A few weeks ago I posted about why I like to use romaine lettuce in a different way than just a salad- and this is true of swiss chard, too. I really enjoy my weekly test kitchen because it challenges me to think about food in a different way than I usually do.
This summer I’ve used swiss chard as a topping for my burgers, in a salad, sliced up and cooked into a Vietnamese Noodle Soup, and now as a rolled appetizer, stuffed with strawberries and fresh cheese, and served with a balsamic reduction for dipping.
I know it may sound complicated to try new things. It can be scary, and maybe (like I used to be) you’re a little bit worried it won’t turn out and you’ll be wasting food by throwing it away.
While that IS a possibility, I would like to pose another perspective: trying something new is never a waste, even if you have to throw it away (and that’s a rare occasion!)
Most of the time the finished outcome will not be so bad it has to be tossed, and consider the alternate outcome- you may discover something new you love!
When testing my swiss chard appetizers, I started small, making just 2- one for my husband to try, and one for me. Both of us enjoyed them, so I plated a few and brought them to a family event so I could test them on other people too.
The overwhelming consensus was “these are really good”. And if they weren’t good? I would have known before I made a bunch and brought them to the party because I started with just 2. A few ingredients and a little time means it's not a big deal if it doesn't work out.
Here are a couple of ways to introduce something new to your cooking repertoire:
Hopefully you’ve got some interesting ideas cooking up in your head now! Enjoy your day, friends.
Have you checked out my Facebook page yet? Come on over to see what interesting conversations and posts we get into each week, and give me your virtual "thumbs up"! I'd love to reach 500 likes this year!
I recently asked this question on The Meals Maven Facebook Page:
"If you could improve just 1 thing about cooking at home and eating in, what would it be?"
There were quite a few different answers, some of them expected, a couple of them not. I picked these ones to talk about today, and the rest will be addressed over the next few blog posts.
"Having all of the ingredients on hand when I decide to make something and not having to run to the store for 1 or 2 things every time I cook." - Laurie H
"Staying organized and planning more." - Robin M
I think these questions go hand in hand with each other. And I have to be honest with you, no matter how much practice I have had meal planning and eating in, sometimes things still fall through the cracks. For example, not too long ago, I was making chili for dinner. I was far enough along in cooking that the spices, onions, garlic, and meat were on the stove, in the pot, and starting to brown. And then I noticed I was out of beans. Yes, it's true. I had to run to the store to buy beans in the middle of making dinner.
Here are a few suggestions to help improve your cooking at home experience! Make your habits work for you!
Are you inspired? I hope this helps ignite a few more ideas on making eating in a lot less stressful and easier to manage.
As always, if you want someone to plan for you, I'm your girl. Shoot me a note and I'll pass you a no-obligations survey. The best parts about my plans? They're based on flavours and foods you like, and you get your grocery list included. Yay!
Have a great weekend, friends!
My first Christmas as a young bride I didn't know anything about cooking a turkey dinner, but I was excited to try...and crushed when my bird was still mostly raw after hours in the oven. That was the night I discovered that the oven in our rental unit needed new elements. We had to drive our mostly raw turkey across town to my in-laws to finish the job!
If that defined my every holiday cooking story since then I probably wouldn't have chosen anything related to food as a business and I really wouldn't enjoy cooking large dinners. Thankfully, it was the only time my oven chose to break down during a major event.
It took me a few years after that to cook another big dinner again. It was sometime after the birth of our first son that we decided to start cooking our own Christmas Dinners. In honour of Thanksgiving in America tomorrow, here are a few tried and true suggestions to move your cooking mood from frazzled to fantastic so you can enjoy your holiday cooking (and eating!) a little bit more.
1. Enjoy People
If you know someone who will be alone on the holidays, invite them over. They may not want to participate, but it feels good to be wanted and you might be the only one who took the time to ask.
2. Plan Ahead
Make sure you know you have all the groceries and supplies you need! No surprises are good surprises when you are out of time and realize you are missing a big part of your meal.
3. Play it Safe
It's so much fun to try new foods! But unless you're willing to go hungry if it's not as edible as you imagine it will be, a big holiday dinner on the "larger than life" scale they tend to be is NOT the time to try an entirely new spread. Instead, limit new things to appetizers and desserts.
4. It Doesn't Have to be Perfect
Give yourself room to breathe. I know what it's like to feel the stress of cleaning up every little thing to make it perfect. But I'm beginning to realize that it just can't be perfect at this time in my life with young kids and a small house, and that's ok. Focus on your guests' enjoyment and your delicious meal and you will have more joy in your dinner.