing maybe 5 years or more?) it might not be as powerful as a new one. I just started using 2 brand new ones (one Crock Pot brand, one Hamilton Beach) and the difference in cooking time/temp is substantial.

I threw a FROZEN 3-4 lb chuck roast in my 5qt model yesterday morning along with carrots, cubed potatoes, celery and some s&p, turned it on low between 7 and 7:30am, and by 5pm I had the best roast I've ever prepared in a slow cooker. The meat was tender and the vegetables were perfect. My husband even commented that the potatoes didn't need butter- I nearly fell off my chair when he said that.

Experiment with your slow cooker(s) on the weekends until you master them. And definitely skip the recipes that call for a can of "cream of guk" because the soup breaks down when it cooks that long. There are TONS of recipes available without soup as an ingredient. Definitely check out the link that Trillby posted- Steph's recipes are good.

Family Dinner with Son's Date- Revisited- Parts One – Four

@ CJ McD- I got that one too! You are an awesome mom, step or otherwise. I would be MORTIFIED if I had to meet someone's parents after dissing them because I was hung over.

Chocolate Cake recipe - maybe it's gone forever.

I agree on the Texas sheet cake suggestion. My mom makes a killer version that I will eat for breakfast when given the chance.

Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

I've made the cake mix crust with cream cheese filling variety before and it can be killer, especially if you add pumpkin or crushed pineapple. Now I'm dying to try this version.

And if had the consistency of mucus I'd say it was undercooked. You aren't supposed to bake it until firm, but it shouldn't be runny. A slight jiggle in the the middle is all you need. Of course YOU'LL have a jiggle in the middle if you make this dessert on a regular basis... :)

Have You Ever Seen a Double Banana?

My toddler would be overjoyed.

@Jerz- good one!

Meatloaf as Medium: 'Meatloaf Creations' Goes There

When I was 16 a friend and I conspired to make dinner for our boyfriends. We made a heart shaped meatloaf. I think it was just barely edible but we had fun doing it, even though it didn't look quite as much like a heart when it was baked. Ah, young love.

What cooking skill have you recently acquired?

I agree- custard making is definitely a skill!

I think my next goal is to finally make an edible spaghetti sauce from scratch so I don't have to buy the stuff in a jar any more.

What iconic foods/brands have you not tried?

Never had Spam but would like to try it. (I know, why would I want to? I'm curious. And if I ever move to Hawaii I'll fit right in.)

I never had any canned "spaghetti" products until my teens or possibly adulthood and was grateful my mom never bought it. They're all horrendous.

Your favorite "clean-out-the-fridge" dishes are...

To borrow an expression from my cousin "Expiration date casserole". He claims his mother, my aunt, has tried to kill him by concocting casseroles from whatever is left in the fridge regardless of age.

I make sure whatever I have is still good and try to devise a casserole or some kind of 'skillet' meal with rice, pasta, potatoes, etc to use up leftovers.

Whatever, Martha!

I watch it occasionally just because I can't believe anyone (Jennifer) can be that inept in the kitchen and also to wonder at how much time and money Alexis has spent on therapy. I can't decide if she likes her mother or not. I'm not sure she likes anyone, really. She seems very closed-off but maybe that's just part of her shtick.

Alton Brown's diet

I honestly thought he had been ill. He has that look about him- as if he is recovering from something or had gone through radiation/chemo and hadn't gotten back to his old self yet.

Kudos to him for being around fabulous food all the time yet managing to lose weight.

Horrible, horrible, restaurants

I live in a small town with 6 restaurants (2 bars, 2 pizza joints, a Subway and a Chinese place). The Chinese place is a transplant from another town a few minutes away. I'd always heard their food was good so one night we decided to give it a try. It was the greasiest, nastiest Chinese food I'd ever had. I didn't have the Greco wrestling match going on in my guts but there was definitely a rumble. We haven't been back since. Not too long ago a friend mentioned this restaurant and exclaimed "Oh! They have the BEST Chinese food!" I bit my tongue. Maybe things have improved, but I won't be finding out any time soon. As far as I know the same people that owned it in the other town still own it now so maybe it is a nostalgia thing like someone else mentioned "I ate it growing up and I'll continue to eat it even though it sucks!" Those are not words I choose to live by!

I ❤ my family even if I am going to serve takeout--Dinner 1/5

Last night was potato soup which TOTALLY hit the spot since temps have been in the 20s 'round here for a few days.

Tonight: hamburgers and fries at the request of the husband. He's 37 today but doesn't act a day over 12.

Is Worst Cook in America the Worst Show in America?

@WickedGood- "There's no education, it's all just conflict, drama and entertainment." Exactly! I'm wondering how much they're being taught. If the chefs aren't working with them on what they did wrong how will anyone progress enough to be delcared a winner? I guess I need to watch the entire first episode so I understand what is expected of the contestants.

But I suppose watching someone learn doesn't fit the criteria for todays' reality shows, right? There's obviously no fun or money in seeing someone learn an actual skill when they could be scheming to get their cast mates voted off the island/bachelor/homemade weather balloon.

Must-visit hometown haunt bucket list

Sadly I've only been to one- Pappadeaux- but I think I've been to 3 different locations if that ups my street cred any....

Wait, I think I sat in a Skyline in the Dayton 'burbs while my 1st husband scarfed a 5 way. I wasn't hungry and wasn't as intrigued by Skyline as he was. I'll take half a point for that one! :)

My Mother was a _____ Cook.

