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Since I have been here I have noticed that people keep asking for cooking ideas, recipes and tips. 

I grew up in a home where if it didn't come from a can or a box my mom didn't know how to cook it.  I remember thinking hamburger helper and chicken helper were "good meals" and when those Homestyle Bakes came out I thought that was some top of the line food lol!.

When I finally left home I realized just how expensive that stuff is and also how boring.  I taught myself how to cook.  Yes, many of my first experiences with cooking was a disaster and there were times that ordering out was a necessity but as time passed I became better.  Practice makes perfect.

So for those ladies here who want recipes, tips and tricks I bring this post.  Please, post anything that comes to mind that has helped you make some great home made food!

Here are mine:

My spice rack is never without Salt, Pepper and Basil.  These 3 items are almost always in my recipes.  I am also never without fresh garlic, onions and bell peppers (not green but mainly red).  Some of the best quick skillet meals involve sauteeing/carmelizing the onions with some salt, pepper and basil in butter or olive oil.  It makes the onions sweet.  You can then place any kind of meat, whether it is chicken or beef like sirloin steak (usually not hamburger) on top and let it cook til done.  Add some starch and a veg and you have a tasy meal that takes about 30 minutes. 

Don't like bitter foods, like green beans?  Add parsley to sweeten them and white pepper instead of black.  Once again throw in some sweet carmalized onions and now your bitter green beans are some sweet and tasty green beans (this goes for many other bitter items as well).

When you cook meat let it set for 10-15 minutes after preparing it.  Letting your meat rest will help to bring out the juices and natural flavors and helps to make the meat more tender.



Some will die in hot pursuit and fiery auto crashes. Some will die in hot pursuit while sifting through my ashes. Some will fall in love with life and drink it from a fountain that is pouring like an avalanche coming down the mountain. ~Butthole Surfers


by on May. 6, 2012 at 8:28 AM
Replies (61-62):
by Emerald Member on May. 6, 2012 at 11:05 AM

 1. Like I said, fresh herbs are easy to grow and cheaper than buying recipe to recipe also the staple in my kitchen.

2.Dont forget to taste and season your food as you go. Every ingrident added needs seasoning.

3.Cooking is not something to be scared of and yes everyone can cook if they really want to. Just takes some basic know-how. And it is super fun! favorite and easy pasta sauce...for family of 4

1. 1 large tomatoe, cut an " X" in the top, drop into your boiling pasta water for 1-2minutes. Remove and rinse under cool water. The skin will easily peel away. Chop into small pieces.

2. saute 1/2 diced onion and 1 clove garlic in 2tbs olive oil until soft. about 5-6 minutes

3. Add tomatoe to onion/garlic, 1-2 tbs of apple cider vinegar, 1tps honey(balances out acididy in tomatoe and vinigar) 1 tbs chopped fresh basil or 1/4tbs dried basil. If using dry rub between hands to awaken theherb, releasing its oils and 1/2cup of veggie or chicken broth. Cook on low until pasta ready.

4. Drop pasta and cook acording to package mix with sauce and enjoy :) Cost you a $1 for pasta and around $1 for the sauce



Thanks for the comments ladies.  Can you add a bit more to the conversation?  I will edit my OP if need be but...

1.  What are necessities in your spice rack/cabinet?

2.  How do you make certain foods taste better so your family will eat it?

3.  What have you learned that helped you out immensely and  can help others?

4.  Any recipes you would like to share?


by Anonymous 4 on May. 6, 2012 at 11:35 AM
1. From late Spring through early Fall we rely on fresh herbs a lot (basil, oregano, thyme, Rosemary, cilantro, lemon balm) from our garden and window pots. Fall-spring, we use a lot of Indian spices (curry, gar am masala, coriander, star anise, cumin) and chili seasonings. I always use kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

2. My family is not very picky except they grown not to like fruits and veggies that are not in season. My son will say - "that is NOTa tomato" when he has one in February. Fresh as possible seems tom work best for us.

3. Prepare foods as much as possible ahead of time. I always find evening time stressful so try to do lots on weekend and rainy days. Also, food does not have to be hot - we eat lots of prepared salads like tabouli, black bean salad, chickpea salad, greek salad with chicken ... and we use humus as a condiment.

4. We enjoy whole wheat pasta with "whatever" comes out of the garden. Typically, I will put cut up tomatoes, fresh basil, some chopped kalamata olives, fresh spinach and feta in the bottom of a bowl, add the hot pasta. Toss and add pepper and olive oil as needed.
We also like turkey burgers with a quick yogurt and cucumber sauce, sliced tomatoes and red onion and again kalamata olives in a pita or wrap. Soups are a staple - cold soups in the summer (gazpacho and yogurt soups) and hot soups and stews in the winter (butternut squash soup, minestrone, potato and leek soup, chili both beef and chicken, curries - with and without meat).

Biggest incentive for cooking for our family is making it a family experience. My kid's love to peel and chop, my DH likes to grill, I like to mix it all together and the creative part of cooking. When we eat out, we enjoy trying new foods and then trying to figure out, as a family, how to re-create a dish or flavor. Also, it helps that we have a small farm. As a family, we read Barbara Kingsolver's book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" and since then try to be "Locavores". We aren't hardcore (can't get olives or olive oil) but it is a bit of a game for us and it makes food more interesting for the whole family.
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