Making Dinners

One thing I have never been good with is cooking dinner.  Until I met Ryan, I was pretty much living alone and on my own schedule which took me late until the night.  Not every dinner came from frozen, but many were the “healthier” prepackaged meals.  I still find it hard to cook for just one person, but I have gotten better.  Heck, it is still tough to cook for two people, but at least then I have leftovers for lunch during the week. 

When we first moved to the island, I was working very little and found that since I had time, it was easier to plan and cook our dinners.  That lasted for a little bit, but slowly died down.  Part of the problem is wanting to eat out because I have been writing a blog for the island that provides information on restaurants and activities around the island.  If you are interested, check it out HERE.  I love to experience the island and see their culture and enjoy their food before we don’t have that chance anymore.  Yes, I am making excuses, but I think there is some rational thinking somewhere in there.
In an effort to regroup with going back to school time and my new schedule with working, I decided to aim for cooking dinner twice per week.  I know so many of you do this so well every night, but this does not come easily to me.  The trouble is not that I can’t cook, it is that I don’t have time or patience.  I like to be doing multiple things at all times and keeping an eye on the food prevents me from doing this.  That is why I need to make a conscious decision to put down my work, stop what I am doing, and cook dinner.  Remember, I am a dietitian, so I actually do know all of the steps and advice for doing this, but it doesn’t make it any easier to stop doing work…that is just my personality.

I am pleased to announce that last week, I was successful, and made dinner twice.  The first was not 100% cooking, since I used a prepared item, but I added to it so it seemed like I was doing some work.
I started off with this black rice that my dad bought me.  I think it came from whole foods.
Then I wanted to try this spiced soybean dish.  My mom sent it to me, and it really looked so good.
I needed a veggie, so I was glad that I am a fan of frozen veggies.  Stocking up on frozen veggies means I always have vegetables on hand.  I picked green beans, and then sautéed them in a small amount of olive oil, added some pepper and then some green olive mustard.
In just about 30 minutes I made this lovely dinner.
The soy bean dish was really good.  I am glad my mom sent me another package.
Later that week we wanted some pizza for dinner.  After contemplating frozen, we decided it was not to tough to make it from scratch.  Since I knew I would be home early in the afternoon, I could handle getting the dough ready.
By the time Ryan came home from work, the dough was good to go.
I feel so silly, but I did not know that buffalo mozzarella is actually made from buffalo milk.  I always just thought it was called that for some other reason.  Well, maybe in the US it is, but this came from the commissary and one thing that is nice about our food coming in from Germany is that we get European products…and in this case, the mozzarella was from Italy, and it was really from buffalo milk, as I could see it on the food label.  Yes, I read the Italian label, but then I realized the had a GB (Great Britain) label on their, which is English, so I like to look for that on European foods.  It even had a smoky flavor, and I do not recall that with US buffalo mozzarella, so I am not sure…maybe their buffalo’s are different from those in the states.  Ok, I won’t bore you any more with the buffalo milk talk.
Instead of a sauce, we opted for sliced Roma tomatoes.
We also thought onions would be nice.  Our last topping was mushrooms, but we decided on canned.
Here is the dough, ready to go!
We put corn meal on the dough to prevent sticking and make it easier to slide off the stone and on to the peel.
I love the design (and mess) it makes once you pick the pan back up.
Let the topping layering begin…

#1 Tomatoes
#2 Cheese
#3 Onions
#4 Mushrooms
Then we baked it of course, and out came this very delicious, extremely fresh homemade pizza.
There you have it.  I made dinner twice last week.  I am going to try and stick with this as much as possible.  I hope I can, but things come up and I don’t want to make myself feel guilty if I can’t spend an hour or so on dinner.  I know some of you can make a fresh dinner in less time, but for me, I have to wash the dishes before and after, so it takes extra time.  Any dish that sits for more than 3 days will already have mold growing.  Don’t forget that I live in a very humid area.  The cabinets are mold and a film forms on just about everything.  So, I wash dishes first, and then right after we eat because there would be little room to keep them until the next day, and it would attract flies.

QUESTIONS:  Have many nights a week do you cook dinner?  What is your favorite mid-week dinner to prepare?  How much time, on average, do you spend a night on dinner?Have you ever lived anywhere with a mold problem?


Unknown said...

what a professional looking pizza! we usually cook about 3 nights a week, but make a ton so we eat a lot of leftovers. I like anything where all my ingredients are mixed together with pasta and red sauce. Like veggies and protein...all mixed in. nom nom nom. Quick and easy!

Mold? I hope not!

Special K said...

Dinner takes an HOUR. No doubt...I make fresh ones 4 times a week, and the next night have a "re-creation" with the night before.

Sorry my commenting might be spotty! I am in COLORADO for a conference right now and on a Whole Foods BINGE!

I've already purchased: Braggs, Protein Powder, cinnamon raisin peanut butter, cooking malt syrup, dried beans, fair trade coffee....cheese, yogurt, probiotics. What would you buy?

Emily said...

I think it's really admirable that you identified that cooking dinner = a weak spot and made a plan to strengthen your resolve to do it! Can you use a crock pot at all? Sometimes that helps speed things a long for me!

Kristen (swanky dietitian) said...

I think it is difficult to cook for one. Sometimes it is hard for me to justify why I should cook if its just for me. I would say that is one reason why I like blogging. It gives me a reason to cook!
I love frozen veggies in a quick pinch also. Depending on the meal, it can be anywhere from 20 min to an hour for dinner.

Gina; The Candid RD said...

Congrats on finishing two meals in one week! And better yet, two delicious meals. I love mushrooms on pizza. It's my favorite pizza topping. My second favorite? Tomato! So, save me a piece next time :)

I cook dinner every night, but it's never anything really elaborate. I usually spend about 10-15 minute son dinner. Yep, I'm fast! But simple is my motto.

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