It is reported that 90% of us really don’t like to cook. That’s not surprising when it’s difficult to get motivated to cook when you arrive home from work and are extremely tired. Cooking from home can seem like a difficult chore. However, below are tips to inspire you to cook at home. From cooking ribs to how to make tzatziki sauce, these tips will inspire you to give home cooking a try.
Do Not Compare
Don’t be comparing home cooked food with what you get in a restaurant. Home cooks are not chefs. Trying to be perfect or get the right look for your meal will be setting you up for failure. Looking at all those pictures on Instagram is also counter productive. Instead, you want a meal that you enjoy cooking, you enjoy eating, and which you appreciate.
Choose Easy Recipes
If you are just beginning, choose recipes that are easy, don’t have too many ingredients, and not many steps. You could opt for one-pot recipes to start and see where you go from there.
Search the internet for recipes, videos, and how-to guides to help you learn how to cook recipes. These step-by-step guides are a great resource that you can use and view as you go.
Only Make What You Like
There is no point in making a dish that you don’t know if you will like it or not. Instead, start with recipes for dishes you do like and are craving. Understand your likes and dislikes and before long you will be able to adapt recipes to your liking.
Cook for Family & Friends
If you live alone then cook for family and friends to make the process more enjoyable. They will also give you feedback that will help you increase your skills. It is exciting cooking for family and friends, and a great way of getting sharing recipes.
If you have family members who have traditionally cooked or baked, then ask for their tips as well as their recipes. Handing down recipes from one generation to another is a great way of keeping those traditions alive. It’s also a great way of keeping dishes alive too which may otherwise be forgotten.
Instead of going out all the time, make it a treat rather than the norm. Making cooking a meal the routine and go-to with the occasional eating out for special occasions or a treat at the weekend. This attitude will stand you in good stead and have you cooking on a regular basis.
Keep your pantry stocked well with ingredients for several recipes. It is also helpful if you sit down and plan your meals for the week before you go shopping to get your ingredients. This way you will not be tempted to eat out because you will have all the ingredients at hand. Preparation is key to ensuring you continue to cook healthy well-balanced meals. When you purchase your ingredients for cooking you know exactly what is in your meal.
Hasselback Potatoes have been around for years, specially in the Midwestern states. They’ve gained popularity in recent years as many of us have discovered what the Swedes and Midwesterners have known since the 1950’s!
What are Hasselback Potatoes and where did they get their name you may wonder. They were first served at a Swedish restaurant named Hasselbacken in 1953. They are a type of baked potato that is tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. They’re sort of like thin potato chips attached together at the potato base. The sliced potatoes are baked to a crispy outer shell then stuffed with cheese and topped with sour cream, chives, or whatever your favorite toppings are.
They are really easy to make, almost like making baked potatoes! The hardest part may just be the slicing. The potatoes are thinly sliced almost to the base of the potato leaving the bottom portion still attached. I found that the best way to cut them is to place the potato on top of a large spoon then using a sharp knife slice the potato until the knife touches the spoon, this leaves the bottom parts of each slice still attached.
For Hasselback Potatoes I prefer to use medium sized Russet Potatoes. (I use the large sized Russets for regular baked potatoes.) You can also use Yukon Gold Potatoes, but I find that the russets hold up better than the Yukoons.
When I make Hasselback Potatoes I stuff cheese between slices but leave the toppings on the side so each person can add their own. I usually offer sour cream, shredded cheeses, chopped chives, and green onions. But you can offer bacon bits and other toppings you like.
So without further delay here’s my recipe for Hasselback Potatoes!
4 – 6 Medium Sized Russet Potatoes
1 Stick Butter, melted
1/3 Cup Olive Oil
4 Cloves Fresh Garlic, minced
1 Tbs. Chopped Fresh Parsley
Salt & Pepper
Cheddar Cheese slices – enough to fill potatoes between slices
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
Chopped Chives and/or Green Onions
Other favorite toppings
Pre-heat oven to 450° F.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Scrub each potato very well. Make sure it’s clean and has no dust or dirt on it. I use a green scotch pad to make sure each potato is very clean. Pat dry with paper towels.
