My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!


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You Think My Last Kitchen Fail Was Good? Take A Look At This One!

So, I’m keepin’ it real.  Hopefully this fail will give you a good laugh and start your weekend off right.  Remember my Cafe Rio Black Bean post (see it here)?  I love those beans, and I make them every time I make my Cafe Rio Beef.  Sometimes, I’m running behind.  Okay, most of the time I’m behind schedule, so I whipped out my handy, dandy pressure cooker to cook my dried black beans.  I’d done it before, just never like this.  Look…

 

Here's a picture I had my son take to capture this lovely moment.  Please keep in mind that this picture does not even begin the capture the horror I was feeling in the moment.  The liquid was seeping across the stove and the counters, pouring onto the floor, spewing all over me.  As it seeped across the stove, the liquid was going into the area under the control knobs.  It was not a fun moment.

Here’s a picture my son took to capture this lovely memory. Please keep in mind that this picture does not even begin the capture the horror I was feeling in the moment. The liquid was seeping across the stove and the counters, pouring onto the floor, spewing all over me. As it seeped across the stove, the liquid was going into the area under the control knobs. It was not a fun moment.

 

Are you wondering how could I make such a huge mess?  Let me tell you.   I was going along my merry way making the beans.  My most favorite beans…

 

My most favorite of all beans - My Cafe Rio Black Beans Knock-Off Recipe

My most favorite of all beans – My Cafe Rio Black Beans Knock-Off Recipe

 

The timer went off, and I turned off the heat.  I don’t know what I was thinking, but rather than release some of the pressure from the pot or let it cool sufficiently, I decided to press the button the unlocks the pot.  If there’s still some built up pressure, it will release it and allow me to safely open the pan.  I learned that this is a VERY BAD THING to do!  I didn’t have any explosion or anything like that, but, as the pressure cooker was releasing the pressure from the pot, liquid came out.  Dark brown liquid.

A LOT OF IT! 

 

All over my counters, the tile back splash, the stove, and the tile floor.  And all over me.  No burns or anything, but it made a big, BIG mess!  Actually the word “Big” does not even begin to describe it.  My son, Michael, insisted on taking a picture “for the blog.”  I was a little unhappy about it at the time (and I definitely was not planning to blog about it), but I think it is appropriate to capture the “not so fun” moments, so we can laugh about them later.

 

I used many bath towels to clean up this monstrosity!

I used many towels to clean up this monstrosity!

 

A few minutes prior, I was begging the kids to help by grabbing some bath towels, while mopping up what I could with paper towels (I went through the rest of the roll, and it didn’t even make a dent.)  They were AWESOME and ran to the rescue!  We stopped the spread of the mess and cleaned it up.  (YEAH!  Thanks, boys!)

 

Then, we realized that the electric ignition (pilot light) for the stove (on every burner) was going off continually.  I googled the problem and read that this can happen when the ignition gets wet.  So I dried each one off thinking that would help.  No luck…  I tried turning on all the burners, thinking it would dry out faster if they were on.  No luck.  I read that sometimes it helps to turn off the breaker and then turn it back on.  No luck.  When John arrived home, he found a website that said you need to turn the breaker off for 24 hours, then turn it back on (after the stove has dried out), and that should fix the problem.  Nope!  STILL NO LUCK!

 

I was getting worried.  We have a cooktop range, and it is quite pricey to replace.  Last night, I was so stressed about it when I went to bed, that I prayed about it.  I woke up still stressed.  That’s saying something, because I am a “wing it” kind of gal, and most things don’t stress me out too much.  This was stressing me BIG TIME!

 

The following morning, one of the boys needed to heat something in the microwave, which is on the same breaker as the stove, so Michael went outside and flipped it on.  Lo and behold, I witnessed a miracle!  My stove was fixed!  No more incessant clicking!  No more guilt about ruining my cooktop!  I gave Michael a huge hug and called John with the good news.  We were (and are) so grateful to our Heavenly Father for helping us and blessing us with a functioning stove!

 

So, no long term damage done.  Life was good again.  At least until I broke my stove again the other day while making marmalade.  The water boiled over in the water bath canner and it was enough that the stove started “clicking” again.  Thankfully, it only went on for about 10 minutes, then it shut off.

 

Good times…

 

Help me in my quest to “get real” and share some of your kitchen disasters.

We will all have a good laugh and feel so much better knowing we are not alone in our imperfection.

 


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It’s 5:14 pm, and I Haven’t Even Started Dinner!

What would you do?  Grab something from Mickie-D’s?  Eat sandwiches?  Heat up chicken nuggets?  Skip dinner, and go right to dessert?

 

I’ve done that before, but dinner is family time in our home.  We like to eat a good meal and enjoy some good conversation.  Earlier in the day, I had planned to make stew (to take advantage of the stew meat on sale at my local Wal-mart), but, like it often does, life takes over and, before I knew it, it was after 5 pm with no dinner in sight!

