My last post was horrifically ambitious. The (unspoken, but still there) idea in my mind was that not only was I going to avoid processed foods and make all kinds of yummy goodness, but I was going to try all kinds of new recipes.
Well, when you’re not a terribly accomplished cook, this can be dicey. Add in the fact that my darling husband gets home late and wants a “real meal,” (i.e. not sandwiches to make up for the fact that dinner is fairly inedible), and you have a recipe (haha, NOT FUNNY AT ALL) for some serious conflict. 🙂
Yesterday, I decided that I would not let cooking beat me. I went to my Betty Crocker cookbook (fairly reliable and useful, honestly), and pulled out the Italian Tomato Sauce recipe. I might have almost doubled the garlic asked for, but that’s because I’m a garlicaholic. A recipe calls for 2 cloves, I use 3…or 4. Especially in Italian food, because if other people can smell your breath and not pass out, you were gypped.
I really enjoyed cooking it. I cooked a chopped onion and several minced garlic cloves in olive oil for several minutes, then added a large can of petite diced tomatoes that had gotten put in a moving box, 2 small cans of tomato sauce, and a WHOLE lot of dried basil, oregano, a little salt, a little fennel seed, and some black pepper. I don’t usually use fennel, but I knew it would really finish out the flavors. I brought the sauce to a boil and let it simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes while I did laundry.
Omgoodness. That stuff smelled amazing. I was drooling. Drooling like a teething baby who sees chocolate. After the sauce finished, I grabbed the pound of ground chicken I had in the fridge and cooked it with another chopped onion and a couple of minced garlic cloves. drained the fat, and added it to the sauce. This all cooked for a few minutes, and I tasted it to make sure it was good.
I put it in the fridge for later, and baked a half-batch of lemon shortbread cookies. (That is another post. Nom nom nom!) Closer to 7:30, I put water on the stove for our whole-wheat pasta, and I waited.
Kevin calls when he’s on his way home, and it only takes 10 minutes. I wanted to cook the pasta after he called, so he could have nice hot pasta. But after 8:00, I was so hungry. I cooked a large amount of whole wheat pasta, heated the sauce, and put it on a plate with some awesome shaved Parmesan cheese. I had a Romaine salad with some olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.
I was in heaven. Dinner was amazing, and I knew Kevin would love it. He deserved it, after putting up with my kitchen disasters.
After 9:30 (!!) I finally called him to see what was up. He told me he would call me back, and after 10:00 he did call and broke the news that he wasn’t coming home, but would instead stay in his BOQ. By that point, it was very late, and his on-deck time was 5:30 AM. Staying there would allow him to get more sleep than coming home.
At least I have really nice leftovers waiting for him. And the good news is that I have reboosted my confidence in the kitchen. I think part of it is finding reliable recipes. Some of the cookbooks I was using were good and other people like them, but they don’t really work for us. I have used them before, and sometimes gotten good results, and other times not. For now, I might stick with my Betty Crocker and allrecipes.com. Also…measuring. I want to be one of those cooks who can just eyeball stuff, and make up stuff, and blah blah blah. At least right now, I can’t. Girl’s gotta measure. And that is ok. If the food is good and gets on the table when it needs to, that is fine.