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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Dec. 4, 2005
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    washington state
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    9,816

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    It's never too late to learn to cook. I learned from my Filipino Sgt back in my Air Force days. I make fabulous lumpia LOL!! Once you get the basics like how to saute, how to make a sauce, etc., you're golden.

    Best ever with chicken though, put chicken breasts, legs, whatever, even whole although I would cut it in half in a roasting or casserole pan--> http://www.crateandbarrel.com/dining...g/casseroles/1

    In a small bowl toss some cut up zucchini, carrots, onions, and red potatoes (don't peel!) with a few tablespoons of olive oil (you can cheat and use vegetable oil or canola), minced garlic, plenty of black pepper, some salt, dried or fresh parsley and a little sage. Put the coated veggies and taters around the chicken and drizzle the remainder of the oil and seasonings from the bowl onto the chicken. Bake at 350 for 45 mins to an hour. Use a thermometer until you get a good understanding of what 165 degrees looks like

    Oh yes, if you put a whole chicken in a crockpot, stuff a cut up apple, sweet onion and basil in the chicken. Nice!
    The Knotted Pony

    Proud and upstanding member of the Snort and Blow Clique.



  2. #22
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2002
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    6,001

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    Watch that guy, Alton Brown on food network. The show he does (Good Eats?) explains a lot of the basics of cooking PROPERLY.

    Other than that, look to see if there are any cooking classes near you? Or a Mom/Grandma/Aunt that can teach you some things? Might be a cheaper and better-tasting alternative than trial and error at home. I took foods classes from 7th grade through the end of 11th - was the "teacher's pet" so to speak by that time and got a lot of the more fun and challenging projects, since our "Culinary Arts" class was actually how they catered all the school functions. Hands on is a great way to learn!
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
    lies with in us. - Emerson



  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul. 29, 2006
    Location
    Colorado- Yee Haw!
    Posts
    3,151

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    I use frozen chicken thighs and make posole. Mmmm so good! http://www.food.com/recipe/slow-cook...-pozole-345614

    I also grill a lot. One of my all time favorites recipes is (although skirt steak can be harder to find)
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/a...ipe/index.html

    I've been trying different oven baked sweet potato fries and made these tonight and they were super good. I think my search is over http://www.instructables.com/id/Perf...o-Fries/#step1

    Also, start embracing tools. This year I got a tea cake pan (I got it at Marshall's but it's this pan) http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/m...cups?ID=359226
    I have brought them to two parties with box gingerbread mix and had people rave about them and follow up to ask where I got the pan. Easiest party bring along I've ever had.

    If you just try a few new things you will pick up ones you like and will add in to your rotation.



  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2001
    Location
    Neighland!
    Posts
    1,571

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    Quote Originally Posted by EqTrainer View Post
    Is already frozen with guts! I would hate to unbag one before freezing it . Could just do frozen parts but maybe Lynlee has a trick! She is clever.

    Haha, you're going to laugh at my trick.....frozen chicken breasts!! I should have mentioned that! hehe!!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2003
    Posts
    18,472

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    Well there ya have it! Thanks
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2001
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    Neighland!
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    No problem!! Perhaps others had heard of frozen chicken in the crock pot, but it was a entirely new concept to me...granted the crock pot is relatively new to me too, I remember when mom got her first one when I was in high school.....other mothers were appalled when I asked what it was when visiting friends in elementary/jr high school....



  7. #27
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2002
    Location
    Cow County, MD
    Posts
    7,106

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    Quote Originally Posted by twotrudoc View Post

    Oh yes, if you put a whole chicken in a crockpot, stuff a cut up apple, sweet onion and basil in the chicken. Nice!
    Remember some liquid to cover the chicken, though, or it will end up dry!

    Here's a basic formula for when you get slightly more adventurous with the crock pot. All you need are four ingredients (and possibly less if you want to go vegetarian):

    First, oil the bottom of the crock pot with some Pam (or its generic equivalent) or some olive oil. Just pour a glop into the bottom and take your hand and spread it around. It keeps stuff from sticking to the bottom. Even if you use the crock pot liners you can get from the store, it's a helpful step.

    Then add:

    1. some roughly cut-up vegetables--carrots and onions go exceptionally well in the crock pot. Potatoes can fall apart, but your stomach won't know the difference. Turnips hold together better if you like them (DH can't stand 'em). I adore parsnips and they work well. Toss a couple peeled cloves of garlic in there if you like the flavor. In general, think dense vegetables without a whole lot of water content. Lettuce: no. Peppers: maybe. Spinach and kale: a surprising yes, if you like them.

    2. A piece of meat. A pork or beef shoulder roast or rump roast works great, or a whole chicken (yeah, remove that little white package in the cavity first), or cut-up chicken parts, either on the bone or not. Basically anything not ground is fair game. I prefer to remove the skin from chicken.

