Killer Recipes Even a Klutz Can Cook!

Congratulations to contest winner Linda Lovely.

Cindy Sample's Hot Cha Cha Cha Chipotle CakeThere’s a nasty rumor going around that I can’t cook.  I’m not sure where this rumor started, but I’m guessing it began somewhere in my kitchen. Maybe near that burner that ignited the last time I tried to sear a salmon.

Possibly it originated in the microwave. Have you ever seen a hot dog explode? It’s quite a sight.

I’m still peeling dried sweet potato fluff off my kitchen cabinets from last Christmas. They did add a nice orange luster to the oak, though.

The cooking gene seems to have skipped a generation in my family. Fortunately, my children determined at an early age that they preferred to eat food that did not come packaged in Styrofoam cartons, so they learned to cook to avoid starving to death. My daughter particularly excels in baking any recipe that involves chocolate, while I excel in eating any recipe that involves chocolate!

When All Romance e-books asked if I wanted to be included with the hottest romance authors in town, and all I had to do was contribute a recipe to their new Passionate Cooks, I immediately said yes. I wasn’t going to let a little thing like my inability to distinguish between a TSP. and a TBSP. stop me from swapping recipes with other romance authors.

These ladies have crafted sizzling recipes with even more sizzling titles. Who could resist Sensual Sticky Buns, Date Me – Baby, Passionate Pesto Pasta, Smokin’ Hot Bourbon Beef, and my particular favorite, Sexy Stromboli.

I have no idea what Sexy Stromboli is, but I definitely want one. I’m just not sure if I want it in the kitchen or my bedroom!

My own contribution is a recipe that was not handed down from generation to generation. It was handed up from my daughter. With a slight tweak from moi. In honor of my passion for ballroom dancing, I’ve named it Hot Cha Cha Cha Chipotle Cake.

Once you’ve eaten a slice, you’ll need to cha cha off those tasty calories.

Passionate Cooks DownloadCLICK HERE for the FREE cookbook, and get yourself a copy today.

CONTEST ALERT: If you leave a comment (before midnight – PST – on Friday, October 5th about any entertaining cooking mishaps you’ve encountered (I know I’m not alone), you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a $10 gift card to All Romance eBooks.


  1. Mark Rosendorf on October 2, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I was a hotel management major in college. Unfortunately, it required me to take two cooking classes, none of which I particularly exceeded at. How bad was i? In the final class, aft er making what had to be my 25th mess of my cooking area, the teacher asked me to see her after class. She asked me about my career goals, which at the time was to work the front desk portion of the hotel industry. She seemed relieved, not because my cooking was bad, but because of the mess I always left behind. Since she didn’t want to fail me (and thus, have me repeat the lab course with her), she offered me a deal: she would pass me with a “C” if i agreed never to take another cooking course. I agreed…and to this day, i’ve kept that promise.

    The moral of this story: sometimes, leaving a mess behind isn’t always a bad thing.

    Mark Rosendorf
    Author of The Rasner Effect

    • Cindy Sample on October 2, 2012 at 10:08 am

      Love that story, Mark. Thanks for sharing. I must admit my friends ALWAYS offer to bring food when I invite them to dinner!

  2. Sherry Joyce on October 2, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Oh boy do I have some. Had a co-worker and her very proper mother over for a gourmet dinner. I was trying to put soup in the blender to puree it (door from the kitchen to the dining room was closed) and while I turned around the lid from
    the blender flew off spewing soup all over the walls, the floor, the counter, my outfit. I was between horrified and laughing hysterically. While this disaster occured, I was so upset that I forgot the chocolate cake was in the oven – it burned to a crisp. Served salad – no soup. Ice cream – no cake.

