10 Things The Kitchen Taught Me in 2010

Cooking is Hard Gif - Cooking is Hard
Cooking is Hard

If you’re new to my blog let me inform you that I am not much of a cook. Or at least–I never used to be. When I was a single girl living alone I ate a lot frozen foods and foods that came from a box. In my journey to lose weight and live a healthier life I realized I had to start eating REAL FOOD.

I also realized how much fun trying new recipes can be!  I learned a lot this year and wanted to share a few gems.

Some Things the Kitchen Taught Me in 2010

1. Don’t Broil Fish. Ever. While that experience was awful at the time I’m glad I managed to turn around a Kitchen Failure into something pretty darn delicious.

2. Don’t add water to Pumpkin Puree. This turned out to be a really delicious dinner– saved from disaster!

3. Put Sugar Cookie Dough in the fridge in between each batch for easier rolling/cutting. Oh and always take your cookies out a minute or so early. They’ll still cook on the baking sheet.

4. Always read instructions. Before trying a recipe. One of my flaws is impatience. I know this about myself and I try to improve my patience whenever I can. But sometimes it gets the best of me. I’ve been known to skim recipes, think I have everything and understand the instructions, then half way through cooking realize I made a stupid mistake. Ooops.

5. Don’t substitute weird things. My mom isn’t the best cook. It’s kind of the family joke but it’s sadly true. She can bake but when it comes to cooking her skills lie elsewhere (she’s a wonderful artist). To give you an example: the first time I took Michael home to Seattle to meet my family my mom made this horrible dip and we all ate it and said it was wonderful but…yea…So she made a Spinach Artichoke Dip but she didn’t have artichokes so she substituted a can of diced chilies. What? There are no words to describe it. We just laugh now. And it’s funny because sometimes I ask Michael if I can substitute a certain thing in a recipe and he says “Don’t be your mother. No substituting!” 🙂

6. Make sure I have ALL of the ingredients before I start cooking. I’ve made this mistake too many times to count. “Oh crap I don’t have a Bay leaf!” or “Uh oh, I have the wrong kind of canned stewed tomatoes–back to the store I go!”

7. I can cook a whole chicken! I was really proud of myself for attempting this recipe and NOT getting freaked out by the whole “cooking an entire chicken” thing.

8. Trying new things can be awesome! The West African Cashew Soup is probably by far the best recipe I’ve tried in 2010. I am really happy with how it turned out; the soup was delicious, and the fact that I’m still thinking about how good it was a month later means it was a good recipe!

9. Bacon makes everything better. There’s no further explanation needed.

10. Cook for someone you love. It makes the food taste even better.

Check out my new page for my Recipe Index!

QUESTION: What have you learned in the kitchen this year? Any tips, tools, recipes, lessons you want to share?

13 Responses

  1. Love this post! I’ve learned a lot in the kitchen this year – but the two top ones are always toss your veggies in olive oil first before adding salt, pepper, or other spices, and second, its very convenient to have a throw away container while you’re prepping veggies to throw all your peels and skins into so you don’t have to go back and forth between the trash many times.

  2. #4 and #6. Yep and yep!

    I think my biggest lesson was to just slow down and enjoy the process. So many times I just wanted it DONE!

    As far as a practical tip – I was really tired of always having overcooked shrimp in our dishes so after seeing this trick on TV, I learned to buy raw, frozen shrimp, defrost them and then toss them in boiling water for only 3 -5 minutes (with a little Old Bay seasoning). Perfect shrimp every time and totally worth waiting for the water to boil. I’ll never buy cooked frozen shrimp again.

  3. I’ve been working on learning to share the kitchen. It’s still very much a work in progress.

    I did finally start cutting onions properly this year, and learned it’s so much faster!

  4. Being single, I’m trying to get myself around to cook– I tend to eat a lot of Lean Cusine’s and Lean Pocket’s, but include frozen or fresh veggies with fruits as well. For me, it’s hard to go to the effort of cooking just for myself. I’d rather cook for someone besides me, but I know eventually I need to get away from that mind frame!

  5. The biggest lesson(s) I learned this year are: #1.) A slow
    cooker is my best friend as a full time student. For some reason,
    despite the fact that the other two adults in my house share full
    time schooling, everyone seems to believe that only I have enough
    time to cook a meal for four. #2.) Never, ever, use a new recipe as
    a potluck or main dish at a party you are hosting. Feel free to mix
    up your recipe repertoire a smidge, but do not take the chance that
    something that looked delicious is most certainly not, or that
    Rachel Ray must have been on her fourth glass of wine when she
    decided something took thirty minutes to cook.

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