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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chew on This!





I don’t know about you all but I love the day time show The Chew! And I don’t even know how to cook! I love the cast and I tune in every day just to hear Michael laugh. He’s adorable! They have great ideas and recipes, and the best thing is they make it look really easy to learn to cook. The key word is look.


So here I am after thirty something years (I’m not telling exactly how many lol) I’ve decided to learn how to cook. I believe you should always challenge yourself, once we quit challenging ourselves life gets boring. We sit in a slump of the "same ol’, same ol’" day in and day out. It can get very monotonous. So spice things up! (Pun intended) And step outside of your comfort zone and do something you wouldn’t normally do, whether it’s exercising, cooking, or maybe even traveling. If you’ve never traveled before, maybe it’s time to give it a go!

Never stop trying new things. It’s good for you, healthy, and keeps life interesting.

So, the last time my mother tried to teach me to cook I was nine and staring outside at the boys (my brother and his friends) playing football. *Sighs* I wanted to be outside, too. Needless to say my poor mother tried so hard to make me into a "girl" by putting me in ballet, modeling, and etiquette class...sadly I don’t think it paid off too much. LOL. By the time I was a teen she finally gave up her efforts and I was allowed to finally be myself, which is now a crazy assortment of both girl and boy traits. But I look back and really wished I had paid more attention to a few things like cooking. After twenty years of cooking out of a box my kids would’ve appreciated it too.


It’s really funny because my oldest says that he really appreciates that I’ve decided to learn to cook now that he’s moving out. Love that kid! Now where in the world did he learn such sarcasm?

So now dear readers I am sharing my mess of a goal with you all. My attempts thus far have sent my neighbors into a panic and called the fire department, sent my hubby into hiding and my four year has learned to “Sea food” by spitting it all out. LOL. Please note my sad attempts at homemade sugar cookies to the right here. And don't laugh at my horrible attempt at decorating said cookies. So please help me Obi Wan, you’re my only hope. I need some simple, easy to understand recipes for a beginner! Can anyone help a girl out here?



37 comments:

  1. Suzie this cracks me up. First, of all my favorite tool is a crockpot. Everything in there usually comes out pretty good. You can make almost anything in that sucker. My cooking skill is so-so, that we ended up having pretty much the same thing or variations of it. For example, tacos, we might chicken, beef or pork. I personally like pork cooked the crockpot.

    I also like the Better Homes and Garden cookbook. That book has been my best friend for these past 9 years. Best wedding gift ever. Out all the cookbooks I have I done more recipes from that one.

    The web with cooking.com, allrecipes (I think that's right) and of course foodnetwork.

    The sad thing about cooking it's really trial and error. Nothing is going come out looking like the pic in the book. You have to remember they prep a ton of food in order to get that one pic for the book. Food models, geez.

    Good luck on your quest to make the ultimate feast and may the force be with you. ; D

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    1. LOL I'm glad I could give you a good chuckle today, it certainly gives me a good one every one every night so far lol. I do have a slow cooker, I think that's essentially the same thing, I'll have to pull that sucker out and read the instructions. I've had it for almost ten years, never even used it lol.

      Great tips and thanks so much for swinging by to help me out!

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  2. Good for you, Suzie! Love that 'try something new everyday' attitude. I'm with Melody. I ADORE my crockpot. I fill it up in the morning while I'm still energetic, and by the end of the day, when my energy is winding down--dinner is ready!

    I have some good crockpot recipies.. when I get home I'll send you some! My kids' faves are Salisbury steak and French Onion pork chops. I whip up a quick pot of mashed potatoes and there is dinner...

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    1. Ohh that sounds really good, Deb! I can't wait to try those. Maybe someday I'll wow the hubby with them. Ha he'll likely run for the first few nights. Thanks so much Deb I'm looking forward to the recipes!

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  3. I've not seen The Chew. I will have to check it out. I used to love to cook but somewhere along the way my hubby took over the job. I agree with Melody and Deb - a crockpot is wonderful. Dump everything in, put the lid on and come back hours later for a meal. There are some awesome recipes out there too. When I want to try something different I search on the internet. I really like how some places star recipes or number them for easy to difficult. I avoid the difficult.