    • Cindy Sample on October 2, 2012 at 10:10 am

      Wow, Sherry, this is kitchen klutziness to the maxx. And you have the most beautiful kitchen ever! Do you have any photos you want to share:-)

  3. dkchristi on October 2, 2012 at 10:27 am

    It’s not my mishap, but it was my family. We lived on a sailboat in the Caribbean with three teenage sons. My youngest had his birthday while I was in the U.S. unable to get a flight back for his special day. My spouse invited lots of friends for spaghetti. He had the sauce in a pot and the noodles in a pot on the two burners when a speedboat went by and made a major swell. Both pots jumped off the stove. The noodles landed upside down. The sauce landed on the noodle pot bottom, right side up. As my spouse tells it, he put the sauce back on the stove, scooped the noodles off the floor and rinsed them in the noodle pot – gave it a quick boil – and served it to company as though nothing happened. When I returned, everyone told me about the great dinner at the birthday party. Once I had the whole story, I was glad I didn’t make it in time for dinner…

  4. dkchristi on October 2, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Of course, there’s the time I put the stuffed turkey in the oven and the family went off boating for the day expecting Thanksgiving dinner when we returned. We thought it was funny that the great smell of turkey done did not great us. I had put the oven on pre-heat but did not turn it to bake. It was still raw.

    • Cindy Sample on October 2, 2012 at 10:35 am

      DK, I think you have an entire anthology full of kitchen stories. I take it your guests bring brown bags with them just in case:-) Thanks for sharing.

  5. Nancy Means Wright on October 2, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Well, there was the time my grandmother sprinkled a tin of turtle food into her Thanksgiving turkey stuffing and we only found out after the fact. My brother told me that turtle food is made out of crushed flies and beetles, and I threw up. I never eat stuffing anymore. Especially after my brother told me about the guy working in the kitchen with him at his restaurant job who spit into everyone’s soup. Who can you trust, I’m asking??

    • Cindy Sample on October 2, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      I’m the nicest customer any restaurant ever had because I’m afraid of anyone sharing some additional spitworthy ingredients. Turtle food sounds even worse than turtle soup!

  6. Jacqueline Seewald on October 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Hi, Cindy,

    Just dropped by to read your blog and want to comment how much I enjoyed it. As for me, I have acid reflux and have to eat food with very little spice. Sometimes I goof and feel the burn afterwards.

  7. Cindy Sample on October 2, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    I can totally relate and I know it’s not fun. I’m on an orange and tomato sauce free diet. But I will NEVER give up chocolate and coffee. How would I write?

  8. sara hyman on October 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    The best one I have was actually when eating out – My mom had ordered something that came with mashed potatoes. We’re waiting and waiting, all the tables around us are getting served. Finally the manager came over and told us that while making a new batch of mashed potatoes, the salt shaker had fallen into the pot AND the lid came off; ergo, no mashed potatoes for a while. Would she like something instead of the mashed? She got something else, but it wasn’t the same and when the leftovers were packed up, the fresh mashed were ready and they went home with her.

    • Cindy Sample on October 2, 2012 at 4:41 pm

      Wow. Even chefs can have a bad day. At least you got those fresh mashed to go!

  9. M.M. Gornell on October 2, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Oh, Cindy, what a great post! Thank you for the cook book, can’t wait to try your recipe. My mishaps are usually when I’m making something a million times and nothing should go wrong…


    • Cindy Sample on October 2, 2012 at 4:41 pm

      Thanks, Madeline. My recipe is foolproof. You almost can’t screw it up!

  10. Terry Shames on October 2, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    When I was a young bride and we were poor, I found a recipe for hot dogs with tomato sauce. I slaved over the sauce. It had many ingredients and had to be cooked for hours. Finally came time to taste it. My husband and i took a bite and burst out laughing. I had made a fine batch of catsup.

    • Cindy Sample on October 2, 2012 at 5:12 pm

      Oh my. You made me laugh. I remember those early years. Our specialty was mackeral casserole. It cost 39 cents to make and lasted two days. Later on I tried to feed it to the cat who politely declined.

