I have loved to cook for as long as I can remember.
My enjoyment of it really took off when I moved into a house with a bunch of roommates in university. I got tired of eating the same cheap, unhealthy junk like a student tends to do, so I taught myself how to make some fairly basic, but delicious meals on the stereotypically slim budget a student tends to survive off of.
Over the years I’ve learned to make a wider variety of meals and really enjoy testing out new things anytime I have a chance.
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I’m not a top-flight chef by any means. The food I like to make now that I’m (theoretically) all grown up still isn’t not overly fancy. They’re just nice, simple, homemade meals for FM and the kids and I to enjoy.
I love the whole process of meal-making. Selecting the recipe. Building the list of groceries required to make it. Buying the ingredients. Going through the steps of preparing it. The smells as the food cooks. And 99.9% of the time (I’ve had a couple of duds along the way), I enjoy the end result that we get to eat together as a family.
FM often tells me that she’s glad she ended up with someone who enjoys cooking as much as I do, otherwise she may have ended up with scurvy due to her lack of interest in food as anything more than a source of energy to get through the day. She figures she’d just eat the same things all day everyday if left to her own devices!
One of my favourite things about being the primary cook in our collective kitchen is still trying out new recipes.
For years I’ve been pulling recipes that interested me from magazines and printing them from websites as I came across them.
And this is what’s happened with them:
If I had to guess, I’d say there’s probably 200 or more recipes accumulated in that pile. Some of them have been tried and enjoyed, but most got pulled from the magazine or printed from the website and just added to the pile.
Ever since our son came along, my creativity in the kitchen has waned somewhat. Cooking is just one of those things that has received less attention since I became a parent and in recent months, our dinner options have really started to show it.
We still eat the majority of our meals made from fresh ingredients, but the menu is fairly repetitive. I generally draw from a fairly short list of options that require minimal preparation and those dishes are used in a pretty frequent rotation.
Our son doesn’t seem to care about the repetition and our daughter isn’t even at the stage of eating the same stuff as us, but FM and I have found ourselves increasingly uninspired by the meals we build our grocery list around each week.
After opening the recipe cupboard a few weeks before the holidays, FM asked that we do something about it as part of an overall effort we’re putting into decluttering our home.
Rather than simply tossing the pile in the recycle bin, I figured we can kill two birds with one stone: try out some of those recipes and expand our meal options while also whittling down and organizing the crazy pile of paper that we’ve amassed.
To make things interesting, we’re going to try those recipes completely at random!
Each week, I’m going to pull a page from the pile (without peeking at it first), add the ingredients to our weekly grocery list, and make whatever dish I find on the page one night that week.
If we like really like it, it will get filed into a binder for use again in the future and added to our regular meal carousel of meal options. If it’s just ok or we completely dislike it, then into the recycling bin it goes!
Earlier, I had mentioned that a reason for our menu becoming as exciting as watching paint dry is that we don’t have as much time as we used to now that we’re parents.
While this remains true in 2019, fortunately for us, our kids are on a much more predictable sleep schedule than when there’s a newborn in the house. They both go to bed at the same time, which leaves FM and I with a couple of hours to ourselves each night before we go to bed.
FM and I have both acknowledged that we’ve been pretty horribly guilty of not making great use of that time in recent months (damn you, Netflix!). So my plan for accomplishing this goal of returning to a more creative cooking environment is to prep ingredients for the next night’s meal during some of those free minutes.
Each week, I’ll include the random recipe we selected at the bottom of my post and give a very brief review of the one we tried the week prior.
I’ve also set up a Recipes page on the website, where I’ll post any of the dishes we think others might enjoy.
So here goes nothing!
This week’s recipe: Chicken & Onion Tagine.
Until next week, thanks for checking out frugalfathering.com!