Goulash Recipe

When I was about 10, or maybe a little younger, my mom taught me how to make her Goulash recipe.  Once I learned, I would come home from school, before the folks were home, and surprise my parents by having goulash in the oven when they got home.  I was a very talented 10-year-old. 

I was very excited to make Goulash.  We ate it probably twice a week (not including leftovers) when I was between the ages of 10-13.  It never got old for me.  Mom probably seriously regretted teaching me how to cook so young.  Even though I learned more things that year, like Manwich and other fine dishes, we still ate Goulash.  And now you can too:

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Now, doesn’t that look like it will hit the spot? The best part is–it’s super-duper easy.  So you can teach your 10-year-old how to cook it and he or she will promptly run you out of ground beef, tomatoes, and other household food staples.  And note, when I say ground beef, I use real cow beef.  Because some things aren’t meant to be messed with. 

Ingredients:

1# Ground beef

1 qt. tomato sauce

1 lg. can peeled whole tomatoes

1 bag elbow macaroni

American processed cheese product singles

 

Preheat your oven to 350.  Brown your hamburger and boil your noodles (in separate pots, but I have faith that you can complete these two steps simultaneously).  While that’s going, get out a casserole dish and cut up the tomatoes.  Throw them and the juice in the dish.  Pour the sauce in the dish.  Unwrap your cheese slices–you’ll need 8-9 for a rectangle dish like the one I have pictured.  Once your burger is browned, drain it and throw it in the dish.  Drain your noodles once they are done and throw them in the dish.   Mix well until it’s all casserole-like.  Put the cheese slices on top (cover it all!) and pop that deliciousness in the oven for 30-45 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your top to get.  Then eat!

Epilogue:

Some of you may be thinking, “Well, that sounds good, but I bet I could make it better.”  You may be contemplating putting a little onion in with the beef, or using real cheese instead of mystery almost-dairy on top.  You might even feel adventurous and use spaghetti sauce instead of regular tomato sauce, or seasoned canned tomatoes.  Or worse, you could be looking through your spice cabinet picking out a few things to give it a little pizazz. 

DON’T. 

Remember how I said some things are just not meant to be messed with? This is one of them.  It’s perfect the way it is, and I guarantee you, whatever monstrosity you decide to create by putting your own spin on it will end terribly.  Your oven may even burst into flames in protest.  So leave it be, cook it, enjoy it, and share with everyone. 

Thanks mom. 

I have loin of mule (deer)…now what?

 

 

 

I’m cleaning out the freezer, people.  I found a small mule deer loin perfect for dinner tonight, and although this is not the gamey, yucky meat from my freezer, I still wanted to give it a little kick.  Now here’s a riddle:

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What do all these condiments have in common besides the fact they are on my so-clean-you-could-eat-off-it kitchen floor?

They’re all in my Tour of the World Meat Marinade. 

If you’re like me and can’t decide quite what flavor marinade you want for your meat, do like I do and add them all together for a surprise!

Here’s how to make it:

1/3 c. Worcestershire sauce

1/4 c. Lite Soy Sauce

1/4 c. Mesquite barbeque sauce

1/8 c. Dijon mustard

2 T. minced onion

1 T. Garlic Powder

1 t. pepper, or to taste

Pour everything into a small casserole dish/the dish you will be giving your meat a bath in.  Mix well, then add your hunk of meat.  Mix it around, dip it, slosh it–really get to know your meat.  Get in there real nice and deep like. 

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It doesn’t look all that appetizing now, but just wait until the next day.  Mmm-mmm good. 

After you’ve let your meat have a nice soak overnight, take out your slow cooker.  Add a bit of water to the bottom and mix in two heaping spoonfuls of your marinade.  Don’t throw the rest of your marinade out just yet! Give your meat one more good roll, then put it in the slow cooker and cook on about 250 ’till it’s good and done. 

You could end here. 

