Learning to Cook: Update

Wow, how is it already more than half-way through April?! I mean, I know how that happened, but I just realized that I haven’t updated my blog in a few weeks, and I certainly haven’t told you about my learning to cook progress. Somewhere around the third recipe, I realized a few things. 1.) It’s a lot of work to learn the recipe AND photograph a dish! It’s definitely fun to do the photographs, but it’s even more fun to eat. Which brings me to my next point: 2.) I’m usually reeeally hungry by the time I’ve finished cooking. So instead of photographing my newly learned recipe to show you what I accomplished (or didn’t accomplish)…I eat the evidence! Immediately. Sorry about that.

But I have been practicing! A lot, actually. I try to cook at least one or two new recipes each week, sometimes even as many as four. And in the interest of catching up a bit, I’m going to post a few links to successful recipes I’ve tried and officially cross them off my list. A few of these are duplicate “lessons,” but I figure it can’t hurt to repeat. (Especially with my track record of getting it right the first time.)

Shown from left-to-right:

  • Chicken and Mushrooms in Garlic White Wine Sauce – recipe and photo courtesy of This recipe is in our regular weeknight dinner rotation. I actually skipped the flour the first time to see how it would turn out (and to keep the dish clean-eating), and it was great! I haven’t used flour in it since.
  • Pan-Seared Chicken with Mushroom Sage Sauce – recipe and photo courtesy of Cook’s Country Magazine. This was actually kind of a pain to make. The recipe had a lot of steps, and I don’t usually like to eat chicken with the bones still in, but it was good to learn how to work with it.
  • Papparedelle in Saffron Cream – recipe and photo courtesy of I made this as a side dish to sirloin steaks, and it was a big hit (despite getting a stomachache from the dairy)!
  • Slow-Cooker Asian Pork with Noodles and Broccoli – recipe and photo courtesy of Real Simple Magazine. We loved this one – it made a huge batch, and thankfully the leftovers were just as good.
  • Orange Shrimp – recipe and photo courtesy of Super easy, although I didn’t grill the shrimp. We aren’t allowed to grill on our balcony, so if you want to grill you have to do it on the driveway – awkward, right?! Plus it has been so cold here lately, too cold to grill outside, so I just threw the shrimp in the pan to cook and it came out just fine. I guess I could have used a grill pan, but I have never really been successful with it. I guess that’s something I should work on, huh?
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar – recipe and photo courtesy of I’m calling this a successful recipe because I think I cooked them correctly, but Chris doesn’t love Brussels Sprouts in general.

So there you have it! A round of the recipes I considered successful. Yes, there have been a few that were less successful, or nearly inedible. I made a Spicy Shrimp recipe that was incredibly salty, and that’s coming from someone who loves salt. I think it went wrong when I read 1/2 teaspoon of salt as 1/2 Tablespoon of salt. And that was on top of using regular soy sauce instead of reduced-sodium soy sauce like the recipe indicated. Oops. We drank extra water that night.

More updates soon! And photos, unless I’m just too quick to eat the results (which is always a good thing since it means I didn’t burn it, under-cook it, or otherwise ruin it).

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