11 May 2013

I Can Be Good In The Kitchen...

...or, as the saying goes, in the bedroom: pick one.  Hahaha! No, but seriously, I am not a fancy cook.  I am a decent cook, meals get made, they taste pretty good and no one has died of botulism on my watch.  However, I am more of a "toss stuff together, cook it until it is hot, heck, it is just some food" kind of cook.  I rarely measure, my oven is only ever set to 350 and things are done when I remember I had something in the oven.  I will put in the disclaimer that I pay attention while baking, that is pure science-not art.  With all this in mind I have no idea why I put "share a recipe" in my jar as a prompt for this month.  Instead here are some basic outlines of how I make food that everyone here seems to like.

Buffalo Chicken Anything- This is not really tough, but buffalo sauce can be easily made mixing roughly 1 part melted butter to 2 parts red hot sauce.  I usually buy my chicken in the bulk value packs then roast/crock-pot it all off at once.  This means that on any given night, I have chicken that just need reheating and the ability to make buffalo sauce.  Put the chicken on a pizza dough, drizzle with buffalo sauce and top with mozzarella for a pizza or roll the whole thing up for a buffalo chicken stromboli. This with a big salad is always a hit.

Curried Roasted Veggies- Everyone knows how to roast veggies, but adding a spoon-full of curry power when you are tossing the veggies in your oil makes them amazing.  I like it on everything, but it seems most popular on carrots and cauliflower. 

Crock-Pot Curry- We love Indian food, but lack a local take-out joint so I make this about once a week.  Cube up some chicken (mine is already cooked as mentioned above), chop an onion and open a can of chick peas.  Toss it all in the crock pot with a few spoonfuls of curry/tandori/masala paste ( I like Patak's brand) and a can of coconut milk (Thai-like) or a mix of  roughly 1 cup plain yogurt and 1 cup water (Indian style).  Cook all day, serve over rice. Foolproof and very tasty.

Dried Beans- Beans are a big seller around here so I find it is way cheaper, and not much harder, to buy them in the bags and cook them up myself.  Grab a bag of beans, I have done black, great northern and chickpeas this way, toss contents into a crock pot.  Pour a kettle of boiling water over it all, set the pot to high and let it run all day.  Turn it off after dinner and let them soak overnight.  The next day scoop them into baggies and freeze.  Then you can toss them right in things as if they were canned.  I usually get 5-6 cans worth per bag of dried beans.  Store brand often goes on sale for a buck a bag!

That is pretty much the extent of  my kitchen secrets.  I am not winning any prizes for creative or complicated meals, but I am on a real streak right now of making meals that....wait for it...everyone will eat.  It is getting easier every day to just make a meal and say "eat it or not."  It also helps that my kids will almost always eat their fruit and veg first ( no idea how that happened) so the hard bit is done and I feel confident that even if they don't love today's creation no one will die of scurvy anytime soon.