Lasagna to Spaghetti: My Descent into Cooking

Ok, so obviously I’ve missed the last couple of weeks, blogging-wise, and I’m going to talk about that at the end of this post. But first: some cooking adventures.

As you may have deduced, I don’t really cook. I’ve toyed with the idea before, and I even know how to make some stuff, but until now, I’ve been hampered by a mixture of laziness and the fact that handling raw meat/fish/poultry kind of freaks me out. Recently, though, I got it into my head that I would like to make lasagna, so it was off to… Google, to find a recipe.

I think I searched something like “easy lasagna”–you know, being realistic about my skill level. That turned up this recipe. I also decided to make my own tomato sauce (recipe here–I added and changed some stuff, but it’s probably fine as is). And in no time at all, I was making classic mistakes like deciding to cut the recipe in half, but neglecting to measure the pan, so that my proportions were doomed to be way off.

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Still looks pretty, though.

The next thing I forgot to do was add the middle layer of noodles. And when the lasagna came out of the oven, it was watery enough that I quickly labeled it as being more like glorified tomato sauce. I even made some spaghetti noodles, expecting to have to add more pasta to fix the ratio. But what I failed to account for was that lasagna firms up in the fridge, so the spaghetti proved unnecessary–the lasagna was fine. Good, actually.

That having been said, making the spaghetti noodles was so much easier that I decided to head straight for that next time. And something strange happened. As I boiled the noodles and tended the ground turkey for the sauce (cooking two things at once, for the *challenge*), I found myself  kind of enjoying it. There was something satisfying about going from stirring the noodles to checking on the turkey and back again. And there was definitely something splendid about not having to worry about what I ate for several meals afterwards.

Less satisfying: doing that chef thing where you add roughly “that much looks right” of an ingredient to a dish. I know my mom does that, but for some reason I find it vaguely horrifying when I catch myself doing the same thing. I’m not sure exactly why. Recipes are there for a reason, maybe? I may have promised myself that I would *never, ever* guesstimate like that? Or maybe it’s just because it’s something that “people who know how to cook” do, and I don’t see myself as belonging to that group. Maybe someday, though. And that’s probably a good thing.

Overall verdict on both spaghetti and lasagna: easy enough, at least with the recipes I used. Between the two of them, though, I’d definitely go for spaghetti first, and more often–it’s less trouble, and less cheesy, which works for me.

Overall verdict on actually cooking homemade meals: it’s kind of worth it. Gasp.

Overall verdict on whether this could continue to be a thing: Maybe? I’m at least less scared of raw things now. And as far as laziness vs. love of food goes… it’s a toss up. On the other hand, the more I blog about this, the more I could go for some spaghetti. I may have missed lunch.

Anyway, now that I’ve talked about the cooking: the blog situation. Long story short: I think I’d like to take a break. Sort of a summer vacation. I may drop in sometimes, but I’m not going to guarantee it, and it may not always be on Mondays. The weekly schedule has been good for me, for the most part, but right now I could use some time to rest, refresh my brain, and whatnot. There are still some posts I’d like to do, though, so hopefully I’ll be back for those.

In the meantime: have a splendid summer! And thank you, as ever, for reading along. Hopefully I’ll see you back here in the fall. Or sooner, since my brain, like a cat, is sometimes a bit unpredictable about what it wants to do. But either way: a happy Monday to you all, and… um… here’s this picture of spaghetti.

Mmmm, spaghetti.

That’s right: just the noodles. What? I don’t think I took any pictures of the actual dish. I just ate it.

And with that, I’m off to get lunch!

Cooking Journal

Food Journal and PenI should have known this would happen. Making breakfast burritos turned out to be so easy (and, once I got the method down, the results were so delicious) that it’s sucked me into the dark side of actually wanting to cook.

Mind you, that’s not to say I’m going straight into gourmet chef territory. I’m still looking for things that are quick, easy, and don’t use too many pots and pans.