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  4. Suzie,

    Cooking gets much easier the more you do it. Like Melody and Deb, I like my crockpot, but I also have a deep dish baker that cooks quickly and leaves everything moist. Mine is from Pampered Chef, & it was worth the investment. I was able to get it cheaper by hosting a party. And the good part about hosting is YOU don't do the cooking that night. ;D

    My kids love ribs in the deep dish baker. You could probably make them in a crockpot, too. I buy those crockpot liners and use them in both for easy clean up. Just buy the ribs already cut up. Place them in the dish or crockpot. Sprinkle with a cajun spice. I use Lysander's All Natural Cajun Rub that I find in a brown paper bag close to the meat department. If you cook them in a crockpot, I would just put them on medium and cook all day. Be sure to check them, because at this point I cook by instinct rather than recipes. I don't use BBQ sauce, because my son hates it, but I have some on the table for anyone else to use.

    Then I usually make green beans. I buy the whole frozen green beans off season, sprinkle them with a little olive oil and sea salt then cook until they are tender. Maybe 20 minutes at 350 degrees? I'd check after 15 minutes. Sometimes I slice red potatoes and toss those in too. Very easy. Serve with fruit - my kids love grapes - and you've got a good meal for not a lot of effort.

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    1. LOL Samantha I've never even heard of a deep dish baker, I'll have to check that out. I do have a slow cooker that I've never used, do you think that will work? If not I'm off to Wally world for a crockpot. Sounds like that's the way to go lol.

      This sounds delicious and my hubby would love ribs. I'm going to try this, thanks so much for the recipe and I'll let you know how it turns out lol.

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    2. I think a slow cooker and crockpot are very similar, so it should work just fine.

      Also, I forgot to mention to stir up your green beans and potatoes so they are coated with the olive oil or they won't cook evenly and you might get some crispy spots.

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  5. Suzie ~ I am the worst domestic goddess ever! No laundry, no cooking, no cleaning. No one should ever hire me for those chores either.

    I *used* to cook when I was young and before I married. When I did marry, my husband at the time had a chronic disorder and couldn't eat anything even slightly acidic - there went everything spicy or Italian that I loved to make as well as my favorite chili (I am from Texas, after all). And I had to start over learning to make things I didn't necessarily like. Then my son came along AKA the pickiest eater on the planet, and every meal became a freakin' nightmare.

    I will do crock-pot meals and now that the ex-husband and his disorder are gone, I'll make spaghetti or lasagna since my son does love those things. But for me everything has become much more simple. While I used to make everything from scratch, I now tend to take the easy way out and use shortcuts similar to what Catherine blogged about last week. So if you want some simple recipes, I'm your girl.

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    1. LOL we lived for twenty years off spaghetti, mac and cheese and anything out of a box for years. If it took longer than ten minutes to cook, then forgetaboutit.

      I'm glad I'm not the only non-domestic goddess. It actually makes me feel better knowing we're in the same boat lol. I would love some simple recipes from you! Especially if they take ten minutes or less. That's my attention span btw, as I do believe I may have a small case of ADD. (Whew, that could have been the typo of the day ya'll!)

      Thanks for stopping in at my desperate hour! LOL I can't wait for you recipes!

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    2. OK. Here's an easy one...

      Potato Corn Chowder

      2 lbs uncooked potatoes (Use Ore-Ida Southern Style Hash browns)
      4 cups of milk
      12 oz can of evaporated milk
      1 can of yellow corn (drained)
      10 slices of bacon crumbled (you can buy the already cooked)

      Put everything in the crockpot. Cook 30 minutes on high and the 4 hours on low.

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    3. Oh this is a good one, too, Ava! Awesome! Thanks so much!

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  6. Suzie, I'm with everyone else about the crockpot and finding shortcuts.

    And I'll throw Betty Crocker out there too. I got the basic Betty for my wedding and it's been a lifesaver more than once.

    Try Betty Crocker on line too. There's lots of easy-ish recipes there. And I don't know if you're on Pinterest, but people seem to be obsessed with food over there (me included!).

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    1. LOL seems like we're all a bunch of mom's on the go! Thanks so much for the tips, I'm booking marking this page. Awesome tips! Thanks for stopping in and helping me out!

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  7. Suzie,
    I love to cook, but rarely have the time to cool like I would like to. That being said, I have a very easy recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu. Get four chicken breast and pound them out with a chicken mallet. Get two bowls. Crack four eggs in one bowl and mix half a cup of flower and italian bread crumbs in the other bowl. Add salt and pepper to that bowl. Place your chicken breasts on a large cutting board and put a piece of prosciutto and white cheese of your choice on the chicken breasts. Roll up the breast, stick toothpicks through both ends then dip each breast in the egg and then the flower. Put breast in a 8 X 10 baking dish and bake at 350 for thirty minutes or until no longer pink. Take out and pour white cooking wine over the breasts and bake an additional ten minutes. Ta-da! Gourmet made easy! Good luck and happy cooking.

