Blogging the Recession: Can I tell you a secret?

April 4th, 2009 by katie

Since we can’t shake hands or hug or whisper on the phone to each other under the covers, here it is:  I don’t LOVE to cook. Just so we are clear, I will internet yell it: I DO NOT LOVE TO COOK.   I can hear your collective gasps of surprise and shock.  I mean I write a cooking blog, right?  It is true though, I pretty much only cook because I have to.  I cook because I think it is an important aspect of having a family.  I cook because I can’t afford to eat out.  I cook because I love to eat and mostly I love to eat good food.  I cook because my kids say, “Mommy you are the best cooker ever” when I cook.  It is hard though sometimes.  I have to force myself into the kitchen to start most of the time.  I have a terrible time planning meals (as you may know) and being inspired.  The purpose behind chaos in the kitchen, originally, was that all around me were people who needed to cook-for whatever reason: expenses, family, hunger-but had no idea what to make or where to start.  I didn’t want them to settle for expensive convenience foods or fast foods.  I wanted them it know that it doesn’t have to be hard to cook nice meals.

Now, with the economy the way that it is I think even more people who have never had an interest in cooking are taking to the internet to try to figure out ways to cut their eating out and grocery bills.  Thus, Blogging the Recession is my way of renewing my mission.  To prove that it is not hard, or expensive, to cook good food at home.  Even those of us who-after a long day at work, and kids, and cleaning, and school-really have no desire to cook can still muster up enough energy to spend 30 minutes or so making a real meal out of real food that tastes wonderful.  Or we shall at least have planned ahead and stashed homemade, from scratch food in the freezer to heat and eat. Now, for being subjected to my lecture all about me I will offer you links to some actual food you may have missed in the last year (yes we are approaching the blog-o-versary).  Warning image heavy post.

I like to cook how I like my men: fast, easy and cheap.  So let’s do this:

Long before Blogging the Recession there was: Fast Food, Budget Cooking 101, Planned Leftovers, and Pantry Challenges, as well as Meatless for a Meal, and Tips and Tricks.  I would say my top ten fast, easy, cheap recipes are (in no particular order):

Creamy Shrimp and Mushroom Pasta:  This recipe is an all-time favorite.  It is truly fast and easy yet rich and luxurious.  With a salad and some bread it is a quick complete meal that everyone loves.  If you don’t like shrimp or mushrooms use chicken or broccoli or asparagus spears or anything-just make this.  Shrimp and mushrooms are not always cheap but this method is fool-proof for those times when they are on sale.

Tortilla Soup: Tortilla Soup is really my only favorite soup.  It is filling enough that I don’t feel like I need to make more food to go along with it and it is easy enough that you are just opening cans and chopping up cooked chicken.  If you have left over chicken it is essentially free, if you don’t have leftovers then it can be quickly made and heated up using a rotisserie chicken.

Spaghetti and Meatballs: So many of you answered that spaghetti and meatballs was one of your comfort foods.  What could be better?  It is easy, cheap, and pantry compatible and makes everyone at the table happy.

Chicken Wings:  Don’t wait for the big game, everyone loves chicken wings and they are super easy and fast to make even during the week.  You are lucky also that chicken wings are one of the cheapest per pound parts of the chicken.

Reubens:  I love sandwiches for dinner.  They aren’t the cheapest (though they certainly aren’t expensive) but they are the easiest.

Homemade Rice-a-Roni:  This isn’t a main meal but this rice dish is so easy and delicious that we make it probably once a week.  I should do a cost analysis for it because it is probably cheaper than the boxed stuff anyway.

Chicken Souvlaki: Simply thread marinated chicken chunks onto skewers and grill.  You can freeze the skewers in the marinade earlier in the week or just let them sit while you prepare the grill.  Either way it is quick, easy and full of flavor.

Beef and Macaroni:  If you don’t already have a version of this in your arsenal, take note!

Tacos:  Made with chicken, pulled pork, beans, or ground beef, tacos are quick, easy and satisfying.  A taco bar is probably one of the easiest ways to get kids to eat their dinner and their vegetables without complaint.

Pizza Bites:  Like wings, pizza bites are game and party food but they are also a great fast dinner when pulled from the freezer.  They are not super fast to make the first time but the process is easy and the rewards are worth the few extra minutes it takes to get the hang of it.