To help me keep track of all of this, I’ve conscripted this mini Eccolo. It’s kind of a victory for me, actually using a notebook I already had instead of going out to buy a new one. And who knows? Maybe some of those foods will make it onto this blog as well. (In picture form, at least.)

So, sorry, that’s all I have for you today. I’m just happy about starting a new journal, and I felt like blogging about it. I hope Wednesday is treating you all well, though! And with any luck, treating you to some delicious food.

Random Breakfast Burrito

It’s Wednesday! I’m actually posting on a Wednesday!

And I’m cooking. Today is just all kinds of special.

So anyway, I was at the supermarket last night, looking for pre-made meals (as you do), when I thought, “There are probably a lot of things in that breakfast burrito that I don’t like. I could eat around them. Or I could make my own breakfast burrito. I’ve made scrambled eggs before. It can’t be that hard.”

And so it began.

Milling randomly through the supermarket, here are the things I ended up with:

  • Tortillas. Because that’s kind of important.
  • Cheese. I got the Mexican 4-cheese kind, because I wasn’t planning on adding a lot of spices, so I figured I could use the extra kick.
  • Sliced baby bella mushrooms. Because come on, like I was going to slice those things myself.
  • A red potato. After some hasty research on my phone, this seemed to be the right kind.
  • Chives. To be completely honest with you here, I’m not 100% sure what chives are, or what they’re supposed to do. But I’ve heard/read them mentioned in restaurants before, and I’m pretty sure they have to do with omelet-type things (sometimes, at least), and I’m also pretty sure I like them. Also sour cream and chives, right? That’s a thing.

Other ingredients I turned out to have at home, which was probably for the best:

  • Eggs. I already knew I had these, but it was still good that I was right.
  • Olives
  • Rosemary olive oil

And here’s how my cooking procedure went:

  • Take picture for blog. (Ok, that may not be a mandatory cooking step.)
  • Wash things, and then chop everything up. (See, I did end up slicing things!)
  • Lightly oil the skillet (pan?), probably for no reason since it was already non-stick.
  • Put some olive oil in the skillet/pan, and briefly cook the mushrooms in it. But forget about the potatoes until later, because who needs cooked potatoes?
  • Throw two eggs in. Realize you don’t have a spatula.
  • Improvise until you can find a spatula.
  • Throw in the rest of the ingredients, except for the chives. The container says to save those for the end.
  • Realize that you don’t have enough eggs. Add another egg. (I may have done that slightly earlier. I can’t remember.)
  • Realize that the potatoes are going to be undercooked. And also that your egg-to-other-stuff ratio is still off. And also that you probably need a bigger pan.
  • Debate fixing these things. Decide to just fix it next time. Add the chives as a sign that you’re committing to being done.
  • Realize you didn’t add the cheese. Sprinkle that on the tortilla before adding the omelet-type mix.
  • Eat!

All in all, this probably took me about 30-45 minutes. I wash my hands a lot when I cook, so that was part of it. And also, as you may be able to tell, I had no plan, so I just kind of pinwheeled my way through things. That having been said, the burrito wasn’t bad. A little bland, but I was going for something kind of basic, so it worked. The only real problem was that I ate it too fast, and the potatoes were (as noted) rather undercooked (hardly cooked at all, really), so I felt a little unwell right after eating it. But if it makes sense, it wasn’t an unclean, oily kind of unwell. It was a “you probably ate too fast and also undercooked your potatoes” kind of unwell.

I have 9 more tortillas, so I’m probably going to try this again, but I don’t know that I’ll document it. I suspect that all breakfast burritos look very similar, and the cooking process can’t be that different, either. Maybe more streamlined, and hopefully more competent, but not fundamentally different. Mishaps aside, though, I’m pretty pleased with how this turned out–it wasn’t bad for a first attempt. And I definitely learned some things (chives smell wonderful; also I probably need more spices; also, as I may have mentioned, I need to cook those potatoes better).

So anyway, this was my Wednesday morning. Hope yours is going well!