The Failed Recipes of 2015 - Skillful Cook
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The Failed Recipes of 2015

Kitchen along with dining table.

‘Scuse me!

Look out!

Recipe Fails of 2015 comin' through!

By some magic eclipse of time, it's the last post of 2015! And what better way to ring in the good vibes for 2016 than by re-living the gloppy, sad-looking, mostly green messes of the last 12 months? Right? I thought so, too.

There is usually a theme to be found within my recipe fails, and this year is no different. I'm declaring the theme of 2015 to be GREEN GONE WRONG. Yes - all things green were the recipe fail specialty this year, probably as a result of my obsession with the *delicious* green recipes of the year, like the Magic Green Sauce, the Jalapeño Cilantro Dressing, the Kale Pesto, and beyond.

But there is a fine line with the green foods, and I crossed it just a few too many times.

So grab a coffee or a tea or a leftover Christmas cookie (please tell me you have the ones where the two Ritz crackers are spread with peanut butter and dipped in chocolate and sprinkles? no?! is this a tacky Midwest thing?) and pull up a chair. I mean, seriously - get comfortable. At this point, you might as well just be sitting in my house on a pile of my laundry examining all the little tufts of stray dog hair around our baseboard. That's just how much we're about to be up in each others' business.

Skillful Cook Failed Recipes-1

To warm us up, let's take a peek at the fails that happened in a few other categories of life before hitting up the recipes. Just to get in the spirit, you know?

Starting us off right is a classic food photography fail.


I could try to convince you that that was actually a delicious meal or I could laugh until I cry at everything about this photo.

...those tacos WERE really good, though.

Another 2015 personal fail in the fashion category would be one of a wearing-a-cape-as-a-shirt variety.

Fail Hoodie

I made my grand entrance and Bjork said: “Oh!'re wearing your cape today.”

Yes, dear one. THAT is how good I look in a cape.

Then there were the heart-wrenching facial expression fails of 2015 that were conveniently documented with expensive DSLR camera equipment during our photography workshops. 😭

Please tell me you know this moment: when you did you hair and actually got dressed and feel like you look pretty good for once in your life, and then you see pictures of yourself and realize that you look like this:


I have no words, really.

But as evidenced by the picture of me possibly acting out a worm in the bottom right of the collage, thankfully I'm the kind of person who DOESN'T EVEN NEED WORDS.

Now that you're warmed up, and before I realize what a terrible act of oversharing this really is, let's get to the good stuff!

Recipe fails of 2015, coming atcha!

#1: Palak Aloo
Recipe Fail

Starting strong with the green theme. ☝️

If you haven't had it, Palak Aloo is one of India's most delicious contributions to life as we know it and you need to find a restaurant that does it right and treat yoself with some naan and basmati rice STAT.

But a word of warning -> the palak aloo craving is all fun and games until you start attempting make it at home, at which point there is a 99% chance that you will find yourself in an all-consuming Nickelodeon Slime situation.

Unnaturally green, watery, and not delicious. *sits in corner and cries*

#2: Grilled Apricots

recipe fail 5

Involving: amateur (🙋) grill supervision, a big fat minute or two of sheer panic, a box of baking soda, a patch of dead grass, a favorite grill pan laid to rest along with its charred black apricots, and an immediate purchase of a fire extinguisher via Amazon so we never again come that close to burning down our house. All for some grilled apricots.

If we want to take it to the ultimate fail level, let's talk about the fact that this happened WHILE we had the three kiddos living with us this summer.


#3: Avocado Dressing

recipe fail 4

Orrr curdled broccoli soup swamp water? WHY is it chunky? I had visions of a silky-smooth dressing and ended up with something more like a sandy-bottomed lake.

Healthy fats, tho!

#4: Cauliflower Burgers

failed cauliflower burger

Ummm, what? Who makes burgers out of cauliflower and quinoa? Sometimes I can't even with myself. So annoying.

This combo absolutely fell apart like dirt in my mouth when I took the first bite. And at about three bites in, it sort of just became one with the bun. One big soft, mushy, crumbly burger wannabe.

Don't be mad - I wanted this to work so badly that I actually DID FIX THE RECIPE and they are actually really delicious (I added cheese, so obviously) and I'm going to post them sometime in January. But just because I eventually will post the fixed up recipe doesn't change the fact the their origins are shady. VERRRRY shady.

#5: Falafel Part One

recipe fail 3

FOR THE LOVE. I cannot even believe for one second that I put those slimy green patties in the pan thinking I would seriously want to eat them.

“Here, let's fry them up a little oil.”

This picture + the word “patties” + the vision of myself preparing to put this in my mouth... gah. I need to lie down.

And that brings us to the moment when things go from gross...

#6: Falafel Part Two
Recipe Fail 2 Level: Needs-A-Barf-Bag with one flip of the spatula.

Why were there peas in there, you guys? PEAS. Green peas. No no no no no. Lock me up forever.

It's really, really rare for us to completely throw food without even taking more than one single bite, but SO LONG, FALAFEL. And hello, finger photo bomb. It's only fitting.

