PDA

View Full Version : Cooking tips, planning, etc



Kendrah
December 16th, 2005, 11:31 AM
Well, yesterday I had a horrible bout with food poisoning (at least, that's what I figure it was) and it reinforced the want to cook my own meals on a regular basis.

However, whenever I come up to that plate, I feel intimated. I have several cookbooks and everything looks so good, so I can never make up my mind. And then when I do, to get all the ingrediants (which I figure is a decent investment), I feel like I'm a chicken running around with it's head cut off. I can only stand to eat left overs for two or three days before it gets old and I hate wasting food. I don't have the expertise yet to make a side dishes at the same time with the main (one or the other comes out first and gets cold and yucky.) I'd be cooking only for mua... and then all the dishes. Coupled with the fact that I'm still a baby when it comes to cooking and you get an ARG!

I feel completely overwhelmed in the kitchen.

So, I'm hunting for tips. Tips on planning meals, tips on what how you cook everyweek, etc. Anything and all will help this little fledgling. :D

Unorthodox
December 16th, 2005, 11:35 AM
I used to feel that way---now I love to cook--I enjoy the process of cooking and the food is just a benefit. It is difficult when you're starting to cook--most of the cook books list ingredients that you just don't typically have in your kitchen. I just slowly started trying new recipes that only called for one new spice or ingredient and now I have a pantry full of the stuff I need. As far as picking one---just start in the front of a book and work your way back :)

WitchJezebel
December 16th, 2005, 11:43 AM
Food poisoning at home or at a restaurant? Statistically, most people actually get food poisoning from their home, not in a restaurant - I was just curious.

First off, you're thinking and stressing about it too much... just relax Honey, it's supposed to be fun!! You don't have to make so much food at once; you can cut recipes in half if they feed 4 people so you don't have that many leftovers. Now the main thing to do is get your mise en place, which is basically, everything in it's place. You get all the ingredients measured and in little bowls or plates (some things can be put in the same bowl). Read the recipe completely through before you even attempt it and then keep it handy to follow as you go along. You could be trying to do all these fancy things and you really don't have to. Example being, if you're making an entree that takes alot of work (meat, fish, etc.), then make your vegetable or starch simple (steamed vegetables, baked potatoes). If you have the time on the weekend, plan your meals for the week, get your groceries on hand and plan on which day you'll cook what. If you need to use say a half a red bell pepper for 1 recipe, then use the remaining half for another recipe on another day during the week, that way you're not wasting ingredients. That's called dovetailing in the restaurant biz. If you buy a pack of boneless chicken breasts, when you get home, portion them out into serving sizes for yourself and put into little baggies or plastic wrap and freeze the rest for another day.

You sound really eager and I LOVE that (I love when people are as into food as I am); just don't try to make it too fancy in the beginning. Simply prepared food is just as delicious as the dinner that took 3 hours to put together. I usually make simply prepared meals during the week and reserve the more intricate recipes for the weekends.

I'm sure you'll get alot of other tips from the folks here, but just ask specific questions if you need to. good luck and Bon Appetit!

Faery-Wings
December 16th, 2005, 11:45 AM
Also, check out the Cooking 101 Thread at the top of the forum. I know I have not been able to post any new info there, but there are some good hints and ideas.

Kendrah
December 16th, 2005, 12:00 PM
Food poisoning at home or at a restaurant? Statistically, most people actually get food poisoning from their home, not in a restaurant - I was just curious.

Well, it wasn't really a restaurant. It was McD's. But it was hell. When cooking, I've always taken the proper precautions... I don't like being sick... But it's not like I need to eat at McD or any other fast food. I'm kinda hoping it'll be like a pavalon's effect.

But yeah, I love cooking. I can watch the Food Network for hours (I wasn't allowed to cook when I was in my parents home, so it was my only outlet.) So really, this is the first time that I've been "allowed" to cook. So, maybe I just want to do it all, ya know? It's like, I can cook! I can cook! And I'm a perfectionist so it has to be perfect (the prep, I should say. I'm leanient on how it tastes - I'm at least understanding that I'm a newbie.)

