Learning to Cook

One of the benefits of healthy living is eating at home more, and one of the benefits of eating at home more is learning to cook.

I’ve always managed to throw something together for dinner, even if it came out of a box, but now that I’ve forsaken the “Helpers” and the “Ronis” and the ubiquitous Mac and Cheese, I’m having a lot more fun cooking.

Maybe because I actually am cooking. For example:

1) I’m learning to make omelets. Not scrambled eggs, actual omelets. It took a few tries, but my latest came out perfect, like an egg pancake. I was tempted to flip it in the air, but I just used a turner.

2) I’ve found a great trick to make tasty burgers: A1. Mix about 1/3 of a cup per pound of ground beef then make a cook the patties as usual. Tastes great, and works for turkey burgers too.

3) Our griddle is getting more use in the last two months than in the previous five years we owned it. We cook pancakes, bacon, grilled cheese sandwiches, steaks, chicken, mushrooms, etc.

4) Speaking of chicken, we’ve been making Malibu Chicken on our griddle. A chicken breast (cut in half), cooked on the griddle, and topped with three slices of deli ham and a slice of Tillamook Colby Jack cheese. Yum.

5) I’ve also been stir frying. The key here is “hot wok, cold oil.” Set the skillet on the stove top, on high heat, and drip water into the pan to check. Once the water forms a drop and skitters around the pan, it’s hot enough. Oh, and only add a tablespoon of oil—too much and it spatters everywhere.

6) And my latest adventure? Teriyaki sauce. We’re almost through the two bottles we bought from Shoji’s before they closed here in Eugene, and I’m hoping, through trial and error, to make my own. It won’t be the same, but if I can get it close it will be worth the effort.

The one thing I haven’t used at all so far is the oven. I do almost all my cooking on the stovetop or the griddle or in our Crockpot. Julia is the baker in the family and, for now anyway, the oven is all hers.

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