 

With some dishes, it’s not a big deal.  But stew needs to “stew” for at least 2 1/2 -3 hours, so the meat is nice and tender.  My youngest goes to bed at 7:30, which meant there wasn’t time for our stew to “stew.”  Not if I wanted him to eat and be in bed on time.  (Which I do, because he is a GROUCH if he does not get enough sleep!)  No biggie.  I whipped out my pressure cooker and used it to speed up the cooking process.  Come along!  You can cook right along with me.

 

 

I assembled my ingredients and got started.

I assembled my ingredients and got started.

 

I put a couple tablespoons of flour in a gallon size ziplock bag and put in the stew meat.

I put a couple tablespoons of flour in a gallon size ziplock bag and put in the stew meat.

 

I zipped it up, shook it, and ended up with this.

I zipped it up, shook it, and ended up with this.

 

I preheated the oil in my pressure cooker.

I preheated the oil in my pressure cooker.

 

Opened up my ziplock bag of stew meat coated in flour...

Opened up my ziplock bag of stew meat coated in flour…

 

And put some in the pan.

And put some in the pan.

 

I cooked the meat in two batches.   Here's the first one.

I cooked the meat in two batches. Here’s the first one.

 

Turned it over to brown all sides.

I made sure to turn the meat to brown all sides.

 

I pulled it out and set it aside...

When it was nice and brown, I pulled the first batch out and set it aside…

 

And I cooked the remaining meat.  See how the oil is started to turn a lovely brown shade and get a bit thick?  It's like I'm creating a roux (a combination of fat and flour) while I'm browning my meat.

Then I cooked the remaining meat. See how the oil is started to turn a lovely brown shade and is getting thick? It’s like I’m creating a roux (a combination of fat and flour) while I’m browning my meat.

 

I was out of stew mix, and I didn't feel like pulling out my stew recipe, so I used Pioneer gravy as my base.  I mixed it with 4 cups of water.

I was out of stew mix, and I didn’t feel like pulling out my stew recipe, so I used Pioneer gravy as my base. I mixed the packet with 4 cups of water.

 

And whisked it really well.

And whisked it really well.

 

Then I added the first batch of meat back to the pan.

Then I added the first batch of meat back to the pan, combining it with the second batch.

 

I added the gravy packet and water mixture along with a bay leaf.

I added the gravy packet and water mixture along with a bay leaf.  I also snuck in an onion, roughly chopped.

 

Next, I put the lid on the pressure cooker, turned the heat on high, and brought it to pressure.  See the red button has popped up on the left hand side?  Once it was pressurized, I set the timer for 10 minutes.

Next, I put the lid on the pressure cooker, turned the heat on high, and brought it to pressure. See the red button has popped up on the left hand side? Once it was pressurized, I set the timer for 10 minutes and let it work its magic.  A few minutes in, I turned the heat down as it only needed to be on medium heat to maintain pressure.

 

I chopped up the celery and carrots.

While the cooker was bubbling away, I chopped up the celery and carrots.

 

 

Once the timer went off, I used the pressure release valve to release the pressure within the cooker.  This allowed me to safely open it and add the veggies.

Once the timer went off, I used the pressure release valve to release the pressure within the cooker. This allowed me to safely open it and add the veggies.

 

 

Which I did here.  Then I brought it back up to pressure and cooked the stew for 5 more minutes.

Which I did here. Then, I brought it back up to pressure and cooked the stew for 5 more minutes.

 

I released the pressure as before and added the potatoes and 2 1/2 more cups of water mixed with another gravy packet.

I released the pressure as before, then I added the potatoes and 2 1/2 cups of water mixed with another gravy packet.  I also added a little black pepper.  As before, I brought the cooker back up to pressure and cooked the stew for 5 more minutes.

 

 

And Voila!  It's done!

And Voila! It’s done!

 

 

Not too shabby for 20 minutes of actual "stewing" time, huh?  The meat was fall apart tender and the stew was a hit!  Much better than chicken nuggets or Mickie D's!

Not too shabby for 20 minutes of actual “stewing” time, and an hour from start to finish, huh? The meat was fall apart tender, and the stew was a hit with my husband and teenager eating two big bowls full! Much better than chicken nuggets or Mickie D’s!

 

 

Kind of makes you want a pressure cooker*, doesn’t it?  I made dinner for under $10.  It fed four people (2 adults, 1 teenager, and 1 12-yr old) with leftovers for my oldest son when he gets home from work and leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  McDonald’s would have cost us at least $13, and that would be with the super cheap mini meals, which are no where near as satisfying, and don’t even think about leftovers!

 

$10 = at least 2 meals for a 5 people  VS  $13 = 1 small meal for 4 people

 

Pressure cooking wins, hands down!

 

What’s your favorite “get dinner ready quick” tip? 

 

* This post contains an affiliate link.  To learn more about them, please visit my “about” page. *
* Please note that while I am familiar with my pressure cooker, your pressure cooker work differently than mine.  Please read and follow all the safety instructions that came with your pressure cooker. *