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Looks good, eh? That’s because it is.  But you could make it even better.  I know you didn’t think it was possible, but you can.  Wrap your plate of meat in tinfoil and let it rest for a bit.  A deer nap, if  you will.  When you’re ready to eat it, slather some more marinade on it and throw it on the grill for a few minutes.  Don’t burn it, then it will taste burned and not savory.  Eating your meat right out of the slow cooker will result in a soft, tender hunk.  Grilling it will give the outside of your meat a bit of a crunch, but that nap under the tinfoil locks in an awful lot of juices and flavors, so it will be amazing. 

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Serve it up with a starch and a veggie, and you’ve got a pretty good Sunday meal.  I made chips…well, I tried to make Hasselback Potatoes, but that whole bit about “don’t slice all the way through” sort of threw me for a loop, aka I failed miserably.  So I thought, “I’ll make chips!” And of the four potatoes I made, these were the only ones close to being picture-worthy.  So if you decide to make chips, please be better at it than me.  And enjoy your Tour of the World!

It’s New Recipe Saturday!

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We eat a lot of rice here in the Bank household.  It’s cheap, versatile, and goes along with something else we do quite a bit here: make a lot of dishes served in bowls.  Today, I am sharing with you a quick and easy dish that I can’t technically take credit for. 

I work a crazy schedule sometimes, and there are lots of days when I roll in well after sane people have eaten dinner.  Luckily, the hub-dubs is here to save the day.  He made this dish once and it’s become a staple ever since.  He doesn’t have a name for it, so I dub thee…

Great-for-leftover-kale (even if it’s wilty)…thing (remember the thing about “thing”? Everything sounds more sketch that way).

 

Here’s what you will need:

1/2# antelope sausage

2-ish cups kale

1 1/2 cups rice

1 1/2 cups beef broth (sort of–read on)

A note about the rice: good rice (like the one pictured here) is a one-to-one ratio.  Not-as-good rice may be a little different. However you make rice, make it.  Own it.  

Another note about rice: I consider myself a good cook.  a great cook if the mood hits me and the moon is in the right position and all that jazz.  But there are two things I cannot make in this world, even if my life depended on it: a good batch of rice and pancakes.  Fail.  Every.  Stinkin’.  Time.  So I use a rice cooker.  It’s a cheap little Wal-Mart thing, but it is awesome.  So I put in two cup fulls of rice, then fill the liquid to just above the ‘2’ line on the bowl.  Don’t forget to rinse your rice if going this route.  

So, get your rice a cookin’, heat up your frying pan and cook your sausage.  Once your sausage is done, pour it into a bowl.  If you’re using wild game or turkey sausage, you will need to add a bit of olive oil to the pan for the next step.  If not, keep enough drippings in the pan to cover the bottom with a good saute layer of grease.  Know why? Because fat=flavor.  

Anywho, chop your kale (no stems!) into fine pieces and add to your hot pan.  Stir them around until it all turns nice and green and smells like cooked kale.  Don’t go too long, or you’ll get soggy kale, and no one wants that.  Pour that into the bowl too. 

Your rice should be about done.  Once that’s all cooked, add it to the big bowl and stir well.  Here’s what you’ll end up with:

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Now, doesn’t that look good for about 30 minutes in the kitchen? As is, the dish is pretty mild–the Hub-dubs likes to add some Old Bay, or pepper, or whatever he feels like to it to make it a little spicier, and that way is good too.  You can also go all Wisconsin and add some shredded mozz to the top and eat it like that. 

So many options, so little kale…

Things You Can’t do in Wisconsin

Last Saturday, the Hub-dubs, Yellow Dog, and I all piled into the car and embarked on an impromptu grand adventure to the heart of Wisconsin.

Actually, we had to go back there for a funeral.

But that didn’t stop us from making it an adventure!

Do you know how far it is from Gillette, WY to Milwaukee, WI? A long ways.  A looooooong ways.  About 1,000 miles.  All. on. one. road.

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See how that big blue line never really veers anywhere? And, in case you can’t see, the distance from A to B spans four states.

It was a long drive.

The three of us pulled into the lovely city of Milwaukee about 11:30pm on Saturday at my sister-in-law’s house, which is all street parking.  So, I pulled up to the curb, parked, unloaded the car, and basically passed out until the next morning.

I should mention that when I parked, I was facing the opposite direction of traffic (which I still think is no big deal).

The next morning, I came downstairs and my sister-in-law casually asked, “Did you take the car out this morning?”