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    1. Excellent recipe, Julie! This is great! I'm trying to imagine rolling the chicken breast but I'm gonna try it out! I've never even heard of that cheese! lol. Thanks for the recipe I'll have to let you know how it turns out lol. I may try this out this weekend. Thanks so much!

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  8. Oh, Suzie - come to my house and I'll teach you to cook! I love cooking (and baking of course), and I HIGHLY recommend allrecipes.com. If I feel like lasagne, I just type it in to the search box and then sort the resulting recipes from highest ranking. I only make 5star recipes, and I read a few reviews for advice from the people who have tried it. It's *almost* foolproof :)

    As for a specific recipe that is super easy, give this vegetable soup recipe at the end of this post a try:
    Click Here

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    1. I am taking you up on that offer as you're not that far away. I'd love to cook and bake like you. Did you see my poor cookies? Hubby swore he broke a tooth on them lol. Poor man.

      I will definitely check out allrecipes.com today! Thanks so much for stopping in and helping me out!

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    2. LOL - you might be better off claiming your littlest boy did the decorations ;) Still, you have to start somewhere!

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  9. I love to cook! But I love a good shortcut, too. LOL. Since I'm from Texas, many of my favorite recipes are spicy, so I hope you're not afraid of a little spice.

    Here's some simple chicken fajitas to get you started.

    Buy individually frozen chicken breasts. I buy them bulk in a bag, and take out just what I need, and then zip the bag back and toss it back in the freezer.

    Use one per person who's eating with you. Set them in the microwave on a plate for 30 seconds to a minute--long enough to unharden them slightly, so you can cut them. Then cut them into fajita-sized strips. It is easiest to do this with a big, butcher knife. Don't be scared of it. Just keep your fingers out of the way. It's easier for me to cut the chicken how I want it when it is frozen instead of thawed. Heat a skillet to medium and add a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Once it is hot, toss your strips of chicken in.

    Next step: sprinkle on fajita seasoning. You can find this on the spice aisle. Buy one, add however much looks good to you, and you're good to go.

    While the chicken is starting to cook, wash your knife and cutting board, and then cut onion and bell pepper (and jalapeno pepper, if you like a little more heat) into strips. (Don't forget to stir your chicken every now and then.) I would use one onion and one of each pepper for every two chicken breasts or so. Adjust to your tastes.

    Once the chicken is getting close to done, add your veggies to the skillet. Be sure you're stirring everything occasionally. When the onions are almost done to your desired level (some like their onions almost raw, others like me want them translucent), get out a bottle of liquid smoke. You'll find this on the aisle with ketchup, barbeque sauce, and marinades. Add a few dashes of this and stir everything around. Trust me in that a little bit of liquid smoke goes a long way.

    Heat flour tortillas for everyone. Serve with sour cream, cheese, salsa, guacamole...whatever your family prefers.

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    1. Yee-haw, Catherine! Tex-Mex! Best food on earth. :)

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    2. This sounds great Catherine. My hubby is from Texas too, so he loves spicy food. He'll love it! Thanks Catherine, I think I might be able to do this one lol!

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  10. Hi Suzie, good for you. Learning something new is always fun. :) I've never *not* known how to cook. Growing up, my mother had (still has) MS. It was up to me to cook the meals for all of us. My earliest memory is of me standing on a chair at a stove, stirring something in a pot. :)

    I would say your best bet is to start small, and simple. With practice, you'll gain self-assurance. Remember--if all else fails, you can always call Pizza Hut. That's what I tell myself if dinner isn't absolutely perfect. :)

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    1. LOL oh so true Lily and we utilize them on a regular basis lately. My poor hubby is beginning to hate pizza but that really is great advice. Start small! Thanks so much for stopping in to help me out!

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    2. When my mom reentered the working world, I was also that little girl on a chair, cooking for the family. We had a lot of Hamburger Helper meals back then. :)

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    3. LOL I have single handedly kept Hamburger Helper in business. Now that I trying to really cook, Hamburger helper is going to see a noticeable drop in sales LOL.

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  11. LOL! Great post, Suzie, and I can SO relate! I don't know what it is about cooking shows, but I do LOVE to watch them. I am, however, a pretty horrible cook. I have a few staples that I'm good at: crockpot bbq chicken, chili, and casseroles that I make twice a year for the major holidays. Other than that, I can put together a meal -- box mac & cheese (Annie's organic) with hot dogs (organic and uncured) and a steamed veggie. Or whole grain pasta with sauce from a jar and meatballs I bought at the local pizza place. lol.