Place potato on a large spoon. Slice potato from the top to when the knife touches the spoon edge. Make slices as thin as possible, about 9-10 slices. Slice all the potatoes this way.
If you’ve ever been to Hawaii, or are like my family are fortunate enough to live there, then you’ve tried some delicious island favorites. I’m sure you made your way to one of the island’s Shrimp Trucks. The best ones are located on Oahu’s North Shore! A shrimp truck specialty is the Garlic Shrimp plate; succulent shrimp in rich garlic butter sauce served with steamed white rice and macaroni salad. A local favorite!
Shrimp trucks usually serve this plate with shell on shrimp. I love the stuff but hate the mess of peeling shrimp while eating outdoors on picnic tables; specially if you have kids to peel for. That’s why I make them at home using peeled shrimp with just the tail on. It’s a very easy recipe to make and doesn’t require a lot of time. For the best results I use fresh chopped garlic, lots of it! So if you’re hankering for some shrimp truck Garlic Shrimp, or just what to try it here’s the recipe. You may just love it so much that you’ll want to come to Hawaii to try the real thing!
Shrimp Truck Garlic Shrimp
1 Lb. Extra Large Shrimp – peeled but leave tail on
1/2 Cup Flour
1 Tbs. Paprika
1 Tbs. Cayenne Red Pepper
1 – 2 Bulbs of Fresh Garlic – Chopped (adjust according to your taste)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Lb. or 1 Stick Butter
Parsley for garnishing (optional)
Combine flour, cayenne red pepper, and paprika in a bowl.
Toss peeled shrimp in flour mixture until well coated.
Place bowl in fridge and allow to marinate at least a half hour but no more than 2 hours.
Heat Olive Oil in a heavy pan.
Add butter and stir until butter melts.
Add garlic and cook until garlic starts to brown – color should be golden not brown.
Add marinated shrimp and cook until shrimp is no longer translucent, about 2 minutes on both sides.
Remove from heat and squeeze the juice of one lemon over all.
Plate and garnish with chopped parsley if desired.
Serve fresh with your choice of starch and veggies.
Chow Mein seems to be a staple at Chinese Restaurants where it’s different versions of it are always on the menu. It’s a dish of fried noodles and can be made with just about any meat and/or veggies that you want.
In Hawaii we simply call it fried noodles and expect to find char shiu, Chinese barbequed pork, and Kamoboku, a Japanese fish cake. Both ingredients are readily found in our local grocery stores as is the noodles which can be purchase dry or fresh.
Chow Mein ingredients are so easy to find just about everywhere specially if you have an Asian supermarket by you. The first ingredients of course is the noodles and if you can’t find chow mein noodles you can actually use Ramen Noodles or even spaghetti!
As for the protein you can use beef, chicken, pork, seafood or the protein of you choice. Then you toss in veggies which can be anything from carrots to spinach, just be sure you add fresh cilantro that’s what really pulls everything together!
In my recipe for homemade Chow Mein, I use Char Shiu pork or chicken which I find at my local grocery store. If you can’t find it omit it or substitute a different protein such as chicken, shrimp, or a plant based one. I also use the Kamoboku fish cake mostly because I think it’s pretty, but again you can omit it. As for my veggies I buy a Chop Suey mix that has bean sprouts, shredded cabbage and carrots, you can easily make your own mix.
To give it that Asian flavor I use Sesame Oil, soy sauce, and Cilantro also called Chinese Parsley. That’s really all you need! Chow Mein can be served alone as a main dish or as a side dish.
So here’s my recipe, adjust it to fit your needs!