#7: Perfectly Seared Scallops

A failed recipe in a skillet.

Well hey there, red crusty junk in the pan!

That's right, RED. Rough, gritty, stuck-on, red. Apparently the scallops had time to RUST real quick while they were in there for a three-minute sear?

Believe it or not, this was BEFORE the I sought help from the Martha tutorial.

#8: Apple Fritters

Fail 12

The fact that these were at one point going to be called APPLE FRITTERS... it hurts my heart. I take back any and all association I might have made with between my beloved apple fritters and these poser biscuit blobs.

Dear Apple Fritters, PLEASE FORGIVE. 🙏 I'm running back to you.

#9: Flaming Popcorn

recipe fail 6

There was, in fact, a moment in time during the year 2015 that I found myself (as a 29-year old, btw) standing in a kitchen holding a bag of popcorn that had full-blown FLAMES coming out of all sides.

This is not even a recipe - we're talking about a push-one-button-on-the-microwave kind of a thing.

I don't even know. I guess this is what I've come to.

#10: Chocolate Syrup

recipe fail 9

No, but wait - SYRUP. This was supposed to be syrup.

It really was on its way to chocolatey greatness (homemade peppermint mocha!) but it had a pit stop at GAG STATUS before getting there. Think heavy mud meets minty syrup and milk. Instead of dissolving, it just blobbed around in the mug and - here's the real kicker - it wasn't even sweetened. No redeeming sugar to be found. Ho-ho-ho and a Merry Christmas!

Not okay on so many levels.

#11: Tortellini Something Soup

recipe fail 7

Come on, you guys. I'M RIGHT HERE.

I was working with a limited amount of groceries, including a few random vegetables and one lone bag of dry tortellini, which SHOULD have made sense. It really should have. But somehow, rather than a healthy, resourceful tortellini soup, what I ended up with was straight-up veggie muck that tasted so horrible, I'm 99% sure it was poisonous.

This witch's brew was one of the more toxic foods I've encountered in recent memory, but I'm sorry to say that I might have even eaten a small bowl of it in ultra-hungry desperation. Eeeeee I know sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry just try to block the visual out of your mind.

Fail within a fail? My specialty.

If you like this sort of food failure-ing, check out my previous failed recipe posts (who says that?!):

AND check out Jessica's hilarious posts that have inspired me to share my failed recipes over the last few years. She's the bomb.

Last year there were so many hilarious comments on the failed recipes post - I promise I'm not trying to drag you into the mud with me here on the failed recipe frontier, buuuut, I actually kind of am. Misery loves company? Is that what they say? It would make my day to read about your fails, style, photography, recipe, or otherwise.

Finally, friends, cheers to a 2016 that is full of recipe wins and fails, because our food people are the kind of food people who embrace it all! 👊❤️

Filed Under: Life

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Ok Lindsay before I even read the whole thing I just need to say you are hi-LAR-ious. I have been CRACKING up just at the 4 pics I saw of you and when you said ‘possibly acting out a worm’….omg!!!!!!! LOLOLOLOL

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I love that they both show the good, the bad, and the ugly!! Makes you my number one bloggers EVER!! and im a hard sell! Your beautiful guys!!!
      #myworldglows a bit more becuase of you!
      #blessings ❤❤❤❤❤

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    you win some…and you lose some right? i have had a fair share of failed recipes this year esp with pumpkin pancake and waffles – i gave up…similarly, another thing i failed at was breakfast sausage but in picture, they looked great. And i dont even want to talk about beer bread – it was hard as a rock. cheers to all the good food that came out of our kitchen this year and hopefully 2016 will be even better 🙂

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Regarding the failed falafel experiment – THE STRUGGLE IS REAL! I have attempted to “healthify” falafel with similar results. I had visions of a beautiful golden brown crust, and then an interior brimming with veggies, but alas. What I got strongly resembled your green barf-bag-necessitating mess. My lesson learned is don’t add paint to a masterpiece – falafel is delicious as is. I just needed to let it be itself. 🙂

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Just wanted to let you know I became a fan of your blog a few months ago and come back equally for the writing and the recipes! I really enjoy reading your posts, and this one was refreshing– I feel like I’m the only one that has great ideas that often flop. Thanks for this. Happy & healthy to you!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I just love these posts, they resemble some of my outcomes. I need to start taking pictures of them instead of just going into a depressing and becoming one with the trash can.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Exactly – whenever I have a fail, I’m like… meh, oh well, at least this will make for a good addition to the fails post! 🙂

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you! That made me laugh so hard, especially the tortellini “soup”. Love your blog.


  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Oh Lindsey I’m pretty much dying at this whole post. I hope you are laughing with us! Now go have a few more Ritz Cookies cause I don’t care if that’s a tacky Midwest thing or not. They are still delicious! 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      YES! They are so good! I’m always kind of embarrassed that out of a whole plate of homemade cookies, the ones I like best are the Ritz cracker spread with peanut butter. 🙂

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Hi Lindsay!

