Ten tips to tame those botched recipes

Ever botch a buttercake? Oopsed an oopsie roll? Cursed a cheesecake? Recipes don’t always live up to expectations. So what can you do when disaster strikes?

First of all, don’t panic. It happens to everyone, especially me. You’d think the amount of time I spend in the kitchen equates to cherubs singing and harps playing, but the opposite is true. I tend to be a little more daring in cooking due to knowledge acquired over the years, which equates to a greater percentage of crash-and-burns (emphasis on burns) in the kitchen.


Following are tips you can use to save the day–if not dinner.

1. Ooh burn! There’s not much you can do when your tar-tare turns to a blackened fish. You can scrape by sometimes, but  and charred foods aren’t terribly healthy–or tasty. Try scraping off the darkened bits and see what’s left. If it’s bad, chalk it up to a learning lesson and chuck it. Tip: stop watching Doctor Phil while you’re cooking the bacon.

2. You undercooked it. If your meat was pan cooked, you might be able to add a little bit of heat without drying out your dish by adding some fat, covering it in the oven and baking at 325-350 degree Fahrenheit, checking the oven every 10 minutes for clear juices, tell-tale meat color or temperature using a meat thermometer.

3. Did you over-flavor your dish? Salty sea jokes aside, more flavor punch found its way into your dish than into Aunt Alma at the last Christmas potluck. When this happens, chop the meat and repurpose into another dish to help spread the flavor. Just hold the spices in the reiteration to prevent the same mistake from happening again. You can also try rinsing or scraping our steak under the faucet to remove some of the added spices, but if your spouse catches you playing with the breasts under the faucet, he might want to join in. Just sayin’.

4. Did your egg whites flop? You tried making oopsie rolls or a meringue, but your whites are misbehaving. Don’t panic! You can spread your oopsie roll batter into a greased jelly roll pan to make bread for french toast or paninis, or add the yolks carefully back into your meringue attempt, pour into greased cupcake pans and make some popovers. Just add chopped olives, ham, cheese and pepperoni for mini pizza bites.

5. Your cheesecake never set up. Whether you baked and the dessert gods were plotting against you, your no bake just never gelled or your key lime turned into a colossal disaster, you have several options. If the cheesecake you baked turned out to be a shake, serve it up in a dessert shot glass with some low-carb fudge or strawberry sauce for a delicious save. Did your no-bake cheesecake not set up in the fridge? Freeze your dessert and serve when it’s more ‘chill’. For a lewd lime, try serving with sugar free raspberry sauce to sweeten the deal. (See images above)

6. That cauli crust…is a bust. Sometimes the cauliflower (or zucchini) pizza crust has been like the time you found out you were dating your cousin… complicated. One way to prevent future odd social moments incidents is to make your crusts into smaller rounds and flip when they’ve cooked for their bake time; then bake for 3-5 more minutes. What happens when that’s not enough? Still not enough? The next time, try subbing out 1/4  cup of vegetable for grated Parmesan cheese for a little greater stability.

7. The three layer meat birthday cake experiment fell flat. Not in terms of leavening, but accolades from the pint sized crew who expected something a little less meaty. Turn your meat dishes into casseroles for a new lease on dinner; simply layer green beans and shredded cheese with crumbled, cooked ground beef, chicken, sausage or turkey for a shepherd’s pie your whole family will be singing about.

8. The almond flour cookie crumbled. Almond flour is versatile and tasty, but it can be a bit one-dimensional, tends to brown too quickly and falls apart like your best friend when her coffee cup runneth dry. If your batch of baked goods have no heft, consider processing the corrupt cookie cabal into crumb crusts for no-bake cheesecakes or other desserts where an unbaked crust is called for. Cookies can also be placed in the bottom of cupcake liners and topped with a no-bake batter, refrigerated and enjoyed that way. In fact, people will probably be a little bit impressed that you went to the effort to fashion cookies for the bottoms of those mini cheesecakes.

9. You over-minced the coleslaw ingredients. What was supposed to look like a finely chopped and fluffy head of cabbage, carrot and onion turned into about a cup of confetti smash. Never fear; when you add the dressing, hold up on some of the liquid and make sure to toss in a small bit of xanthan gum, since the more processed vegetables tend to release more moisture upon sitting. You can also scoop smaller portions with a cookie scoop onto the plate for a mini portion that looks proportional to its consistency, or spread as a confetti dressing over your favorite chilled meat salad. Toss with a salad or low carb pasta as its own deconstructed salad/dressing.

10. Your waffles are wasted. Try brushing the cold waffle iron with a basting brush and oil prior to firing up the griddle and give the iron a couple of extra minutes to fully heat. Make sure to give the batter ample time to cook; to test the readiness of the waffle, open the iron only millimeters  to check. If the iron doesn’t ‘give’, the batter’s still cooking. When all else fails, pour your batter into a hot, greased pan for some amazing pancakes or crepes.

Remember, those recipe don’ts can turn into delicious do’s. Don’t panic and think it through. Do you have any tips for saving the meal? I’d love to hear about them!

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