Mars And Venus In The Kitchen

No one can screw up an entire day of cooking better than me. Seriously, no one. I should have my own Food Network Show. “What NOT To Do In The Kitchen, With PJMomma”.

First I ruined my pumpkin cake, then I went on to ruin everything else. See this chili? Doesn’t it look good? Well it’s not supposed to be chili, it’s supposed to be stew, but I forgot to put the can of tomato sauce in. WOOT! WOOT! I rock.

The cornbread would have been pretty good, but the cornmeal had reached it’s expiration date several years ago.  I think I might have used it for a pizza I made in 1992 and then kept it in the freezer to lengthen it’s shelf life. It tasted freezer burnt.

Even though the kids soundly rejected it, I served it to pjdaddy as “chili” figuring the kids were just being picky as usual. And the few beans I’d had tasted fine to me.

I asked pjdaddy how it tasted and he looked like a cornered animal. I could smell the fear in him.

Look, just answer the question. Is it good or not?

*pjdaddy avoids eye contact

It’s fine. It’s good.

Oh no, hell no. I know what fine means. If I ask him how an outfit looks and he tells me fine, I might as well go naked. Tell me what’s wrong with it so I can either fix it or not bother making it again.

I think if I were to scramble up some eggs and have a tortilla with it, to balance out some of the salt it would taste good.

Ok, so what you’re saying is it’s too salty?

Look, you just don’t “get” me. No matter how bitter and salty it is, I’ll eat it because I know you spent all day making it and you poured your heart into it.

I will confess that actually made me laugh, but I still needed to find out what exactly he felt was wrong with it.

So it’s salty and bitter?

No, no, it’s just salty. And look, we saved $5 by me not making a trip to Arby’s.

Hah, it’s not worth the effort if we only saved $5. And you’re killing me. Why did we have to go through this entire conversation. Why tell me it’s bitter if it’s not?  Just flippin tell me it’s too salty!

We saved more than $5 because I’ll eat it again tomorrow.

No, I don’t want you to eat any more of it if it doesn’t taste good.

No, it tastes fine.

Ok I give up. I’m surprised the deer aren’t lining up in my backyard to have a go at the salt lick I call dinner. I just hope I can cook better today with Elvis Costello.

If any of you are “real” cooks, can you look at this recipe and tell me if it’d still be too salty even if I’d remembered to put the can of tomato sauce in? It seems to me, two bouillon cubes in addition to the envelope of taco seasoning would make it too salty anyways.


  • 2 lbs. rump roast or lean stew beef
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, Mexican style
  • 1 small can green chile peppers
  • 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • two beef bouillon cubes or equivalent granules or base
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) red kidney beans; rinsed and drained
  • Shredded cheddar cheese


Cut beef into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss with taco seasoning and add to slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, chile peppers, tomato sauce, onion and bouillon cubes. Cover and cook on low 6 to 9 hours or until beef is tender. Add the drained beans and cook until the beans are heated through; around 30 minutes. Serve topped with the shredded cheese and other toppings, as desired.


  1. The only thing I can figure is that the bouillon cubes in addition to the taco seasoning may have caused the salt overload. The other can of tomatoes would have diluted it quite a bit. I usually make my own taco seasoning because I find some of the packaged brands are too salty. You could try a little cumin, chili powder, sugar, and garlic powder. I usually alter it to the dish, but the flavor always ends up being really great. And just for the record…I never know what my husband thinks of my food. The only critique I EVER receive is if it needs more salt so now I ask him if each dish is a once a monther, every other weeker, once a weeker. It’s still not an exact science, but it’s at least feedback.

  2. I was just about to say what Melanie said, but she beat me to it. Oh, and I liked her way of asking about the frequency of a meal to determine her husband’s rating of the dish.

    I think lots of men react like pjdaddy. I like some feedback but I don’t necessarily want it on every meal I fix. For example – “I think this pasta salad might be good served warm too” is a far better approach than “It’s good but it would have been better with ….”

    The fact that pjdaddy was willing to eat it for lunch the next day was really kind of thoughtful. :)

  3. melanie- thank you for the feedback from hubby advice. it’ll work great with my next husband. I keed! I keed! Also, thanks for the taco seasoning recipe, I’d prefer to make that from scratch too.

    CB- I do have to give him credit for telling me to throw the cornbread away. I’m more of a direct person and prefer it when he’s direct. I will say though, if he didn’t tell me what was wrong with it, I could never have fixed it and it would have sucked every time I made it and then to be evil I would have made it once a week. mwahaha hahaha

  4. DEFNITELY the bullion. I’d go with one cube. Those are salty mofos.

  5. Dearest PJ –
    This is a chili recipe:

    Chipotle Chili
    4 servings

    1 Tablespoon oil
    1 small onion, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, chopped
    1 1/4 lbs venison or pork cut into chunks
    2 teaspoons pasilla chili powder
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 small yellow or red pepper, chopped
    2 Tablespoons tequila
    1/2 cup orange juice
    1 Tablespoon finely chopped chipotle chilies in adobo (or less if you don’t like it hot!)
    1 (16 oz.) can cannellini beans, drained
    1 Tablespoon masa harina flour mixed with 2 Tablespoons water

    Toppings (any or all of the following)
    sour cream or plain yogurt
    chopped cilantro
    chopped green onions
    grated jack cheese

    Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Toss venison or pork with chili powder and cumin; add to saucepan one batch at a time. Cook and stir until browned. Remove from pan and repeat until all the meat is browned. Add onion and garlic to the empty saucepan; cook until softened. Deglaze pan with the tequila. Return meat to the pan. Add the chopped peppers, orange juice and chipotles; bring to boiling. Lower heat and simmer, covered, about one hour or until pork is fork tender. Add beans; heat through and cook for a few minutes. Add the masa and water mixture to thicken. Cook another 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls; top with toppings as desired.

