Up until a few years ago, I was all about whatever I could eat that required as little amount of time as possible. Spaghetti was a regular, sandwhiches, simple chicken enchiladas when I was feeling especially domestic, but for the most part processed foods, fast foods, microwave. Then I was diagnosed with MS and within the next two years also got married. These two events changed my eating habits completely. We eat everything fresh. Nothing processed - no boxes in our pantry or in our freezer. Grocery expenses are ridiculous, but it's a trade off. We are healthy and I have learned to really enjoy cooking good meals. I am still learning, but I have a few favorites already that are always a big hit, and my husband thinks I am "quite the cook" now. I have to credit allrecipes.com for that - every recipe I have found and used as a starting point has pretty much come from this website!
My favorite things to cook
I have created a stuffed pepper recipe that we love. Because we really limit our grains and other carbs this recipe has no rice. Meat and vegetables only - with the homemade sauce - but delicious. I can easily eat a couple of these! And for someone who never ate vegetables willingly, this is something! I also have a favorite kale soup recipe that I created with the help of a few "starter recipes". There were different things I liked about all of them, so i took a few things from each, added my own amounts, and it's a staple in our home during the winter. Besides that, we eat a lot of fresh meat and vegetables for dinner. Not always fancy but usually very good with the help of some marinade or just the right cooking temperature. I have found some great side salads and vegetable dishes and I just rotate them according to what we are eating and prices at the grocery store.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My favorite cooking traditions are things we no longer eat, unfortunately, so I am looking for new ones. My grandma made delicious rolls, and taught me to make them. But there is only two of us, we were married later in life and usually are not hosting large meals - so I don't get to cook my rolls (or the sopapillas) very often.
Another favorite tradition is my grandma's holiday fruit salad, and some coffee cake. The fruit sald works for us - but not the coffee cake. Also her chocolate sheet cake recipe is a favorite. But sadly, I can no longer eat it with reckless abandon . . .
Chicken enchiladas is one of my favorites. I started this in college after a roommate shared how easy they were to make. I have since started using fresh chicken instead of canned, added some green chile, onions, and use corn tortillas instead of flour when it is just for us, but every time I make them I think of Thalia, Jaci and Diana and the good times we had in that apartment.
My cooking triumphs
My kale soup recipe has landed me a special relationship with a butcher in our area. I told his iwfe their italian sausage made all the difference in my soup. I gave her the recipe and ever since then her husband insists on throwing in free meat nearly every time I go in. He LOVES it. My husband has some real favorites that are impossible for me to keep on hand. He loves the stuffed peppers, both the veggie ones and the lamb/feta cheese (found here on allrecipes.com). whenever we go to potluck he asks me if I can make the peppers. I ask him which kind and he naively asks "can you make some of each?" It makes me laugh.
My cooking tragedies
My first time with quinoa, I was following a recipe that my husband had brought home from a co - worker. I had never used or even heard of quinoa before, but my husband came home with it, gave me the recipe, and I got to work. The recipe said to soak the quinoa, but apparently it was assumed that I would know it also had to be cooked!!! So after soaking and rinsing the quinoa, I added it to the other ingredients. HAHAHa! My husband walked in and the look on his face when he saw the bowl was enough to make me crawl into the pantry and hide. I knew it didn't really look right! now THAT was embarrassing.
I tried taking a jello salad that is one of my favorites to a potluck. Unfortunately I had not given it enough time to set, it was soupy and nasty but I did not want to show up empty handed. That was a disaster.