Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pork and Bean Bars

1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 (16 oz.) can pork and beans
2 t. baking soda
4 eggs
1 t. baking powder
2 t. cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1/2 t. salt
2 cups flour
1 (4 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 t. vanilla
3 T. butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar

Mix pineapple with pork and beans until smooth. Add next 8 ingredients; mix well. Pour into greased and floured baking sheet with sides. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Spread with cream cheese frosting. For frosting, beat cream cheese, vanilla, and butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar.

Yep. You read that right. Pork and bean bars. I should stop right there. I'm not going to.

This is from a collection of recipes in a monthly electrical co-op magazine - the collection is titled "Holiday Favorites". I'm not sure what holiday this is a favorite for, but it was published between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I can only assume it's one of those. I'm envisioning someone thinking, "Oh, I need to make some bars for that party at the Joneses, but I haven't gone shopping this week yet. What do I have in the pantry? Hmmm, let's see - some crushed pineapple, some pork and beans, all my baking staples. Oh, I know. I could make cheesecake bars. Wait. No...that's too boring. Everyone does that. Gasp! Oh, the genius! It's new. It's unique. I'll be the toast of the party!" Enthusiastically gets to work. Did I forget to mention that this person has been lobotomized and is missing half their brain?

I'm a little confused by the first instruction. "Mix" normally just connotes stirring together. However, neither crushed pineapple, nor pork and beans are smooth in and of themselves, and I'm pretty sure that mathematically speaking 1 non-smooth item + 1 non-smooth item does not = 1 smooth item. Are you supposed to blend them? Or just mix until thoroughly combined? I can't decide which would be better. The latter might just give the eater a little more warning of what they're about to get themselves into, so we'll go with that for now.

The next 8 ingredients, in and of themselves aren't too bad. They might just make a nice biscuity cookie base for some bars. But they don't exist in a vacuum, do they? Oh no. They're combined with pineapple and PORK AND BEANS! I get queasy just thinking about it.

I mean, with two cups of sugar in the base and a cup of powdered sugar in the icing, they're clearly intended as dessert bars, right? I suppose you need all that sugar to overwhelm the taste buds and fool them into thinking you're eating something nice. Maybe they're intended as hunter's rations - you know for all those hours you sit in the blind waiting for a deer or whatever to wander into the crosshairs. Dinner and dessert in one quick and easy bar. Or perhaps a new diet fad. 'Cause I'm pretty sure that if I managed to get any of these down, they'd pretty quickly be coming right back up. If that's all I had in the house I'd be losing weight in no time!

Oh, and they have some sort of weird time travel thing going on here. Apparently you're supposed to spread the cream cheese frosting on the bars before you actually mix it. Talented, I'm telling you.

You better not pout. You better not cry. You better not shout and I'm telling you why. Because if you do, I'm going to force you to eat one of these. Forget coal. Santa has a new treat for those on his naughty list this year.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Chicken Cream Cheese Dip

3 (12.5 oz.) cans chunk chicken (drained)
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
1 (10 oz.) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 small can jalapenos (drained)

Heat in crock pot. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

Please, dear God, please drain your chunk chicken cans. Lord knows we don't want all that bland chicken water messing up the dip and making it all soupy. It's okay to put in bland, watered down chicken, no problem there - especially since actually seasoning and cooking a fresh chicken breast or thigh is just WAY too much work for us modern, busy people - but we have to make sure it stays thick and creamy.

Oh, and towards that end, let's add 24 oz. of cream cheese. You know, because you can never have enough cream cheese. And 3 packages cream cheese to 3 cans chunk chicken just seems like the proper proportion, right? Of course, I mean, you have to have some condensed cream of chicken soup. It adds so much flavor! And really highlights the luxurious creaminess of this dish. The recipe just isn't right without it. And, really, if you feel like you need a little more flavor, you could bump that up to 3 cans too. Mm mm good! But wait! For that extra little zing, to just catapult your dip into the stratospheric echelons of dipdom let's add a small can (drained) of jalapeno's. Just a small can will do. 2 oz. 3 oz. Whatever the store has is fine. And you definitely don't want to add fresh jalapenos. That's a little over the top. You really want some of that flavor to leach out into the brining liquid. Sometimes less is more.

