Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cooking: Rather, the Lack Thereof

People think that since I'm crafty, I'm the ultimate domestic, full-time working, goddess.  This couldn't be further from the truth!  I clean when I have to and use harsh chemicals (gasp!)....

(I love Martha, listen to her on Sirius all the time, I am just simply no Martha, thus the picture.  Aren't you proud of my photoshop work though?)


despise cooking.  This is no secret in our household.  There are a few dishes that I can create, and create well, but other than that, I just don't cook.  I don't enjoy it, I am stressed by it, the pasta always finishes 20 minutes before the bread (and thus cold pasta) and my brain has a mental block against meal planning. 

In addition, my hair frizzes in a hot kitchen.  Not cool. 

The only benefit to cooking, is the free facial I get when pouring pasta water down the drain.

However, I LOVE eating (thus the blog sale because I can't fit into anything anymore :(
I also LOVE collecting and reading recipes (does anyone else do this).  I don't cook them, I just read them.  It's sort of an obsession.

Here is my recipe book.  Filled with over 750 recipes (the highlighted ones I've cooked and liked).
They are all alphabatized and separated into categories (including an international foods section) and indexed at the front of the book by main ingredient (i.e. chicken, appetizers, pork).

Every month, I go through my magazines, pick out the recipes I like and add them to the book (I need to catch up in organizing). 
(Is blogger driving you all nuts?  What is with the sideways pictures?)

So, here's my dilemma....I need (emphaizing the word need) to start cooking healthy meals for my family for multiple reasons:

1) I have a growing child who needs all the heatlhy foods she can get
2) I need energy, stamina, stress-free foods that do not cause zits and bloated tummies (sorry to be blunt, but really....it's no serect the greasy foods make us feel and look like junk!)
3) I want to sit at the dinner table every single night and talk about our days.  Lallie is SO happy when we do this, she eats every bite of her food and is in such a good mood.  That in itself is worth it.

I need your help.  I am a working mom, so dinner on the table is a major feat, especially since Husband works later than I.  I need some quick, easy, few ingredient meals for a non-experienced cook that are healthy and fun for family and kiddos. 

**As a side-note, we love fresh veggies.
**Another side note:  I cannot plan a meal to save my life.  Could use help in that category.

I have plenty of crock pot recipes.  I don't need those.  I can't seem to get going early enough in the morning to get this together.  So, scratch those.

Got it? 

Good.  Now comment!  :-)

Happy Tuesday Y'all!


  1. A good pasta salad is always a good healthy & easy dish, and fun because you don't really need a recipe and can add whatever you like! Just start with a cooked pasta, add whatever veggies/meats/cheeses you would like, some salt & pepper or other spices of your choice, and toss in any dressing, olive oil, or red wine vinegar. I like to serve it cold in the summer. :)

  2. I actually love to cook, but like you, I work. So - those luxurious, meandering 2+ hour recipes really won't cut it on weekdays. I am a big fan of Susan Nicholson's 7 day menu planner which runs in a lot of newspapers. Her recipes tend to be easy, quick, and she is a nutitionist who throws in the full balanced meal plan for each day. Here's a link to her column: http://www.uexpress.com/7daymenuplanner/

    Hope that helps!

  3. Keep them coming girls...need help here! Ashleigh, I LOVE that picture of us!! Smooches!

  4. I have two books like that. One is almost all desserts and drinks.
    check out myrecipes.com for the quick meals.

  5. Stay away from wheat products if you want to lose the bloat. I love lemon chicken with roasted brussell sprouts yum!

  6. First off, I love your blog!
    Second, I agree with the 7-day Menu Planner as mentioned above. It's a great site!
    Two cookbooks I recommend are Anne Byrne's The Dinner Doctor and the South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Recipes. The SBD emphasizes fresh vegetables, meat, etc. without any weird foods like beet juice and alfalfa sprout smoothies for breakfast. Check to see if your library has copies.

  7. I love the picture too! It's my desktop background at home :-)


  8. I completely agree with you about cooking! I have such a hard time with the timing of cooking more than one thing at once. Drives me crazy!!

