Wednesday, April 11, 2007

How to Boil Water

This is a plaque I have sitting on my stove at home. Seriously. It's funny because it's true. I am about to admit an embarrassing fact; I cannot cook.

It's really embarrassing when we have people visiting and staying with us and we have to eat out the whole time they are here. It's also embarrassing when all our wonderful local friends invite us over for dinner and I feel like I can't return the favor. What am I going to do, invite them over for grilled cheese sandwiches? I don't think so.

Now mind you, my husband and I don't starve. But the things I do know how to cook are either out of a box or don't require a whole lot of cooking to begin with. And the worst part is most of it is unhealthy. Not only that, but because I can't cook, we frequently resort to eating out. And not only is that unhealthy but it's expensive.

When I was a kid, I was always "shooed" out of the kitchen and was never allowed to help or watch what my mom was doing. So I never learned from my mom. In college, I ate at the union. Then, when I was a newlywed, with my own home and my own kitchen, at a time when most gals are learning to cook through trial by fire (sometimes literally - ha ha), instead, I was grabbing something quick in a hospital cafeteria. My father was in the hospital, and every waking minute that I wasn't at work, I was there with him and my family. Food was an afterthought. Then, after my dad was gone, the "eating out" precedent or habit had been set.

Regardless of all the excuses or reasons or whatever, this whole food situation is driving me nuts. I want to be healthy. I want to save money. I want to be a good hostess and be able to invite people over for dinner. So I'm reaching out to you, my faithful readers. I'm desperate. What is one of your favorite, most satisfying (and preferably easy) recipes? If you would be so generous, leave me a recipe in the comments. What is your favorite, most useful cookbook? Or, give me some tips on how you plan your menu and shop for groceries. Any tip, trick or recipe would be greatly appreciated. And just of these days...I'll thank you by inviting you over for dinner! ;)


The Trousered Ape said...

make sure any recipes you leave don't have seafood or mayo in it - lol :)

on top of all those challenges - I'm extremely picky. but Davina can't help that - that's my fault.


D.L. White said...

Yeah - I should have clarified, no seafood, no mushrooms and, if possible, no onions. I'm a recovering picky-eater. Shawn hasn't even started the 12 step program yet. :P

Anonymous said...

I think Tiffany should give you the recipe for chicken and dumplings. Those are pretty good. Also, I might have her post the recipe for pumpkin bread. Might as well bake while you're cooking...Chad

The Trousered Ape said...

Mmmm - chicken and dumplings. now that does sounds tasty.


astraughnomer said...

well Davina you've inspired me!! i have been planning for a long time to post some of my favorite recipes on my blog because several people have asked me for recipes bc they know i like to cook. okay, so i may not get to it tonight...but soon i'll post one. :) in the meantime, rachel ray's recipes (you can find them on are usually pretty good, and don't take too long, and are fairly practical. my mom got me one of her cookbooks for Christmas too and i love it. :)

i hate mayo too...but onions?? onions (and garlic, poor matt huh!) are in practically everything i cook. :) but no worries, matt says he doesn't like onions either...but he doesn't complain ab them. anyway, i'll see what i can do...

Elizabeth C. said...

That's so funny! I was going to post today about a plaque that I have hanging over my phone! May not get to it today, but look for it soon!

I'm like Amber...onions and garlic in just about everything I cook. (I'm Italian, after all!) But you can always leave out the onions if you must..... ; )

I have a great Enchilada Casserole I can share with you that requires nothing more than browning some ground beef and opening some cans. Serve it with some rice and a salad and you've got dinner! Interested?

Raven Spinner said...

Curry Chicken: I just adore Indian cuisine. I can’t say I am an expert in perpairing these kind of dishes, but I like the challenge. This particular dish is fantastic, easy, healthy and aromatic.


1 cup rice (cooked) Basmati is the best for this dish.
3 chicken breasts
1 onion small chopped fine
1 tsp minced garlic
3 tbs flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup yogurt
3 tsp curry powder (Or more if you like it really spicy. I do not use “hot” curry. I make my own curry powder and it really makes a difference, but you can use the store bought kind as well).

Fry the chicken in some olive oil until cooked through. Cut into cubes and set aside.
In the same pan fry the onion and garlic (about 3 min).
Add the flour and cook until it turns brown. (About 1 minute)
Add the chicken stock and wisk together. (simmer for 3 minutes)
Add yogurt and curry powder and mix well.
Add chicken cubes and stir. Allow to simmer on low heat for 3 minutes. Pour mixture over cooked rice and serve.

D.L. White said...

Thanks to everyone for your comments and suggestions! I'll be watching for Tiff's email and Amber's blog post. Elizabeth - go ahead and post it or email it to me! Shawn and I like Mexican food. And I can handle onions if they're cooked in something and not real strong.

Funny - I just read my church bulletin from this Sunday and it looks like they want ladies to submit recipes for a fund-raiser cookbook. How timely! Maybe I'll just wait and buy the cookbook! :P

Laura said...

You know my cooking has to be easy with three kids running underfoot all the time! And onions, puh-leez! You don't have to worry about them in anything from me. If they're in there, I always leave them in super big chunks so I can find them and give them to Dan!

I use a lot of recipies from Food Network via Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee, Paula Dean, and Rachel Ray although Rachel requires more prep than I like.

I made this recipe last night for some friends, they loved it. It's healthy plus delicious... what more could you ask for! (oh, it's easy too!) I have the fresh rosemary in my yard, so you can have as much as you want!

Rosemary Chicken
1 roasting chicken (4-6 lbs), rinse and pat dry
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 stalks celery with leaves, cut into pieces
1/2 red onion, quartered
16 garlic cloves (pretty much one whole head)
1 T olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t paprika

Place 2 rosemary, celery, and 4 garlic cloves in cavity of chicken; tie legs together with string. Place chicken, breast side up, in a crock pot. Add remaining garlic, celery and the onion.

Rub the chicken with the olive oil, drizzle with lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 hours.

Bon Appitit!

D.L. White said...

Yum! Sounds good Laura! Thanks for sharing! :)

Elizabeth C. said...

Here you go... Enjoy! (I've submitted this one for our church cookbook.)

Enchilada Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 dozen corn or flour tortillas (your preference), quartered
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 can taco sauce
1 small can Carnation evaporated milk
1 small can chopped chilies
1/2 lb. grated cheddar cheese

Brown the ground beef and set aside to drain. Combine all remaining ingredients except the cheese. Grease a 13x9 baking dish. Alternate layers of quartered tortillas and the meat mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

D.L. White said...

Mmm...I'm getting hungry just reading the recipe! Thanks Elizabeth! Thanks to everyone for all your responses! ;) Shawn and I just may not go hungry yet. lol :P

astraughnomer said...

okay, i posted the first one on my blog. :) spinach-artichoke cheesy tortellini....yummm. there are some yummy looking ones posted here too! :)

D.L. White said...

Thanks Amber - I'm headed over to your blog now to check it out! :)