Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cooking Chronicles - Chapter 1

I love making dinner for us. At this point, thankfully, it is in no way a burden. I enjoy making a mess that leads to a tasty dinner and then cleaning the mess up so I can do the same thing the next day.

But I have been feeling less than exceptional because in the 8 weeks of our marriage, I feel like I have been more "putting together" dinner. Not really cooking. Mostly because more often than not, a portion of (okay, most of) the dinner comes from a box. I want to cook vegetables, not just defrost them from a bag. I want to cook dinner, not mix it with water and simmer for 20 minutes. Ya know?

Probably, every girl has a desire to prove herself a homemaker early in her marriage. Or at least, try on that role and see how it feels. I want to make Brett happy. Proud even. And I want to feel capable. AND I want to make us healthy dinners. I feel like that is more likely if I am using fresh ingredients rather than sodium laden boxes of Chicken Helper or whatever was on sale that week.

SOOO, I have been exploring my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I can't remember how exactly, but somehow, a few weeks ago, I signed up to receive a weekly email from them. The recipes have been great! And they inspired me to explore the BH&G cookbook that my mom gave us for Christmas. Also greatness! So this has been a week of experiments.

Monday night I made a "Tex-Mex Chicken Casserole" or something like that. It had chicken, rice, tomatoes, chilies, cheese, and several seasoning components. I thought it tasted just like the King Ranch Chicken that my mom makes! But because it used rice instead of tortillas and chicken broth instead of cream of chicken soup, it was a bit healthier! So dinner Monday night was a success. Not mind blowingly fantastic, but a success.

Last night... a little less so. It wasn't bad, but I think if I make this dish again, I will change a few things. It was a "Penne and Tomato Meat Sauce" dish, or something. Here's the deal though. It called for ground beef, but we had some ground turkey sausage that we needed to use. So I used half ground turkey sausage and half ground beef. I think I would have preferred it all beef. The sausage was a tad sweet. Not my favorite. I also think I would use a little less meat overall. The sauce was a little too beefy... not quiet saucy enough. But the dish wasn't bad. I may try it again with all beef sometime. Maybe. Or heck, maybe even chicken. Go crazy! So not a failure, but not at the top of our list.

Tonight was better. Tonight, the dish was called "Oven Fried Pork Chops". A misnomer because it wasn't fried at all, it was baked. Tasty though. I breaded pork chops in a pork stuffing mix. Brett was generously enthusiastic, which I really appreciated because I had a bit of a rough day. But I have to admit, it felt more like "putting together" again. I mean, I did cook it all, but I was short on time so I made instant mashed potatoes and canned green beans to go with it. My new blog buddy, Kriss, is probably cringing at that! She is making her own rice milk! Talk about super mom! I'm seriously in awe! I did think that the pork stuffing mix was a clever short cut for breading the pork chops though. I know it wasn't the healthiest option, but it was tasty and super easy!

Tomorrow is a crock pot meal. It's actually a Mexican style soup with chicken, hominy, tomatoes and other ingredients that I am sure are tasty despite the fact that I can't remember any of them at the moment. I am also making quesadillas to go along with the soup. The quesadillas, I know will be good. The soup, I HOPE will be good!

I really would like the opportunity to cook more. I am excited about some of the recipes I have found to try in our cook book. The best thing about it is that it gives us all of the nutritional info in the book! So I can skip the ones that I know are too pointy for us on that day.

Haha... speaking of too pointy, you wouldn't BELIEVE some of the dessert recipes in this book! I'm drooling just thinking about it! But that is for another day.

I'd also like to add: I am so thankful for my husband. I love him so much. And even though he doesn't feel like he does enough for me, he takes care of me in a way that is unexplainable and unequivocal. The healing that comes from being in his arms is one of the greatest gifts that God has ever revealed to me. I am so humbled by his love, and as always, humbled by His love.

1 comment:

Kriss said...

When I got to my name, I really laughed. Ya know what.... eleven years ago I was making Lasagna Helper and the worst fish out of a box. It was so bad that I made fries to go along with it and "accidently" ate all the fries before Riley got home. Fast forward eleven years. I have made alot of mistakes, read alot of cookbooks, internet recipes but learned alot!! You will too. One step at a time. Cooking takes practice and time. When I worked we didn't eat as healthy as we do now. Also, when I got the children I was noticing how I was making sure they got so many fruits/veggies/carbs, etc but I wasn't doing that for myself. Kids really opened my eyes to alot of things. So again, I have had years of practice. You will also learn on the weekends how to make freezer meals for the week. One key I learned was once I found a recipe I really liked, make double the amount and freeze half. :)