    I did try this recipe for Cheddar Chicken that I posted on my blog awhile back and it came out really good. I served it with wild rice pilaf and green beans. http://cambridgechic.blogspot.com/2010/05/cheddar-chicken-recipe.html

  9. your recipe book is so impressive! i definitely understand, though. i'm just not domestic! i love to eat a home-cooked meal but the preparation just stresses me out. happy to hear i'm not the only one!

  10. Hi Jennifer -- I plan my menu for the week on Sunday afternoon, and then make my grocery list and shop that day. That way there is no "what am I going to make today?" -- it's already written down, posted on the fridge and I know I have the ingriedients ready to go. I try and plan a pasta, a chicken, a beef, and a fish... just 4 meals for the week. That usually leaves us with a leftover day and then we go out. When you break menu planning down that way, it's less overwhelming. I know you said crock-pot is a no, but really, if you know you are doing it, it's pretty easy in the morning. I do a potroast and a pulled pork in the crock that require pretty much just dropping the frozen meat in and turning it on... I think menu planning is the key to cooking dinners at home - and for the really busy days, a Publix rotisserie chicken is always a good stand-by and then leaves leftovers for chicken salad, pasta salad etc.

  11. I'm trying to learn to love to cook, slowly but surely! Some tips that I've been trying to use are planning a menu out on Saturday morning, so I know what I need to shop for and then keeping some "just incase" items in the freezer if I get home and just can't make my planned meal.

    I don't have a Lallie yet, but I do have a boyfriend who has the pallete of a 5 year old! He loves nothing more then chicken tenders with a fresh salad. Bell and Evans frozen tenders are the best we've tried, and are worth the extra cost!

    On Sunday's I wash and cut up a head or 2 of lettuce for the week and store it in a gallon sized ziploc bag. I also cut up most of my salad veggies, cucumbers, carrots, onion, green beans, broccoli, and store them in tuperware. I also hard boil a few eggs and keep cold cuts on hand incase I want to just have a big chef salad as my meal!

    I also have a Griddler by Cuisinart. It cooks chicken breasts in under 5 minutes and is perfect for making paninis or grilled cheese! Another trick is that I keep all the fixings on hand for homemade pizza (I use pre-made Boboli crust) that way if we feel like pizza and a salad I can pull it together faster then it would take to have it delivered!

  12. Hi, Jennifer! I just stumbled upon your blog. Newest follower here! I love to find new southern blogs! Can't wait to read more :)

    Happy Tuesday, lady!!

  13. WOW! Guess my post yesterday was inspiring. I read all comments and agree with them all. Preparation is key. Menu planning a huge help. I am fortunate as my Husband loves to cook. He is the experimenter. And I stick to tried and true.
    Look for a few quick recipes on Manor Lane later this week.

  14. Almost all my Menu Monday recipes are healthy... often my edits on a non-healthy recipe to fit my healthy requirements.

    There are 2 cookbooks though that you could get and need nothing else. Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast (takes about 15min/recipe) and Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl Dish (not all fast, but all are easy and super healthy).

  15. Girl, you and I are so much alike. I'm not a big cook either, and my husband hates that. I actually just ordered pizza last night because I didn't feel like cooking. Haha.

  16. I definitely plan all my meals on the weekend, grocery shop from that list, and then go from there. We usually have a big meal on Sunday night b/c we're home and love to cook and at least one night a week is leftovers (I always make more than what 2 people can eat so there are always leftovers). Allrecipes.com has great options (always read the reviews for helpful hints) and Rachael Ray has a lot of recipes we really like b/c they're easy and quick.

    One of our favorites is pasta with chicken or shrimp and asparagus in a white wine and lemon sauce. http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/elegant-penne-with-asparagus-and-shrimp/Detail.aspx
    We also have grilled chicken with pasta and pesto and a veggie at least every other week. YUM! As for the crockpot, put everything in the night before, throw the crock in the fridge, and then in the a.m. take it out and start to cook. This is how we do it and it works well that way. If you are doing a recipe that involves rice, you do need to add that in the a.m. or else it will absorb too much of the liquid overnight.

    By the way, I love that 4th of July dress that you made! Too bad I don't have a little girl!