I spent this weekend in the kitchen and I’m not quite sure if I’m proud of myself for trying new recipes and succeeding according to everyone else or mad at myself for trying new recipes (I’m pretty sure they were all lying to me). I’m not sure what I was thinking when I decided to try my hand at cooking without Michael since he usually fix my screw ups but I did it. My first attempt was dinner on Friday night since my parents were going out that evening and Michael was coming over after work. That’s right. I was all on my own on this one. Scary, I know. I found a Chicken Tamale Bake on EmilyBites. It has a few of my favorite things–cornbread, enchilada sauce, cheese–and looked easy enough so I made a quick run to Wal-Mart to get the ingredients and set foot into the kitchen.
I made a few minor changes to fit my pescatarian diet and just to fit our family’s spicy taste for any type of Mexican food. The first change I made was that I added about an 1/8 of a cup of sugar to my cornbread batter. You see, I love cornbread (I mean LOVE as in can eat the entire pan by myself) but it has to be sweet cornbread. I think the sweetness balanced well with the green chiles that you add into the first layer as well. Without the sugar, it’s going to be really spicy and you won’t have the same depth of flavors.
As for the top layer, I made a few more alterations. First off, I used canned crab instead of chicken. I’m a pescatarian so I only eat seafood, no meat from animals like chickens, cows, deer, pigs, turkeys, nothing. Then, somewhere in the comments I read that a woman mixed the enchilada sauce in with the meat instead of pouring it completely over the bread like the recipe calls for. I did a combination of both. I poured about half the can in the crab mixture and the other half over the bread. Another thing I did different was…well, I forgot to pick up creamed corn on my Wal-Mart run so that got left out. The final thing was I opted out for adding the cumin and cayenne pepper. Instead, I added some pico de gallo in the crab mixture and then we left the remainder out in case someone wanted to add it on top after it baked.
All in all, I thought it was good. Everyone else seemed to agree (But like I said, I’m pretty sure they lie when I cook to spare my feelings). The one thing I would do differently is cut down on the crab mixture. While my parents and Michael said that they thought it was fine, I thought there was a little too much of it compared to the cornbread. I guess I could add more cornbread but I think I would just use less crab. I used four 8 ounce cans since that’s the equivalent of the 2 cups of chicken the recipe calls for. It didn’t taste bad the way we had it but I would’ve liked more of a cornbread taste. I’m going to probably make it with chicken the next time while we’re on vacation so all our friends can eat it.
My other attempt in the kitchen came out better if you ask me (But I was really excited about making this one). I was on Pinterest when I found a recipe for Tim Riggins brownies on Our Best Bites (Okay, so the real name is Mississippi Mud Brownies with the Tim Riggins thing as an addition but I like me some Riggins). You might be wondering much like I did why are they Tim Riggins brownies? Well, I think I found a new best friend because the woman said they are Riggins brownies because “like Tim Riggins, the frosting is totally the, “Oh, no, I shouldn’t, thank you, please, can I have some more?” part of these brownies.” I completely understand. Also, I may be wrong but I’m pretty sure the first episode where Saracen has his rally girl ask what he wants her to make him, Riggins’ rally girl gives him brownies.
On this one, I didn’t change the recipe at all. I may have added a different amount of chocolate chips (I didn’t measure so it could have been anywhere around 1 cup like it says). The brownie by itself seemed like it would have been amazingly delicious. I used Hershey’s dark chocolate cocoa powder and dark chocolate chips because I love dark chocolate and it’s what we had in the house. Everyone thought it smelled amazing.
But I wanted it to be Tim Riggins brownies so I kept going. I didn’t have the flat marshmallows like she used in the post so I just poured mini ones all over the brownie until it was covered and put it back in the oven to brown them. Then came the part that made this whole adventure a gooey, chocolatey mess–the frosting.
I put all the ingredients together like it says and started mixing with the electric mixer. I kept mixing…and it never looked all light and fluffy like it was supposed to. It was runny and looked more like a chocolate glaze so I added more powder sugar until it got a better, more solid-ish consistency. I poured it over the brownie and marshmallow mixture and decided it needed to go into the fridge. I needed to take some to our neighbors’ house because they gave me the evaporated milk I didn’t have. This is the part where the mess comes in. I got it out of the fridge after about 15 minutes and when it got cut, the icing was still too hot and runny. It came out like a giant blob. So out family ate that and we stuck it into the freezer to speed up the process. That worked better. While it looks like it would be overly chocolate, the consensus is that it’s amazing. However, you will need some milk after eating it.
Here’s what it looked like before we cut it (Yeah, I found some pink writing icing and wrote “Oh boy, Tim Riggins 33” in honor of Bo from season 1):
I don’t think my time in the kitchen turned out too badly this weekend. No one died or got sick. In fact, it all turned out to taste pretty good. Maybe I’m not as scary in the kitchen by myself as I thought. As my mama put it, it may not have looked too pretty but it tasted good. Good luck if you decide to try either recipe!