As I've mentioned before, I am not a cook by nature. Mr. Awesome likes cooking, so I've been lucky enough to have him cook the majority of our meals over the years. My reluctance to cook was less about actual ability, it was more lack of confidence and being scared to try anything outside my little box of the 3 recipes I had tried successfully. I don't think I've talked about this yet, but I have a rather serious fear of failure. I'd work on it, but I'm afraid to fail.
When I became a mom, I felt a responsibility to become a better cook. Not comfortable with mixing flavours on my own, I became what I call The Packet Chef. I could cook anything if a packet was involved. By this I mean the Club House seasoning packs, or any variety of pre-determined flavour packet, leaving no room for error. I trolled their website looking for new recipes and found several great ones that I would recommend and cook again, but slowly the rotation I was comfortable with grew tired (given this was pretty much all I was cooking). I really like the Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Glazed Roast Pork. It is delicious, and of course the prerequisite - SIMPLE.
For over a year now we have been having Mr. Awesome's dad over for dinner every Wednesday night. Eager to impress the in-laws and knowing my seasoning packet menu was not going to last long, I was forced to expand my repertoire. It was like a gift from the gods - Campbell's Soup!! cookwithcampbells.ca has tons of recipes, each one including a Campbell's product. We've exhausted pretty much every casserole and skillet creation on there and they are ALL good.
It used to be that I would cook maybe 1 out of every 7 dinners, and it was invariably pasta of some sort. From packet to soup can, I have slowly become a much more confident cook and now find myself cooking 6 out of 7 meals each week, with the 7th being Frozen Pizza Night. (We will have to address this imbalance when I return to work, but for now I'm fine playing Super Mom.)
Now with the Weight Watchers program, not all the packet and soup recipes fit the WW points needs so once again I have had to up the ante on my cooking skills. I follow the KISS principle when it comes to cooking, as I will invariably screw something up if there are too many ingredients or instructions. Always on the search for the easiest route possible, I discovered the Weight Watchers In 20 Minutes cookbook. Simple ingredients and quick recipes and right up my alley. (I also own their New Complete Cookbook, but I find the recipes in there too involved for my skill/comfort level.)
Would you believe, I am now cooking most of our dinners without the aid of any type of pre-mixed flavour?! That's right, I am flavouring things all on my own, cooking from SCRATCH. I've even (are you sitting down?) EXPERIMENTED away from the recipe, changing a few ingredients here and there. Who the hell do I think I am, June Cleaver?
If you're like me and not a very accomplished cook, I hope these recommendations prove helpful. If you are a whiz in the kitchen, stop gloating and invite me over for dinner.