I'm talking Food

posted on: 3.29.2011

I am no expert, and certainly cannot claim to be a whiz in the kitchen (I recently asked my mother in law how to make whipping cream- I had no idea it was as simple as just whipping some cream). I do, however, love and very much appreciate good food. One thing has been holding me back though.

I don't like to cook. Or... so I thought. You see, when I first got married I was intimidated by my role as "cook", so I skimped, making the easiest casserole's, instant rice mixes, and baked chicken dishes I could find. You know, the ones that call for too much sour cream and some kind of cream of anything soup? I was never satisfied when we would sit down to eat, and always thought I just don't like cooking. 

Then we moved to Dominica. Oh boy, then I really didn't like cooking. Not only was it endless casseroles, and easy chicken dishes, but half the time half the ingredients were forgone because they simply "ran out" at the store. A recipe that normally took me 30 minutes to make, took me double or triple the time. Cooking was by far the biggest chore over there for me. We ate waaaay more thawed ground beef, frozen chicken, and soup by the mix than any human should ever consume. I vowed to Wyatt that once we were back in the US I was going to step up my game, in a major way. I was dying for a good quality meal made from fresh ingredients. I could feel our bodies needing it. I think he doubted me a bit. No blame. I was, up until that point, a self proclaimed "non cook, cook". 

I think I've finally proved him wrong... and myself too. I am loving cooking. I know the secret now. It's making really good food for your family that makes cooking fun. No wonder I didn't like it before. I wasn't trying, and I wasn't making good food. It's all worth it now, and I'm really enjoying myself because I know when it's time to sit down to eat the food will reward me for my efforts.

That was a really long way of saying: I actually really like to cook now, and here are some of our favorites that I've made recently.

And for the record, these weren't all in the same week. I only cook Sunday- Thursday, and loosely follow this guideline each week: One or two pasta's (that is our favorite), one or two meals with no meat, one Italian, one French, and one either Mexican or Chinese. Sunday night is nicer, Monday night is easy because Tate has late soccer, Tuesday & Thursday I try something new (most often from Ina Garten because she seems to nail mine and wyatt's taste buds on the head every time), and Wednesday is a go-to old favorite. It has seemed to be a good manageable balance.

1. Hazelnut Crusted Salmon: found via Stephmodo. I substituted Pecans for the Hazelnuts because hazelnuts were out of season and it was delicious. Served with Ina's roasted potatoes, or a lemon Arugula salad- yum!
Ina's Panko Crusted Salmon. Another new favorite, and very easy.

2. Sausage, Chard, and Lemon Lasagna: found here. Such different flavors for a lasagna, and we all loved it. 

3. Rigatoni with Sausage, Tomatoes + Basil: my now go-to pasta. Wyatt loves it, I love, Tate loves it, and it's super simple. Proof that it's all in using good ingredients. (don't skimp on the fresh basil, it's the best part!) Also penne would work too. I use that instead of Rigatoni because Wyatt prefers it.

4. French Tuna Melt: found here, and yes that is a mound of Gruyere on top. How could it not be good? My mouth is watering just thinking of this amazing sandwich. Please try this!

And so I'm hooked. So much more fun to be in the kitchen when you love what you're making.

ps- Tate eats and has loved each of these too. Proof that kids do like more than mac-n-cheese:)


  1. I am EXACTLY THE SAME! I have never liked cooking but I've been a single child, single adult, single-single for so very long that I didn't know what the point was anyway.
    But now that I have an adorable man (who LOVES cooking btw) I feel like I need to be more "lady-like" and feed him delicious stuff.
    My secrets are basically the same as yours. Find things that are amazingly yummy and then cooking is more enjoyable.
    Also I absolutely LOVE to cook when I do it with my man. We see it almost as a date. Turn on some amazing music (whatever mood we're feeling), pour a glass of vino and get chopping. We also sneak some cute kisses in there also.
    Glad to know I wasn't the only one feeling this way!


  2. yay! so excited about this post- I want to try everything! :)

  3. Guess I'm going to have to try that lasagna. All look delish.

  4. Ha, so I kinda laughed and cried at your post because I love to cook too, but I am headed back to the island in 6 weeks and am mentally trying to prepare for the "food situation." Your blog is so cute Chelsea, I love that you are posting outfits and fun random finds...and now food!

  5. Yeah, one of my fav. posts. I'm so excited to start talking food with you. Here are a few of my fav. blogs...http://www.101cookbooks.com/, http://orangette.blogspot.com/, http://smittenkitchen.com/. I agree, Ina Garten is one of my favs. Her Salmon with lentils is a fav here as...and her chicken with 40 cloves of garlic is to die. I'll forward you some of my favorite dishes too, I'm a big epicurious fan. Those recipes look delicious. I have salmon in my fridge, may have to try it. xoxoxo Can't wait to see you.

  6. You know I love food, too. I'm always on the hunt for new favorites, and can't wait to put some of these on my meal plan.

    And I second your sister's love of smittenkitchen.com. Everything of Deb's I've ever made I adore. Not to mention that she's funny and real.

    p.s. call me back and we'll finish chatting:)

  7. I have to chime in here and give credit where credit is due, seeing that I am the only one that has witnessed the complete transformation. I can honestly say that you have gone from zero to hero in the kitchen. You have reaffirmed my love for Ina Garten. I even like Rachael Ray. Not so much the raspy man voice, but the food yes. All we need now is some friends to invite over...

  8. You are my going to be my inspiration...I have felt the exact same way about cooking (especially since the majority of our married life we eat way later then we should) and I use it as an excuse...but if my meals were like those I would have my motivation back for sure! They look AMAZING!!!

  9. I made the rigatoni with sausage basil and cream sauce tonight for the second time... and it's a new staple for us. I love it! I'll have to try these others you posted. I know we like the same restaurants, so I imagine we have similar tastes. I didn't love cooking until I moved away from our parents and was under a little more pressure to feed my family. Keep posting your successful meals!

  10. Just wanted to let you know I wrote a shoutout to you on my blog today.
    Thanks for being an awesome, inspiring, beautiful lady!


  11. Yum!! I have to try some of these if I can. Yes I am in that "dominica" phase too where I just yearn for good healthy american foods! Yes there's great fruits here but let's be honest- I just miss american foods. I am guessing you had the same "pleasure" of getting your meat fresh from the carcass! lol.
    Hope the pregnancy is going well- so excited for you!!

  12. Just checked your blog for the first time in months...can't believe you are in Michigan now! This post is too funny. I have always loved to cook, but there must be something about Michigan winters that gets you to step up your game. I too pulled out all the ina garten recipes while we lived there. I think it's because you spend more time in the house, so you have more time to go gourmet.:) I must say, if you experience a michigan summer than it makes the winters all worth it. Michigan is an amazing place and there is so much to see. (that's where we went to law school a few years ago)

    -Becca Mauss

  13. I made the hazelnut (pecan) crusted salmon last night and it was yummy! Can't wait to try the others!And I loved Wyatt's comment:)

  14. YUM. go you. i sometimes LOVE cooking and then other times, meh, not so much. but when i make a good healthy meal, i feel so much better about the day!

    i think i might do ina's roasted potatoes tonight! i just bought a bag of red potatoes from TJs and i have a TJs pork loin going in the crockpot right now! DONE.


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