  6. IT WASN’T SUPPOSED TO BE CHILI!!!!!1!!!1!!!!!!!!!!!1

    It was taco stew, but thanks for the chili recipe MCPO.

  7. PJ – I use venison backstrap, cubed. Pork is an OK substitute. If PJ Daddy like it warm, double up on the chipolte.

  8. Buy yourself a George Foreman grill and just grill some chicken.

  9. MCPO- oh yeah, he lika da spicy. I’m a wimp though.

    hah, I have one. I wish I’d bought the one with removeable plates though. wah.

    I”m trying to introduce the kids to a little variety.

  10. It being taco stew, I wouldn’t have added any bouillon cubes. Too salty and haven’t seen a bouillon cube yet that didn’t have MSGs or lactose fillers.
    By putting everything in the slow cooker, the beef will flavor enough on it’s own to complement the taco seasoning.

  11. I love my Foreman grill, but the weather here is so nice, it is just as easy to use the gas grill, and just as fast. I just need to defrost the food first.

    If you can’t grill it, I don’t need to make it (unless it is microwaveable.)

  12. I’ve never heard of taco stew but now I’m curious. I concur with your first two commenters on the salty source.

    I just reviewed the ingredients again and thought that if Besos (the latina woman I’m dating) and I cooked together, I could ask her to dice the tomato and note that it had to be Mexican style – but I’m pretty sure she’d stop dating me. :P

  13. porknbean- yeah, I’m thinking that too. I got the recipe off and I’m not too impressed with that site because nothing is reviewed and I’ve already seen a couple screwed THREE TABLESPOONS of baking soda. I’m thinking no way! Not after that pumpkin bread fiasco. If I get brave enough to try it again, I just do the taco seasoning and leave out the bouillon, most of them have soy in them too. bisquick even has soy in it. *sigh

    b-rad- can you believe I don’t even have a grill? I know, I know.

    randomesq- look, you can’t help that it says Mexican style. she’s just gotta understand. I mean, it didn’t say sexy bitch style, maybe you could change the recipe to Latina flair style? That would impress her I’m sure. ;)

  14. This is funny. I found you from KD’s ( A Bit Squirrelly’s) Place. I can’t offer any cooking tips. Sorry, My husband has lost 2 pounds lately and he’s not a picky eater…My little puppy is packing on the pounds though. She’s not picky either.

  15. How do you ruin pumpkin cake? That takes mad skills- as the kids would say.

  16. Along with the bouillon cubes being loaded with salt always remember that most canned and pkg food has salt added to it. So basically your ….
    taco seasoning – HAS SALT ADDED
    diced tomatoes, Mexican style – HAS SALT ADDED
    green chilie peppers – HAS SALT ADDED
    tomato sauce – HAS SALT ADDED
    bouillon cubes or equivalent granules or base – BASICALLY SALT with flavoring added
    red kidney beans – HAS SALT ADDED
    AND don’t forget that meat also contains a certain amt of salt.

  17. alias liz jones- well hi and howdy! :) *sigh even my stupid dog is picky

    TTF- Yep, I gots me some talent.

    Anna- all that salt? I’m surprised I’m not swelled up like the Michelin man after all that.

  18. I’m trying to introduce the kids to a little variety.

    In one plate?

    That recipe has everything. Every-Thing.

    You should have just rolled it up into a tortilla and told the kids it was from Taco Bell.

  19. Oh yeah, and listen to Anna. (She’s the one with the hairy butt, right?). Start paying attention to the sodium content in foods, especially canned food.

  20. In one plate?

    That recipe has everything. Every-Thing.

    bart, don’t make me put my baby down! :P

    She’s the one with the hairy butt, right?

    bwahaha hahah hahaha

  21. LOL… you guys are awful

  22. Recipe for redneck hors d’oeuvre, in order from bottom up:

    One (1) Saltine cracker, One (1) Slice of Velveeta, One (1) squirt of ketchup (or catsup by region), and finally One (1) additional Saltine. (You can substitute in PB & J for mini sammiches.)

    Awesome mid-day summer snack.

  23. Don’t feel bad.

    Mrs. Blackiswhite made me dinner when I had my second eye surgery.

    I really didn’t think it was possible to screw up Mac and Cheese and Frozen Fish Sticks. I was polite because she felt really bad, and she’ll only actually cook once in a blue moon.

  24. eeeesh, that’s what you’re living on with your new mortgage aren’t you? :P

  25. I really didn’t think it was possible to screw up Mac and Cheese and Frozen Fish Sticks.

    I’ve screwed up mac n chz before. We were in our really, really poor times when we first got together and were living on mac n chz. I got the brilliant idea to put corn in it. We had that for a bout a week. Now the thought of it makes us ill, even typing this makes me nauseous.

  26. When I was poor, I would cube a can of Spam and put it in my homemade mac & cheese (Velveeta with a little block of sharp cheddar).

  27. hah, I had a friend who was a native islander in hawaii and he lived on that stuff. I remember they even sold it on rice in the 7-elevens like they sell deli sandwiches here.

  28. eeeesh, that’s what you’re living on with your new mortgage aren’t you? :P

    No, it’s just one of those fond memories/flavors from childhood when my folks where pinching pennies to keep me in a private school. Sometimes I throw a few together if I’m feeling really lazy.

  29. Ah yes, I know that feeling well Will. We lived on beans and tortillas quite a bit as a kid. One of the sacrifices our parents made to send us to private school as well.

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