So these are my top ten fast, easy and cheap recipes.  There are many more I would have highlighted except that they might take slightly longer to prep or cook.  However, every recipe I post-even the ones that look hard-is easy enough for a beginner or reluctant cook.  I know because I am one.

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Posted in Budget, Easy, Fast, Me, Things I Love

18 Responses

  1. Laura

    For someone who doesn’t love to cook, you sure make some great food! : )

  2. AmyAnne

    I am such the reluctant cook. 5 years ago I had to learn because kidlett #2 was born with a milk protein allergy. Now I cook but I struggle with the same things you listed, inspiration, planning and motivation. Sometimes the only reason I cook is because it would be harder to load the baby and fighting 5 & 10 year olds into the car. LOL.

    Your pictures are marvelous. Thank you for reluctantly cooking and sharing so much.

  3. noble pig

    Gasp! You are an imposter! LOL!

    It all looks so beautiful, it’s hard to imagine you don’t love it becuase there is love in all that food.

  4. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary

    Thanks for being so brave and coming out and saying that Katie. Most of the time I love to cook and be in the kitchen and just a day or so out of the month when I’m too tried from working all day to get moviated at almost 6pm. So most times, I love it, really truly find it almost theraputic in a way, a dozen or so times a year, I need a break. I think we all do sometimes

  5. EB

    Congrats on coming out of the cooking closet :)

  6. Melissa

    7 out of 10 of these are almost my favorite posts of yours ever. And I adore you for saying you don’t love to cook – I do sometimes, but other times… I’m a failed foodie haha.

    I love that shrimp and mushroom dish and you’re right that in its fundamental state it works with many things.

    Also – I succeeded at my second attempt at mayonnaise the other day and thought of you. So good when it comes out right!

  7. sweetbird

    It’s good to know that I’m not the only one that writes a food blog that doesn’t absolutely live and breath cooking.

    I like eating, I like reading about eating – not so much on the cooking.

  8. alexandra

    oh my. So many delicious dishes that i must must try. That pasta dish at the top looks fabulous. And I have been craving beef and macaroni since you first posted it.

  9. Tim

    I have to say, your confession makes your food look even more delicious.

    One of the things I miss since Lucy’s been away is cooking for her, planning meals around what I know she likes and surprising her with new things. Food as art, for experimentation, for pure taste, it’s all wonderful, but food as love is the best.

  10. Hungry Jenny

    I found myself nodding as I read this and thinking, yeh, ME TOO! One of the main reasons why I cook is because I can’t justifying spending money on convenience foods or eating out.

    It’s funny that there’s an assumption that food blogger = great cook. I’m food blogger = ok-but-it-goes-a-bit-wrong sometimes cook…

    Loving your simple recipes by the way!

    x

  11. My First Kitchen

    Great post, Katie. Your food vulnerability is nice, and I always love hearing/reading what posts/recipes are the blogger’s favorites. Thanks so much for sharing.

  12. LoveFeast

    Yeah! There’s another cooking-challenged food blogger out there! I have been know for “Avoiding Supper” and faking my baking. Tonight I was in need of a “menu intervention” and you inspired me to get out and cook, or at least get to the grocery store!

  13. Robin Sue

    Yes yes yes! Katie it can be done on the cheap- it just takes alot of planning. I love this post with your great ideas. I have a secret too- I hate cooking too- at least the day to day stuff. I have picky eaters, non-foodies in my family an it drives me crazy. I made a nice salad last night with dinner and got wrinkled noses-people would kill for this stuff and I get WRINKLED noses. Ugh! Someday they will appreciate me- at least that is what I keep telling myself.

  14. Mrs. L

    Fast, easy and cheap…I like it!

    I’ll have to try the Creamy Shrimp and Mushroom pasta, that looks so good! I tend to buy shrimp in the big frozen bags at Costco because it’s pretty cheap.

  15. barter411

    I bet you don’t like doing dishes either. If my wife cooks anything in those photo’s, I WILL DO THE DISHES! That’s a promise.

  16. barter411

    Sorry, I didn’t see this was an old thread. Oldie but goodie.

  17. Linda Kelly Lee

    Yummy !

  18. http://aboutjuicermachine.weebly.com

    Our cat Shelby sheds an enormous amount of hair and its everywhere.
    What can we do to help minimize this?.

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About chaos

cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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