So, remember when I posted about my complete inability to cook a few weeks ago? Well, I am happy to share I have become a new woman.
That’s right. Rejuvenation 2.0.
I partly have my friend Catie to thank. While we were in San Fran, I had so fun watching her pull together dinners for the fam using foods I never even thought about. She roasted vegetables (learned I love roasted brussel sprouts), whipped up homemade chicken tortilla soup, and made the yummiest brown rice pasta with basil, roasted tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella. The best part was that she made it look so easy. I was in heaven.
Coming to the realization that her and I were utter opposites when it came to the kitchen, I have made it a goal to try to new things, cook more naturally, and try to have some fun with it.
Ok, so here are a few meals I tried myself. But I have definitely learned a few things along the way. Baby steps. Let’s remember I burned the kids’ corndogs a few short months ago.
Meal #1: Chicken Tortilla soup. My new obsession. I make it weekly and it makes for perfect lunch leftovers. And yes, I eat it with Fritos. Lesson #1: Don’t forget the tomatoes. It makes for a very dry and unappetizing display, especially due to the fact that it’s the primary ingredient.
Meal #2: Brown rice pasta with fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. If you have never tried brown rice pasta, its so good! We tried the whole wheat pasta a while back, but I got vetoed on that; however, Tony and the kids love brown rice pasta. Havent mastered this one, but it was one of my favorite meals Catie made, so I will keep trying. Lesson # 1: I have learned roasting the tomatoes works best. Might seem obvious to you more experienced mama chefs, but sauteing them made them sour and slimy. Lesson #2: I need to figure out when to throw the cheese in to melt. It was just blobby. I practically choked on the mozzarella chunks. Lesson #3: I need to cook with basil more often. Didnt take a pic of this meal because I forgot, and because it was blobby.
Meal #3: Grilled chicken, quneoa, and roasted brussel sprouts/broccoli. This was a hit with the whole fam (just patted myself on the back). Lesson #1: Learned I love marinating chicken in sesame oil. Tony did the grilling, but I did the preparing yo. Lesson #2: Quneoa. Still not sure what the hell I am doing with it (or how to pronounce it for that matter), but I did try it chicken broth instead of water, and it was pretty good. I recently pulled a bunch of recipes with Quneoa to try other ways to cook with it. Didnt taste like much for me. So far, the jury is out on this one. Lesson #3: Roasted brussel sprouts have to be my new favorite. EVEN TONY LIKES THEM. (double pack on the back).
Meal #4: Mini pizzas and salad. My new go-to for an easy meal. I use whole wheat english muffins, pepperjack cheese, Trader Joe’s pizza sauce and pepperoni, and basil. I feel like I am back in first grade having Italian Dunkers. Lesson #1: I tried making homemade pizza with fresh dough from Trader Joes, and I am so glad Tony didn’t get home in time to watch. How does one mess up baking homemade pizza with dough? Well, let’s just say I thought it would be a good idea to knead the dough (oh, and hell with letting it rise. Who has time for that?), and decorate on the cutting board. So, when it was time to put in the oven, I was screwed. My attempt to preserve its shape by the time it made it to the baking sheet looked like a murder took place. I chucked it in the garbage and whipped up these below beauties in the knick of time. I will probably stick with these for a while.
That’s all I got for now.
I will never say I am a good cook, but I have to admit, I have enjoyed my renewed sense of being somewhat like a Jr. Julia.
So thank you Catie for bringing me up when I hit my cooking rock bottom.
I needed that.
And after all this work, I needed this, too.