Recipes for a cooking-phobe? :)

Old 01-19-2011, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by canary52 View Post
OK I'll tell you. I didn't bother to read the bottle. It said use 1 t and dilute with a cup or two of water. I used 3/4 of the bottle straight. Straight. And broiled it. It produced what can only be described as something looking like industrial sludge. We were first married. I cried it's awful don't eat it! My husband said it's OK honey once you scrape off this black stuff... We're still married over 20 years later....yeah the oyster sauce.... not to mention it probably had about 9 million grams of sodium. We tell that story to anyone who messes up a dish..even the best cooks do...
YIKES! That's a great story though, thank you. I have totally burned chicken stuck onto the saucepan and the sauce-type-thing I was making (I don't quite remember...) was about the color of dried blood, this weird brown...

Makes me feel not alone, so thanks. And thanks for the recipe! I'm writing all of these down. Thank you for explaining reducing, as I did not know what the term meant before.

Ok, I have to ask. Did you really need help or is this just an excuse to tell a bunch of people about your boy friend?
I am sorry if it sounds that way, wasn't my intention. I do seriously need help. I haven't had too many people believe in me during the course of my life, and he's been a huge part of helping me come into my own. If I speak about him a lot, it's because he's very important to me and means the world - we mention those we love.

I was honestly just looking for some easier recipes to ease me into the routine of a kitchen and common cooking styles I probably don't know about. My repertoire of cooking usually consists of sauteeing/grilling meat or making one-pan dishes, or throwing lumps of things in a casserole dish and hoping it turns out alright (usually it ends up dry). Only last week did I learn how to cook an egg, and I've only been in the kitchen for about 2 months or so. My veggie chopping is a mess (but I try) and I have about 2 pots and two pans total.

In any case, I apologize if my tone was not as intended
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Old 01-20-2011, 03:47 AM
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Go to a bookstore (or browse on Amazon.com) and ask the salesperson if they carry 3-ingredient or 4- or 5-ingredient cookbooks. If they do, load up on those. They are extremely simple. They get you started cooking with just a very few ingredient dishes to make simple things. You can look for the calorie counts but the simpler a dish is, the easier it is to tell how many calories are there, anyway. Use any website that calculates calories if you have trouble with that.
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by mchedester View Post
Ok, I have to ask. Did you really need help or is this just an excuse to tell a bunch of people about your boy friend?
Ya big bully!!! leave the poor girl alone
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:28 AM
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Ok another easy recipe. Chicken parm. Get a pound of thin chicken cutlets, a bottle of tomato sauce, a package of mozzarella (part skim is fine) and some parmesan cheese. Later, when you get more into cooking, you can get a cooking mallet and pound regular cutlets yourself but the thin cutlets work fine.

Preheat your oven to 350.
Put flour on one paper plate (easy clean up), seasoned breadcrumbs (you can buy em that way) on another and beat two eggs into a bowl (a shallow flat one works better but anything will do.) Rinse your cutlets. Put each cutlet into flour (this is called dredging) then into the beaten eggs, then into the beadcrumbs.

Put some olive oil, margarine or a combo into a frying pan. Butter tends to burn but you can use it with olive oil. Brown the cutlets on each side. Remember you will be cooking the cutlets in the oven again so just brown but this recipe is also forgiving.

I like heating the tomato sauce in a pot while the cutlets are cooking but this is not absolutely necessary. Grease a casserole dish and put the cooked cutlets in. Cover with tomato sauce, a good enough amount so the cutlets won't be dry. Grate or cut the mozzarella, put over the saucy cutlets, then put parm cheese on top. Bake in the 350 oven until the cheese melts and the whole thing is very hot. (15-20 minutes)

Serve with pasta or bread, and/or a salad and veg and voila! you have a meal you do not have to order from take out.

Also check out Sandra Lee on the Food Nework. Her show is called Semi Homemade and More (or something like that) and a lot of her stuff is pretty easy.

Good luck, my dear! And just remember as my good friend RosaMarie says: Don't let anybody take your power away from you. You can do it.

Last edited by canary52; 01-20-2011 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:35 AM
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Easy marinade for fish (works well with salmon or swordfish):
lemon, soy sauce (get the good stuff like tamari, in health food store or aisle, not that fake stuff in the regular supermarket aisle), garlic or garlic powder, oregano, basil, parsley, paprika, that's it. Again I do by eye but here's the estimate:
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup soy
1/2 t or so of garlic (or 1-2 cloves) and parsley
1/4 t of basil and oregano
1/8 or 1/4 paprika

Do not marinate long! Maybe 15 minutes or it can get intense. Grill or broil fish. Yummy!

Last edited by canary52; 01-20-2011 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 01-20-2011, 02:48 PM
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Thanks Kathy! I really need to get beginner cookbooks. I have this ancient Betty Crocker cookbook I inherited from my Mom. I bought one where I can write recipes in myself, I want to use that one!

Canary ~ Thank you so much for taking the time to write out all of these great recipes! Chicken parm! That's totally on my list of "you should know this" recipes, as it seems like something you can cook for almost any crowd for almost any occasion. And the marinade sounds nice too! I've been dry-rubbing spices on my fish in lieu of having any idea of how to make a marinade.