    I do LOVE to bake, and I'm actually pretty good at it. Though I usually get halfway through a project and think, "What was I thinking?!?! I just want to sit down and relax!!" LOL!

    Here's my recipe for crockpot bbq chicken:
    Package of chicken thighs
    BBQ seasoning (mine is local, but I'm sure you can find them at the grocery store)
    Bulls-Eye BBQ sauce (whichever flavor you prefer)

    Spray crockpot with Pam; Rinse the thighs in cold water and toss into crockpot; generously sprinkle seasoning over thighs; squirt sauce around (maybe 1/4 of the bottle) and add a teeny tiny bit of water to bottom of crockpot. Leave on high for 4-6 hours; thighs should fall apart when you start to dig in with the fork (if they don't, they're not done)

    Serve with whole grain hamburger buns, slaw, pickles, baked beans, or any other sides you enjoy with bbq :)

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    1. Ooh yummy that sounds delicious, Jerrica. I can't wait to try that! Don't you love it when the cooking shows start to chop things up and you think "oh that looks fairly easy." And then when you finally try it, it never turns out the same lol. Love the cooking shows though!

      Thanks so much for the recipe and I'm sure my hubby is thanking everyone profusely right about now LOL. You're the best!

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  12. And everyone's advice on using the crock pot is spot on. You can buy one so cheap these days, too, if you don't already have one. The crock pot liners are life-savers, too. They save a ton of time on cleanup, and make it easy to decide to do crock pot meals on a regular basis.

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    1. Thanks Catherine, I'm actually really eager to try this crock pot thing out! Thanks ladies, this was a great learning experience and I love that everyone is cooking on the go like I am!

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  13. One of favorite (and easy)recipes that really fills you up is Chicken Enchiladas:

    Preheat oven to 350

    1 lb chicken breast cut into chunks (cook until done in a pan)
    add in one 8 ounce package of cream cheese and diced green chilies and one package of taco seasoning if you want it spicy. Mix together

    Then take soft taco shells, spoon in chicken mixture, place seam side down, then cover with i can of enchilada sauce. Sprinkle 1 packaged of cheddar cheese, then bake until the sauce bubbled.

    You can serve with tortilla chips and refried beans. Or black beans.

    Hope that helps. I'm horrible at explaining how to cook stuff. ;\

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    1. LOL Marquita that is my hubby's favorite thing to eat so he'll love you to death for this recipe. Now I just hope I can get it right. This is great! Thanks so much! I can't wait to try these!

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  14. Being domestically challenged aside, there's always one kid who won't eat what I make--never fail. One girl doesn't like pizza (what kid doesn't like pizza?!). My other turns up her nose at all pastas, all potatoes and all veggies but black olives-she doesn't even like cake, the sicko! The boy is 3 times as bad. The ONLY thing they all like is Kielbasa.

    2 packages of turkey kielbasa
    2 boxes of swanson low sodium chicken broth.
    1/2 head of cabbage
    as many potatoes as you can fit in the crockpot.
    Throw it all in before work, turn on low and you're ready to go around 4pm. Good stuff!!!

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    1. Ugh! I cant imagine trying to please three picky eaters, Andris! I think I would crawl up in a ball and rock myself. ;)

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    2. It's one of the MANY reasons I'm so...sassy all the time. ;}

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  15. Well, I have a fun recipe for you. One of or favorite things for dinner is breakfast! And we looove my mom's recipe for German Oven Pancake.

    1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
    3 eggs
    1/2 cup milk
    2 tablespoons melted butter
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1/4 teaspoon of salt

    Beat the eggs in a bowl, then add all the other wet ingredients. Once they are beaten together, start slowly adding the flour/salt/sugar mixture, bit by bit, until it's all mixed smoothly. The oven should be at 450F, and you need to spray a glass or metal pan with cooking spray before pouring the batter in. Then bake it in the oven for about 12 to 15 minutes- but BE CAREFUL, because it poofs up really big! Make sure it's at least down on the middle rack slot, lol, or you're going to have a mess.
    We eat it with powdered sugar or syrup, you can add fruit. I usually also make bacon, eggs, maybe grits or just chop up a bunch of fruit for a side. :)
    Here's a pic!

    https://encrypted-tbn1.google.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcToUOzGvnHkIp-17QmLo6dMz58FdkSCaNCZlm3UAagFXGY0-Xd9LA

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  16. Oh, poo. That didn't come through. Well, you can Google it, if you want to see what it looks like! :)

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