Thursday, April 15, 2010

Time for Some Failures

Well, not everything can turn out like it should, especially when trying to come up with something new and different. I have been trying to think of entree recipes for the Kraft Philadelphia cream cheese challenge I mentioned in the Paula Deen post. I came up with something unique, but wasn't quite sure how to go about it.

I wanted to make inside out turkey burgers using cream cheese and chopped spinach as the middle filling. I decided I wanted to add my grandmother and mom's barbecue sauce to the meat to make it a bit moister since the lower amount of fat results in drier burgers.

My first trial run was on Tuesday night, I made some of the sauce and added it to the ground turkey directly. But I really didn't have any idea how much to add, so it ended up a gooey mess. I went ahead and made the cream cheese, spinach and garlic filling and made the burgers anyway. I tried to grill it anyway, but just ended up with bits and pieces of barbecued turkey falling through the grates of the grill. I couldn't even start to flip them without everything falling apart. A spectacular failure!

So I thought it through and decided to run three different trial runs on Wednesday night for dinner. One would be the same thing, but with added bread crumbs and less barbecue sauce in hopes of being able to get it to hold together better. The second set of two burgers had the filling and the bread crumbs, but no barbecue sauce mixed in...I would brush that on like a normal burger. And the third test was to use the lower amount of barbecue sauce, place some in a muffin tin, then add the filling and top with more turkey like mini meatloaves.

Well, that was the plan anyway. In my haste when I got home to get something made for dinner before it got too late, I accidentally added the same amount of barbecue sauce. That is what happens when you triple the amount of sauce to make and then have one and a half times the meat and add sauce back to two thirds of the recipe. I just was in such a rush that I didn't think it through quite like I needed to. I thought I had the right numbers, but mistakes happen.

I warmed up the grill and got the oven ready while I put together the three experiments. I got the mini meatloaves in the oven, then went to put the burgers on the grill and....nothing. No gas left. Are you kidding me?!?! Ugh! So instead of getting more gas at that moment, I opted to make the burgers on the stovetop. I didn't want to go through the extra effort of exchanging the propane tanks when I had just realized I did add the wrong amount of barbecue sauce (after my husband pointed it out, that is).

So the burger with the same amount of sauce mixed in with the meat, bread crumbs and filling was another wonderful mess. No matter how long I left it on the pan, it wouldn't come together and of course it fell apart when I tried to flip it.

Experiment number two...bread crumbs in the turkey, filling, and painted on barbecue sauce. These actually turned out alright. They held together well and it wasn't difficult to cook them. My husband was definitely not thrilled with the amount of spinach in the middle and told me that I didn't use the secret ingredient (cream cheese) as the star of the entree and that I needed to adjust the proportions in the filling.

The mini meatloaves cooked for about 30 minutes at 375F. I actually liked the way these turned out the best. The meat was still plenty moist and it had a good spinach and garlicky flavor in the center.

So I guess I will need to determine if I think any of these recipes are worthy of submitting to the contest. I am almost tempted to rely more on the dessert, and side dish portions and keep thinking through my entree since there will be another entree week coming up soon. But then again I don't want to wait so long that I miss an opportunity. I have until Sunday at 9PM EDT to get a video submitted if I want to enter in the entree week. Gives me some things to think about...

As for pictures of these disasters, I forgot to take them this time, but I will have to remember for in the future. I must remember that each disaster is as much a learning experience as each success. No need to get down on myself about the things that don't work, it just means that I need to think longer and harder to get more creative on where to go next.

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