Adventures in Cooking

Guide

Anyone that knows me knows that I live to cook and bake. While I’m not creative when it comes to cake decorating, I’m much better at the whole “making it taste good” sort of thing. I have a weird family type situation that I cook for. I live with Ross, who is my boyfriend, and his 9 year old daughter, Allison. I have a 14 year old son that is actually the biological son of my ex-husband (that is a long, long story – but the short version is he’s my son and anyone that says otherwise is wrong), Andreu. And then there’s my ex-husband, who’s a great guy and we get along really well, Chris. I cook about 5-6 days a week, either at home or at Chris’ house once a week while I visit Andreu. My challenge: Finding things that my family will eat. Their tastes are sort of plain – salt  amp; pepper, a little garlic powder, and they will use some Italian Seasoning once in a while. They like hamburger, chicken, hotdogs, some Polish Sausage and a little bit of Fish. So you can see how limited that I am in trying new things.

Lately, www.allrecipes.com has been my best tool to use. I’ve been able to find a few recipes that have turned out pretty well. And some have not gone over well at all. Below are the Culinary Adventures for the past week to bring you all up to speed.

Monday night:

This was my own concoction and Allison (the nine year old) named it “Kelly’s Surprise” probably because you’ll never know exactly what’s in it. Ross can’t eat “boxed” dinners like Hamburger Helper, so I make a homemade version that is the base for this meal. Monday night I realized that I had plenty of Cheese, but not enough Pasta to make the meal. I usually use elbow Macaroni, but since I was running so low, I added some spaghetti noodles. I also added some frozen peas to make it a little bit healthier. The night before we had grilled out and I had 4 leftover hotdogs, so I sliced them up and dropped them in there as well. Ross and Allison liked it, but I think next time I’ll go back to hamburger and make sure I have enough elbow pasta.

Tuesday night:

Cheeseburger Pizza! (http://www.pillsbury.com/Recipes/ShowRecipe.aspx?rid=45559) I found this recipe on the Pillsbury website and it turned out wonderfully. I did substitute Tomato Sauce for the Ketchup, but it was a big hit! Andreu even at it for late night snack when he was over at my house later in the week. This will definitely be a use again recipe. I will try this as a party food for the next get together that we have. I think it’s be great cut into little squares.

Wednesday night:

Tonight was a pretty common night in our house. I made Cubed Steak, mashed potatoes and green beans. Nothing fancy, except I baked the steak, which still made it a little tough for my tastes. I have yet to figure out how to make cubed steak tender. I’ve beat it to death and I’ve put tenderizer on it. Ross loves cubed steak, so I just keep working on it. I also realized that non stick pans are one of the best utensils to use for you to come up with a tender steak. Investing in this kind of pan is really advisable.

Thursday night:

This was our eat out night. If you are in the Jacksonville, Florida area and you are looking for a good place to eat, try Dick’s Wings on Old St. Augustine Road. They have wings, burgers, and the best New York Style Pizza in town!

Friday night:

This was a recipe that I’d been wanting to try for a couple of weeks. Chicken Nachos (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Chicken-Nachos/Detail.aspx) – This turned out great! Served with some Pace Salsa and Sour Cream and was quickly eaten up. I’ll be making this again for a party, I’m sure. Not quite enough for just a meal. Good thing it was Friday night and there was other stuff to be eaten. This meal turned into a “Junk Food Night”.

Saturday night:

I found this while looking for something quick and easy using some things that we already had on hand – Easy Crunchy Hot Dogs (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Easy-Crunchy-Hot-Dogs/Detail.aspx). We had hot dogs in the freezer, and instead of corn flakes, I used Tortilla Chips (since we had this on hand). It was eaten, but when I asked Ross what he thought, he said it was interesting. Which is code for “Let’s not have this again”. Which is okay with me, at least he tried something new.

Sunday night:

This was another recipe I found while trying to use things we already had on hand. Porcupines (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Porcupines/Detail.aspx) . This was like meatballs, so I made them with Spaghetti Noodles and a really thick Tomato Sauce. They were okay, but I think I’ll be looking for a different recipe for making meatballs. I think Bobby Flay has a recipe for great meatballs…hmm…

My cooking is not only limited to dinners. I love to bake and there are tons of breads, muffins, and cakes that I am going to be trying in the next few months. Luckily my coworkers are all game when I bring in new things to try. I also want to try new breakfast items. I love making breakfast on the weekends, especially brunch on Sundays. And I’m amassing quite a collection of recipes to try.

My goal is to post weekly about the new things I’m learning to make and how well they are received in my household. Hopefully this will inspire othre people to start cooking different things. I’d love to hear what you try and how it came out. Feel free to email me – kelly.cornelius@gmail.com.