Now it gets kind of confusing. Normally, it would say something like, "Combine ingredients in crockpot and heat until warm." Nice and specific, easy to follow. But no. All we get is the rather terse, "Heat in crockpot." I'm envisioning just dumping the whole thing in, drained cans and cream cheese wrappers and all, and heating them all together. We all need a little in our diets, right?

At last, the coup de grace! The most delicious (not to mention normal and healthy) part of the dish - the tortilla chips and crackers. Or as we say here in the upper midwest - tortihlla chips (to rhyme with flotilla). We're just crackers like that!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mock Raspberry Jam

4 cups chopped green tomatoes
4 cups sugar
2 T. lemon juice
1 (6 oz.) package raspberry gelatin

Do not peel tomatoes. Grind tomatoes or put in food processor until chopped. Boil chopped tomatoes, sugar and lemon juice in large kettle for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in gelatin. Pour into sterilized jars. Seal with paraffin wax or lid and band and process in hot water bath.

OH. MY. DEAR. GOD. WHY?!?!?!?!

(at least it doesn't have mayonnaise)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Broccoli Casserole

1 (16 oz.) package frozen broccoli
1/2 lb. Velveeta cheese, cut into chunks
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup Minute rice, uncooked
1/2 cup water
1 small can mushrooms
1/2 small onion, chopped and sauteed

Mix all ingredients in crock-pot and heat until cheese melts.

Well, at least it's easy. Of course, it gives no indication as to how long it might take until the cheese melts. Are you just supposed to wait around and watch? Maybe it's not as easy as the instructions make it sound after all. Sigh.

Frozen broccoli. Nothing wrong with that. We use that in our family. Good start. Okay, moving on. Velveeta. Have you read the ingredient list? It does not inspire confidence. But it melts well. That's about the best that can be said for it. I have to wonder what kind of new super artery blocker is created in the crucible of your casserole dish when Velveeta and cream of mushroom soup (canned) are mixed together and heated. And Minute rice. Come on, people. Is it too difficult to cook some real rice ahead of time, or add some more liquid and put real rice in? I mean, Minute rice is like the Velveeta of the grain world! So, maybe it fits in pretty well in this recipe. Water is about the healthiest and yummiest ingredient so far! And canned mushrooms - really? Is it too difficult to slice a few fresh, delicious button mushrooms? And it doesn't say anything about draining them, so do you add the brine as well? You know, 'cause it doesn't have enough sodium already.

And after all of these frozen, pre-processed, pre-packaged foods, off on it's wittle wonesome, you have HALF of a fresh onion, chopped. You know, they sell chopped onions in jars in oil. Or frozen even. But I guess you have to have your standards. You've got to stop somewhere. But really, only half? I've never understood recipes that only call for part of an onion (see Bloody Leroy or Sunburst Macaroni Salad).

My favorite, though, by far, was the description of the recipe that came with it, and I quote: "Are you looking for a delectable broccoli casserole recipe? The marriage of the amazing flavors of vegetable with other ingredients is the secret to this broccoli casserole. It is generally consumed as a yummy main dish. This broccoli casserole is surely going to make you famous amongst your friends once they taste it. Try it right away!"

I have no doubt it will make you famous amongst your friends. You and your toilets. And maybe you could work on a commission basis giving referrals to a cardiologist. So see? It could be profitable for everyone. It makes you famous, gives your friends an experience to write home about, and keeps the medical establishment alive. Everybody wins!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bloody Leroy

Well, summer is approaching its end and we would be remiss if we didn't provide some refreshing drink recipes to help you enjoy the rest of it to the full. We likely all have heard of the classic Bloody Mary - that refreshing mixture of vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce. I now introduce you to her dirty cousin: Bloody Leroy.

1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 cup black coffee
3/4 cup beer (Killian's Red preferred)
3/4 cup fruit juice (citrus: orange/pineapple/mango type)
2 T. whiskey
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. vinegar (red wine garlic preferred)
3 cloves garlic minced
3 jalapeño peppers minced
1/4 large onion minced (1/8 red and 1/8 white preferred)
2 1/2 t. liquid smoke
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. molasses
1 1/2 T. crushed red pepper flakes
1 cube beef bouillon
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. ground black pepper
1 1/2 t. paprika
1 1/2 t. cayenne pepper
3 dashes basil
3 dashes oregano
3 dashes savory

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Chill.