“No.”

“So you’re telling me you parked like that? Like last night?”

“Yeah.”

“Seriously? WTH is wrong with you?”

Blank stare.  Blank stare.  Blank stare.

“What?”

It was then explained to me that I had lived in Wyoming too long and you can’t just park facing whichever way you please.

Well, you can in Wyoming–usually.  City ordinance states that “the left wheels cannot be next to the curb,” and the next point under parking information is, “Please do not put tree branches outside of the garbage roll-outs.”  No one follows these rules.  Want to know some other traffic rules Wyomingites don’t follow?

  • Slowing down for a yellow light
  • Stopping for a red light
  • Using a blinker or trailer lights
  • Parking on the street facing the opposite direction of traffic
  • Avoiding pedestrians and/or bicyclists on the road

You know, stuff like that.  You slip into the routine pretty easily.

Back to the story. It was cold in WI this weekend, dreadfully cold.  I decided to take the chance that in the short time between then and when I would move my car I would not get a ticket.  Then I asked the Hub-dubs very nicely to move the car.  You know, just in case.

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Oops.

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I was going to fight it, but then I saw this:

(a) Upon a street where traffic is permitted to move in both directions simultaneously and where angle parking is not clearly designated by official traffic signs or markers, a vehicle must be parked parallel to the edge of the street, headed in the direction of traffic on the right side of the street.

Well, that pretty much ruined my chances of fighting it, especially since this little, teeny, tiny quote was the first point under the section, “How to stop and park on streets.”

Thank God there’s a how-to guide for people like me.  The good news is, in the other 1500 miles of our trip, there wasn’t so much as a verbal warning for speeding (speed limit: another concept lost on us Wyoming folk).

Very large Boxes

Whoever said, “The best things come in small packages” lied.  Hardcore.  The best things come in boxes that weigh between 140-220 pounds and look like this:

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Yup, I got a new stove.  Now before we get too much farther into this, let me show you my old stove:

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Wait a minute! Besides having all sorts of splotches on the front, this stove looks fine!

Well, it’s not.  Because here’s what happened a few months ago.

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Well, that’s what I saw in my head anyway.  Here’s the whole story:

One day, I woke up early before work and decided to make bacon and eggs for the Hub-dubs.  Just because I’m nice.  Well, I also had some studying to do, so I multi-tasked.  Read a page, check the bacon, read the page, and so on.  I was almost to the end of the chapter–1 1/2 pages away–and decided to let the bacon get a bit crispy first.  When I turned around, there was smoke filling the room.  No flame, but lots and lots of smoke.  Now I know bacon is not my forte, but I am not this bad.  I went to turn the burner off, but it still glowed red like the demon creature it was.  What’s more is the burner was hot.  Way hotter than the 3 I had it on.  I tried to turn the burner off again.  No luck.  So we flipped the fuse.

Long, horrifying story short, I cleaned up the mess while Hubs looked up our stove on the Internet.  Guess what? It’s been recalled.  So I got on the phone and called the company and was told, “We can’t help you.”  Why the heck not?!

  • It’s “old.” (Manufactured in 2007)
  • The serial number matches, but not the product number.
  • The warranty expired, even though the part is defective.

I thought maybe I would have better luck with another agent at the company, so I called again.  Quick show of hands, who thinks my plan worked? No hands? None? Well, you’re all right.  I was again told no, even though I had deduced that I owned a defective product and needed a new one, like, before the old one crapped out on me.  At this point I was mad.  Hella mad.  So I did the only thing I could do: turn to the Better Business Bureau.

After a submitted case, two rebuttals, and a few sneaky name-calling attacks including accusations such as “no integrity,” “careless,” and a few more nice choice words, the company was unyielding and still denied my request.  So, we set out to get a new stove and decided to get the beauty pictured above.  It works really well, and I am pleased.

Want to see something else cool?

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I never knew stoves could do that.  Sweet.

