Day 20: Cooking
Continuing on yesterday’s Confessions post, I must confess that I enjoy cooking most of the time. The caveat to the “most of the time” reference is that there are those times after a long day where cooking is the last thing that I want to do, but luckily that doesn’t happen on a regular basis. I don’t, however enjoy spending a lot of time preparing a meal. I tend to stick to simple recipes and usually double the recipe (or more) so that we have leftovers for the next night or for the freezer. Since I usually cook just for David and myself, it’s easier for me to cook for 4 or 6 and save the rest.
Earlier this year, David and I had a cooking day where we prepared enough dinners for an entire month. It’s an understatement for me to say that it was a lot of hard work. We spent at least 5 hours in the kitchen that day and were completely exhausted by the end of it. It ended up being worth it, and we’ve talked about doing it again, but so far it hasn’t happened. To prepare for the big cooking day, we invested in a FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer and has turned out to be one of our smartest purchases. While we haven’t had another cooking day to plan an entire month’s worth of meals, I do tend to freeze the extra meals now instead of eating leftovers for days and days because we don’t want to waste food. I can only handle eating the same leftovers once or twice before I am ready to move onto something else. Pulling a meal out of the freezer helps on those days when I don’t want to cook after a long day.
Another long-time favorite of mine is slow cooking, and with the invention of the slow cooker liners that I discovered a few years ago, I’m definitely more likely to use the slow cooker now. There’s a ton of recipes on the internet for slow cooker recipes, and I love discovering new ones. There’s usually not too much prep that goes into a slow cooker meal, because it’s usually as simple as dropping in the ingredients and turning it on. The slow cooker liners are a bit costly but sure beat scrubbing the baked on caked on mess that comes with cooking food in a hot bowl all day long.
My favorite part of cooking is discovering new recipes. I’m a sucker for a cookbook or recipe website. I’m always looking for ways to mix it up and try something different. Plus, I have to admit that it can be fun to see what David’s reaction is to new foods. He’s not one to eat many vegetables, so I have to sneak them in sometimes. It’s pretty awesome when he’s surprised that he likes something that he wasn’t sure he would.
I’m not one to post recipes often, because I usually get my recipes from someone else and either follow them precisely or change them up slightly to fit my own tastes. However, what good is a post about cooking without one of my tried and true favorite recipes? I found this recipe several years ago in the coupon section of the paper. I’ve made this recipe so many times that I don’t even have to look at the recipe anymore but luckily found it online.
Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 pkg Mahatma Red Beans and Rice Mix
1 1/2 lbs cooked chicken, diced
2 tsp chili powder
2 cans (14 1/2 oz. each) diced tomatoes, undrained
3 cups chicken broth
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
tortilla chips, crushed
Prepare rice mix according to package directions. Meanwhile, toss chicken with chili powder. Combine undrained tomatoes and chicken broth in large saucepan. Bring to a boil; add chicken. Reduce heat and cook 7 minutes. Add prepared rice mix; heat through. Spoon into bowls. Top with cheese and tortilla chips.
- I try to always use Mahatma Red Beans and Rice unless I can’t find it in the store. Zatarain’s will work in a pinch.
- I cook the red beans and rice in the microwave.
- I have made this recipe in the slow cooker, but be aware that the rice will expand so much that it becomes a bit mushy. It was still delicious that night and the next night for leftovers!
- I am not a fan of using canned chicken, but it can work in this recipe.
- I usually use a Mexican blend of shredded cheese.
- I add garlic, but I add garlic to most non-sweet recipes, as I confessed yesterday.
- Recipe found at http://www.mahatmarice.com/en-us/recipes/286/EasyChickenTortillaSoup.aspx
Do you enjoy cooking? What’s your go-to recipe?
“I think careful cooking is love, don’t you? The loveliest thing you can cook for someone who’s close to you is about as nice a valentine as you can give.” – Julia Child
Today’s recommended 31 Day Bloggers:
31 Days of Freezer Cooking @ Good (Cheap) Eats
31 Days of Slow Cooking Deliciousness @ With Elephant Grace