Cowboy Spaghetti

Cowboy Spaghetti for Dad

Cowboy Spaghetti

Dudes, my dad is awesome! He showed me the stars, took me on hikes, made me pancakes, and gave me rides on his motorcycle. He watched me dance, read my bad poetry and let me cry on his shoulder. He gave me piggy back rides to bed for way longer than his back was probably happy about. He taught me that it’s totally okay to eat cake for breakfast. Best of all, he taught me to read which has been a precious gift. My dad has always been there for me and believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. I am so very lucky.

photo by Gareth Grindle
photo by Gareth Grindle

We live half an ocean apart, which is not the farthest away I’ve been. I wish I could make him a feast for Father’s Day. He deserves it. Alas, dinner will have to be virtual. He’ll forgive me.

Cowboy Spaghetti

Cowboy spaghetti is the dish my dad requested. I’ve made it for him before, and he loves it. At least I can share the recipe with the world so he can make it himself, or even better, get someone else to make it for him. It’s the least a daughter can do.

This stuff is perfect man food. Why? Two words: bacon and beer.

There’s also ground beef, cheddar cheese, and hot sauce for added awesome, but for me it’s the bacon that makes it magical. And since my dad loves beer, and he puts it in just about everything, I knew the first time I looked at this recipe that he’d love it. I’ve slightly adapted this old Rachael Ray recipe to make it more conducive to my vegetable loathing palate, but if you’re into chunky tomatoes just swap out the crushed tomatoes for something with more texture.

Cowboy Spaghetti

Make sure you have plenty of extra cold beer for your dad on Father’s Day. He’s worked hard your whole life to give you stuff you probably didn’t even appreciate. The least you can do is make him dinner and bring him a cold one. Let him put his feet up. Feed him with love and cowboy spaghetti. He deserves it.

Cowboy Spaghetti
Serves 4
Meaty, manly spaghetti with bacon and beer
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound spaghetti
  2. salt
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  4. 3 slices of bacon
  5. 1 pound ground beef
  6. 1/2 onion, diced
  7. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  8. black pepper
  9. 1 tablespoon hot sauce (or more if you're into that sort of thing)
  10. 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (it's required that you read that line out loud)
  11. 1/2 cup beer
  12. 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  13. 1 cup tomato sauce
  14. 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar
  15. 4 scallions, scissored
Instructions
  1. Put a large pot of water over high heat to boil. Don't forget to put a lid on it, or it will take forever. When the water boils, add salt and spaghetti, stirring occasionally. My pasta cooked for 10 minutes. Check your package. Bite into a piece to see if it's done, or throw it against the refrigerator to see if it sticks. That's what my mom used to do.
  2. In the mean time, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cut your bacon with scissors right into the pan. Cook to desired level of crispness (the correct answer is very crisp). Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and pour off some of the fat, leaving enough to coat the pan.
  3. Add your ground beef to the pan to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Depending on how lean your beef is, you may want to drain the fat off before proceeding. I'm poor so I have to get ground chuck, which needs to be drained.
  4. Add onions and garlic to your ground beef and then season with hot sauce and Worcestershire. Add the beer and scrape up any bits that may be stuck to the bottom of the pan. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in tomatoes and sauce. Bring everything back up to a simmer and check for seasonings. This is usually where I add more hot sauce.
  6. After you drain your pasta, put it back in the pot, then pour the sauce over the spaghetti and stir to combine.
  7. Top your bowl or plate of spaghetti with plenty of cheddar cheese, a sprinkling of crunchy bacon, and green onions. Serve it to your dad in an old recliner, and don't forget to bring the man a beer.
Adapted from Rachael Ray
Adapted from Rachael Ray
http://awesomeon20.com/
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Mom's Tacos

My Mom’s Tacos

Mom's Tacos

I don’t think more than two weeks ever passes at our house without my husband asking me to make tacos for dinner. But he doesn’t mean authentic Mexican roadside tacos, or fish tacos with fresh guacamole, or even hipster tacos with kimchi or pork belly. He wants my “tacos,” which are really my mom’s tacos. This is weeknight, working mom, dinner on the table in 20 minutes food. It’s not pretty or trendy or sophisticated. It’s just damn good. No need to set the table or uncork the wine. These tacos are meant to be eaten in front of the TV with a big glass of milk. That’s how I did it when I was a kid, and that’s how I do it now.

taco ingredients

It’s so simple I hesitate to even share it with you, except for the fact that this is literally the most eaten dinner in our house. My mom’s secret is a can of refried beans mixed into the meat. It bulks up the tacos in the best possible way. Tacos that are just ground beef are so boring. Why aren’t they doing this at every drive thru taco place on the planet? My mom was so clever.

She also fried the flour tortillas in a bit of hot oil. This is delicious, but I’m mostly too lazy, and trying to keep the calories down ever so slightly, to bother with this step. But by all means, if you want to make these extra ridiculous, slide your flour tortilla into about an eighth of an inch of hot oil. It only needs about 30 seconds a side. Just stand right there and turn it when it gets brown. Drain them briefly on a paper towel, then load up your taco meat and toppings. It’s 80’s suburban familial bliss.

