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Chef Ramsay Would Not Be Pleased

Columnist shares humorous tales from the kitchen after attempting to feed her family.

Those who know me are fully aware of the fact that I can’t cook.

I’m capable of grilling a cheese sandwich or flipping a pancake. I’ve even been known to make a killer homemade Cracker Barrel mac ‘n cheese dish. But that’s about the extent of my abilities.

Wait, I discredit myself…I’m pretty good at monkey bread, too.

Outside of that, my skills in the kitchen are shamelessly limited.

When I was in search of a husband, “likes to cook” was at the top of my required skills list. Thankfully I found a man who actually loves to be creative in the kitchen. It’s gotten me through the past 13 years.

Yet, I’ve been feeling rather guilty for being a work-at-home mom and not having the skills to handle this very basic task. Now that my little guy is in full-day kindergarten I have no excuse. It’s time to throw on the apron and get busy in the kitchen.

Pinterest has been a big help. There’s something about blending technology with cooking that appeals to me.

In my first week, I attempted a "Basil Citrus Chicken Tenders" dish, which my kids LOVED.

It was very easy – a simple marinade of freshly squeezed orange juice, lime juice, a touch of olive oil, a dash of salt and pepper, some crushed fresh basil and a hint of brown sugar. Cook the chicken in a pan with a little marinade, add some rice and a salad, et voila – a healthy, flavorful meal!

“Wow!” they exclaimed over their dinner plates. “Mom can COOK!” That pleased me, so much so that I decided to cook the next day.

In my excitement to continue my cooking marathon, I posted a Facebook message asking friends for EASY recipes. A friend suggested I try her easy crock-pot pork BBQ recipe. Three ingredients: a pork tenderloin, a can of beer, a bottle of BBQ sauce. Easy peasy.

While verifying the precise steps with her over the phone, I plugged in the crock-pot, cut open the sleeve of the pork tenderloin, slid it into the pot, and grabbed a bottle of "beer" from the fridge. It looked like a dark beer so I thought that would mean more flavor.

“Oh yes, this IS easy,” I chatted away as I followed step two, drizzling the beer over the pork.

I placed the bottle in the recycling area and turned to place the lid on the crock-pot. The meat sure was sizzling quickly. Maybe I should turn it to low, I considered. Then, in just a few seconds, I noticed the beer flowing from the bottom of the pot, covering the kitchen counter.

“What’s happening?!” I exclaimed to my friend, with the quick realization that I had missed a step in this very simple process.

Place the ceramic pot IN the crock-pot before placing ingredients inside. This is precisely what I’m talking about. I’m not made for the kitchen!!

I quickly fixed the situation and all was well. The pork simmered and the house smelled delicious.

Upon my husband’s arrival from work, he inquired about my preparations, noting that the bottle I had selected was, as a matter of fact, not beer but a bottle of cider.

Oops. Note to self: Read the bottle before using it as an ingredient.

Thankfully it still tasted amazing once the tender pork was shredded and mixed with the BBQ sauce.

All that said, I’m still going strong and learning as I go. We won’t starve, and maybe I’ll find one or two more things that I’m good at.

tamarya September 26, 2012 at 04:59 PM
I stink in the kitchen, I have managed to screw up a boxed cake, french toast, pancakes, and if I actually make meat it goes in the crock pot so I know it is cooked enough to eat it. However this summer I mastered the ranch burgers a few times and meatloaf.
MS September 26, 2012 at 05:48 PM
We tend to find a ton of recipes on pinterest , but the other site I like is the pioneer woman site, she now has a cooking show, you might be able to find her shows online, those two sites are great for recipes.
Nicki September 26, 2012 at 09:54 PM
I love allrecipes.com! An added benefit of the site (aside from user reviews) is the ability to search by specific ingredients while simultaneously excluding other items you don't want. Tons of recipes there!
Jenae Holtzhafer September 27, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Great suggestions! I'd love to find some recipes with fresh veggies and not so much meat. I'm doing OK with crock-pot recipes now that I know to put the ceramic insert in first. :P But it seems that a lot of those recipes can be rich/heavy. We have LOTS of tomatoes on our plants right now. Any good tomato recipes? Or perhaps I'll attempt to make SAUCE! Imagine .... (a girl can dream)
Chris Routly September 27, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Have you seen "Julie & Julia"? There is a scene where Julie and her husband are devouring this tomato bruschetta, and although I was never a raw tomato fan it just looked so good I tracked down how to make it. My recipe is here: http://www.daddydoctrines.com/2010/08/20/foodie-friday-tomato-bruschetta-with-crispy-prosciutto/ Just pick up some really good bread at one of the amazing bakeries or farmer's markets around here.

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