    3. Some herbs/spices. This can be as basic as salt and pepper, or add a sprinkling of garlic powder, sage, rosemary, or--if you are more daring--curry, garam masala or Moroccan seasoning. You can buy seasonings ready-mixed, although there are recipes for different blends on the internet. Just Google Cuban seasoning or what have you.

    4. A liquid--as previously mentioned, stuff will get very dry without it. Think of this as what makes a bran mash delicious for a horse. If you have a fairly tender piece of meat (i.e., chicken breasts), all you will need is broth. If you have a chuck steak, a shoulder roast, or a similarly tougher piece of meat, then alcohol is your friend. I like vermouth, but cheap beer works well, too. You can also chuck a can of cream of whatever soup on top. This thickens your sauce and adds a nice creamy flavor. I like to add enough liquid to cover the meat.

    Depending on how much time you have, either turn it on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Walk away whistling, confident that dinner is done. If you think you might have a long day at work, add maybe a cup of extra liquid. The crock pot is very forgiving as long as you have enough liquid to keep the meat from drying out. More is better until you get the knack.

    You might come home and find an alarming "skin" on your dinner. Don't be skeered. Stir that sucker and away it goes. Similarly, your whole chicken kind of disintegrates into something un-chicken-like. S'okay. Pull out the bones, call it pulled chicken and away you go. The whole point of the crock pot is for everything to be a bit homogeneous.

    If you feel compelled, cook up some egg noodles, rice, barley, whatever, to make a nice bed for the meat, veggies and gravy (aka, the liquid you cooked it in). If you are feeling super fancy, grate a little parmesan cheese on top. For a total meal, add a green salad.

    Tah dah! You are now a cook!
    Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.



  8. #28
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2007
    Location
    Tampa Fl.
    Posts
    4,043

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    The cookbook I am going to send you is called, " 4 ingredient recipes". I can't find my rachel ray book. This one is even simpler and its a great spring board for expanding on your own.



  9. #29
    Join Date
    Feb. 2, 2003
    Location
    Iowa, USA
    Posts
    2,683

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    Why not sign up for a cooking class? Mots community colleges have evening classes or maybe a town rec center. Or try this cookbook
    Start SIMPLE and repeat that simple stuff over and over. Be brave and don't despair when you have the occasional culinary disaster. Keeping it simple lets you focus on techniques and the feel of your ingredients, rather than mechanically following recipes. Learn what meat feels and looks like when it's medium rare vs. well done, judge when a simmer is about to become a rolling boil, anticipate when to turn down the burner to keep the sauteed garlic from becoming burned garlic.



  10. #30
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
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    Packing my bags
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heinz 57 View Post
    Watch that guy, Alton Brown on food network. The show he does (Good Eats?) explains a lot of the basics of cooking PROPERLY.

    Other than that, look to see if there are any cooking classes near you? Or a Mom/Grandma/Aunt that can teach you some things? Might be a cheaper and better-tasting alternative than trial and error at home. I took foods classes from 7th grade through the end of 11th - was the "teacher's pet" so to speak by that time and got a lot of the more fun and challenging projects, since our "Culinary Arts" class was actually how they catered all the school functions. Hands on is a great way to learn!
    Good GOD, not Alton!

    love the guy, but by the time he is done explaining I forgot what he was cooking!

    Julia Childs.
    Emeril.
    Rachel Ray explains it all nicely as well.
    Unlike Alton, to the three above cooking is not rocket science!

    There is also a betty Crocker cookbook, but I think Joy of cooking is the bible for intro cooking.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.



  11. #31
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2005
    Location
    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
    Posts
    9,719

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    America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated has never failed me.
    I watch the shows on PBS religiously and subscribe to the weekly email newsletter.
    Simple recipes they break down using ingredients you can find anywhere.

    And Chef Google can help you find a recipe for anything!
    If I'm bored with my usual recipe, I just Google the main ingredient and Voila! - tons of choices.

    You will learn to love your crockpot.
    You can dump in stuff in the morning, set to Low and have dinner waiting when you get home.
    COTH has a whole thread on crockpot recipes
    I just tried one from yellowbritches using a frozen chicken breast, lentils, carrots and some seasonings and OMG! D-lish : 9
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009
    Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009



  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jun. 25, 2007
    Posts
    2,295

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    Quote Originally Posted by MunchingonHay View Post
    The cookbook I am going to send you is called, " 4 ingredient recipes". I can't find my rachel ray book. This one is even simpler and its a great spring board for expanding on your own.
    I too would recommend one of these cookbooks...with few ingredients so you can ease into it. I also have a good one called "Desperation Dinners".



  13. #33
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2010
    Location
    Westford, Massachusetts
    Posts
    4,111

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    Don't be intimidated! If you can read, you can cook well. There is nothing wrong with starting out just following recipes verbatim while you build up your confidence and experience with different ingredients and different tools/techniques.

