I’m going to get real with you today and share some of my kitchen failures. What happens when you try a new recipe, or even one you’ve cooked 900 times before and it is too salty, too spicy, or just plain gross. It is smart to have a backup plan, because after spending hours upon hours cooking only to have something inedible, you sure don’t feel like cooking another full meal.
For years and years, I’ve tried to make hot rolls. They never turn out. Not one time. I’ve read every tip I can find. Make sure they rise long enough. Etc. etc. etc. They are always kind of dense and never light and airy or fluffy. I just don’t even know at this point what I’m doing wrong, but I refuse to give up.
Not too long ago, I decided to try a chicken recipe, make those hot rolls from scratch and have an amazing dinner. I don’t even know what I was thinking, but none of it was edible. The rolls looked beautiful. They rose pretty good and puffed up in the oven. I was excited. FINALLY, my hot rolls were going to be light and fluffy.
Then, I cut into the roll to butter it and you can see how dense the dough is. It wasn’t light and fluffy at all. In fact, I don’t think it could have tasted much worse if I hadn’t spent a minute letting it rise. I was so disappointed. Unfortunately, my chicken recipe was dry and didn’t taste good. Our meal was inedible and I needed a backup plan (more on that in a bit).
What to Do When You Have a Kitchen or Recipe Failure
This isn’t the first time I’ve failed at making rolls and I dare guess it won’t be the last. When I have a major fail, here is how I handle it.
1. Pull leftovers out of the freezer.
When I make something like tacos or chili, I make at least double and sometimes triple what we’ll eat. I freeze the rest for a quick meal. These are the perfect go-to when you have a recipe failure. You simply pull out the frozen meal, defrost in the microwave and you have a meal that you know is tasty.
2. Throw a frozen pizza in the oven.
Everyone is hungry and clamoring for food and what you just cooked is disgusting. Another quick and inexpensive option is throwing a frozen pizza in the oven. Your oven may already be hot from the failed recipe attempt.
3. Let them eat sandwiches.
I always keep bread and sandwich fixings on hand. I can pull out the griddle and make grilled sandwiches or we can have them ungrilled. The problem with sandwiches is often the sides, so you may want to cut up some fruit. If you’re lucky, you’ll have sides you prepared for the main meal that are okay to eat.
4. Create a hodge-podge meal.
This is a creative way I came up with to use up leftovers. My kids loved it growing up because you never know what you’re going to get. Maybe you tried a new recipe and most of it is gross but you have a few bits that you can eat. Pull out some muffin tins (one set for each family member) and start filling them with bits of food, leftovers, baby carrots, dip and pieces of fruit. Use up all those few tablespoons of food you’ve had left over. You can always open canned meat for some protein or add a hard-boiled egg.
5. Eat breakfast for dinner.
Eggs can be thrown together lickety split. Scramble up enough for the family and toast some bread. It is filling and easy.
6. Go out for a meal.
You’ve slaved over the stove all day. The last thing you feel like doing is heating up anything else. Sometimes you just have to throw your hands in the air, forget the budget and go get something to eat. If everyone is starving, head for fast food. If you can wait a bit, enjoy a good sit-down meal.
7. Taco ’bout it with your family.
Tacos come together very quickly. I always keep some ground beef or turkey on hand. I make my own taco seasoning, but you can also use a packet. Add some tortillas and dinner is served.
8. Nuke some TV dinners.
Remember in the 70s when people ate TV dinners all the time? Try to keep a few on hand in case of an emergency. They heat up in minutes. I also make up my own with containers and leftovers. I might have pot roast and mashed potatoes or turkey and dressing. I keep a selection on hand for the hubs to take to work, but can also use them in a pinch.
9. Spend a little on convenience.
I hate spending money on things like premade packages of chicken alfredo pasta. It is so easy to make from scratch at home and so much cheaper to do yourself. However, eating at home saves money even when you go for convenience foods. I try to keep a package of family size chicken alfredo in the freezer. It can be ready in about 12 minutes. Butter some slices of bread and throw a salad together and you have a meal.
10. Give up on cooking.
Honestly, sometimes you feel like such a failure at cooking, you’d about like to give it up. I know I do. However, I always return. If you have a really horrible kitchen fail (like the day my husband poured powdered sugar into a moving mixer and it went EVERYWHERE), give up on cooking for the day. Snack on whatever you want. Let the family fend for themselves and come back to it when you are over the pain of the worst recipe ever.
What Are Your Kitchen Failures?
Most of this article was kind of poking fun at myself and all my kitchen failures. However, there are some good tips mixed in to survive a recipe fail without melting down completely. I would love to hear what your kitchen failures are. Share them on Facebook or below.