Cooking with Amy

I may have shared once or twice or three dozen times my struggle with culinary pursuits.

I have long wondered how I would ever overcome the lack of motivation which I so acutely and chronically experience in the kitchen- once and for all. I've been struggling with it for 15 years after all. I have always wanted to make healthy, interesting food for my family on a daily basis and I knew that we desperately needed to get out of our food rut, which had become especially bad of late, but I have not yet caught the vision to the extent that it has become a way of life.

Suddenly it occurred to me in a blinding flash that I would greatly benefit from the same things that motivate me to exercise. Namely: goals (inspiration), companionship, and accountability.

And so I turned to Amy. As I do.

Amy and I work out together burning calories three times a week so it seemed fitting that she assist me in creating calories. Actually I enlisted Amy because she loves to cook. And she is really good at it. She also rarely cooks the same thing twice. I know. What a freak eh? All this and unlike the beloved Pioneer Woman who I continue to revere as an Alien (but marvelous) Freak of Nature, Amy does not consider butter to be a food group . ( I knew I needed a guru who would not lead me to commit involuntary manslaughter by way of clogged arteries).

Anyway...Amy kindly agreed to take me on as her apprentice. She provided me with several of her "red" recipes as my menu for the week. (Amy is such a domestic goddess that she has colour coded her recipes-red's are the ones that everyone loved so much that she may consider making them again). It was agreed that I would report in with her each day after my attempts.

And new project:

was born!

I am proud (and surprised) to announce that since Friday I have successfully made:
Chicken Tamale Casserole

It turned out well, it was easy and it was good. If you like cornbread. Which I don't particularly. But if you do, I recommend it highly.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta

This took a long time to make and had several steps, so it is recommended as a "weekend recipe". I failed to read that until after I made it but fortunately I was having one of those rare and magical days when everything falls into place and for once I started with plenty of time to spare and it was ready at the perfect time.

While it takes several steps, all of them are easy, it was really fun to make and It is heavenly. Heavenly. So much so that when I went to have the leftovers for lunch and discovered to my horror that there weren't any leftovers, I was moved to call my husband, who confirmed this sad fact, whereupon I was moved to tears. Or almost. Certainly to whining.

and Hearty Potato Soup

I deviated from Amy's recommendations for this one and will henceforth repent of that. I had a bunch of potatoes and I needed to make something in the crockpot so it seemed like a good idea. I didn't enjoy this recipe very much. Which may have something to do with the Ghiradelli shortbread cookies I had baked earlier today (don't be impressed, it was from a box) and felt compelled to sample (about 6 times). My family didn't seem too wild about it either judging from the lack of clean bowls but it was infinitely improved by the awesome bread I had bought to go with it, so all was not lost. The reviews on the website were good though, so again, maybe it was me. If I made it again, I'd do a little less basil, and throw in some onions and garlic (or maybe some of the leftover shallots from the casserole yesterday-see how gourmet I sound already throwing shallots around when I didn't even know where to find them in the grocery store yesterday? ) It was easy to make but the prep was more time consuming then they would have you believe.

So! If anyone is interested in joining us in this julie and julia-esque venture let me know. I will post links to the recipes ahead of time and we can all compare notes. Or not. I'm ok to go it alone (with Amy on speed-dial).

So far I am enjoying the novelty of making things that do not rely heavily upon boxes and cans and my husband, tremendously, and I have found that my post-dinner cravings have been lessened considerably.

So that's what works for me this Wednesday. For what works for other people check out We Are That Family.

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garhales said...

This sounds very fun! I am happy for you to enter a world where I thrive--the kitchen! I will look forward to hearing of your ups and downs. I am interested to know; did you take the food photos? If so, I think you are missing out on a career as a food stylist! ;-)

I just think--you got the pooch in the nick of time--to hide evidence of less than successful efforts.

Kirsty said...

LOL thanks Kim! I hope to learn at your knee too when you have more time and no, the photos aren't mine (I wish!) they are lifted from the recipe sites to which they are linked. :)

Jill said...

I'm in! I used to have dinner ready every day by 4:30 but now I rarely cook. Recipes and reminders that microwave meals every day are not good for the kids is always good! I do have to say though that I am an awesome cook... just not a good baker.

Steph said...

The butternut squash/bacon pasta one is a favorite at our house! It is very time consuming, but oh so worth it. Glad you're having a fun time cooking. Tell Amy I said Hi.

Amanda said...

Those all look really good!

Leslie said...

Hee hee - now I kind of feel like a slacker that my WFMW post is all about planning one month of meals and repeating it each month. However, most of my master menu are meals from scratch if that counts.

good luck with your cooking adventures!

Ally said...

Great post...I especially enjoy the part on your "confession" about the potato soup. Thanks for sharing--
btw...the pictures all look so yummy!

Suzanne said...

Please beg Amy to share more of her "red" recipes!! Yum! I'm dying to see what else is in her list-- I'm in need of some creativity!

2busy said...

The chicken tamale casserole looks wonderful. Always looking for new recipes to spice things up.

LovingLegacy said...

a. i have found an adorable new blog and have taken your button. you are a doll!! and
b. i intend straightaway to make that bacon/squash contraption (two of my favorite things in life) and i suspect my thighs will hate you eternally. for it is you i will blame for passing it on. thank you, and i can't wait to follow your journey!!

Just ME the MOM said...

Hi there - I printed the chicken tamale casserole recipe - love that it prints with the photo also -it's what's for dinner this weekend - yay!


Jenny said...

Oh those foods looks so good.

Anonymous said...

Oh my! I am so impressed! And that the food looks good enough to photograph! Wow!!
Someone asked about how to get sweet potato fries crisp. Well, I don't know about fries, but rings?? Just cut them really thinly, brush lightly with olive oil and stick them in the oven. They get crisp/burned pretty easily.

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