    Most important, read through the entire recipe before you start. That way, you'll be able to make sure that you understand each step, have what you need and you'll have an opportunity to look up any terms you don't know. At the beginning, pictures can help, so you know what things should look like at certain points. As you gain experience, you'll be able to substitute ingredients (either because you don't have one or don't like one, called for in the recipe) and do things like change the cooking time/temp/method to suit your schedule or convert recipes to and from crockpot to stove, etc...then you'll be able to wing it more (which is when people get really impressed, last minute, tasty dinner, when it seemed the cupboard was nearly bare!).

    Allrecipes is a good suggestion. There are recipes there for nearly everything and the rating system and comments help make sure you don't accidentally pick something icky. Everything in the Cooks Illustrated magazines/books is consistently good and they take a "scientific" approach, which lots of explanation for why they do things. Most things in Silver Palate cookbooks are good. The crockpot book I like the best is "Not Your Mother's Slowcooker Cookbook", it the one I've found that doesn't use things like canned soups and it makes a difference to use fresh ingredients.

    Don't be afraid of "big scary" things like whole chickens and roasts...when I was younger I used to think they must be hard. They aren't! With a good oven themometer it's hard to go wrong and, because of the long cooking time, you don't have to stand over the stove and juggle, plus you get lots of leftovers.



  14. #34
    Join Date
    Dec. 18, 2006
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    5,005

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    Quote Originally Posted by EqTrainer View Post
    There is a really great book called The Silver Palate Cookbook New Basics that has information on every aspect of basic home cooking and then some. It even helps you stock a pantry. I highly recommend it! Enjoy learning to cook, it is so gratifying.
    This is a great cookbook - I use it all the time!

    Honestly, if you can read, you can cook. I personally would stay away from the Food Channel but that's just me - they don't show everything in "real" time (you don't always see that someone pre-cooked chicken before they started, or that someone chopped all their herbs for them...)

    Flip through the cookbook, and get some ideas. Stock up your pantry with basics that you will use a lot (garlic, spices, cooking oil, broth), and then buy fresh items one week at a time. Read the recipe through once before starting, to make sure you give yourself enough time to prep your food -- this is the big thing I am teaching my kids:

    Read recipe, then get everything out. Do NOT turn on the pan before you have your veggies ALL chopped. Sounds simple but nothing ruins a recipe like burning your garlic, for example, because you didn't have the other things ready to add the pan...until you are more experienced, go slowly. I have my kids put all their ingredients into little bowls, just like a cooking show. I don't cook like that (anymore) but it's easier for them to be sure they have everything they need, when they need it.

    Have fun and remember -- it's just FOOD. It's not toxic waste or explosives. Even if it's not GREAT, it's not going to be BAD...it's just food. Just keep trying, and you will learn a lot from your mistakes and your successes.

    ETA: OMG poster above me said the same thing. Sorry, didn't read all the responses!



  15. #35
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2002
    Location
    between the barn and the pond
    Posts
    14,495

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    Any of the basic Southern Living cookbooks are a great place to start.

    My fallback cookbook for figuring out equivalents, measurements, how to cook ____, is the Good Housekeeping Cookbook. Like you, I HAD to learn or eat cereal for supper read the first part of ANY cookbook, and most will have a list of kitchen staples you just need to have on hand (a/p flour, brown sugar, etc) now my suggestion is to ignore anything that even looks like 'baking' - meaning breads, making crusts from scratch, etc...baking is a pissy, chemistry, fussy endeavor that I am not suited for at all LOL, I would rather 'cook'- and if I make a chicken pot pie, I'll slap a store bought crust on the top, doggone it, or follow dinner with a boxed-cake recipe. You HAVE to get it just right with baking where cooking is often much more forgiving.



  16. #36
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2002
    Location
    East of Dog River
    Posts
    5,835

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    My suggestion: invest in The Canadian Cookbook (used to be on the school cirriculum) and The Joy of Cooking; the former is great simple recipies for beginners, the latter builds on that. Then do like I did, befriend a retired chef to teach you more.
    Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

    Member: Incredible Invisbles



  17. #37
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
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    Packing my bags
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    I think I have seen cooking classes at the library, in conjunction with the saving money deal.
    not quiet sure, since I just glanced at it (you know, teaching the people on a tight budget how to fix real food and save money)

    Learn the basic cooking techniques which are ot rocket science (that why not Alton...he drives me nuts) and you are set.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.



  18. #38
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    Nov. 12, 2009
    Location
    New England
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    This one is always a keeper! http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?280296-Crockpot-Recipes-for-Nights-When-You-Ride



  19. #39
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    Nov. 2, 2001
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shine View Post
    This one is always a keeper! http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?280296-Crockpot-Recipes-for-Nights-When-You-Ride
    LOL, or diverse trainwrecks, turned cooking show....
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.



  20. #40
    Join Date
    Nov. 22, 2003
    Location
    Virginia
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    7,136

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    You BOTH need really basic stuff. Go to the bookstore (one on a college campus would be GREAT) and get a book on cooking for bachelors. These assume no previous knowledge and limited ingredients. JUST your speed !!!



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