  11. rita lakin on October 2, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    my true cooking story is that I was cooking 3 minute eggs. A sure thing. What could go wrong? I suddenly remembered I needed to have my hair done. So I went upstairs, took a shower, got dressed, got into my car, went to the beauty parlor(as we used to call it in my day)

    it was only when half my head was covered with curlers, that I remebered my eggs, still cooking.
    I leapt out of the chair, my Taiwanese beautician girls couldn’t understand my English, jumped into my car, got home. The pot had exploded. Egg all over the floor. The smoke alarm screetching.

    Happy ending. I have a recipe for renewing scortched pots. Available on request.

    yours truly
    Rita lakin

    • Cindy Sample on October 2, 2012 at 5:34 pm

      I knew you would have a great story, Rita. That would make a terrific sitcom episode! Feel free to forward that scorched pot treatment. I have a pan or two or three that could use some help:-)

  12. Barb on October 2, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Did I already tell you about the time I had company coming for Thanksgiving and blew up the turkey? The oven door slammed open taking me off my feet about a foot, and as I came back to the ground, the door bounced, and bounced, and bounced. What could I possibly do with the shreds of bird stuck to the sides of the oven? Hmmm…

    Then there was the Christmas when I was cooking a prime rib, and at the critical part of cooking the lovely Prime Rib of Seven Bones, all the lights went out. We thought it was a power failure. We later discovered a fuse box we did not know we had, and thank God dinner was served in the dark!

    Then there was the chicken, fully cooked that I accidentally tossed on the kitchen floor, in front of all no less, after moving it to a platter.

    Or, my first try on the BBQ with a tri-tip on the gas grill. Who knew that the temperature on that darned thing could reach 550 degrees? My beautiful cut of tri-tip came off the grill looking like a chunk of coal.

    Ahhh, I could go on, but, I dare not bore you with the other ghastly details…Because I really am a good cook, after all the lessons I learned the hard way!

    Hugs to you my friend! I hope to see you sometime soon! Been too long!

    • Cindy Sample on October 2, 2012 at 10:49 pm

      Hi Barb. You have an entire anthology of klutzy kitchen memories. But I’ve seen your cooking photos. You’ve come a long way!

  13. Malena E. on October 2, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Cindy, you are a hoot. I always know I’ll find myself laughing while reading your blog. And all the comments are great, too. Loved Rita’s story of the boiled egg. I wish I had a story to match, but I’m a pretty boring cook. Although, I once made these really decadent cookies that were triple chocolate, but the kids asked me if they were “healthy.” Huh? Turned out I’d forgotten to add the butter. So we had “healthy”/decadent cookies.

    • Cindy Sample on October 2, 2012 at 10:50 pm

      HI Malena. You’re too funny. Feel free to ship me a batch of those “healthy” cookies:-)

  14. Alyx Morgan on October 3, 2012 at 5:20 am

    I’m a fairly good cook, but I have issues with portion sizes. The worst time was when I’d offered to make the mashed potatoes for my extended family’s Thanksgiving potluck one year. I was a teenager, & had never cooked for a large group of people before. So when my grandma gave me a 15 pound bag of potatoes & a jumbo soup pot (the kind you see used in mess halls & school cafeterias), I assumed she wanted me to make the entire bag . . . for maybe 15 people.

    Needless to say, I was sent home with the bulk of the left over potatoes.

    • Cindy Sample on October 3, 2012 at 8:43 am

      Aw, Alyx, the good thing is you can NEVER have too much leftover mashed potatoes. I use 9 potatoes for every 4 people then I know there will be plenty left for me!

  15. Christy Tillery French on October 3, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Love your humor, Cindy. My worst mishap was cooking chili – to this day, I do not know what I did wrong but it exploded and coated the ceiling. Ever tried scraping rust-colored goo off a popcorn ceiling? Horrendous!

  16. Cindy Sample on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Oh my, Christy. You get the Klutz medal of the week although maybe we can blame it on the pot. Did it all come off?