I think this must be the aperitif they serve so that you won't be able to taste the rest of this macabre menu. Did the person who invented this have his tongue seared by a flaming brand when he was two or something and this is the only thing that actually produces a sensation on his tongue? Jalapeño pepper, crushed red pepper, ground black pepper and cayenne pepper: and all in not insignificant quantities. My wife is constantly amazed by my tolerance for hot and spicy foods, but this is way too much, even for me. Now I like coffee, beer, fruit juice and whiskey but the thought of mixing them all together just sends me running for the toilet. It still boggles my mind that someone would think to put all of these ingredients together in one mixture and then actually drink it! I mean, you have vegetables, fruit, alcohol, caffeine, sweet, savory, all that pepper and a little bit of beefy goodness just to round it all out. This is the drink for someone who wants to wake up, drown his sorrows, clear out his sinuses and get a bit of his needed nutrition for the day all at once. What do you get for the man who has everything and is too busy to enjoy it? A bloody Leroy. It'll save you minutes a day that you could spend relaxing or playing. Or, you know, bowing before the porcelain throne.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tomato Preserves

I am very pleased to announce that I have a recipe for you that does not include even an iota of mayonnaise and yet still manages to tickle that gag reflex.

3 cups peeled, chopped tomatoes
2 cups sugar
1 (3 oz.) box lemon Jell-O

Boil tomatoes for 10 minutes in a medium saucepan. Add sugar and boil for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon Jell-O, stirring gently until Jell-O is dissolved and thoroughly mixed in. Pour while still hot into glass jars. Refrigerate and use within 2 weeks. Makes about 1 pint and a small glass.

I assume you're to boil the tomatoes in their own juices without adding water since it doesn't specify anything like that. And really, you only have 3 cups tomatoes but you're adding 2 whole cups of sugar? Do we not like the flavor of tomatoes? And if that's the case why are we making preserves out of them? And we can't just add unflavored gelatin like any normal preserve recipe - it has to be lemon flavored to bring out that little extra bit of acidity and zing! I have been racking my brains to come up with a way to use this delightful little dish and I am just coming up blank. I mean, what? "I think I'll have a peanut butter and tomato jelly sandwich"? I suppose tomatoes are technically a fruit, but still. Ewww. And who comes up with a recipe that makes "1 pint and a small glass"? Are we drinking it now too? Maybe to cleanse the palate after that hefty punch.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Jade Cheese Salad

It sounds like something you might buy off a street vendor in Hong Kong. "Foh you, spesol plice. You so pletty I tink of dis when I see you!" Of course, I've never gotten anything in Hong Kong that didn't taste good.

1 large pkg. lime Jell-O
2 cups hot water
1 cup cold water
2 t. vinegar
2 t. salt
dash cayenne pepper
2 cups cottage cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1 large can crushed pineapple

Dissolve Jell-O in hot water. Stir in cold water, vinegar, salt and cayenne pepper. Chill until slightly thickened and then whip with a beater until light and fluffy. Stir in cottage cheese and mayonnaise until thoroughly mixed. Drain pineapple and fold into mixture. Chill until firm.

Now first of all let me say that I am not at all opposed to Jell-O salads in general. I've had some very nice ones. This is not one of them, nor will it ever be.

It starts out okay until you get to the vinegar. It just goes downhill from there. What possible purpose could there be for vinegar in a Jell-O salad? I have racked my brain and I can't seem to come up with any. And right on the heels (I first typed in 'hells' by mistake, though it might be more accurate) of that you add 2 whole TEASPOONS of salt?! Apparently this is not one of those sweet Jell-O salads, but more of a savory one. Maybe you should add more than a dash of cayenne to numb your tongue so you don't have to taste the rest of it. Then we come to cottage cheese. Not my favorite cheese, but okay, I can handle it. Is 2 cups really necessary, though? And then of course, let us not forget the ubiquitous 1 cup of mayonnaise. Why is it that so many nasty recipes are drowned in mayonnaise? We need to institute some sort of federal regulation that limits the amount of mayonnaise you can use in a recipe, with life imprisonment the punishment for going over. And did anybody notice that we're adding just as much cottage cheese and mayonnaise combined as we did water to the Jell-O. There's just something wrong with the proportions here. Finally we finish it off with a lot of crushed pineapple, which I'm sure just brings everything else together into one cohesive and balanced whole. Yeah, that's it. And to achieve this monstrosity we can't just dump everything in, mix it together and let it chill. No, we need to put more effort into it. We have to whip it until it's light and fluffy. Makes me want to whip whoever came up with this recipe.