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Friday, November 9, 2012

Food Failure to Success

One of my favorite comfort foods is Spanish Rice.  My mom made it when I was a child and it always reminds me of home.  It is typically made with onion, garlic, green pepper and canned tomatoes which simmer together with uncooked rice and water until a flavorful blend emerges.  My mom used to make it in the oven with pork chops.  I have also made it in a large pan over low heat on the stovetop.  This week, I was hungry for Spanish Rice and thought I would experiment with the recipe in my slow cooker.  I’m a big fan of slow cooking since it tends to save preparation time as well as clean up time and usually yields very tasty results.  I emphasize “usually”…

I put the ingredients in the slow cooker on low before going to bed, expecting to wake to delicious Spanish Rice.  I was even hoping to have some for breakfast.  Unfortunately, what I found was a mushy mass that was far from appealing.  It was completely overcooked.  The taste was familiar but the texture was intolerable.  I briefly considered throwing the whole pot out but I just can’t bear to waste food.  I decided there had to be a way to save the meal. 

The first variation was very simple.  I used a portion of the mush to thicken a tomato based soup.  I added a can of tomato soup and water to the mush and blended them until smooth.  I added some chopped chicken, frozen peas and diced zucchini for a flavorful and thick soup that the family loved.  I didn’t even need to add any spices or additional salt since the rice was already flavored appropriately.   No one even suspected that the soup was thickened with the Spanish Rice glop.


Next, I’m going to mix the rice with some ground turkey for meatloaf, meatballs or stuffed cabbage.  I will add some egg and breadcrumbs to thicken and see how that turns out.
I encourage you to think outside the box when a meal doesn’t turn out as you had planned.  It happens to all of us.  Sometimes you will surprise yourself at your failures turned successes and won’t have to feel bad about wasting food. 

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