    • Christy Tillery French on October 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm

      Came off but stained it something awful. We had to repaint…

      I swear, I followed the recipe!

  17. Paisley Kirkpatrick on October 3, 2012 at 10:19 am

    You’ve had me chuckling all morning, Cindy. I do have a kitchen mishap. It’s not as newsworthy as scraping things off the ceiling, but I love to tease my hubby. While I was working at the art gallery, I left a pot of soup on the stove and told my husband to warm it up at 4 and then when it was hot to put a couple of handfuls of macaroni noodles in it. The pan was a very tall kind that you can put a strainer in so we are talking a lot of room to cook in. When I came home he greeted me at the door and said we would be having soup sandwiches. His ‘couple of handfuls’ was one large handful, but I forgot how large his hands are. The pan had macaroni solid up to the rim. He thought I would strangle him, but I couldn’t stop laughing. A lesson learned on giving correct instructions. 🙂

    • Cindy Sample on October 3, 2012 at 10:37 am

      Hi Paisley. You’ve just shared the secret to a long and happy marriage – be specific!

  18. Betty Gordon on October 3, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Cindy, I was going with this special guy (I thought) before I met my husband some years ago. I had him over for dinner — trying hard to impress — and since I was very, very proud of my chocolate pie, I put one together when I got home from work. it looked beautiful and I imagined his ooohs and aaahs. He had to love it –everyone loves chocolate, right? BUT, the first taste was sooooo bitter — I left out the sugar. We broke up not long after that.

    • Cindy Sample on October 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      I think your subconscious was telling you something. He was not sweet enough for you!

  19. Patricia on October 3, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Hi Cindy. I think I’ve shared this story before, but I remember very unfondly the time as a child I put a cup of salt into a cookie recipe instead of a cup of sugar. Not sure how I mixed those up, but I did. My sweet dad ate them anyway, proclaiming that they were very tasty. I love that man.

    Thanks for sharing your stories. I love them. Keep ’em coming.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Cindy Sample on October 3, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      I remember well those early efforts cooking for my parents. They were so kind:-) I often wondered if my meals ended up in the planters where I dumped my peas!

  20. Harriet on October 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    One of my guests offered to bring the turkey for Thanksgiving and I gratefully said yes. But I never expected it to be a frozen bird. We finally ate dinner at 11 p.m.

    • Cindy Sample on October 3, 2012 at 12:17 pm

      Great story. And once again, whether it’s a dinner guest or a husband, we better be specific!

  21. Liz Jasper on October 3, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Cindy,

    This post cracked me up. I’m generally a very good cook but, eeeeevery so often I do something spectacularly bad. Not just “eh” bad — REALLY BAD.

    My problem is that as a former science teacher, I like to experiment. Sometimes it’s really good. And then there are those…other times. I am NOT going to bring them up. Suffice it to say that the last time this happened, I set something on fire and the smell hung in the kitchen for five, very long days.

    Thanks for a great blog–todays entertainment. 🙂


  22. Cindy Sample on October 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Ah yes, Liz, those kitchen fires can linger for a long time. Not that I’ve actually experienced anything like that myself:-)

  23. Lori James on October 4, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Great post, Cindy! This Sunday is my Anniversary (married 23 years). I’m planning a special dinner that I’m going to cap off with your Hot Cha Cha Cha Chipotle Cake!

    • Cindy Sample on October 4, 2012 at 11:26 am

      Congratulations, Lori, on 23 years of wedded bliss. I’m honored that you’re trying my recipe for this special event. Keep the slices small, though, or you’ll fall asleep before you have a chance to “cha cha cha!”

  24. Linda Lovely on October 5, 2012 at 4:54 am

    I love to cook–not the everyday stuff–but for holidays and company. My biggest catastrophe was duck a l’orange. Served the company, took one bite, and retrieved everyone’s plates. Horrible. But I’m sticking to my story that it was a BAD BIRD. Went in the kitchen and fixed hamburgs for everyone. We had a good laugh. When you come visit, Cindy, I won’t ask you to cook.

