Clearly this person has not known me for very long. Because if they had, their tune would have sounded more like, "Seriously? Way to step it up!"
What can I say? I have never been known for my cooking expertise.
Then there is the other thing that has been happening: people keep asking me how I learned to cook (which really should be "how I am learning to cook") to which there is really only one answer. I open a cookbook and follow the directions. Honestly, if you can read, you can cook. And the mere fact that you are looking at this makes me assume you can read, so... really, friends, it isn't rocket science.
Before you, too, start believing I am all magical with my super-cooking-powers, let me show you a little of how I make it happen. It really is quite easy, I promise.
First things first, I pick a new recipe to try. I usually have three qualifications for this. Must be (1) delicious sounding, (2) take less than 30 min. work/prep time (not counting baking time, etc.) and (3) made out of mostly fresh ingredients. For about a year I made every single recipe the back of the Campbell's cans had to offer; sure, they tasted delicious and were easy, but when I make something out of REAL ingredients I feel so much better. (I am not knocking Campbells, however. They make some wicked cream-of-whatever-it-is-you-want soup. I am grateful for them.)
Recently I have gone through several phases including a Rachael Ray phase, a Real Simple phase, and a Taste of Home phase. However, I have found my favorite. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Everyday Food by Martha Stewart!
Funny thing is I have been kind of negative about Martha ever since I first became acquainted with her stuff. Maybe it was the whole fru-fru-ness of it or maybe her dishonesty that landed in jail, I don't know. But you know what? I love this little mini-magazine. It is chock full of excellent ideas that fit my criteria. I am now a believer. In the recipes, at least. Like this one:
Second, I do the prep work.
Whenever I try a new recipe I make sure I have all the veggies chopped, all the ingredients out, etc. That way I can focus on just following the steps instead of multi-tasking-up-the-wazoo. This does add extra time, but it brings my stress level down. Then, after I have completed the recipe and know how it goes, I don't worry about that. But for the first time, I highly recommend it.
Third, I just read and follow the steps. Easy peasy.
Now that I have done it once, I see how easy it all is: chop up, season, and cook chicken. Mix yogurt with lemon juice and parsley for cucumbers. Throw some red wine vinegar on onions and add tomatoes a little later. Make a pot of rice. The end. Next time will be quicker, simpler, and probably taste better (because I can tweak the recipe anyway I want) yet this time was incredibly quick, simple, and tasted amazing anyway. Time to throw it on a plate and enjoy!
Give-away, for YOU!
So that you may also enjoy some new recipes -- whether you are a seasoned veteran of the kitchen or a complete newbie -- I am giving away a one-year subscription to Everyday Food by Martha Stewart.
- Number will be randomly drawn on Monday, December 5.
- In order to enter you must
- be a follower of this blog either on this page or on Facebook
- must have a US mailing address (sorry all my many overseas-friends!)
- leave a comment in the comment section telling me whatever it is you want to tell me, unless it is mean. Then just don't say it.
- If you are a follower on both my blog's page and Facebook, you may leave two comments (double your chances!)
- When the winner is chosen, I will contact you to get your mailing address. You will get the 10 issues for 2012 free, at your doorstep. How wonderful, huh?
Happy Cooking, Friends!
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 1/2 pounds total), cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plus 4 teaspoons lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 English cucumber, halved crosswise and thinly sliced
- 2/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (2 cups)
- Cooked long-grain white rice, for serving
- In a medium bowl, combine onion and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. In another medium bowl, combine chicken, lemon zest, and oregano; season with salt and pepper.
- In a third medium bowl, make tzatziki: Combine cucumber, yogurt, parsley, and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes to pickled onions and serve with chicken, tzatziki, and rice.
Cook's NoteA short soak in a vinegar bath mellows red onions and turns them sweet and spicy. They make a great complement to juicy bites of chicken and the cool salad called tzatziki.
COST: $12.05 COST PER SERVING (4): $3.01