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Old 09-02-2012, 03:29 PM   #1
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Help me get started PLEASE!!

DH starts back to work Tuesday after two years of unemployment/ working from home. Now I am going to have to learn to cook. DH has always done it and the years before we had kids I either would not eat before DH got home or lived on sandwiches, cereal, fruit etc. Now I have a two year old who need to eat. He can't wait until 6-8 when DH will be home and another hour for him to make something.

So now what things (spices especially but other things too) should I keep around that I will need often?

How do I go about learning to cook? There are no classes in our area I have looked. Is there a website that goes through the basics or something. I just don't know the best place to start. Here are some important things about what/how we eat.

* We try to eat healthy but we don't have much variety in our fruits and veg. We eat a lot of the more common items like salad, apples, bananas,oranges, peaches, blueberries etc. I am open to more options but never know what to do with them.

* I don't like to eat a lot of the boxed, canned, or frozen foods with additives in them.

*I have a two year old to care for so I can't really be tied up all day making food all day. I don't mind taking some time to cook but it does not need to be gourmet.

*We need to keep it under a reasonable budget.

*I don't eat pork. No real reason for this I just don't like it.

*DH is trying to avoid high carb meals.

*I am also really bad at grocery shopping (DH normally does this also) so if the recipes or suggestions came with a grocery list that would be AWSOME!

Any help or guidance is greatly appreciated. I desperately need it!!! I want to go shopping tonight or tomorrow.

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Old 09-02-2012, 03:34 PM   #2
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Spaghetti! Very simple to make. You can make your own sauce and it's easy. Just takes like a half hour to make. You can choose what kind of meat you want. Better homes and gardens cook books are awesome . They tell you info at the beginning if there is something you're confused about but the recipes explain what to do most of the time.
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:31 PM   #3
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Re: Help me get started PLEASE!!

I basically learned to cook just by practicing, reading cookbooks, and sometimes watching cooking shows. My favorite cookbook makers are "America's Test Kitchen"- here is a good, general cookbook from them: " The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook". I love that not only do their recipes WORK (everytime!), but they explain things well, like why they picked a certain ingredient or method. I have 4 of their other cookbooks, and have read this one from the library. If I didn't already have several of theirs I would have bought this one, but I didn't because it would have a lot of repetition. It is a great way to learn about cooking!

You can also check out my blog (below) to look for any recipe ideas. You can click on the Recipe Index tab at the top to find a list of every recipe.
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Old 09-02-2012, 07:26 PM   #4
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Re: Help me get started PLEASE!!

I would probably recommend Martha Stewart's Cooking School if you need to purchase just one book to reference. It has all basics, explanations of every herb, vegetable, and meat cut, and tells you step by step with photos how to do anything you would need to follow every recipe.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS.../chrisficti-20

As for meal planning and cooking while learning, start with really really simple things and then once a week attempt something new. The easiest dish that I think is the hardest to mess up is roasted whole chicken:

Take chicken out of packaging and remove whatever giblets are in cavity
Put in roasting pan or large pyrex or casserole dish
Salt exposed top (no fat or anything else, just trust me)

For veggies - I like root veggies because they roast nicely and are easy, plus very kid friendly.
Cut potatoes into around 2 inch cubes (just wing it, no need to be exact)
Cut carrots into 2 inch slices
Cut onions into quarters
Toss veggies in olive oil and salt and pepper lightly
Scatter veggies around the sides of the chicken in the pan
Put in oven at 425 for around 70 minutes.
Test chicken with thermometer until it's 180 degrees
(Test chicken between drumstick and body)

I posted in another thread once that was titled something like "I hate cooking" about how I do five meals in an hour and a half or so on a Sunday when my husband is home and then just have to pop them in the oven throughout the week. I actually really love to cook but we do this when someone is really sick or we are crazy busy and there is no time but we still need a good meal. If you want it reposted I will search back and find it. Let me know. It's really, really easy recipes.
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Old 09-02-2012, 07:33 PM   #5
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Re: Help me get started PLEASE!!

Crockpot chicken is yummy and super easy. I put the entire chicken in a crockpot with salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil & thyme. Cook on high for 5-6 hours. I make a ton of stuff from that.
Pulled chicken sandwiches.
chicken & rice & veggies
Chicken & Pasta
burritos or tacos
enchiladas

I freeze the chicken and then use it later in the week/next week for the family.
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Old 09-03-2012, 02:27 PM   #6
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Re: Help me get started PLEASE!!

If I were you, I'd start with chili and crock pot recipes. They're easy, delicious, easy to freeze, and don't require you to stand in front of the oven all day, plus you don't have to work about a bunch of sides, it's just one recipe, and when you get comfortable you can start adding to it. Good luck!
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Old 09-03-2012, 06:14 PM   #7
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Re: Help me get started PLEASE!!

Spaghetti sauce is super easy, just throw some tomato sauce, diced tomatoes (both can be either fresh, which i use, or canned, either/or), browned meat, spices, veggies (i use onions and mushrooms), bring it to a boil, and then simmer all day it takes maybe 30 minutes in the AM (if your meat is frozen!) and then you're done until its time to boill up some noodles!

Chili is easy, the same steps as spaghetti sauce, just different ingredients.

crockpots are great, just throw it in and leave it all day.

Fall is coming up, which makes it prime time for roasts and beef stew. Roasts are SIMPLE. brown your meat, throw it in a casserole pot, add some carrots and potatoes and beef broth, cook for 2-3 hours. Then pull it out and pretend you slaved all day
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:11 PM   #8
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Re: Help me get started PLEASE!!

Thank you so much everyone. I will definitely be trying the recipes mentioned!! You ladies have helped a ton. I will also check out the books that were recommended.

If anyone else comes to this question with the same problem I have this website seems good but I only used it once so far. http://www.healthygrocerylist.com/Category.jsp It gives you the recipe and than gives you a grocery list for what you need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hungry Caterpillar View Post

I posted in another thread once that was titled something like "I hate cooking" about how I do five meals in an hour and a half or so on a Sunday when my husband is home and then just have to pop them in the oven throughout the week. I actually really love to cook but we do this when someone is really sick or we are crazy busy and there is no time but we still need a good meal. If you want it reposted I will search back and find it. Let me know. It's really, really easy recipes.
YES! This sounds great. There are definitely times when this will totally come in handy.


Today I used the mentioned website and made oven baked chicken. It was undercooked at first but after a second round in the oven it was pretty tasty and super easy. I just added some mashed potatos and corn. For the first mommy made meal it was okay. Too bad my parents were here for the under cooked chicken but o well..... They know I am no cook
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:14 PM   #9
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Re: Help me get started PLEASE!!

I'll PM you a copy/paste from the other thread.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:22 PM   #10
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Re: Help me get started PLEASE!!

All good suggestions, but don't forget smoothies, I make mine with strawberries, bananas, peaches any fruit really and we are vegan so I add silken tofu or almond milk for creaminess and protein along with flaxseed some ppl use yogurt or milk though. Kiddos "usually" love smoothies.

I make lots of panini or grilled type sandwiches and quesadillas. Very easy to make these.

I also suggest pancakes and waffles homemade cannot be beat. I get a lot of my recipes from Cooks.com just typing in the main item or ingredients I have on hand for inspiration. Good luck!
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