Mom's Tacos

My mom died in 2009, so I’m always looking for ways to keep her close by. Cooking the food she made when I was a child is one of my favorite ways to do that. Don’t tell anybody, but I still put ketchup on my tacos, just like when I was 10. I don’t recommend it to normal humans. I’m not normal.

Next time you’re exhausted on a Wednesday, make these tacos. They’re so simple you could make them in your sleep, and so freakin’ good you won’t be able to move afterward. 

Moms Tacos3

 

Mom's Tacos
Yields 6
Fast and simple week night tacos just like the old days
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Total Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound ground beef
  2. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  3. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  4. 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  5. 1 packet hot taco seasoning (you should probably make your own, but I always forget)
  6. 3/4 cup water (or just refill the seasoning packet)
  7. 1 can spicy jalepeno refried beans
  8. whole wheat tortillas
  9. shredded cheese
  10. sour cream
  11. salsa
  12. and all your other favorite taco toppings
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, break up your ground beef with a wooden spoon and season with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Cook until browned, about 8 minutes.
  2. Drain the fat from the ground beef by pouring it into a colander. Return it to the pan.
  3. Sprinkle your seasoning packet over the cooked meat and add water. Stir to combine.
  4. Add refried beans and smoosh everything together. It will become easier to stir as it heats. Simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. For a softer tortilla, heat it in the microwave for 15 seconds. Spoon your taco meat onto your tortilla and add all your favorite toppings. You can even have ketchup. I won't tell.
Adapted from my mom, Traci
Adapted from my mom, Traci
http://awesomeon20.com/
Bacon and Egg Salad

Bacon and Egg Salad

Bacon and Egg Salad

I have a problem. I eat like an eight year old. It’s wonderful and terrible all at the same time. It’s pretty much cheeseburgers and ice cream around here all the time. After all, the four food groups of awesome aren’t exactly designed for bikini season. This is especially ironic since I live in the land of endless summer. But regardless of imminent swimsuit wearing possibilities, I’ll always go for another slice of pizza. I like to enjoy myself

And yet, sometimes even I can start to feel weighed down by all the cheeseburgers, cookies and pizza. Oh and one too many ciders. Unfortunately, even my attempts at “healthy” eating end up with bacon in them.

Bacon and Egg Salad

Look, I just don’t like vegetables. If I could be hypnotized into believing that broccoli and kale were delicious, I’d do it in a second. It just doesn’t make me happy. In fact, it kind of grosses me out. I have issues. I don’t mind the occasional simple salad, provided it doesn’t contain frisee. This, however, is a salad I actually look forward to.

The dressing is made from Dijon mustard whisked right into the bacon grease, and it’s topped with tender lovely boiled eggs. And bacon. Did I mention bacon?

Bacon and Egg Salad

Life is too short to eat bad food. This salad is delicious and is bound to have fewer calories than a bacon cheeseburger. Maybe it’s not clean or skinny, but it definitely tastes awesome. Do it!

Bacon and Egg Salad
Serves 4
A salad that's not so light, but full of flavor
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 eggs
  2. 1 head of your favorite lettuce (I pick whatever's second cheapest after iceberg, but never ever frisee)
  3. 1 garlic clove (or garlic infused oil)
  4. 4-6 slices of bacon (whatever's leftover in your fridge)
  5. 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  6. 4 teaspoons cider vinegar
  7. dash of Worcestershire sauce
Instructions
  1. Put your eggs in a small saucepan and fill with water just until your eggs are submerged. Put this over high heat and bring to a boil. Allow the water to boil for one minute and then turn off the heat. Leave everything alone for ten minutes. Pour cold water over the eggs, then park them in the fridge until you're ready for them.
  2. Chop or tear your lettuce and throw it in your salad bowl.
  3. Crack a clove of garlic by placing it under the flat of your knife and giving it a good whack. Peel the garlic and put it in your frying pan with just a touch of oil if you have it. Turn the heat under your frying pan to medium
  4. Using scissors, cut your bacon into small pieces over your frying pan. Stir frequently and cook until the bacon is crisp.
  5. Drain the bacon on a paper towel lined plate, and discard the garlic. (Or not, if that's your thing.) Remove the frying pan from the heat.
  6. Add the Dijon mustard to your bacon fat and carefully whisk these two together until combined.
  7. Whisk in the vinegar and Worcestershire.
  8. Season your lettuce if you like and add your bacon and dressing. Toss lightly.
  9. Peel your eggs, then cut them into quarters and add these to your salad. Give it a final gentle toss, then try to convince yourself you're having a healthy meal whilst eating lettuce coated in bacon fat. It's gonna be so awesome!
Adapted from Kitchen by Nigella
http://awesomeon20.com/
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Check us out at Inside BruCrew’s link party
Caramel Butterscotch Muffins
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