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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
That's What She Said
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Friday
Aug122011

Battle Of The Sexes

Today Hillshire Farm is helping mama pay the bills.

Serge thinks he does everything better than me. He really does. I don't drive correctly, I don't put lids back on jars properly, I don't even rinse out a paint brush the right way according to him.

Maybe he's right. Generally, I just can't be bothered with screwing the lid back on the jar of salsa properly when there is an entire plate of nachos that needs immediate attention. But I'll debate who is the better driver to the death. As far as cooking goes, I might concede that Serge has the edge but only because he really gets into it, not because he's inherently better. I could be just as good as him if I tried. And that's kind of what today's post is about. Who is the better cook? Or, since you can't taste our meals, whose dish looks more appetizing?

Last week I mentioned how we really try to take it up a notch when we plate our meals. We'll artfully lean slabs of meat against a puree of cauliflower, or we'll garnish with a variety of herbs, we take pride in the presentation of whatever crap it is we're shoveling down our gullets, is what I'm saying.

So what we did this week is we each chose a meal that included Hillshire Farm sausage, cooked it and took photos. Neither of us was present while the other cooked. So, while I saw his final meal last night I had no idea what photos he took or how he plated the dish... Until now.

I'm uploading all the photos and what to my wondering eyes should appear? Serge. In a chef's jacket. Being awfully serious about cooking.



I mean, what? Is he auditioning for the Food Network? Is he trying to intimidate me? Because it's not working. Especially after I saw this photo:



I'm as into sausage as the next gal (*cough*) but anyone who can get that worked up about sausage, even if we're getting paid for this post, obviously isn't dealing from a full deck. And seriously. Where in the hell did he get a chef's jacket?

But enough with him. That's what he does, see? Tries to hog the limelight. He's a ham. He's a hog and a ham that likes sausage. Onto the competition!

I decided to cook this recipe called Southwest Chicken Smoked Sausage Skillet I've been eyeballing on the Hillshire Farm Facebook page. It looked easy and I wanted to try the chicken sausage as opposed to regular sausage. Below you can peep all the ingredients and there really aren't that many. That's the Chicken Smoked Hillshire Farm Sausage I was talking about. There's zucchini and a green and red pepper there, an onion, a can of black beans, some shredded cheese and look! Do you see how I already measured out the corn? And also the salsa! It's ready to go! I am so organized and not cutting corners or anything!



I'm going to spare you the intricate details of it all, but suffice it to say, the recipe is simple and altogether I'd say the meal took about 20 minutes to cook, including prep time. Basically, you toss it all in a skillet, cook it up, add two cups of cooked rice and you're good to go.



Serve with cheese melted on top and a bit of cilantro for good measure. Simple! And delicious. And no showboating on my part. In fact, this is all you'll get in the way of photos of me:



Oh yeah, my landlords are in the process of replacing our Brady Bunch counter tops if you're wondering why the outlet is just kind of splayed out there all naked on the wall. The back splash hasn't been installed.

So that's me and my dish.

Serge, well, he's another story. When I scrolled through all the photos he took so I could use them to tell the story of his meal I slowly realized it wasn't going to be as easy as it was to tell mine. For instance, whereas I took about five photos of my entire process, he has twice that just to chronicle his various emotions about sausage:



What was he trying to convey here, do you think? Is he in awe of the sausage? Is he afraid of the sausage? Whatever it is, he got over it and quickly moved on to being angry with the sausage... Or maybe he is hurt by the sausage? Did the sausage somehow wrong Serge?



Perhaps, as the following photo led me to believe, there was some sort of gang war with the sausage?



Because what is going on with that bandana? Was there some sort of violence with a couple of thug sausages? If these photographs are any indication though, whatever went down in the kitchen between the sausage and Serge looks to be epic because I don't think I've experienced that array of emotions in the past year let alone in a kitchen cooking with sausage for thirty minutes.

Also, Serge, being Serge, refused to follow a recipe and chose instead to "freestyle" his meal. It's some sort of Mediterranean pasta dish with whole grain pasta, sauteed zucchini, squash, cucumber, tomato, onion, garlic, green olives, feta and, of course, the sausage.



When it came to plating his dish Serge's first photo included a beer and a sampling of whole wheat pita bread and hummus. Totally unfair, I say! Show me a picture with beer and without beer and I'm going to like the photo with beer every time, right? I think it was an attempt to woo you, the judges. So you will not be seeing photos of an ice cold glass of beer next to Serge's dish even though he is standing behind me right now arguing that beer should be considered a garnish and since I used cilantro as a garnish he should be able to use beer as a garnish. Nice try, Serge. Ultimately, he did take a photo of just his meal, though so there you have it:

Mediterranean pasta featuring regular beef sausage:



Southwest Chicken Smoked Sausage Skillet:



Which meal looks more appetizing to you? Choose wisely. And by that I mean, DUH. Pick me.

