Yea, who'd have thought I would want to do a blog post about cooking?!? The closest thing to me being a cook is my maiden name (yes, it was Cook).
I'm not good at it. It doesn't come easy to me. I like to blame my mom because we grew up hearing her say she hated to cook. But really, she did okay; no one starved! But I want to learn to cook well and have always said that I want to take cooking classes when I retire.
As it is, we have been leaving for work before 7am and getting home around 6:30pm. To start cooking a real meal at that time would be just a) too much work, b) I wouldn't have enough time, and c) I'm just too darned tired to do it. And there are only two of us. So what's the harm in one day at Burger King, one day at Costco, one day of pasta, a day at Subway, etc., etc.???
Well, hubby is thisclose to retiring, and while I know he'd be fine stepping up and making meals every day, I don't want him to do that. I figure now's a good time to learn to cook better, and to practice what I learn. And to make things a bit easier on us both, we now leave for work before 7am but are getting back between 4 and 4:30pm on a normal day. Of course, he has meetings and I have work, so that doesn't always happen, but we try... As a matter of fact, it hasn't happened in a couple of weeks!
There are a few meals I make and I make them well. No one can screw up a plate of pasta, especially if we top it with some of hubby's homemade sauce. So that's an easy out. I can make great fried eggplant. [I can make it baked, too, but really? Who wants to? The flavor just isn't the same.] I have a quick and easy vegetable and tortellini recipe, straight out of the freezer, with homemade alfredo sauce, that's 1/2 an hour, start to table, so that's another easy meal.
I've recently come up with a couple of new staples. Believe it or not, until very recently I never made chicken cutlets. But I'm a pro now! Yea, so they're easy for you to cook, but for me? They're meat, and I'm not good at cooking meat. I like my meat well done, so to cook it to well done results in shoe leather 99 times out of 100, at least when I do it. I just don't know where to stop so it's edible for him, yet cooked enough for me. But I figured it out on the cutlets.
I've made chicken soup before, but I was feeling so inspired recently, post hurricane-Sandy, inspired to fill our freezer with food we'll really eat, instead of hundreds of dollars worth of food we had to eventually throw out. I made a big batch of homemade chicken soup, and shh! It's better than the one my girlfriend sent home with me a couple of weeks ago. Hers really had no flavor but mine was really good!
She gave me a couple of recipes I want to try. The one I'm really intrigued by is fried carrots. You basically buy the fattest carrots you can find, peel them and cut them into 4" lengths, boil them until they're softer (not mush - you still want a bit of crunch to them), then dredge them in a seasoned flour batter and fry them like you fry eggplant or cutlets, minus the breadcrumbs. I can't wait to try this!
We're going to the vegetable market today to pick up what we need for Turkey Day. I'm not cooking an entire Thanksgiving meal this year, not until January or February, when my mom comes home from her AZ visit. But I'm bringing mashed potatoes and a green salad to my sister-in-law's and I think hubby is making a tomato and mozzarella salad and I'm thinking of bringing my green stuff (recipe courtesy of Mom - see below!) but I'm not sure that will be a hit. I'm thinking I'll be the only one eating it, but I really miss it on my Thanksgiving plate when we eat at P's house!!!
We can easily do hot dogs and hamburgers, of course, in the summer, when the grill is up and running. We're not those people out there grilling in our parkas...
So that's that, folks. I'm going to learn to cook if it kills me. (Hopefully it won't kill my husband!)