Culinary Adventures

I’m a pretty lazy person when it comes to cooking.  I love food but usually when it’s time to procure some, I’m too hungry to put any effort into cooking, and I want something fast. If I do cook, my meals are limited to maybe 3 or 4 staples that I get bored of very quickly.  I generally eat fairly healthy; when I do get “fast food,” it’s mainly limited to Jimmy John’s or Potbelly, with the occasional Pei Wei or Panda Express splurge.  Once every two or three months, I’ll have Whataburger.

I’ve been attempting to cook more lately, for several reasons.  First, I’m on a budget, so I’m trying to save money and limit my take-out expenses.  Second, it’s cold outside and I’m less satisfied with cold meals.  I find myself wanting something warm to eat and to have a hot meal to warm up at lunch instead of boring ham sandwiches. Finally, I’ve been trying to stick to a consistent workout schedule for my half-marathon training, and my appetite increases exponentially with my mileage output.

Side note – I ran ten miles yesterday! It was a very, very slow ten miles, but I realized as I ran that the last time I’d completed such a distance was when I was training for a marathon…back in 2003.  Yes. The last time I ran ten miles was seven years ago, back during Bush’s first term.  Afterward I went out to Magnolia Cafe and had pancakes with Conrad.  I had gingerbread and banana pancakes…they were GLORIOUS.

Anyway. These past two days, I’ve been cooking, with limited to moderate success.  These are from recipes I found in an old Paula Deen magazine I found while I was spring cleaning.  I will attempt to share these meals with you. I have some real foodies on my blog roll so please don’t make fun of my sad attempts at cooking.

Yesterday, I made Sloppy Joe meatballs.

These weren’t too bad.  The sauce called for a mixture of Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, and tomato sauce…which sounds disgusting, right?  It actually came out “pretty okay” but needs a little work. Maybe less ketchup.

Tonight I made a pork chop with polenta dish.  Oh man, that sucked.  First of all, I can’t cook without making a mess. It’s very cliche – there was flour everywhere, dirty dishes used for intermediate cooking steps, stuff strewn on counters. My mother used to remark, “How can one person make such a mess?” but it’s my one talent in the kitchen.  I bought instant polenta and it was supposed to be easy, OR SO I THOUGHT. I should have been wary when the recipe called for 5 cups of milk, because that seemed excessive. First, the milk boiled over everywhere.  Then, I had a very liquidy polenta mix. I had to frantically add cornstarch to thicken it, but then it got too thick and was sputtering everywhere.

The gravy and pork chops were much easier by comparison.  The pork chops may have been overcooked, only because I never cook pork chops and don’t want trichinosis.  Here’s what the final product looked like:

Kind of anticlimactic.  The pork chops were ok.  The gravy was pretty good.  The polenta was bland and tasted very cornstarchy. I probably will not make polenta again until I know what I’m doing.

Stay tuned for my next installment of culinary adventures…let’s face it, it’ll probably be another 6 months from now before I post anything new.


5 thoughts on “Culinary Adventures

  1. Oh yes. The mess.

    Every time I make a new recipe, I end up making more of a mess than I do on the repeats. Luckily, with practice, the messes become a little less awful. 🙂

    Also, I hardly ever make pork either. And I tend to overcook… for the same reasons. (My favorite pork recipe so far is smothered pork chops.)

  2. Ah interesting to see pictures 🙂 Looks like you put down a lot of time and work.. I like to do things that you can put in the oven, like casseroles (I don’t know how to spell it haha).. Before, when I ate meat, I put the pork chops in the oven – put onion and tomatos between them + salt and pepper, and then just wait until they’re ready.. I love pasta gratin, or Italian risotto..or “tortillas” (the bread) that you can fill with whatever you like. I have a cookbook “by” Rachael Ray.. I like the recipes, because they’re simple 🙂
    I HAVE to tell you something!! This is soo annoying and I think you wrote about it once, my friends on FB make status updates every day about zumba!!!! WHAT IS WRONG IN THIS WORLD!??!?!?!??!

    • Mmm that pork chop recipe sounds so good. I have a cookbook by Rachael Ray too. The recipes are simple! Some of her more recent recipes on her talk show are pretty gross though, I don’t make those. LOL OH NO!!! Zumba is a virus that is infecting the world! Gah, so annoying! I’ve blocked updates from 2 people already because that’s all they would ever talk about!

      • Eww.. must be gross.. I guess someone else is writing the recipes 😉 (I have 365 No Repeats, I think it’s pretty ond, there are too few pictures in it :(.. I always buy books online..) I watched the Martha Stewart show once, and then a woman asked.. HOW Martha do you have time to write all these recipes.. haha! kind of an embarrassing moment.. ha ha!
        I think I interpret it this way: DON’T ever start that zumba thing, because you’ll destroy your whole life!!! LOL!

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