Yes, We Non-Cookers Can Make “Fancy Schmancy” Meals!
I will admit that I am not a great cooker. By this I mean baker, griller, meal planner, etc. I love watching Top Chef, Chopped, Great American Food Truck Race, ect. I love food and appreciate it, but am not a natural. In fact, that is why I have gravitated towards the freezer meal club because I don’t have to think/plan most meals.
Many years ago someone (I can’t remember! Sorry!) bought Dave and I the nicest wedding gift. It was the Houston Junior League’s fancy cookbook that has won many awards. I am embarrassed to say that Dave and I have been married for almost nine years and I have never made one recipe. I always used it as a “decoration” on my bakers rack.
For those of you who ask why I never used it, the answer it simple. I was very imitated by the recipes. They seemed SO complicated and extensive. I just couldn’t go there when I was not even making easy Betty Crocker recipes. Fast forward to life as I know it and the fact that I have more time and can now more adventurous and try new things.
My sister-in-law’s mother Melissa owns the same cookbook and for years every time we are at their house, I notice “THE COOKBOOK”. I feel guilty because I know I should use it or at least try to make a recipe. Melissa has used her book many times and has reported that the recipes are always good.
Side note to Houston folks: The Houston Junior League (the ones who compiled the cookbook that retailed for $27.00 almost a decade ago) has a big complex near San Felipe with a small shop that sells FABOLOUS soups and pastries for cheap! I highly recommend anyone around that area checking them out (but that is a different blog).
Ok, back to what I thought would be a train wreck. I decided I was going to choose a few recipes to cook and blog about it. The good, bad, and ugly. Christa and I both tried different ones. I am happy to report that after my “experiment” I have become intrigued and borderline obsessed. I can choose a recipe for which I have most ingredients and make a 5 star meal. Who would have thought it would not be that hard!
For my first meal I chose to make Herbed Baked Salmon and Sweet and Sour Braised Red Cabbage. I was so pleased with these first two recipes that a few days later I also made Herbed Beer Bread. Christa made Curried Chicken Kabobs and Whipped Carrots and Parsnips.
Good: Overall we were both VERY HAPPY with how nice the dishes turned out. They were fancy! These would be dishes you would be proud to make for guests or your significant other, We chose recipes that were not crazy complicated. They did not take more time to prepare compared to other meals we have made in the past.
Bad: These meals included ingredients that we might not have had or ones that were a tad pricey (fresh herbs for example). We did not know if the extra money was worth it.
Ugly: Nothing! Overall we were sooo impressed with these recipes. Granted they were not all perfect, but overall they were sophisticated, not too hard to make, and tasted good!!!
Herbed Baked Salmon:
This turned out GREAT! It is not the healthiest meal and if you are not a mayonnaise fan you should skip this recipe. Otherwise if you are looking for something nice, easy, and good, this is great!
Sweet and Sour Red Braised Cabbage:
I don’t EVER buy red cabbage. This was easy, tasted great, and seemed special! I recommend!
Beer Herb Bread:
The bread came out beautifully. It tasted even better than it looked. It was a sophisticated tasting beer bread.
Curried Chicken Kabobs and Whipped Carrots and Parsnips.
Both dishes tasted excellent! Christa felt like she should have boiled the carrots and parsnips longer and that her food processor made it more difficult because it is old and not of good quality. Overall she said both dishes were SOOOO delicious and worth the few extra ingredients/effort !!!!
We are both inspired to branch out and use the “fancy cookbook”. Who would have known it would be so awesome! I am going to give this cookbook as a gift but will include two extra things. I will write a personalized note (with date) so the lucky couple or person knows who bought it for them. I will suggest using the cookbook instead of having it on a shelf for decoration. I envision sticking post it notes next to the recipes I have made and recommend!
So here is my question. Who is coming over for dinner, and what do you want me to make for you from the “fancy book”?