        Love your blog, and the recipe fails are hilarious. About the Ritz cracker “cookies”, I don’t think it’s a total Midwest thing. At the summer farmer’s market in Littleton, NH (that’s way north in the state), there used to be a cookie vendor who made bags of Ritz “cookies”. The only difference–it was peanut butter AND marshmallow Fluff spread between two salted Ritz crackers and then double-dipped in milk chocolate. They would sell out within the first hour of opening every weekend! We kept them frozen, and ate right out of the freezer. Delicious!
        Happy New Year!

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          Holy Moly!!! I’m still at work and I swear these would make my day sooooo much better. I’ve never heard of such things here in western Montana, we must import them. 😉 Hitting the grocery store on the way home (if they’re open) and christening the New Year with “Ritz Cookies” NH Style. Happy New Year!

      2. Skillful Cook Logo

        I’ve never tried Ritz and peanut butter but I LoVe peanut butter spread all over a vanilla wafer! mmmm

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Oh – those remind me of a few blunders from my kitchen! Like the time I was making chicken pot pie from scratch and used powered sugar instead of flour to thicken it! oops

    Appreciate the moment of laughter to round out 2015. Going to celebrate the end of the year by going to the TSO concert today at the X. Yay! Happy New Year, Lindsay, Bjork and Sage!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    So nice to know I’m not the only one with failed or what-was-I-thinking recipe ideas. I don’t always get to try your recipes but I do enjoy your stories that go with them. Keep up the good work!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m so obsessed with these posts I NEED to remember to capture the failures for next year. The seared scallops made me lollllll–so good (but also so tragic). Most recent failure of 2015: the other day I was making cookies and I was so pumped the batter was delicious and they came out completely flat. Flat flat flat. I was stumped! I was convinced my oven was broken. ….and then I realized I forgot the baking soda. Merp.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Isn’t that the worst? I have done that before by accidentally doing my math wrong, doubling the recipe but forgetting to double the flour so they were essentially a puddle of butter. 😉

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love this post! With all the beautiful photography, delicious recipes and always entertaining posts, thank you for keeping it real with us. This is why I enjoy Skillful Cook! Your honesty and humor. Happy New Year!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for posting these and I’m glad that I’m not the only one who had to throw a great pan into the trash after nearly burning the house down. Mine was over a brown sugar-based caramel sauce that went from sauce to flames in like…10 seconds. Life as a food blogger, I think it maybe comes with the territory 🙂

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Oh my gosh SO funny. I laughed pretty hard at the chocolate syrup. And the cape shirt. My husband says the same things to me when I wear my “flying squirrel” sweater. He says “Come on, spread your wings”
    Thanks so much for sharing these fun(ny) fails 😉 Cheers to more fails (and MANY successes) in 2016!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    I look forward to the fail post every year! So funny only because your work on Skillful Cook is always so beautiful and flawless. I love your sense of humor 🙂

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    thanks for showing the failures. It reminds all of us we are human and not to give up when our experiments taste like blahhhhhhhhhhhhh

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    my most recent fail comes from just a few short days ago when I was attempting to help my sister-in-law with her fancy dinner by cutting the fresh pineapple into chunks. It’s shameful to admit, I know, especially from someone who’s favorite channel is Food Network and is fairly talented (i think?) in the kitchen, but I had never cut up a fresh pineapple before. So I remembered I had seen somewhere (probably FN), to stand the fruit on end and cut the rind off vertically. That went well. Then to cut into chunks…. I proceeded to lay the fruit on its horizontal side and slice into circles.. problem: we were needing CHUNKS for shrimp skewers. Needless to say, the pineapple chunks were not, and we had unrecognizable bits of pineapple with our grilled (and delicious) shrimp. My sis-in-law later showed me how to properly cut into chunks.

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Just joined as a blog reader this year, so this is my first experience seeing your Failed Recipes list. Thanks for sharing those! They’re hilarious, and it’s encouraging to have the reminder that even professional “foodies” like you can have things go wrong :0)

    Happy New Year!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks Dawn! Professional Foodie might be a little too generous of a title for me, given the material in this post. 😉 But thank you thank you! So glad to have you here!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thank you Hillary! Still trying to get it *just right* with decor, but I’ll probably never get there. 🙂 Overall, we love love love it.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        I saw the pictures and was like,”wait! That’s not the kitchen from the yum sweet home post!” It looks fantastic! Maybe I missed a post somewhere along the way, but do you plan to do a full Yum Sweet Home post about it??

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    I loved seeing your fails.We all fail. Why not celebrate when we do. Bravo. And thank you for all your beautiful and delicious successes as well.

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    It’s encouraging to know we’re all the same in the kitchen no matter what our skill level. Just before I saw your email, I had suggested to co-workers the theme for our next potluck be, “New Year, New Receipes,” where we all bring something we’ve never made before. Now I know what not to have on the list. 🙂

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    I always love these posts – even though I know there was a lot of blood, sweet, and tears (and flames) in the making. Just goes to show that no one is perfect! I always get so excited to read your posts because I can totally get your personality. And honesty! Thanks for always being freaky-fresh.