I Really Can Cook!

Every now and then, I get an itching to make something from scratch for my family.  They are usually recipes I’ve never tried before and the family always approaches them a bit cautiously.  Some of my experiments are successes.  Some – not so much.

One of my first endeavors was homemade spaghetti sauce.  I used this recipe.  Do you notice anything missing?  Yeah, I didn’t either – until I made it.  Turns out that you have to add sugar to the mixture to cut some of the bitterness of the tomatoes.  Who knew?  The Man Beast (of course).

Over all, the recipe was a success – and it was quick, too.  It took about two hours to make, from start to finish.  It was exciting to make something that didn’t come from a jar.  Was it cheaper?  No. It was about the same price.  And truthfully, if I would have planned for it better, I could have stockpiled some of the ingredients, in which case it would have been cheaper than my jarred sauce.  (I don’t use the cheapest.  A jar of sauce costs me $1.89.  And I use two.)

My next experiment was Mexican food.  We love tacos so much, that we end up having them on a weekly bases.  Back when I was preggers with Baby Gurl, my BFF from high school came and visited me.  Her fiance was Mexican and as a result, she was able to learn a lot of authentic Mexican cooking.  One of the things she made me was refried beans.  And these things were so good, I vowed that I’d never eat the canned stuff again.

Well, I obviously forgot that vow because I’ve been eating canned beans for a very long time.  On this particular occassion, I decided I wanted to make homemade.  I went to my trusted recipe site – recipezaar – and did a search.  From what I could remember, this recipe most closely matched my friend’s.

The dish was super simple to make with just a few ingredients.  Sure, it took a tad bit longer to make than opening up a can and reheating, but not much.  And the end result?  Soo, worth it.  This recipe did lack a bit of something – a little kick, if you will.  This recipe is definitely worth repeating – and tweaking.

That same meal, I made Spanish Rice.  I used this recipe and again, it was really easy.  It took 20 minutes to make because it’s made with white rice, but I wonder if you could use brown rice?  Has anyone ever tried to make Spanish Rice with brown rice?

The one thing that TMB did say this recipe needed was a can of green chilies. Next time I make this recipe, I’ll be adding some for a bit of a kick.

The last recipe I tried was met with great resistance by the Man Beast.  Chicken fried steak with hamburger?!? It can’t be done! he said.  I wore him down and convinced him to let me give it a try.

In a word: wonderful.  I would go so far as to say it was better than chicken fried steak made with cube steak.  Tender.  Flavorful.  Cheap (if you get the ground beef on sale, which I did a couple of months ago at Food Lion).  This is definitely a keeper.  I did have to add a few bread crumbs to hold my patties together.  I used a tortilla press to flatten out the patties, but you could do them by hand, too.  Just make sure you make them thin.  Otherwise, you’ll have chicken fried hamburgers.

Oh, and will wonders never cease – I made gravy for the first time that night!  The Man Beast helped me flavor it, but I did the bulk of the work.  It was awesome.  Even Baby Gurl ate it – and she never eats gravy.

To me, convinience food is all about convinience.  This is why I typically cook out of a box (or reheat food, as TMB is fond of saying).  But I’m trying to change.  1) Homemade food really does taste better.  2) Homemade food can be cheaper than its boxed counter-part.  3)  With homemade food, you know exactly what you’re getting – and that’s always a good thing.

Unfortunately, a lot of times homemade food require a lot of time – which I suspect is why I don’t make more homemade food.  But what I’ve come to realize is that home made doesn’t have to take more time – it just takes pre-planning.  For example, say I tried a spaghetti sauce recipe that took hours to cook.  Spending hours cooking sauce for one meal is a waste.  But if I double or tripled the recipe and froze what I didn’t use, the next time I had spaghetti, the sauce would just have to be reheated – just like with the jarred stuff!

So, this summer, I encourage you to try out some new recipes.  Go out on a limb and try some homemade recipes.  You might just surprise yourself.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Yeah for you! I do not have enough patience to make stuff from scratch. I am sure it is much healthier though.

    Reply

  2. Homemade recipes are so yummy! I would love to try some, but my family has banned me from the kitchen. Note to self never ask for help boiling water.

    Hugs and Mocha,
    Stesha

    Reply

    • ROFL! I have burnt water before! You know when you boil the water out of the pan? Yup, been there, done that! 😀

      Reply

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