There’s more non-cooks than just me!
I am ending this work week excited for a few reasons, one of which is my pastor just sent out a reminder letting us know daylight savings time ends Sunday which means I will get an extra hour of sleep this weekend. And man o’ man do I need that extra hour. The second reason is this week I discovered something extraordinary. When I sent out a link on my Facebook page letting everyone know about the recipe contest, I received as many notes about people who planned to submit recipes as I did those asking could they have a copy of the ones submitted. So my excitement stems from the fact that I now know I’m not alone in this non-cooking world.
For the longest time, I’d always hear people say, “I love to cook!” and couldn’t figure out for the life of me why. Last week, I shared with you my disastrous adventure to the store (3x) to pick up ingredients for an Emeril Lagasse recipe and how that traumatic experience kept me out of the kitchen for the next 5 years. So when I’d hear my sisters or other women tell me how cooking was one of their favorite things to do I couldn’t help but think I must not have the “cooking” gene.
To me, it always seemed to be a better use of time to pick up food on the way home rather than mess up a perfectly clean kitchen with dirty dishes. Not to mention, although everyone always says cooking costs less than picking up takeout, I’d experienced the exact opposite. That 9×9” lasagna I told you about (yes, Emeril’s fabulous recipe) cost me close to $90 (and did I mention three trips to the grocery store).
Based on my limited cooking experience and the amount of dishes I see pile up every time one of my family members who “love to cook” decides to do so, I surmised cooking was not for me. But I didn’t talk about it much because I didn’t want all my fellow wives to think I wasn’t taking care of my hubby because I’ve been bringing takeout home for eight years. Well, here’s the beauty of this Club. I learned a lot of you have been getting takeout too! And a few even admitted you make food that’s less than edible but your family continues to eat it because you’ve at least tried.
So today’s blog post is for all those like me who may not possess the “cooking gene” and at this point would simply settle for liking it a little. Wonderful members of this Club sent in their favorite recipes last week and I’m excited to share them. The criteria for the submissions were they had to use only a few ingredients and be super simple to make.
So far, here’s what I’ve discovered. Those like me who are afraid of seasoning with salt because it pours out clear onto most foods and before you know it you have the saltiest piece of chicken ever, fear not! There are a ton of recipes that don’t require salt so we can ease our way into that ingredient. And the world’s greatest invention could possibly be…drumroll please…the crockpot!
Most of you probably know this already but I didn’t so I’ll share it with all the kitchen-challenged women like me: you can put a bunch of things in this fabulous piece of cookware, plug it in and leave the house – for hours! I am officially in love with the crock pot. The very first recipe I made, easing my way into this fabulous world of cooking, was a slow cooker recipe. It required only three ingredients, was fail-proof and even my 7-year old niece could have made it perfectly.
So for all those who have asked me for the recipe, rather than emailing each of you back separately, here it is for your cooking pleasure:
1 – Beef Roast (I bought a 2.5 lb one on sale for less than $8)
1 – 10oz. can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup
1 – packet of Lipton onion dip mix
That’s it. That is the entire recipe. I told you it was fail-proof. All you do is rinse the beef with cold water and then pat it dry with a paper towel. Put a pan on the stove large enough to fit the roast, turn the pan on high and pop the piece of meat right in the middle. You only want to brown it so flip it over after 30 seconds or so. Do this on both sides of the cut of meat and then turn it on its side and brown each side. This whole process should take 2 minutes max.
Once your roast has been browned, pop it in the crock pot, pour the can of soup over it, evenly sprinkle the onion dip mix over the entire top, cover it with the top and cook it on the lowest setting possible (on my pot it simply says “low”). Begin your day and 8 to 9 hours later – voila! One of the best tasting roasts you’ve ever had. The gravy is so delicious I burned the inside of my mouth not once but four times. I was so excited it turned out so well I kept tasting it directly from the pot (not a good idea, by the way).
And an added benefit to this roast was the extra gravy it made. If you have any leftover (I had about a cup leftover), add some Wondra Quick-Mixing Flour (directions on the can), put it in the freezer and when you’re serving rice, mashed potatoes, chicken or anything that can be spiced up with some delicious gravy, you’ve already got it in the bag (literally, the Ziploc bag). My grandmother, who is a fantastic cook, makes the best gravy and this one wasn’t too far off. She puts her leftover gravy in a shallow square Tupperware container, puts it in the freezer, and then cuts off frozen squares as she some. She heats them up in the microwave and they taste just like the gravy was freshly made.
To all the fabulous cooks out there who enjoy what you do, please keep submitting recipes for the “Please Help Me Learn to Cook!” contest. Women like me need your help! And based on the responses I’ve been receiving, there are plenty of kitchen-challenged women out there waiting for some dishes even they will feel confident enough to tackle. Don’t forget to submit the most delicious, simple recipes you’ve got by November 14th so you can be entered to win the $25 gift card to Starbucks, Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.com.
Finally, to all the women like me who’d prefer to pick-up takeout rather than wash all the dishes that come along with a home-cooked meal, I’m going to take one for the team and test out as many of these submitted recipes as I can and share with you all of the best ones. Look for me to post easy and delicious recipes that require the least amount of ingredients and use the smallest amount of dishes possible. And don’t feel left out of the contest. Later this month, I’ll be looking for you to submit your funniest experiences in the kitchen. I told you mine and I can’t wait to hear about yours.
Tomorrow I’m trying Amanda’s Lime Chicken Tacos. This was one of the first recipes to be submitted and now that I’ve got the hang of the crock pot, I think I’ll try another.
Lime Chicken Tacos
1.5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 Tbl. lime juice (fresh or bottled)
1 Tbl. chili powder
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup salsa
Place chicken breasts in slow cooker. In small bowl, mix lime juice and chili powder. Pour over chicken. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Remove chicken from crock pot; shred. Add chicken back to crock pot along with corn and salsa. Heat until warmed through. (Doesn’t take long.) Serve in tortillas with your favorite taco fixins.
Talk to you in a couple of days. And remember, happiness is a choice so make every day a great one!
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