I Am No Domestic Goddess: The Cooking Edition

I make no secret of the fact that I am no domestic goddess, particularly when it comes to cooking. I was wise when I married Tony because he actually likes to cook. If we didn’t have Tony, our little family would be either very hungry, or we would be eating far more takeout than we could ever afford, or is healthy for us. I used to cook a bit more than I do now. Soups, chili, spaghetti sauce from scratch, stir fries are all things that I can make, but I have been avoiding the kitchen more than I ever used to before, except for when I head in after dinner to do the dishes. I do a mean set of dishes.
This arrangement has been working well for a while now, but when Tony travels, which he has been doing more and more lately, I struggle. My daughters’ favourite meal that I make when Tony is away is pasta soup. The recipe is simple: 2 boxes of chicken broth (salt-reduced of course), to which I add whatever pasta we have on hand – tortellini or alphabet noodles are their favourites, but any noodle will do. Occasionally I will even throw in a carrot, but not always. Another night we will order pizza, and another night we may do pasta and sauce from the local pasta shop. The last time Tony was away it was for longer than usual, and I expanded my repertoire to include Sloppy Joes and nachos. I had started photographing my week of cooking for this blog post, but I was finding the photos much too embarrassing so I stopped.

Sloppy Joe. It went downhill from here. I was the only one who ate the peas.

We were all very happy when Tony returned and we ate well once again.

So I have been thinking for a whole that I would like to do more cooking. After all, when company comes, there is no glory in having really clean dishes and a well set table. But it isn’t just about the glory of course. For some reason when Tony is around, I am developing a mental block in that I feel like I cannot go into the kitchen and coordinate the cooking of a complete meal. And forget whipping something up upon getting home from work if Tony is running late one evening. I can only cook if I have meal-planned ahead of time.

So I am thinking of taking on cooking dinner one night a week (yes I really do know that I am spoiled). I will decide the week before what I will make so that we have all of the groceries and ingredients needed, and I will be the cook. Some days it may be tortellini soup, but I am going to try to make some new things too.

I would love your help with recipe ideas and websites with simple meal ideas. Let’s also underline and bold simple, at least for now, shall we? And I would love to hear who does the cooking at your house.

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About Finola

I am an Ottawa area Mom, writer-want-to-be and coffee legend in the making.
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14 Responses to I Am No Domestic Goddess: The Cooking Edition

  1. Bibliomama says:

    I do – but I get blocked too. I'm a pretty good cook, but an easily overwhelmed woman, and sometimes it's like I forget how to cook anything except curried chicken or tacos. I started making my own taco seasoning so it would be less salty. I can branch out again, but I have to force myself. I'll send you my beef taco skillet recipe.

  2. Capital Mom says:

    I love the internet for recipes. I like to go to the market, buy what is in season and then google a recipe.

    Also, I never liked to cook until the boy was born. Now I realize that cooking get me out of chilcare. 🙂

  3. Sassymonkey says:

    I go to Food Blog Search (www.foodblogsearch.com) for recipes. Search for what you want to cook and then start clicking on blogs. Some of them may be fancier than you want, that's fine. Just click the next link in the results.

    What I like about the food blog search is that it's food that people really do make. With a recipe site… I find it can be iffy.

  4. Lynn says:

    I suuuuuuuuck at cooking. Sadly, I do 100% of the cooking around here. My husband is a natural in the kitchen but with me being home, I have no excuses. We all suffer.

    Just this past week we were away visiting relatives and at every stop, my family was all, WOW, I had no idea potatoes could taste like this! I had no idea chicken could be so yummy! How is it possible that these green beans are the same green beans that Lynn cooks??

    SIGH.

    So needless to say, I am all about the simple, simple, simple. One thing I would recommend is the crockpot. It saves time, and it's really hard to screw it up. Company's Coming Slow Cooker Dinners (NOT “slow cooker recipes”) is my bible on that front, they're super easy and only take a few ingredients. One drawback is that the mixture of everything altogether is often hard to sell to picky eaters.

    Another thing I would recommend is soups. The chopping is the tough part, then it just simmers there for a while. I have a huge variety of soup recipes, and serve them with fresh biscuits (easy to make), cheese slices, and sometimes bacon on the side.

    It's getting colder now, but also the BBQ can be your friend, if you have the balls for it (and I feel that you do). Keep a close eye on things to make sure they don't burn, and serve with a salad. Done, and there's even minimal cleanup. I can send you my recipe for chicken-breast-coating if you like.

