In the Kitchen
Let me begin by saying that I am not a superior chef. In fact, if my father were alive today, he’d be shocked to learn that I’ve become quite cozy in the kitchen. However, I can’t take credit for most of my triumphs in front of the stove. Nearly everything I know was taught to me by the great cooks in my family. My grandmother, mother, and my Aunt Mae are the unofficial chefs who taught me much about cooking. My grandfather, who served as a chef in the military, has also been a great source of cooking information.
I’ve experienced further success in the kitchen because of good planning, a collection of tried and true recipes, a well stocked pantry, an organized kitchen, and my Crock Pot. Perhaps these tips will work for you too.
Plan ahead. Menu planning is essential to success in the kitchen. I got tired of standing in front of the fridge and freezer at 4:30 pm every day and wondering what to cook for dinner. My aggravation skyrocketed when I realized all potential dinner choices were frozen solid! By planning my meals 2 weeks in advance, I’m able to create a grocery list based on those meals and save money too.
Create a collection of “go to” recipes. My “go to” recipes are family favorites that are delicious and (usually) easy to prepare. I keep them in a central location for easy access. If you’re looking for sources of tasty recipes, check out the links listed under Food Finds on the right and check out my posts on Taste Tested Tuesdays.
Keep your pantry full. I have found a well stocked pantry to be a wonderful weapon in the fight for kitchen supremacy. None of us can experience stress-free cooking unless we have the ingredients we need. Though what you choose to keep in your pantry depends on what you cook for your family, this list is a good place to start.
Get organized. Once I got serious about cooking, I made sure my kitchen was in good working order. I got rid of unused kitchen gadgets, amassed an arsenal of quality cooking utensils, and organized my countertops and cabinets. For an excellent article about kitchen organization, click here.
Forget about diamonds! These days, a Crock Pot (also known as a slow cooker), may become your new best friend. I love being able to toss everything into the Crock Pot and go on my merry way. While I’m out and about, dinner is cooking with very little work on my part.
Since gaining kitchen confidence, I’ve enjoyed a few cooking triumphs. The church moms’ group I attend sponsors a cooking contest annually. Both times I participated, my entries earned first or second place! But my greatest cooking triumph came last year when I prepared a pound cake for a family gathering. My grandmother,the family’s master baker, came to me and said the pound cake I had made was one of the most delicious she’d ever tasted! She then asked ME to share the recipe with her! Talk about a strange turn of events!
On the flip side, I’ve had a few cooking catastrophes as well! I don’t want to bore you with the details (wink,wink) but if you happen to know my husband, he can entertain you with a dramatic retelling of The Tale of the Upside Down Chicken or The Problem with Pesto. Otherwise, my lips are sealed!