Easy Chow Mein
1 Package Noodles (chow mein, ramen, or even spaghetti)
1/2 Lb. Char Shiu Pork or Chicken ( omit or substitute with your choice of protein)
1 Package Kamoboku or fish cake (omit if you want)
1 Package Chop Suey Mix (bean sprouts, shredded cabbage, shredded carrots) or veggies of your choice
1 Onion Diced
2-3 Cloves Garlic minced
1 – 2 cups chicken broth
3 Tbs. Soy Sauce
1 Tbs. Sesame Oil
1 bunch Cilantro chopped
2-3 stalks green onions chopped
Heat Sesame oil in large wok or skillet
Add diced onions, stir until they start to turn translucent
Add garlic and cook until garlic starts to turn golden brown, do not burn
Add meats and veggies and stir until veggies start to soften
Stir in broth and noodles (use more broth if noodles are dry, less if noodles are fresh) cook until noodles are al dente and most of the broth has evaporated. Keep stirring so you don’t burn it.
Stir in soy sauce. Toss until everything is well combined.
Remove from heat and place in serving platter.
Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and green onions.
Serve right away.
Try not to have left overs as noodles do not keep well. If you have to store leftovers place in sealed container in fridge for no more than a day. To re-heat spread noodles out in a sheet pan and heat in the oven.
Pandesal or Bread of Salt (which is also the title of a popular short story written by NVM Gonzales) is probably the most popular bread in the Philippines. Pandesal is the favorite “agahan or almusal” (breakfast food) of most Filipinos. Pandesal can eaten plain or with filling. It is best to have it while freshly hot from the oven. Common fillings or palaman for pandesal are: Cheese pimiento, CheezWhiz, a slice of cheese, coco jam, butter, and liver spread. In the Philippines, most bake shops and bakeries sell Pandesal. Sometimes, this is sold in rolling stores (usually a honking bicycle with a big box on the back). When purchasing from a neighborhood bakery, be sure to be there before 8 in the morning because the supply runs out after that time. Pandesal can also be eaten as it is. I like having pandesal along with hot coffee. I am one of those people who loves to dip it in hot black coffee. How do you eat pandesal? Try this easy Pandesal recipe and let me know what you think.
Combine the yeast, sugar, and warm milk and stir until the yeast and sugar are fully dissolved
In the mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients starting with the flour then the sugar, salt, and baking powder . Mix well by stirring
Add the egg, butter, cooking oil, and yeast-sugar-milk mixture in the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients then mix again until a dough is formed. Use your clean hands to effectively mix the ingredients.
In a flat surface, knead the dough until the texture becomes fine. For faster and easier kneading, you may use a Stand Mixer with dough hook.
Mold the dough until shape becomes round then put back in the mixing bowl. Cover the mixing bowl with damp cloth and let the dough rise for at least 1 hour
Put the dough back to the flat surface and divide into 4 equal parts using a dough slicer
Roll each part until it forms a cylindrical shape
Slice the cylindrical dough diagonally (These slices will be the individual pieces of the pandesal)
Roll the sliced dough over the breadcrumbs and place in a baking tray with wax paper (makes sure to provide gaps between dough as this will rise later on)
Leave the sliced dough with breadcrumbs in the tray for another 10 to 15 minutes to rise
Pre-heat the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes
Put the tray with dough in the oven and bake for 15 minutes
Turn off the oven and remove the freshly baked pandesal.
In my effort to change our eating habits to something a bit healthier than meat and potatoes I make a meatless meal at least once a week. One of my favorites is this Zucchini Stir Fry.
It’s amazing how filling and tasty a simple meal of healthy veggies can be. This week I made this dinner of zucchini, spinach, and tomatoes. It was delicious, my husband loved it. You can serve it with a piece of whole grain bread if you wish; the bread is great for dipping in the juices.
You can also serve this dish as an appetizer or side dish. It’s so good! It goes great with barbecued and roasted meats.
1 large organic zucchini, cut into 2″- 3″ strips
1 cup fresh organic spinach
1/2 cup organic cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbls. organic coconut oil
1 tbls. minced garlic
1 tsp. cayenne red pepper
Sea Salt to taste
1. Heat oil over medium heat
2. Add garlic, sauté until it turns golden, stir constantly
3. Add zucchini, cook until it starts to soften about 5-6 minutes, stir constantly
4. Add tomatoes, cook until juices start to come out, stir constantly
5. Add spinach, cook until leaves wilt and turn bright green, stir contantly