Saturday, March 31, 2012

Adventures in Cooking

Okay readers, my mom has given me a new challenge: cook dinner every Thursday for my family. This is their new ploy to avoid B. and I re-enacting this scene every time he'll come home from work:

Help me? I am looking for advice in cooking meat, and recipes that can easily be made bigger (as well as smaller). I'll be cooking for 7-8.

Oh! To add insult to injury, I got put on the Pintrest Waiting List. (Yes, I caved. I decided I need to further my information-gathering skills in an organized way!)

Happy almost Palm Sunday! Holy Week cometh!


  1. My recommendation for meat (especially things like ground beef) are to keep the temperature low and plan on it taking a bit more time. My fiance always turns the heat up high so it will finish more quickly with results in either dry meat or burnt meat lol. You can't go wrong with baking chicken, and my favorite way is to sprinkle paprika (a lot) and season salt (a little) on it. Pasta is a crowd please and is very easy!

  2. My two go to recipies are chicken enchiladas and mostacchioli (basically, layered like lasagna but you use other types of noodles.) They are simple, quick, and always tasty. :)

  3. I second Baked Chicken. We will buy chicken parts (legs/thighs) or thighs and we used to Shake and Bake but now we just cover them in italian seasoned (or whatever flavor you want) breadcrumbs at 350 for about 45 min - an hour. You can also cover them in BBQ sauce or Butter. All 3 ways are really yummy.

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  5. I just sent you a Pinterest invitation so you should be able to join right away! :) While I haven't been able to cook much meat since becoming pregnant, one thing that has made a big difference in how my meat turns out is the pan I cook it in. I received an enameled cast iron pot (this one, actually for Christmas, and I highly recommend you guys register for one. It's just about all I cook in anymore! It conducts and holds heat really well so meat (everything from ground beef to a roast) comes out evenly cooked and moist. It also goes from stove top to oven, so you can brown a roast or stew meat on the stove top, add your other ingredients, and put the whole thing straight in the oven to finish cooking. So handy! Just a few thoughts for you. :)

  6. If cooking meat scares you, focus on that at first with super easy sides, like frozen veggies you can microwave. That way you won't get overwhelmed by too many things at once. Roasting or baking chicken breasts, pork chops, etc is easy and you can always throw more in the pan depending on the number of people.
    I am a big fan of this recipe blog - she has cheap, easy recipes and great photos so you can follow along every step.
    Good luck! You can totally do this!

  7. It's called Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Meals. One of the best starter cookbooks ever! I also use my Food board on Pinterest as a cookbook. I think I've made about 8 meals from it so far and love it. I also recommend becoming best friends with your mom's crock pot. Those things area God-send. Throw in a bunch of ingredients with very little prep and leave it along for HOURS. It's also awesome and feeding lots of people. I recommend the book Fix-It and Forget-It: 700 Great Slow Cooker recipes. Nic and I LOVE ours!

  8. Wherever did you find that advertisement?!

    Cooking for a crowd: try kraft foods: is a favorite casserole. (also campbells has great starter cook recipes)
    Also some tips: almost any hearty veg can be roasted (carrots, brussels sprouts, etc. Lightly coat with olive oil and salt & pepper. Put in overproof dish or baking sheet at 425 degrees for 25 min. Yum! You can also do this with uncooked shrimp, but only takes 8 minutes.
    Pork chops - marinade 2 hours or all day : 1 t. minced garlic, 1 T. balsamic vinegar, 1 T. soy sauce. Grill for 7 min per side, or bake in 325 oven til thermometer reads 142 (40 min).
    The key to meat until you're familiar is a MEAT thermometer (142 for pork and lamb, 162 for chicken and turkey) Steak tip: touch your chin to see what rare feels like, your nose for medium, your forehead for well.

    GOOD luck!

  9. I second pasta and baked chicken. Both are super easy (like boiling some water or turning on an oven and that's basically it easy.)

    And yay for Pinterest!! Can't wait to follow you (creepy, I know!)

  10. Stephanie BaldwinApril 4, 2012 at 7:12 AM

    Crockpot to the rescue! No meat thermometer, no braising. Just dump it in in the morning and go about your day. Try this: is one of my favorite cooking blogs. Her recipes are fantastic and simple and she posts super cute pictures of her baby to boot!

    Now I also have a few problems with this entry. Why isn't my brother cooking one day a week for our family??? I know he only has one day off, but the guy has to learn how to cook something other than chicken thighs and fried spaghetti, right? :)

    Also, if you do burn dinner like in that pictures, don't apologize! No excuses, no apologies, like Julia Child said.

    “Maybe the cat has fallen into the stew, or the lettuce has frozen, or the cake has collapsed. Eh bien, tant pis. Usually one's cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is truly vile, then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile, and learn from her mistakes.”

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  12. Easiest, most delicious roast chicken ever. I die. Marinated for two days, I die twice.