This post is the final one in a series of four sponsored by Hillshire Farm and their So Good. They'll Think It's For Them Campaign. Don't forget you can still get coupons for up to $1 off over on the Hillshire Farm Facebook page. And check out their latest commercial featuring the super funny Wendi McClendon-Covey from the movie Bridesmaids. My favorite part: "WE'RE PRETTY!"

Reader Comments (37)

OK ... so yours LOOKS more appealing. I'm sure the taste is equally delicious. However, to note - Serge's sausage did look a little toasty (burnt) on one side. Yours however, looked like it could use a bit more grill time. But that's just me. I like a little more cook time and therefore toasty color - somewhere in between the two. So does that make it a tie? Good use of veggies!

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Your plate looks more appetizing, but I like the looks of Serge's browned/burnt sausage more. I like my meat carmelized/burnt. As an aside, your husband seems like he'd be a lot of fun to hang around with.

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJill

Holy shit... I love this!!! Competition-yo. OK, I will try to ignore the Ham (and not the sausage) and I will remain un-biased, although I want YOU to win, Monica... my pick is...

Serge's dish. I like how the sausage is in smaller pieces, and his sauce seems to coat everything perfectly. Your dish is lovely, and I wish I could TASTE both of them. The only strike against your dish is that I really don't like green pepper and think red or yellow would taste a lot better.

I would eat either one, and would love to come over and chat on your porch with some beers, knowing sausage is for dinner.

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

This post cracked me up. It makes me want to be a goof my whole life and actually appreciate the dumb/funny shit our male counterparts do. What a laugh. I'm not gonna lie the pasta look gooood. but I'll take pasta over rice anyday so it's not really a fair competition on my part. Presentation wise, yeah you win Monica.

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTina

Monica yours looks the yummiest hands down! But I want to try both, will you post Serge's recipe please!

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndreapop

oh my gosh... you got a reality show here and I'm going to get that Sausage right now. I don't know if I can wait to mix all of these ingredients but I am sure your post here will sell a ton of sausage.

sausage, peppers and onions in olive oil tonight...with beer. Yes. sliced longways and grilled to perfection.

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGina

I gotta go with Monica's sausages...sorry Serge! I just don't like a blackened sausage. Although I do admire the freestyle.

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFanannie

Can't I just have both? I love pasta anytime of the day. ANYTIME! Oh well, I'm gonna have to be on team Serge! TEAM SERGE WOOHOO! Get my emotions...

However...

You have avocado... Which just rocks.

Very fun posts! Keep on sponsoring this girl people!

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMiss A

first off, you guys are fucking hilarious! second, i swear yours looks better, however if there was a beer in the photo of his, i'd choose that! beer should be considered a garnish, it's totally a garnish for any occasion!

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhilary

I vote for yours. In fact, I think I'm going to try your recipe, except I'll saute the sausage first to get it browned. The best thing about Serge's is the awesome chef's jacket.

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDS

They both look delicious!! In fact I'm in the pantry scrounging up some concotion ( is that spelled right?) because you made me so hungry!! You know I love you dearly Monica but I gotta go with my son in law on this one Because I looove pasta! I also remember that Christmas dinner he made for us with sausage, ribs,pasta and that 'godfather gravy'...NEVER tasted anything like it before or since! It was amaaaazing! Now if you were cooking with curry, you would win hands down!

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermama

They both look good, but the pasta looks especially yummy. Now I am craving pasta, thanks a lot.

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Loved this post (and I sure needed the laugh). I will have to say I liked all the pictures that Serge took but your dish looks super yummy. So hands down I pick yours DUH!

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShelly

I'm just impressed with all the veggies usage! And this post just cracked me up. Have to say for presentation though, the pasta looks yummier. Now craving pasta.
And I like the sponsored post notification at the top, by the way.

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphancy

giggled my silly ass off over this one, thank you for that! besides clicking through to the Hillshire Farm Facebook page - is there another way to support them on your behalf? I'm actually going to try your recipe (don't eat pasta) - is there a way to let them know that so perhaps you will get more work in the future?

Anything to help keep Green Acres going!

August 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura B

Yours is fucking kick ass when it comes to appearance. However I am swoon over his sausage.. *cough*

August 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Yours is visually kick ass. Do not feel intimated by Serge's garnering of a Chef coat....I deal with Chefs all day long in my line of work and I have learned that all you need to wear a Chef coat is two arms and an asshole for a personality. You have my vote :).

August 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle

I'm sorry to do this because I am freaky competitive but Serge had me at feta. I also have a pregnancy related corn within a dish phobia, so there's that. They both look really nice, but I gotta go with your man here, girl.

