Men in the Kitchen...Jack's Fiesta Potatoes

For those of you who regularly read my blog(s), you've definitely heard me mention my baby brother, Jack. Now, I say "baby" instead of "little," because Jack is anything but little. I believe he hit 6' in the ninth grade and now towers over us all at almost 6'7".

But I can still take him down.

It's one of the beauties of sister-hood. No matter how big and strong they get, little brothers of the world will always be subject to headlocks and teasing by their older siblings. Whether I'm a foot shorter, nine months pregnant, or an old lady with a walker and a glass eye...

..I will always be able to take him down.

But why would I want to?

And yes, I was blond in this picture. Yes, I'm aware that was a bad decision. But that was the first day of my freshman year at college.

I made a lot of bad decisions that year.

Anyway, Jack is not a regular, annoying brother. I raised this kid, and I did a good job, if I may say so myself. He knows how to open doors for women, what not to ask a woman (which he learned the hard way), and how to purchase feminine products without feeling the least bit of shame.

And he is currently voluntarily single. I may or may not have something to do with that. I'll have to ask him at our next therapy session.

Wednesday was a big day for Jack. He turned the big 2-1. And to celebrate, I decided not to go the traditional route and take him to a bar to get wasted.

The kid wants to be a worship pastor for heaven's sake.

So, I grabbed my girliest, tiniest apron, threw it on his massive frame, and told him he would be the first victim of my "Men in the Kitchen" segment. Being the most compassionate person alive, he took pity on me and agreed without hesitation.

It's the big sister thing. Did I mention I can take him down, any time, any place?

It gave Tim some small relief to know he escaped involvement for 30 more days. Oh, but I'm coming for you, Bubba.

You're next.

We're going to tackle something relatively easy at first, but equally hearty and somewhat nutritious (all you health freaks, please proceed to leave your threatening comments). But first, let's ask Jack a few questions to check his qualifications as a cook:

Me: Jack, how many times have you cooked in your life, and what is your typical meal of choice?
Jack: I've only cooked a handful of times in my life...maybe 5 or six....and for the most part, I only cook hot dogs. I guess I can barbecue.

Me: So you are not a trained chef?
Jack: Mm-mm (which means, "heck no")

Me: What is 8+5? Every time I try to sign up for something online, it makes me answer this question to confirm I am not a computer. So, I need to confirm that a computer-operated Jack is not cooking this meal.

Long pause

Jack: Er, 14, I mean 15! The answer is 15!

It'll do. So here we go!
  • First, we take a potato. Just your standard, white potato. Or you can use red. I've never tried it, but I'm just about certain it would be just as tasty.
  • Scrub your potato under cool water and dry it thoroughly with either a paper towel or a kitchen rag. Take a fork and stab it about five times. Now lightly cover it with olive oil (that yellow liquidy stuff in the pantry, for all you men out there who are actually interested in making this). I don't care how you get the olive oil on there, but most women have some sort of pastry brush in their cabinets. If not, well...don't ask, don't tell, right?
  • After you have questionably applied the olive oil, put a little bit of salt on it and wrap it in tinfoil and throw it in the oven (right on the oven rack) for a little over an hour at 350 degrees.
  • While that's cooking, we'll start on the toppings. The ground beef will take the longest, so we'll start with that.
  • Grab enough ground beef to top the amount of potatoes you have. If you're only feeding a few people, there's no need to cook 5lbs. of meat. This is my trick: If you have a soup ladle, imagine that each person will need that amount of meat. You can estimate from there.
  • Put a large pan on top of the stove and start heating it up. Add a little bit of olive oil and let the pot heat up a bit before you add the ground beef (or ground turkey). When you've prepared yourself emotionally and physically, throw the meat in the pan.
  • That's right, throw it. It'll make you feel more authoritative and, in turn, will make the dish taste better. Submission is an important factor in cooking.
  • Make sure you chop up the meat with a wood spoon so it has the consistency of taco meat. Turn it on medium/high heat and stir it continually. Once the meat is cooked thoroughly, drain it with a spaghetti strainer in the sink and return the meat to the stove (put on low heat). Add one packet of taco seasoning mix to the meat and stir. Personally, I always use the Taco Bell seasoning because it's cheaper and tastes so much better than the other stuff.
  • Now this where you get to be creative. Jack doesn't like onions, so he opted out of of those, but if you would like them, go ahead and dice up half an onion or so and throw it in there with the meat. Keep it on low heat. This is the time when you get to take a break and watch football.
  • Once the potatoes are done, carefully take them out of the oven and put them on a plate. Unwrap the foil and discard. Cut the potato open with a knife and add your toppings. Obviously you want to include the Mexican meat we just made, but other good toppings for this dish are salsa, sour cream, guacamole, shredded cheese, and chili beans, none of which need to be homemade in order to be delicious.

Now, go light a candle and vacuum the living room. And make sure you clean up the kitchen-women don't like to come home to a dirty house any more than you do! This meal is also a double kill: you can suggest you use the leftover meat to make tacos the next night.

You won't know what hit you.

So, there it is! If Jack can do it, so can me.

By the way, Jack is trying to go to Bosnia this spring to minister to Muslims. The cost of the trip is $2,900, and he's raising it through various fundraisers.

See? I told you he has more substance than me.

I set up a widget on the right side of my blogs for a small fundraiser. I'd like to raise $100 to help him get there.

Come on, do it for me. And the Muslims who need to hear about Jesus.

"He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.'" Mark 16:15

Love you all! Now go cook your woman a meal!

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