I am not much of a cook, but 11 months ago I signed up for a magazine subscription for a food and recipe magazine in hopes of expanding my horizons. After 11 months I received the renewal notice to continue receiving this magazine and I realized I have never ever made a recipe from this magazine . I have dog-eared many recipes, chatted about it with kids and even dreamed about these final product. Last week prior to grocery shopping I decided this was the week to make something out of the magazine. If nothing else I feel like I needed to get my $25/year worth and to see if it's worth the $25 to renew for the next 12-month cycle.
As you can see from the photo below, things didn't work out so well. What is also not pictured is a sink full of dishes and the dogs who ate some fallen chili that didn't end so well. So using some Mental Health advice as well as some skills from DBT skills let us talk about where things went wrong and where things went right. Also for anyone truly interested in the recipe skip to the bottom I added the link and some tips!
1) I didn't read the directions correctly: So I skimmed things and jotted down the ingredients I needed to make it. I forgot the corn, cheese and 1 pack of cornbread.
Life and cooking advice: Pay attention and do one thing at a time.
2) I didn't have the right size dish: This was to be a casserole in a 8x13" pan, alas I don't own the right size item to do so. I used a more shallow larger dish so was short on food to fill it.
Life and cooking advice: Be Prepared, make sure you have the right tools to work with.
3) Due to #2 I had to spread the cornbread mix out and attempted to spread cornbread mix over chili, which didn't work out as it was thicker than a snicker!
Life and cooking advice: It helps to know what you are working with, if I had made cornbread before I would have known it is thick and it's easier to spread if you don't dump the whole thing on top to start.
4) My boyfriend mentioned when I said I was going to make this dish that his mom made it when he was a kid and he loved it. His mom can cook, from scratch and very well. I was suddenly determined to make this recipe and make it perfect.
Life and cooking advice: Don't compare yourself to someone else, especially someone who has both the skills, experience and tools you may not.
5) As it became clear this was not going to look like the picture or taste like the boyfriend's had prior (I forgot both the corn and cheese for the side,) I tossed in the oven realizing I was short on time and needed to clean up fast to get the kids.
Life and cooking advice: Plan ahead and leave room for error.
Now onto how the successes
1) Know your audience: Here's the thing, my kid eat just about anything- they ate the kale salad I made earlier too- They not only ate it, but had seconds of the casserole and asked me to make it again. Good news I made a ton- yay leftovers for tomorrow!
2) Give yourself credit: I had 80% of the ingredients and when I realized I was short for the large dish I tossed in a can of chili to make up for it.
3) People who love you aren't comparing you to others: My boyfriend ate it, two big pieces too and said it was great. He didn't even notice how un-photogenic it was.
4) No one notices your small mistakes like you do: At no point did anyone question where the corn, cheese or lack of cornbread was. Only 1/4 of the eaters had this recipe before so no one knew my flub and 1/4 didn’t mention it.
5) Keep expectations reasonable: let me be real here, my family doesn't expect anything I cook to look like a magazine photo or a Pinterest post. At times I expect perfectionism, but truth is other people do not. I almost think if it looked like the picture they would be suspicious who really made it. Be imperfectly perfect!
In the end everyone was happy, we have leftovers for tomorrow night to save me from cooking more than a quick veggie and I have 4 more items from the magazine to make *fingers crossed*
Non-Pro Tips: Double the onion and/or triple the salsa, skip the stock, pour cornbread slowly over to spread as it's chunky and hard to spread over chili after.