August 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDayna

I love pasta and strongly dislike almost all vegetable (will i ever be a "grown up") Sorry Monica you know i love you but I have to go with The Serge's dish...What I really want to know was did you guys really eat them? Who's was better? Was your sausage lighter in color b/c it was chicken sausage?

August 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

That was VERY fun to read! The melted cheese and cilantro garnish did it for me, I vote for you.

August 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkds

I vote for yours and I'm a vegetarian- it looked tasty :)!

August 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKali

Well, I think yours is the prettiest presentation. So you win IMO :-). And for the record, allowing beer as garnish would not have helped in my case. But both look yummy! And I'd probably want to taste his dish more- dude, pasta and feta. FETA. 'Nuff said.

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

You guys could totally steal me away from the Food Network audience. The end results both looked great. Without tasting I could never make an informed decision. Exception- if Serge had thrown in anchovies, I'd have voted his without being able to taste because ANCHOVIES ARE AWESOME!

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJuli

Team Monica here, although I generally am a fan of pasta over rice. In this case, it's all avocado and simple one pan dish. BUT also post Serge's recipe. It looked decent, if slightly inferior.

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

Ugh. I know I am gonna get big hate for this from all your loyal commenters, but whatever, I won't even know.

Just saying goodbye, really - I deleted your blog quiety from my reader when this whole Hillshire thing started - but kept checking back occasionally out of old habit.

But this? This doesn't feel like it fits your "things that I would have written anyways" tagline in respect to sponsoring any more. At all. It feels contrived. Not only do I find Hillshire Farms personally repulsive, your integration of the sponsoring is most blatant and annoying, sorry, but I am just feeling what a previous commenter took all the heat for: sell-out.

Thanks for all the years of great blogging.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra

Is throwing in a sponsored post now and then really a make or break for people? This blog is still some of the best written, funniest stuff I have ever read. Period. For the one, two or three people who felt the need to formally announce they've stopped reading this blog, even though they probably still do-Grow the fuck up! It's a God Damn BLOG! And like most things, it has evolved. If it hadn't, people wouldn't still be reading it. So now the writer is a mother of two and you want to call her a sell out for occasionally incorporating things that help pay the bills even though the writing is still fantastic and funny? That's weak.Totally fucking weak.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJuli

Okay, that didn't last long. I'm back.

I just had to see if anyone commented on my comments!

Ok, now I'm out of here forever, you sellout bastards!

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra

Chicken sausage for the win! The bright green cilantro is very pretty.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeah

I'm torn. I like the looks of blackened sausage better than lightly cooked sausage so that is one to Serge but then I despise olives and seeing them to me is like tasting their foul taste and that is kind of all I can see on Serge's plate (at least I think that is an olive). So I'll take the sausage from Serge's dish and everything else from Monica's, unless of course the olive tainted everything on Serge's plate than I'll just have Monica's.

Also, love the pics! Hilarious.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrooker

Name calling even! Bastards? That's just too hilarious. I guess she really hates sausage...

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermama

Love the pics from Serge, brings a bit of drama to his dish..I however love the look of yours as the winner with all the colors and your cilantro!

Sellout comment chick made my laugh-out-loud, sad that sausage has to get you that angry!

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEm

Hey there, haters of people who voice their opinion. Yes I did check back, and not because I wanted to count you guys jumping at me; to the contrary, I kind of even wanted to assure myself that this hadn't happened. Because although this was an honestly disappointed comment, I later hoped that it hadn't attracted this kind of commenter attention. I even felt a bit guilty that I had been tempted to wrote what I did - and not just quietly "left". I am not interested in engaging in comment wars at all.
mama: that second "bastard" comment was not me, obviously. Bit of a different tone - no?
Secondly, calling me "totally fucking weak" for stating my opinion/feelings on the turn a blog I once loved has taken, and that I now just don't enjoy anymore? That, dear Juli, is just what I'd call "totally f***ing sad". Or "totally f***ing judgmental". Whoever comments whatever in my name now - it wasn't me.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra

I'm terribly sorry Monica because I like you very much and you make me laugh but...I vote for Serge's meal.

It's just a matter of personal taste and doesn't mean a lot.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJacqueline

I love Michelle Bachman.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra

I'm making the Southwest Skillet tonight - there's my vote

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoanie

So I know this is an older post, but I was just wondering if you've ever seen the movie Dogma? I just recently watched it and had no idea you were married to "Silent Bob." ;)

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey

To all the haters out there....REALLY?? What do you do when any actor, actress, major athlete or other celebrity endorses a product--stop watching their movies or television shows? Quit going to their basketball games? Come on, now. Monica is trying to do one of the most difficult but honorable jobs--be a stay-at-home mom to her two lovely children. To hold against her the fact that she occasionally endorses some products to help pay the bills (like LOTS of celebrities and other famous people) is just beyond ludicrous!

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSue

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