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Old 03-16-2008, 07:08 PM
Location: Nothing could be finer... I'm in S. Carolina!!
1,294 posts, read 5,954,147 times
Reputation: 406


That's me. I don't know if it's truly me or my inability to choose recipes. I hope the latter. I will pick the highest rated recipes on recipe sites and they come out blah for me. I used to be a pretty good cook I think, when I was younger and cooked on my parent's gas stove. Now my husband and I have an electric stove, could that make a huge difference?

I can do kind of basic things, like grill and cook chicken soup. I can cook in the crock pot and while it's good - I'd like to be able to do other things.

Tonight we had bread crumb crusted chicken (it had some ground up pretzels and fresh sourdough bread crumbs and some ritz crackers for the crumb mixture). It was dipped into a honey mustard sauce I made and then put into the bread crumb mixture and baked for a while and it never got crunchy and it didn't have much flavor. We had onion roasted potatoes that were pretty good but came in the lipton onion pouch and were really easy. Then, to top it off, I attempted a peach cobbler. That was awful. It was inedible. So anyway - I need help.

I am thinking I'm going to sign up for cooking classes, but I really wanted to be naturally good - my dad is naturally good. He throws all kind of stuff together and it turns out great. I think I used to be able to do that - sort of.

Any suggestions? I feel sorry for my husband!!
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Old 03-16-2008, 07:13 PM
1,263 posts, read 3,653,389 times
Reputation: 771
I'm by no means "chef of the future", I found the best way to cooking success (for me) is to just stick with recipes that I feel comfortable with. I rarely cook anything fancy or complicated.

Thank God my husband is not a "snooty" eater, he's more of a meat & potatoes type of guy!
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Old 03-16-2008, 07:28 PM
Location: Silver Springs, FL
23,440 posts, read 30,607,252 times
Reputation: 15560
no one is born knowing how to cook. It takes observation and practice.
I would suggest reading cookbooks, and anything else you can get your hands on.
Alton Brown has some really good ones that research the science of food, and how ingredients relate and interact with each other.
I throw things together all the time, but I have been cooking for years, and worked in restaurants. I would bug the bejeezus out of the chefs, asking questions.
I would also suggest staying away from complex recipes, the simpler they are, with the emphasis on the best ingredients, the better your meals will turn out!
btw, ditch that chicken recipe! You will never get crisp chicken with fresh bread crumbs, you have to use dry, and then fry it, and finish it off in the oven.
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Old 03-16-2008, 07:35 PM
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
10,716 posts, read 31,026,539 times
Reputation: 6654
Before you do anything with chicken you need to salt and pepper it. The only way for it to get much flavor from the mustard would be to pre-marinate it. Even then you should salt and pepper it first.

For the covering to get crunchy, you would need to put oil on the crumb coating. I make Chicken tenders that I pre-marinate in buttermilk after having salted and peppered them, I then put them in store bought bread crumbs and then I put them on a PAM sprayed cookie sheet. I drizzle olive oil over the top of each chicken tender. This is what it needs to get crispy.

Take a look at Food Network : Healthy Recipe Collections, Party Ideas, Quick & Easy Recipes, I particularly love Everyday Italian recipes. Of course some are more easy then others but just make sure you follow them closely. Give yourself a break, its not an exact science.

Another show you might check out is Semi-homemade, they are really easy recipes.
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:27 PM
16,487 posts, read 20,328,308 times
Reputation: 16136
If I were you I would start in much easier recipes and work your way up.
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:37 PM
Location: Long Island
286 posts, read 1,169,574 times
Reputation: 174
I was also a terrible cook - I kept trying to do these fancy dishes and they never turned out. So, I learned to keep it simple. There are really only a few ways to cook anything - fry, bake, broil, poach, saute and grilled. I found some of the cooking shows to be helpful - Everyday Italian, Semi-Homemade and Rachel Ray all do basic easy dishes that can be duplicated. You can easily get their recipes online. Start with something you like, whether it's chicken or fish or veggies or even pasta and find 4 or 5 really simple ways to do that one dish. Go from there and have fun with cooking. Don't try to do a multi course meal all at once. Make one really good entree and serve it with a salad or steamed veggies and bread. Keep it simple and have a glass of wine while you cook! Works for me
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:15 PM
Location: Gainesville, VA
1,259 posts, read 4,954,944 times
Reputation: 718
Start with the basics... get yourself the Betty Crocker Cookbook. I've yet to figure out where my cooking skills came from. Certainly not from my mother. If you see something on TV you'd like to make, get the recipe for it. Be willing to try new things. I subscribe to a monthly magazine called Taste of Home. People send in their own recipes. I flip thru the magazine, pull out the ones I like. I cook them and decide was it worth the effort and would I make it again. If I would, I put it in my 3 ring binder cook book where I store all my favorite recipes. I only keep the best of the best in there. I also like allrecipes.com.
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Old 03-17-2008, 04:46 AM
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
34,531 posts, read 42,694,765 times
Reputation: 57179
Maybe because your Dad cooked by "feel" you are trying to do that too...you need to have a good basis of experience first. No, your stove is not the problem.
As others have said. Get basic cookbooks, like Better Homes and Gardens, Fannie Farmer, Betty Crocker, Good Housekeeping, and follow the recipies closely. Once you master the basics, you can successfully experiment.
Also, make sure you get the best pots and pans you can afford. Trying to cook or bake with cheap pans will cause some bad results sometimes.
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Old 03-17-2008, 05:56 AM
4,899 posts, read 16,246,067 times
Reputation: 3790
i LOVE to bake, but i realized i NEED to cook. my father always cooks by feel, and i just cant do that. it's because i am a baker. i like to follow the recipe and the time and the exactness of it. i always love watching the food network. so that is where i started. i would buy a cut of meat or part of chicken then go online and look it up on FOODTV.COM
and read through a couple of recipes.
i now have a selection of recipes that i follow, and i sometimes just cook by feel with a few simple ingredience without resorting to lipton soup mixes and the like. start simple with easy combinations:
garlic, lemon,oil,salt,parsley: for chicken or fish--cooked on the stove or baked
salt,pepper,oregano,rosemary: for chicken or beef : on the stove or baked
honey and mustard, salt and peppr: for chicken : baked

you will be able to come up with your own--they key is onlyuse a FEW ingredience so nothing overpoweres something else.
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:02 AM
Location: Looking East and hoping!
28,227 posts, read 19,208,307 times
Reputation: 2000000848
I think you're just trying too hard. Agree with everyone-keep it simple.

Good pots and pans are essential.

We've all been in your shoes.
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