Superfood Sundays

Sundays are typically my big cooking days, but football season has put that on hold for the past few months.  However, since the Packers lost last night and my back-up team Seattle lost in an almost-epic comeback today, it was back to the kitchen for me.  Yesterday I got these fabulous fruits and veggies from Bountiful Baskets.  If you live in one of the 21 participating states, order a basket Monday morning.  Do it.  You will love it.  Here’s what I got this week: 

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Let’s see, we’ve got some celery, tomatoes, strawberries, bananas, oranges, apples, brussels sprouts, cute little peppers, and all sorts of stuff–for a grand total of $16.50.   Shell out an extra eight bucks for a ‘juice pack’ and your stash will look like this:

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WOAH! Awesome.  Really, truly, awesome.  With all this great produce, I think I shall make…

Rye bread. 

No, rye bread does not have any of the foods pictured above in it.  But, the Hub-dubs wanted Reubens today.  Which is ok, because I threw a corned beef in the crock pot this morning.  So now I will show you all to make some de-lish homemade bread.  The recipe I used was this rye bread recipe from Taste of Home.  Different, but good. 

I am the main bread-maker in this house, because some people (not naming names here) can’t seem to handle it.  Mainly because I’ve never clued him into these never-fail tips!

First, your water has to be hot, but not too hot.  Follow the directions for any recipe until it says “make a stiff dough.”  You know what stiff means? Dry.  Real dry.  This is what a perfect bread dough should look like:

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See how the dough isn’t sticking to the sides, but is sticking to the bottom? Stopping here will make your finished product awesome.  So don’t add too much flour!

Here’s another tip: Use your mixer to knead the dough and save yourself some hard work! Just follow the kneading directions and mix that dough right up with a dough hook. 

Now for proofing.  Here’s a riddle: how do you proof bread in a warm, moist environment when you live in a state which has about 30% humidity and is currently about 2 degrees? Why you do this of course!

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1.  Preheat the oven to 200. 

2.  Once your dinger goes off, turn off the oven and leave the door shut. 

3.  When your bread is ready to proof, put a bowl of hot water and your bowl of bread (covered with a towel) and proof it for the time recommended.  Bam.  Perfect proofing environment.  Now, you will have to find a different spot for second proofing, but for first rise, this is awesome. 

Here’s my last tip for you.  Beware: things are going to get a little weird. 

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Is that a meat thermometer sticking out of my loaf of bread?! Yes, yes it is.  Wanna know a secret? Bread is done when it’s 200 degrees.  I know you’re really supposed to tap it and it’s done when it sounds hollow, but that’s sort of tricky, don’t you think?

Well the bread’s all done, let it cool and make your sandwiches.

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Ahh, there’s some veggies! Oh yeah, and I made some pretty awesome taco chili thing and threw a bunch of stuff in there ( I hope it turns out awesome anyway; I’ll know in about 7 hours). 

Happy baking!

 

 

Mmmmm, fiber

So this morning I’m at my desk with a serious case of “oh-my-God-I-am-going-to-starve-to-death-this-minute-if-I-don’t-eat” 10am munchies. Luckily, I keep a well-stocked pantry in one of my desk drawers. I open it up and there are two granola bars. I look at the back label and choose the one with the most fiber and protein, because that will help, right? Right.

It’s a Kashi bar. Anyone else ever notice how Kashi cereal looks a bit like twigs? I’ve never been brave enough to try it, but this is a granola bar and that must make it loads better. My first bite is a little dry, but pretty edible. Plus I am truly, cross-my-heart starving, so I keep eating.

By bite three, I can’t open my mouth–it’s all gummed up.

Bite four I want to spit it out, but as I have made abundantly clear, I would probably die if I stopped eating. As I am eating, all I envision is the twig pile photo on a box of Kashi cereal and I know I was led horribly, horribly astray. And I think to myself, “this is the worst 4 grams of fiber I have ever eaten in. my. life.”

Bite five (I bet you don’t know anyone who takes more than three bites to finish off a granola bar–now you do): A very tangy piece hits my taste buds like a welcome wave of…not twigs! Or leaves! Last bite, and I’m almost home free, and I thank goodness for two things:

1. That horrible granola bar experience is over
2. I did not pay one cent for it–I’m a breakfast food hoarder at functions in order to keep my pantry well-stocked.

The moral of the story: Chewy dipps are always a safe bet.