I guess I could have resolved to cook more at any point in time, but I like grand new beginnings to make change. I have more free time than ever, so, obviously I have the time and have run out of excuses to not cook. I don’t know why I avoid it so much. I love to bake. I actually did a brief stint in culinary school. When I have cooked in the past it has mostly been great. Two exceptions: the great rib and broccoli debacle of 2011 and the horrible and scaring plastic bag melded to a pan while cooking chicken incident… ah. That was indeed traumatizing. I think there are a few reasons. I get easily overwhelmed, so making the list, shopping, cooking can be a bit much. I am not sure what the other reasons are. Laziness? Yup. That’s it. Laziness.
Cut to Seattle. Here are my goals:
- Cook at least three meals a week. Three with leftovers sounds like a good start. That doesn’t include simple pasta, eggs, etc.
- Learn how to take nice pictures of food. Mine are so unappetizing and it’s such a bummer when I want to share a recipe I like.
- Create my own recipes. Or at least modify a great deal. This is a long term goal.
- Shop more fresh and local ingredients.
Cooking Tricks and Tools
Ziplist: Ya’ll- this is the most helpful thing ever. I would love to create my own database, but until I am a patient genius, this is what I recommend. Ziplist is your personal recipe box, shopping list and grocery deals all on one place. It has a web-clipper that can clip recipes from almost any website. You can enter in your own recipes as well. When you decide what you want to cook, ZipList assembles all of the ingredients into an organized shopping list. It. is. amazing. You can use the app on your phone to take to the store. If you don’t have a smartphone, it is still super helpful. I love it.
Tablets: I use cookbooks, but I also have my mom’s recipes and my collected recipes in a database on the computer. And I know you are using Pinterest to whip up deliciousness. In this quick move most of the recipes I am using are online or my computer. So, I drag my tablet into the kitchen. I am using my Ativ Samsung tablet. It is super helpful, I love the interface. The only issue is that it doesn’t have a super easy kickstand like the iPad. I had to keep finding ways to lean it against things, but it was still super useful. When I don’t need the recipe any more I can just switch over to Netflix for a little entertainment while waiting for water to boil, etc.
Adele and This American Life: It is important to crank up the tunes and stories. At least it is important for me. When that first pot of rice burns, just sing your way through it!
Last night I cooked a Cooking Light recipe that my mom and I mastered when I was living with her this fall. I love this meal. It is hearty and filling, but spicy and complex. Well, actually, it really isn’t that spicy, but you can keep upping the red pepper flecks. It is also healthy and good for you! Bonus points. Even though I didn’t create it, I want to share it, because one of the hardest things is knowing which recipes are really gonna be winners.
Spicy Peanut Chicken(slightly modified from Cooking Light)
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
- 2 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 2 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- Shredded coconut, for garnish
- Chopped Peanuts, for garnish
- 8 cups hot cooked brown rice
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add onion and garlic to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.
- Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring frequently.
- Stir in peanut butter and next 5 ingredients (through tomato paste); cook 1 minute.
- Add tomato and broth to pan; bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
- Serve chicken mixture over rice. Sprinkle coconut and chopped peanuts.
Samsung Ativ Tablet, gifted. All opinions my own! More to come on this device in future posts.