Thankful That I Enjoy Cooking Now

Thankfulthat I Enjoy Cooking Now

For most of my life I was intimidated by cooking because it seemed so complicated to make a meal worth eating and tasted good. So many pots and pans and other kitchen gadgets to use and I didn’t know what I was doing. Which pot was the correct one? Which utensil was correct? How did you use this gadget or that? Plus, it seemed to take me FOREVER to cook a single dinner.

For years, I have had a couple of key meals that I knew how to make and they tasted great like my chicken paprikash. Pasta was a weekly, sometimes more than once a week, staple meal in my house because it was easy and you really can’t fail at it. Add that to my breakfast for dinner like pancakes or eggs with a side meat. That was 2 simple meals that were fast and edible. The rest of the time we would eat out… we have kept our local pizza and chinese places busy for many years now.

Since I barely ate through my pregnancy with Evie because of my hyperemesis gravidarum, I wanted to eat everything in sight after I gave birth. The thing was, I no longer wanted to eat the quick meals that I was used to cooking everday. I wanted foods with more flavor. I wanted the meals that they cook on my favorite cooking show… The Chew!

All of the cooking shows that Danyella and I watch make cooking look soooo easy! So, I decided it was time to get out of my comfort zone and start cooking real meals. I have come up with some really delicious chicken and pork meals like my Mushroom Pork Chops  and Baked Lemon Chicken Printable Recipe . 

My Instant Pot has made it so easy to make delicious meals without getting completely overwhelmed. I love to experiment with different veggies and flavors. I can’t wait until my herb garden grows so I can start adding fresh herbs rather than dried herbs to my dishes. Plus, once we have our veggies grow over the Summer, I can incorporate even more fresh veggies into our meals.

Not only have we been able to put the take out menus away (ok we eat out about once every 2 weeks because somedays its just easier to let someone else cook!) but we have saved money because it costs us less to eat in then out. I try to cook at least 5 times a week with one night for leftovers (I hate wasting the food) and one free night where I don’t cook (aka find a box of cereal and be happy!).  I hope that I can continue to enjoy cooking and learn new skills to make delicious meals for my friends and family.

Drop a link to your favorite recipes for me to try in the comments below!

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Feed Me Friday

8fdc36a50f3d37fbbf9dd7e4aab10df8 Now that I am limited duty bed rest, I seem to have a lot of time on my hands which makes wanting to eat after 4 months of horrible morning sickness, something I want to do all day long. One of my weaknesses has been eating out because when I crave something, it has been a salad from this place, a smoothie from that place, fried chicken, hamburger, fries or anything else that I usually never make at home.

Ok, let me be honest here…. I never make much of anything at home. Even before my pregnancy, if I would make something at home I would be so tired so the smell or look that I wouldn’t want to eat it after that. So, most times I would eat out or get the prepared meals from Shoprite or Walmart so all I had to do was pop it in the oven or microwave for a few minutes and dinner was done. My mother was the cook that made meals from scratch, I was the one who would just eat them and then have a happy belly.

Well, I think I have begun my nesting stages since being out of work because I have been cleaning and cooking…. from scratch! Danyella’s obsession with cooking shows hasn’t helped the feeling like I NEED to cook from scratch. We watch every Master Chef episode whether it is adults or kids version (that is where she found her first crush Riley) so she is always wanting to try to cook but I am that scared mother of letting her do anything in the kitchen. She is 10 and now is allowed to use the microwave and toaster which even then I am lecturing her on being safe. (Don’t tell her I said that she is as clumsy as I am when she isn’t dancing lol)

The latest show we started binge watching is Worst Cooks in America from Food Network on Hulu. First, we were not to happy that we could only watch 3 of 9 seasons and that whole thing doesn’t make sense as to why streaming apps do this. Second, it is so funny to see some of the food these people make and actually eat. Third, as much as I don’t want to cook I definitely not a Worst Cook! This inspired me to make 3 of the 4 dishes I am going to feature today.

First dish was homemade mashed potatoes! Yes, most people give me that weird ass look like I have 3 heads because I am 36 and have never made mashed potatoes from scratch. In my defense, they tasted so good when someone else would make them or if I bought the Bob Evans or whatever brand of pre-made ones from Walmart. Off to Pinterest I went to get an easy recipe and here is the one I found: Restaurant-Style Garlic Mashed Potatoes which seemed pretty simple and easy. I used the potatoes that I got from the local farm stand (buy local and support your farmers people!) and followed the instructions. It was pretty damn easy! I paired it with ham steaks and peas and yummy!! My food critics (Danyella and Doug) were even impressed and one went back from seconds.

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With one dish down, I thought hey I could make for from scratch so let’s make a plan for another meal but then I got the request to make Peach upside-down Cake because the one finalist on Worst Cooks lost the whole competition because he screwed that dessert up. So I pulled out the peaches from the farm stand and found this recipe on Pinteret: Peach Upside-Down Cupcakes The recipe was pretty easy to follow and all but one cupcakes came out the pan without an issue. Danyella absolutely loved helping to make these cupcakes and was so happy to share them with her grandparents when she went to their house for a sleepover that night.

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Since Danyella was going to be away for the evening, I could make something that Doug and I would eat but she wouldn’t…. seafood! I had a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer that I needed to find a recipe for and found this one: 10-Minute Honey Garlic Shrimp I will admit that I did alter this recipe a bit because with pregnancy induced heartburn there was no way I could do chili flakes without breathing flames afterwards. Plus instead of fresh garlic, I used Tastefully Simple’s Garlic Garlic blend. It was really good and someone else must have liked it because he finished it off! 3 successful dishes…. 1 more to go!

 

Last one to go came from just scrolling through Facebook and an ad was on my Newsfeed for mac and cheese…. the baked, homemade version. Well the picture looked amazing and I wanted it at 9 in the morning. I found this recipe on Pinterest: Baked Mac and Cheese So I had ran to the store to grab what I needed and later the day started to make it. The gooey-ness that made me so hungry before all of a sudden turned me off. Yes that good ole pregnancy nausea was back with a vengeance. I made it, ate it and then decided that when we ran to get dog food that Doug had to go to McDonalds for a Crispy Chicken Bacon Ranch salad. He was not happy about it but I didn’t care because I wanted my salad not the mac and cheese. He ate 2 dishes of the mac and cheese and loved it. The leftovers are in the fridge for him to eat before he goes to work overnights this week. So this one is a win/lose because he loved it but I did not but I blame the pregnacy nausua on that.

 

I haven’t made anything in a few days but I have plans for this weekend! Stay tuned to see what I make in next Friday’s Feed Me post!