This is the part where I ask a hundred silly questions:

What are the serving sizes of recipes? How can you calculate that? If a recipe doesn't say I usually just assume "serves four" but I know that can be way off. For instance, how many does that chicken parm recipe serve, and how do you know that?

When you're dredging (thanks! I know what that word means now!), how can you estimate, for example, how much egg gets on the chicken to calculate calories? This is something I always have a problem with. Same with a marinade - how the heck do I know how much of each thing gets on a cut of meat? It's fine with breadcrumbs (I can just measure before and after) or other dry things, but I have no clue when it comes to the wet stuff.

What is the proper temperature/setting for browning chicken or other poultry meat? I have an electric oven and I usually do it on medium/medium high (something like 6.5 on a scale of 1-10). I've browned ground turkey on this setting and it seems to be ok, but I'm not really sure.

Thanks for any/all answers! I appreciate it so much
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Old 01-20-2011, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by mchedester View Post
Ok, I have to ask. Did you really need help or is this just an excuse to tell a bunch of people about your boy friend?
Originally Posted by bettmrr View Post
Ya big bully!!! leave the poor girl alone
Easy now, we're all friends here. Different things are important to different people so let's show some tolerance and keep the discussion on topic please.

Thanks!

Regards,
Michael
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by mecompco View Post
Easy now, we're all friends here. Different things are important to different people so let's show some tolerance and keep the discussion on topic please.

Thanks!

Regards,
Michael

Apologies, it was intended to be light hearted but point taken
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:19 PM
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OK portion size depends on the kind of eater you are. The rule of thumb for people trying to restrict calories or keep portion control is 3-4 oz. of meat/fish per person. So a pound of chicken, fish or meat could serve four not very big eaters. So 4 thin cutlets or 2-3 bigger ones. If you use my recipe, figure 1/2 egg per person. But the easier way is to just log chicken parmigiana; they have a listing for it here.

As for how much egg you need for the chicken parm, look at it this way. You put it in flour first (and if you want you can skip the flour and just use egg and breadcrumbs which makes it lighter in calories, carbs and texture. You need enough egg to get the breadcrumbs to stick so I usually dip it once or twice. If the crumbs aren't sticking you can just brush a little egg on the spot and dip in breadcrumbs again.

A marinade should cover whatever you're marinating but it doesn't have to drown it. So a cup is more than sufficient.

I say brown on a medium flame, not high. You don't want to burn it but you want to make sure it cooks.

The other thing I will also say is that soups are very easy and forgiving to cook. You throw a bunch of veggies, some meat or chicken in a pot and you can always fix soup if thigns seem to be going a bit off. Plus it's filling. I don't know where you live but here in the northeast soup is a beautiful thing this time of year. Plus when you make it yourself you can control the sodium. You take a bowl of soup, a salad and a piece of whole grain bread and I call that a good comfort meal!!!
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Old 01-21-2011, 02:02 AM
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Default This is such a delightful post...

... I'd like to share a recipe for "Perfect roast chicken" It is kind of a level 2 recipe. The preparation is straight forward, but determining when the chicken is done will take you from neophyte to chef in training. In addition to the wonderful taste, it will fill your house with lovely homey smells as it roasts.

You will need a roasting pan and a rack so the chicken is sitting above the fat and juices it will produce as it cooks.

Buy a 5 to 6 lb whole, unfrozen chicken. Organic, free range etc, if you like or can find it, but certainly not essential

Stick your hand in the cavity (or get someone else to do it if squeamish) and remove any bits and pieces - usually the neck and some internal organs. Most people either throw them out or cook them up for the cat.

Wash the bird in cold water inside and out. Use a clean dish towel and it pat dry, inside and out. Toss the towel in the washing machine or hamper - you don't want to use it again until it is washed. You can use really sturdy paper towels for this too, just be sure to collect any stray pieces that stick.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. This will usually take about 15 minutes, but don't worry if the oven isn't full up to temperature before you begin roasting.

You will stuff the cavity with:

1 head (the whole clump of gloves) of garlic. Cut it in half first. Either direction it doesn't matter.

1 lemon. Cut it in half too.

A "bunch" of thyme. For this you will want to buy one of those packages of whole thyme branches from the produce department. It should be washed already so just stick the whole bunch in the cavity of the bird.

The order of the garlic, lemon and thyme doesn't matter, but I usually put half of the garlic in first followed by half lemon, thyme in the middle then repeat garlic, then lemon.

Salt and pepper the outside of the bird. I usually give it a little salt and pepper massage as I am doing this (yup, you can play with your food a little here).

Put the bird on the rack, rack in the pan, and pan in the oven.

Roast for 1 1/2 hours. Scary part: Or until done

There are 3 ways to tell when it is done (actually 4)
1.) With a sharp knife make a little cut between the leg and the thigh. When the juices run clear, the bird is done.
2.) Wiggle the leg, when is wiggles loosely it is done. (This takes a little practice and experience)
3.) But a meat thermometer. The temperature in the breast or thigh should be 175 to 180 (probably the easiest)
4.) Cut a slice of breast. If it is still slightly pink, pop it back into the oven for 15 minutes. No worries.

Once it is done, let it cool for 10 or 15 minutes, remove the stuff in the cavity and throw it out - its purpose is to flavor the bird, and slice the meat into what ever portions you want. This also make excellent leftovers.
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