But yeah. I need to sit down on the weekends and plan out my meals. That is a good idea.

Kendrah
December 16th, 2005, 12:01 PM
Also, check out the Cooking 101 Thread at the top of the forum. I know I have not been able to post any new info there, but there are some good hints and ideas.

Yes, I know. I was hoping this couple be a sorta/kinda counterpart to that. That's all cooking hints and ideas, but to have the aspect of outside the actual cooking part. I love the thread though.

Faery-Wings
December 16th, 2005, 12:07 PM
Here is another idea for when you don't know where to begin meal planning- I listed all of my family's favorite foods in a word doc. I think someone here gave me the idea a while ago... hmm..

Anyway, let me see if I can attach mine here for you to take a peek.

Faery-Wings
December 16th, 2005, 12:10 PM
Ok, that one isn;t mine... but id does give you an idea of how to go about making one. What I then do is grab the sale paper and then between my meal idea list and what is on sale I am able to get a menu/list going.

I usually try to make my menus based on a protien, veggie and starch.
So one night pork chops, rice and spincach.
#2 could be lasagna and salad
#3... say meatloaf, peas and mashed potatoes...

WitchJezebel
December 16th, 2005, 12:11 PM
Here is another idea for when you don't know where to begin meal planning- I listed all of my family's favorite foods in a word doc. I think someone here gave me the idea a while ago... hmm..

Anyway, let me see if I can attach mine here for you to take a peek.


I love that idea! I should do something like that - so many times I'll have 2 days planned and I 'wing it' the rest of the week. Btw, what's red bunny???

WitchJezebel
December 16th, 2005, 12:13 PM
Ok, that one isn;t mine... but id does give you an idea of how to go about making one. What I then do is grab the sale paper and then between my meal idea list and what is on sale I am able to get a menu/list going.

I usually try to make my menus based on a protien, veggie and starch.
So one night pork chops, rice and spincach.
#2 could be lasagna and salad
#3... say meatloaf, peas and mashed potatoes...

Definitely use the sale fliers in your planning, you can save alot of money and get your pantry stocked slowly. Oh and if you don't use coupons, do, I save so much money that way so we can afford to have a more expensive cut of meat on occasion.

Can I come over for dinner? I could use the break and I'll bring the dessert.

Faery-Wings
December 16th, 2005, 12:17 PM
Btw, what's red bunny???

:lol: I have no idea! Between that and the goulash, I knew this was not mine.

Love to have you come for dinner too. :)
And yes... use coupons. I save on avg $40 a week, I have saved up to $82 in one trip.

WitchJezebel
December 16th, 2005, 12:20 PM
:lol: I have no idea! Between that and the goulash, I knew this was not mine.

Love to have you come for dinner too. :)
And yes... use coupons. I save on avg $40 a week, I have saved up to $82 in one trip.

Wow $82 savings is amazing; I think my record is closer to $40, but I don't have a family, there's just 2 of us so we don't even usually spend $100 a week anymore since our pantry is so fully stocked. I have 14, 1 lb. bags/boxes of pasta so I'm set for awhile!, not to mention all the other stuff. That's where the coupons and sale prices come in - I love looking at that receipt when I walk out thinking how much money we've saved.

I've got to figure out what the heck red bunny is - but I love goulash, I just haven't made it in a long time.

dragonprincess
December 16th, 2005, 02:41 PM
These are great hints. i myself have only just recently figured out how to time staring of dishes sp they are all done at once. the only advice i can offer is practice. nothing beats experience.
Cooking, is supposed to be fun, only BAKING requires you to be presice.
There was a quote somewhere that was like "Approach love and cooking with passion and adventure" or something like that.
Here's another hint: when you make stuff that you may have a lot of; freeze some, because one of these days your cooking attempt will meet with disaster, then you can thaw and eat something from your freezer. Frozen meals will last about 3 months in your freezer.
Good luck! Let us know what you make!