    • Cindy Sample on October 5, 2012 at 8:54 am

      Hmm. No one was DYING FOR THE DUCK! I can’t wait to visit and try out your cooking, Linda. I’ll bring the wine. I’m famous for my selecting abilities.

  25. Julia on October 5, 2012 at 7:02 am

    There was an apple crisp once where accidentally used salt in the topping instead of sugar…

    • Cindy Sample on October 5, 2012 at 8:55 am

      It’s just so easy to confuse those two white ingredients. Thanks for sharing, Julia.

  26. Ron Chicaferro on October 5, 2012 at 8:09 am

    I have to say that I’ve always loved cooking and food – – you can tell that from all the diet books in my library. Cooking over a hot stove is reserved for the winter months only now since I live in Arizona – no ovens or hot stoves during the summer months!! The neighborhood restaurants love me in the summer!

    • Cindy Sample on October 5, 2012 at 8:56 am

      You may need to send those diet cookbooks to me, Ron, since I ate that entire Hot Cha Cha Cha Chipotle Cake!

  27. Joey Cattone on October 5, 2012 at 9:37 am

    I have several memorable failures. My first attempt at a Thanksgiving turkey using the “turkey bag” concept – and the turkey imploded from being too done . Second was hilarious when I fixed lobster tails , using the broiler and a flat (no sides )cookie sheet to put them on – a quick pull from under the broiler had those tails flying half way across the kitchen. The most disappointing time was when I fixed pecan pie to take to Canada for Xmas. I love pecan pie ! This time I used a little bowl of butter in the fridge (I never waste anything ) that, unknown to me , had been melted before (WITH GARLIC to make a quick garlic bread ). How terrible that was – to cart it to Canada via airplane and serve it at Xmas dinner and nearly choke on the garlic . I love garlic – but not in my pie !

    • Cindy Sample on October 5, 2012 at 9:49 am

      You know, Joey, if you invite me to dinner, I may be the one cooking. Garlic pecan pie. Oh my!

  28. Anita Page on October 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I wonder if the Little Women fans here will remember the March sisters’ cooking disaster–salt instead of sugar in the blancmange. (All these years later, I finally looked that up: “a sweet molded jellylike dessert…’)

    • Cindy Sample on October 7, 2012 at 7:19 pm

      I remember that scene. And I’ve always wanted to try Blancmange. Maybe after I work my way through the Passionate Cooks cookbook!

  29. A Link Around to Thoughtful Things « Leta Blake on October 8, 2012 at 6:39 am

    […] 4. Recipes even a klutz can cook? Okay, count me in. […]

    • Cindy Sample on October 8, 2012 at 9:26 am

      Hey, Leta. THanks for visiting. And contributing to Passionate Cooks.

  30. Sharie on October 8, 2012 at 9:19 am

    I have a story that almost lead to the end of our marriage..i forgot the brown sugar for the topping of a pineapple upside down cake and my husband said, “you would think a pharmacist could read directions”……..i about beaned him w the cake, pan and all…….

    this was many many years ago……….since then, he rarely comments on my cooking.

    • Cindy Sample on October 8, 2012 at 9:23 am

      And your marriage survived for 40 years. I’m glad you refrained from beaning him – you’re too cute together!

  31. Pat Hamilton on October 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Hello! I know I’m too late for your contest however I did want to contribute this. Did you know spaghetti can burn? I don’t mean overcooked and rubbery. I mean actually can light on fire?!! If one doesn’t break the spaghetti into smaller pieces, and the flame is too high, it can actually catch the spaghetti on fire and it becomes quite flammable! Perhaps I should not relate just how I know this, but whenever I offer to cook, my husand shouts a resounding “No!!” Best wishes on the book! Pat Hamilton

    • Cindy Sample on October 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm

      There are some significant benefits to being a klutz in the kitchen:-) Thanks, Pat!

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