My parents both worked when I was a kid so I was expected at an early age to get dinner going before they got home. I've always enjoyed cooking and basically had to teach myself. All of my recipes have been trial and error. I will not serve anything that I haven't tasted first. I became ill several years ago and had to quit my job. Since then, cooking has helped considerably and my cooking has dramatically improved. When I cook for class or church, I have folks lined up asking me what I brought. No joke. I love feeding folks!
My favorite things to cook
I love stir fried/sauted meats with a punch of flavor. I believe the regular person can cook regular food and have it tase special. I hate pre-packaged crap we serve many times to our families due to time constraints. I have experimented with many things in order to find flavor and usually, low fat options to feed my family. I became very tired of "meat, veggie and potato" food every night. So I have experimented with many recipes and tastes to develop a taste my family and friends love for the regular dinner.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Southern! I have tried to experiment with many of these traditions in order to get them lower in salt and fat. However, some things you just can't change and get good taste. So, with those foods (like fried chicken!), we just eat them occassionally! I did develop several recipes that are alternatives. My Lime Chicken is one of our favorites. It's not fried chicken, but the flavor is wonderful.
My cooking triumphs
Learning that steamed vegetables don't have to be liquified! 3 minutes is about my fav! Lime chicken I developed. Everytime I make it for folks, I get phone calls for the recipe. Also, my oven roasted chicken and turkey are BIG hits. Mashed potatoes, biscuits, baked beans, carmalized cinnamon toast on homemade bread, etc.
My cooking tragedies
Fried Rice! The first time I made it for my boyfriend (now my husband), I was only 16. I thought you just fried the rice! He ate it, or should I say, crunched it down, but it's been 25 years and we still laugh about it.
I'm also not good at making beautiful layer cakes. I prefer sheet cakes! I also prefer cakes that don't have tons of steps. The easier the better.
Also, I guess homemade biscuits were a tragedy for my family! It took me about 15 years to learn to make them. They went through many, many, many terrible biscuits until I finally got it. Biscuits are one of those things you just can't TELL someone how to make them...you have to show them. At least that's how it was for me.