I have the makings of being a great cook. I have all the right tools (Lots of Pampered Chef and other quality kitchen gadgets.), nice cookware and I have a lot of recipes (Not sure why but I have collected them over the years.) I even have a subscription to Everyday Food magazine by Martha Stewart. I don't however possess the desire, time or sometimes skill to cook great meals. I chalk this up to two basic reasons; one, it's hard to cook for one person. No recipe has "serving - 1" in the title so I end up with a family sized portion I have to eat for a week or it goes bad. (The latter usually happens.) Two, I find it extremely time consuming, not only the basic cooking part but the cleaning up after. It is much easier to go to Fuzzy's Taco.
Admittedly though, eating out or eating some frozen food item is not doing me any favors. I know the basics of being healthy I just choose to ignore it sometimes; perhaps my own way of rebelling and questioning if in fact eating low carb, more fresh vegetables and non processed food is really good for you or some hyped up propaganda from the farming industry.
The May issue of Everyday Food magazine inspired me somehow to cook not one but two dishes. I love soups, they are easy and I can eat them everyday and they don't get boring. This one caught my eye because it said "Dinner under $10." The ingredients were simple enough; leeks, chicken broth, potatoes, green beans and parsley. It says it makes 4 servings which I calculate to about 2 servings of me eating it. It did take about the amount of time it said in the magazine, 45 minutes, but I also cooked the other dish and cleaned the kitchen at the same time so it was time well used.
Here's what it looked like.
I think it looks like the picture in the magazine, which is my litmus test to determine if I did it right. The recipes says to peel the potatoes but I left the skins on and it was fine. I personally like the skins of potatoes.
I also don't have a food processor, about the only thing I don't own. I got creative and used my Pampered Chef chopper and finely chopped the parsley, then scooped it into my Magic Bullet with some olive oil and blended it. I had to shake the bullet to get the parsley to move around (otherwise it just sticks to the sides), then I scooped it out into a bowl.
Taste test: Good. I think if I do it again I will try a different parsley or even cilantro. And more seasoning, it is a little bland for me.
My next dish was "Pasta with sausage, leeks and lettuce". I was skeptical on my skill for this one, it called for sausage without the casings. This to me meant buying sausage, slicing the casing open and cooking the meat. I pictured a huge mess of sausage casings and bits of meat everywhere. Then I remembered I had some ground turkey. Much easier. :)
This recipe also had a short list of basic ingredients, sausage, wine, pasta, lettuce, leeks, parmesan. Both recipes seemed interesting because they used leeks and I had never cooked with them before. The pictures made it look easy, slice in half, cut in tiny strips, wash. Plus a bonus, all the dark green tops were a great addition to the compost pile.
This was a very simple recipe, I basically make this all the time when I cook pasta and add meat. But ok, let's fancy it up with leeks and some lettuce. I left out the wine, mostly because I didn't want to open a bottle. I just used water. It was fine. Again, a little more seasoning would be good. Mine might have been a little bland because I used plain meat and not sausage.
Here's it is.
Time wise it was really fast. I started with the soup, the time on that was 45 minutes and this recipe said 30 minutes. Cooking the two together was easy and much of the prep could be combined to save time. I cooked both and cleaned up the kitchen in about the time it would have been to cook one.
Taste test: yum! I like pasta and anything I can add cheese to is ok with me. The warm pasta and meat with the cold lettuce is a nice contrast. I certainly will be making this again.
Both dishes cost me just around $30 and that was buying organic food at Whole Foods. I consider this a good value considering each says 4 servings and I easily can spend $30 on one or two meals eating out.