Tag Archives: 30-minute meals

This Meal Went Beyond Paper Plates … It Deserved Barcelona

25 Mar

With so many mouths to feed and the massive amounts of Dawn and Palmolive destroying my youthful hands, I gravitated toward using paper plates.



But after washing breakfast plates, pots and pans; followed by lunch plates, pots and pans; then dinner plates pots and pans, I’ve decided to take short cuts and help myself out a little bit. I didn’t even mention the bottles…don’t get me started on the Dr. Brown baby bottles and their million parts. Dude.

So I’ve become a Dixie chick. Not a country-singing-I’m-Not-Ready-To-Make-Nice Dixie chick, but the paper plate kind. They’re awesome. They save me at least twenty-to-thirty minutes a day. And in Guat time that is really important. But sometimes a meal comes along where I have to use the Barcelona Dinnerware. It’s just that good.

Tonight happen to be one of those nights. I actually took the night off from eating yesterday because of my incident on Friday night. But I felt better today and made my comeback in the kitchen.

What did I make?


Meatloaf Muffins. They’re so awesome I literally patted myself on the back. But these were not just any meatloaf muffins, they were Rachel Ray’s Meatloaf Muffin Recipe.

Now I know I complain about her recipes totally sucking the 30-minute mark. Most of her recipes are all pretty tasty, but there are no 30-minute meals at my house … more like an-hour-and-a-half meals. But regardless of the time on this particular recipe I always thoroughly enjoy a tasty, savory comfy cozy meal that makes me close my eyes when I take the first bite.

Do you know how good food has to be to make me close my eyes and shake my head?


My relationship with food goes up several notches with this dish. I don’t care about calories or portion size in general, and this meal… hijole! … just puts me over the edge. Claim-Jumper size portions. It had celery, peppers, onions, Uncle Dougies Barbecue Sauce and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce. I don’t really impress myself much, but today … dude … I was so money. 

This meal deserved the Barcelona Dinnerware plate. The earthenware with the beautiful glazed finish that makes everything look better. It deserved to be laid out in total awesomeness. No Dixie plates on this one.

As the night came to an end after baths for the kids, stories for my son and bedtime for both of them, I walk down to see a sink full of dishes.


But this time I didn’t mind it too much. It was a well-deserved mess.



This Did Not Take 30 Minutes Rachel Ray

7 Feb
English: Rachel Ray in knee-length fashion boo...

Image via Wikipedia

I love the Food Network. I’m a big fan. Bobby Flay, Tyler Florence, Paula Deen, Guy Fieri, and Rachel Ray are among my favorites. I’m not a food snob or anything, I’m just a carnivore. I’m a lover of food. I thoroughly enjoy every bite of whatever I eat. I have seconds, thirds, and even fourths without worrying about calorie-counting or portion size. I could get hit by a bus tomorrow so I eat big. My mentality is…just work it off tomorrow. Work it off. That pretty much seems to function well.

But if there’s no love in the cooking I can totally taste it, and I don’t stand up for seconds. I’m ashamed of the sad dinner. I mean I’m not a culinary specialist or a Like Water For Chocolate old school chef, but I whip up some good meals and the Food Network helps me out most of the time…but not this day.

If you’re not familiar with the Food Network, Rachel Ray is well-known for her 30-minute meals. I love her pasta dishes, but wanted to try something different and I saw the Surf ‘n’ Turf Mexican Style Episode. I thought even though I’m Guatemalan, I could pull it off. 

No. No soup for you!

Officially the recipe is called Sliced Chili Rubbed Flank Steak on Spicy Rice with Shrimp and Guacamole Stacks. The title alone should have given me a clue. This would not be possible in thirty minutes. Not in this island-less kitchen with two kids and no dishwasher.

This was simple: rice, meat, and shrimp. I’ve cooked these elements before on my own, but I thought she had this special recipe that kept it to thirty minutes. No. Not special…I think they use the 30-minute title loosely, just like the express aisle at the supermarket. 15 items or less…give or take. This was definitely give and take…about an hour’s worth.

However, I think the problem began with the chopping. I think I’m handicapped in that department, because in her kitchen she chops the onion and doesn’t cry. Not even a sniffle. I’m over here bawling my eyes out as if I had that crazy intrusive glaucoma test at the eye doctor. I must have the wrong kind of knives. I need special onion knives. That in itself needed a timeout. I was sidelined as I tried to compose myself. 

My second error I chalk up to  her constantly “eye-balling it”…you know cooking spray…eye ball it, EVOO (extra virgin olive oil to you non Food Network peeps) …eye ball it, chili powder… eye ball it, hot sauce … eye-ball it. From that spicy kick in my meal I could tell we totally have different eye balls.

Then the rub. I come from a chicken marinating family and this “just let the rub sit there for a minute…”doesn’t do it. Meat is all about the flavor, so the rub hung out more than a couple of minutes, at least ten, or until I got the rice going.

And of course at the end of my preparation, my kitchen was not clean at the end of the shift…I had that special garbage bowl she speaks of, but regardless cilantro, onions, avocado, and beef rub made appearances on the floor and counters. I had to do some clean up.

All in all it took a little over an hour for this 30-minute meal. Maybe it was a you-can-eat-this-in-thirty-minutes-or-less meal, because it was savory and it did disappear. Perhaps I need to make this meal ten times and have no kids within a three-mile radius to finish it in 30 minutes. Plus a dishwasher. Well, that and the special onion knives.