Monday, June 25, 2012

The A-List: Things That I Can Cook

I have deficient cooking skills.  My mother did all the cooking in our house, until I was sixteen. I was not allowed to cook in her kitchen without supervision, because I got everything messy and I never put stuff back where my mother wanted it.  (Perhaps I did that on purpose, mom!)  Since I became an adult, I've had to do my own cooking.  It's been difficult, mostly because a lot of cooking involves...*gasp*...math.  Who knew?  But I am able to follow a recipe, as long as I have my glasses on and double check that I didn't read "tsp" as tablespoon.  I have learned to cook a few items consistently well over the years. 

1. Lasagna  The first time I made lasagna, in college, I did it the hard way.   I boiled the noodles and hung them up, layered everything, and all that fancy stuff.  It took me two hours and I had two large pans of lasagna at the end of it.  Unfortunately, I also had invited a friend of mine who was a football player, and he brought three of his football playing buddies.  My first attempt at lasagna was gone in less than twenty minutes!  I did manage to save myself a couple of bites, and nobody got food poisoning.  Since then, I've streamlined the recipe a bit.  For instance, I use spaghetti sauce with basil and oregano already in it, so I don't have to add the spices.  I use the oven ready noodles, too.  My husband salivates just talking about my lasagna, and if he will eat it, I'll keep cooking it. 

2. Eggs  It is fairly difficult to mess up eggs, I know.  I usually end up scrambling them, because I'm the only person in the house who likes them over easy.  When the eggs are almost done, I throw in chunks of ham and lots of melty cheddar cheese.  That's it.  If it is just me, I'll add some tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers. (If I am feeling really racy, I'll substitute gorgonzola cheese for the cheddar!)  That is our meal--breakfast, lunch or dinner.   Larry adds toast or tortillas, but I am okay without the extra carbs. 

3. Spaghetti.  It's not the spaghetti noodles, it's the sauce!  I'll add extra veggies to the sauce, large chunks of tomatoes and onions.  I'll throw in some extra garlic.  Meatballs are nice, if you have time, but just browning some hamburger is fine. I'll get some of that Morning Star Farms vegetarian crumble stuff that looks like hamburger and mix that in, just for a switch up.  Instead of the usual cheese on top of the mountain,  I like to go for a mix of mozzarella, parm, and asiago, because I'm just that crazy.  

4. Tacos  In order to live in Texas, you are required to be able to cook at least one dish from the local cuisine.  It's pretty difficult to ruin a taco, therefore it is safe for me to try to cook it.  I do not like lettuce on my tacos.  But that is the great thing about tacos--after the meat is on there, one is free to indulge in an assortment of choices regarding what else goes on the taco.  I prefer more tomatoes, and avocados, on my tacos, and therefore I can have them.  We even have soft tacos where the meat and the cheese is covered with barbeque sauce. 

5. Grilled cheese sammiches   Real people eat sammiches. Sammiches don't have to look pretty, they just have to get the job done.  Grilled cheese sandwiches are pretty simple--two pieces of bread, buttered, with cheese in the middle. Why stop with just one kind of cheese?  Why stop with just cheese?  This stuff is made for experimentation!  I'll throw in sharp cheddar and some bacon to go with the American slice.  Sometimes I'll throw bits of ham in there.   Unless you burn the bread, every grilled cheese sammich tastes great!

I have honorable mentions today! 

Fudge.  I found a recipe for microwave fudge that is beyond easy, and of course it is delicious. 

Chocolate cake.  I add more chocolate to the batter before it goes into the oven.  I drizzle chocolate syrup over the batter, and I throw in chunks of chocolate as well.  With all that, you don't need any icing!  I would like to try this with a butter cake--sprinkle melted butter over the batter and drop frozen butter pats into the batter--but I am a chicken.

Those are things that I can consistently 'whip up' in my secret labora--kitchen.  What are your tried and true recipes? 


  1. Shredded chicken in BBQ sauce (yep, simple as that and people fall for it every time)! We eat some yummy story fry he too.i used to use cookbooks and be adventurous, but now I have slipped into the doldrums of just making what I know these three people will eat!

  2. My Italian mom was the same way and she says because my grandmother won't let her in the kitchen. Any time my mom burnt anything while she was learning to cook, my dad would call it the "Spanish" version. Sammiches is totally the correct way to say that word. AND tacos...a staple here and everyone loads them completely differently but that's their beauty!

  3. yet another thing that we DON'T have in common!! lol. I LOVE to cook and am a good cook! My mother also didn't let me cook but she always said she had no worries that I would end up cooking because "if you like to EAT, you'll learn to COOK"

    Rachael Ray always says the "biggest waste of money in the store is jarred tomato sauce" can take a pan (or a pot) and put in some olive oil, onions, garlic...cook those a bit...add tomatoes (preferably fresh and they CAN be cherry or grape tomatoes that are past their prime) and cook them over medium heat....I often add carrots, red pepper, hot pepper flakes, basil, oregano, Italian seasoning "to taste"....whatever YOU like. My secret? I like a "SWEETER" sauce and will add a packet of artificial sweetener or two...OR...try adding a teaspoon or so of brown sugar AND (ready for this?) a touch of cinnamon!

  4. oh and I forgot another thing. I only follow a recipe to the "T" ONCE...then I merely use it as a "road map" to give me ideas of how I can change it up and NO you DON'T need math to cook (BAKING YES, COOKING NO)....I am awful in math and that is why I DO NOT BAKE!

  5. So where are the recipes?? Are you moonlighting as a food blogger?? These all look FAB - but why cut down on carbs with just the eggs???!! On the road our options are limited, but a grilled cheese 'sanga' (OZ-speak for sandwich/sammich) is ALWAYS good!


I welcome comments, but reserve the right to correct your spelling because I am OCD about it!