Mom was the main cook when we were growing up and she was a good one. She wasn't adventurous but the food was good and if we were ever low on funds it was never reflected in our fridge. She kinda slacked off after my sister and I started getting involved in sports and other school activities. I didn't realize at the time what an impact the home cooking and family meal time made on me.

Dad didn't cook much back in the day but he has really come in to his own in the past 10 years. He makes killer scrambled eggs, a spicy turkey soup from the carcass of Thanksgiving bird, an even spicier chili that he makes a day ahead of when he wants to eat it because "it tastes better after it sits" and has figured out how to grill chicken without turning into carbon. He frequently gives me recipes to try and offers suggestions on my dishes even if I don't ask for them. :) We have to watch it when he adds heat to his food because sometimes he gets heavy handed and the rest of us can't eat it! He is 65 and I'm pretty sure his tastebuds have lost some power so if he thinks it isn't hot he goes a little higher on the Scoville scale...and we break out the tissues as our sinuses drain.

Foodie gifts gone right/wrong. What did you get for the holidays?

My biggest yay was also a nay: got a Tassimo coffee machine (yay!) but it won't work (damn!). I'm calling customer service this afternoon.

Also got a set of teeny glass bowls with lids and a wicked cool skinny scraper, both from Pampered Chef, in my stocking from the MIL.

@chiff- My MIL bought my SIL knives ( a Paula Deen set...I'm skeptical) and included a dollar bill and a note about her having to "buy" the knives because you're not supposed to gift them. The MIL's MIL did the same thing for her wedding shower 40 years ago so it was kinda neat that she passed it on.

Worst meal of your life

@hungrychristel- oh gag!

We attended my husband's company Christmas party a week ago and were treated to a pathetic meal. It was at a bowling alley, and I guess I'm spoiled from watching Diners, Drive ins and Dives, but I was optimistic that the food would be good. Or at least edible. What we got was:
- instant mashed potatoes with the consistancy of Play-doh
- unseasoned corn and green beans
- overcooked fried chicken (which is better than vomit-inducing undercooked chicken, I suppose)
- overcooked to the point of being dry roast beef
- over salted gravy (from a mix because OBVIOUSLY there were no dripping from the dried out beef to make it from scratch. Heh.)
- a pathetic 'salad bar' of iceberg lettuce, two or three dressings, ham chunks, boiled eggs and shredded cheese.
- coffee and water located on the far side of the room that NO ONE could get to because we were crammed into the room. We had to buy our own soft drinks. I was pissed. I can understand buying our own alcohol but they could have at least provided one soft drink with the meal.

Halfway through the meal my husband whispered that we WOULD be stopping at gas station on the way home for a "pizza puff" because this low-grade dog food wasn't doing it for him. And while we were bowling the owner of the company ordered from the snack bar so he must not have gotten enough to eat, either. The bowling part was awesome but the food totally sucked.

I hope it doesn't show up again this year.

@Sadiepix-- I've seen a recipe for a 'reuben casserole' but I don't recall any Miracle Whip in the list of ingredients. Your description kinda made my stomach churn... :)

I can't think of any negative dishes/foods from our family gatherings. I'm either extremely fortunate or have a very bad memory! One year, and only one year, my aunt brought jalapeno jelly and dumped it over a brick of cream cheese. I think she served it with crackers but I honestly don't remember. I didn't try it. I like hot n' spicy but I have to draw the line somewhere.

Do you eat "bad food"?

@AliceBlue re: salty food at Chili's. That's the reaction I had last time I ate at Applebee's (had a gift card. should have regifted)- all I taste is salt!

If I brought leftovers that don't taste as good the 2nd time around, or make an unfortunate purchase from the vending machine I will eat it because chances are I have nothing else to eat. But if I have other options I will toss the offending food and pick something else.

Dining Etiquette: Eating Out, and Who Pays

I've never understood the concept of splitting a check unless several individuals are chipping in to pay for a group celebratory meal and don't want the guest(s) of honor to contribute. I pay for what I ordered and ate. You pay for what you ordered and ate. Easy as pie. If we split an app I'll happily pony up half or maybe even buy the whole thing if it was my idea, even if my partner(s) eat more than me.

Can you request a separate check from your server next time you dine with this friend? Maybe if you have two checks he'll get the hint.

The Burger Lab: Salting Ground Beef

The salted-grind burger looks absolutely disgusting. I can't imagine the mouth feel. Did you take a bite? Did it taste different from the other patties? This is interesting!

Need suggestions for an 8qt stockpot purchase

Thanks everyone! I want to get her a good pan that will last a long time and I think my price range is around $100. I would LOVE to get her Le Creuset but a quick Amazon search only turned up the enameled steel- I want the cast iron even if I'm not buying it for myself! :)

I'll take note of these brands and do some comparison shopping. I knew I'd get good suggestions from Serious Eaters...shout out to Jerz and Wookie! Thanks ladies!

Funniest Thanksgiving

One year my sister volunteered to make a pumpkin pie. It turned out great except she forgot the sugar. The only person who willingly ate it was our diabetic cousin. She was thrilled there was actually a dessert she could eat! We still razz my sister about it and I think it has been at least 10 years since it happened. Nothing like harping on past mistakes to show your love.

What's a good word to replace "garlicky"?

Garlicified

Garlicicent? Like magnificent.

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