Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cooking without Recipes

As I mentioned early this week, this blog is primarily for new or inexperienced cooks.  That being said, I don't want to scare them off by always talking recipes.

I don't know anyone that uses a recipe to cook each and every meal.  For me the time to use a recipe is when you're doing something for the first time, having guests or you have the time to prepare something more complex.  Even then I may not really follow the recipe.  If the item is something I have made many times before, I may use the recipe just to remind me not to forget an ingredient or a process.

Many meals may be the result of throwing a few simple ingredients together.  You may use a combination of semi-prepared, frozen, boxed or canned items with some fresh foods for your dinner.  All of this is alright.  I'll buy fresh twice baked potatoes at my local Hy-Vee grocery store because they are on special.  It saves me time (I don't have to make them myself), gives me something upscale for dinner and goes well with hundreds of entrees.

I may grill, pan fry or bake some chicken, pork chops, ham steak or fish to go with that twice baked potato and some fresh veggies.  All I do to the entree is sprinkle some seasoning before using the cooking process of choice that night and maybe steam those veggies.  Here you have a nice dinner that didn't take a lot of work or time but tasted great and met your needs.

Remember this as you plan your weekly menu and grocery list.  My favorite line comes into play here.  Life is too short not to have fun.  So don't make it so complicated and maybe your stress level can go down.

The cheesecake recipe tomorrow just uses a boxed cheesecake mix but I add something to it.  What I add changes the texture and lightens it up.  There is nothing wrong with doing things like this with your meals.

For those of you on weight-watchers, the cheesecake is only 4 points a portion if I figured it correctly for my wife.

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