  5. Lynn says:

    Here's one more idea for you – breakfast for dinner. At least once a week we have pancakes, waffles, or french toast, with yogurt, bacon or sausages, and fruit salad on the side. You could do eggs too – we can't because of allergies, but they are easy and quick.

  6. Anonymous says:

    For easy recipes, Jaime's Revolution is the book you want. It even has pictures of everything. One of his books even has 5 minute meals that are really good and means the rest of us can whip them up in 20 minutes to half an hour 😉

    If Tony is going to be away a lot, consider getting one or two of your friends together when the hubbies are home and doing a “big cook” – there is a cookbook by the name that you could peak at to get the idea and then just use your own convertible recipes. Basically, these are meals where you can throw all the ingredients (cut up and prepared) into a freezer ziploc bag, store them in the freezer and cook when you need them. Most of the recipes are amenable to a variety of cooking methods from pan, to oven to slow cooker. They aren't gourmet fare but decent family meals.

    Fish. Nothing faster than fish with steamed rice and a salad.

    You used to make a mean kraft dinner, too, don't forget! Nice to see you branching out.

    c

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hi Finola
    I have a mean chicken fajita slow cooker recipe that is super easy—- take boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut them into strips. Put them in the slow cooker with one of those club pack taco seasonings or fajita seasonings. (actually just use half a pack) and a jar of salsa. cook it on low for 8 hours or high for 4. Then you make the stuff youd have with tacos (shredded cheese, lettuce etc) and you can have it in a wrap or just as a stew. It is a big hit around this house and so easy to make! If you want the link to the recipe, email me!- Grace

  8. I follow 'What the F@#k Should I Make for Dinner?' on Facebook. I haven't ever tried their recipes, but they don't look bad, and it is at a minimum entertaining! This is the website: http://www.whatthefuckshouldimakefordinner.com

  9. Kara says:

    Here's my secret weapon – recipes! It's hard to go wrong with step-by-step instructions. My favorite site is allrecipes.com. You name it, and they have a recipe for it.

  10. Sasha says:

    One of my favourites, because its so easy but feels like a fancy restaurant dinner: stirfry shrimp or mixed seafood in some garlic, pepper, and lemon juice. Lift out the shrimp, then stir fry some veggies. Serve over pasta with a commercial Alfredo sauce. Veggies that work well for this are asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms, chinese eggplant and baby spinach – just one or any combination, although at least one green vegetable is prettiest.

    Works with chicken, too, but shrimp is easier and seems fancier, too.

  11. Sid. says:

    I'm late to this party but the best simple quick recipes I've ever found are hers: http://thestonesoup.com/blog/ I cannot endorse that site (and her free! e-cookbooks) enough.

  12. Laura Kerr says:

    Hi Finola,
    I am EXACTLY like you. Capable of cooking but have got in the habit of leaving it all to Jeremy and am distressed when I get home and have to work it out for myself. I have a good set of SIMPLE recipes and I can send, and would love to receive yours too!
    Laura

  13. Alison says:

    Finola, I am EXACTLY like you in this respect.

    Give me a recipe, all ingredients on hand (no substitutions or embellishments), and a whole afternoon of uninterupted kid-free time… and I'm your cook. Otherwise, forget it. We starve if Nik's not up to cooking dinner. He can come home, scrounge through the fridge and pantry and come up with something wonderful in about 20 min. It's shameful, really, since I'm mainly an at-home-Mom (work only part time) that I phone him at 4 to alert him that he's in charge of dinner. But that's how it is.

    My fall backs when he's travelling: perogies (with bacon, sour cream and peas), tacos (we do our own seasoning mix – it's much better and less salty and less alarming colour!), spaghetti (we do massive batches of sauce and freeze meal-sized scoops in ziplocs) and home made pizza. That's the list for me. If he's away longer than that we resort to take-out.

    But I'm really good at laundry 🙂

  14. gryph07 says:

    I love cooking, so I really don't mind doing a meal when I get home from walking the dog all over the neighbourhood. The bf never really learned how to cook, so I'm actually teaching him a bit while we're making dinner together, which is a really nice way to spend time together too. A lot of my simple meals may not seem too simple. I make a vegetable soup that's completely made up from my head – I just think about what flavours would go well together. I have a good, quick chili recipe (that's based on my Mom's chili con carne). I also have a speedy lentil and bean “casserole” (though it's also chili-like). Most of these things get served with a few slices of crusty bread and butter, some cheese and maybe a side salad.

    Darn, now I've gone and made myself hungry again… 😉

    Let me know and I can pull together some recipes for you too. 🙂

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