Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thankful for... a cooking disaster

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I pride myself on being a pretty awesome cook.  I was raised by two parents who are both fantastic cooks, and at a young age I started watching and learning.  I still call my parents for cooking advice, and we often swap recipes.  I am one of those cooks who opens the cupboards, throws things together with no recipe, and creates a home cooked masterpiece.  Of course, I have setbacks or small mistakes here and there, but rarely do I have a full scale cooking disaster.  So when I had one Monday, I had to do some pretty fast thinking.

We were staying in for the holiday weekend; most of our friends were out of town, so Hubby and I decided to do a cookout for just the two of us.  I had picked up some hot dogs, salad makings, and ground beef for hamburgers.  I noticed that ground turkey was on sale, and since I am trying to eat healthier, got some with the intention of making turkey burgers.

I should point out that I have never before cooked with fresh ground turkey, and was unaware how soft it could be, as well as the fact that turkey burgers needed and additive like breadcrumbs to make them keep their form.  I thought I could just shape patties like you do with beef and I would be good to go.  As I was shaping them, I noticed the soft, pliable texture, but figured it would be fine.  Five minutes into grilling, Hubby alerted me that the turkey burgers were falling apart and into the grill.

Unwilling to waste all that food, I grabbed a skillet and we carefully scraped as much of the ground turkey off of the grill racks as possible, and into the skillet.  I then went inside to brown the 3 pounds of ground turkey, since it was partially cooked.  As I was cooking it, I said to Hubby "what are we going to do with 3 pounds of browned ground turkey?  I hope you like turkey burritos".  At which point, Hubby got very excited.  He was ready to forget the whole cookout, and have me make turkey burritos immediately.  I convinced him to wait until Tuesday.

On Tuesday, I went to the store to get burrito ingredients.  I decided to pick up some extra canned tomatoes and some beans with the intention of also making turkey chili.  I personally do not like red chili much, so I really did not know how to make it.  I decided I would wing it.  That afternoon, I cooked up the chili, and put it in the fridge.  I hear chili is better the second day, so I made the burritos for Tuesday's dinner, with the chili being Wednesday's dinner.  Both recipes made enough for multiple meals, so my cooking for the week was done.

Much to my surprise, both recipes, which I winged my way through with no real recipe to follow, were delicious!  Since the burritos consisted of wheat tortillas, tomatoes, ground turkey, brown rice, fat free refried beans, and lowfat cheese, they were incredibly healthy as well.  Score!  And the turkey chili was also healthy, being full of fiber and protein.

I am really proud that I took one of the biggest cooking mistakes I have ever made and turned it into two delicious recipes that I am sure will become staple meals for us.  Best mistake I ever made!