Monday, March 14, 2011

I Thought I Knew How To Cook

Trying to change from eating habits that are bad for ones health to those that are good for ones health isn't easy. Healthy cooking is labor intensive and time consuming. I have to work for a living so I need recipes that can cook quickly so I'm not in the kitchen still trying to create a healthy meal when it's bedtime. I have yet to find a 30 minute meal that one can cook from whole foods. Actually I have, but Hubby won't eat it.

The philosophy behind the Whole Food movement is that food in it's natural state is better for you. It's nutrient dense and doesn't have any preservatives added. Of course, organic is preferred. I can't always afford that so I'm trying to do the best I can with the fresh produce I find at the grocers.

I was doing really well with it until I decided to make a pot of Chili for supper. Since one can't use canned goods in a whole food meal, this means I must cook my own whole tomatoes and kidney beans from a dried state.

The process of cooking tomatoes means you have to skin them by boiling them in hot water until they start to split and then plunge them into ice water which will make the skin loose. Once they're skinned, out comes the food mill so you can crush them up and remove the seeds.

One needs to do twice the amount of tomatoes because they will cook down and if I'm needing say 1 quart, I need a lot of tomatoes. Two to three hours later I have a big pot of crushed, uncooked tomatoes and it's time to clean the kitchen because this process is really, really messy.

One pound of kidney beans had been put to soaking the night before so while I was mucking about with the tomatoes, the beans had been cooking on the stove. They were ready, the tomatoes still needed to cook down. Another hour at least if not more.

Put the tomatoes on the burner, start cleaning up the mess and by now I really, really need to go sit down. The tomatoes hadn't cooked down much so I went and plunked my bottom down in front of the computer. After checking the simmering tomatoes and figuring out that they weren't cooking down very much I looked at the flame under the pot. There wasn't one, I'd run out of LP in the gas bottle.

It was now 3 pm on a Saturday afternoon, I'd been working on this pot of chili since 11 in the morning. I'm tired, I'm hungry and I don't have a redolent pot of chili simmering on the stove which means I have nothing cooking for supper.

Hubby strapped the 80 pound tank into his pickup to go get it filled. I put the tomatoes and kidney beans in containers in the fridge. Hubby got home just before 5 with my LP gas for the kitchen range and a pizza. I can eat that, it's got peppers and mushrooms on it.

The chili was finished off the next day. Cooking it healthy meant I shouldn't use beef. Hubby won't eat it without beef so I used half beef and half ground turkey. He was satisfied and I made a decision.

There are just some things that I will continue to use canned food for. I figured out that I spent close to 8 hours cooking that pot of chili, imagine what it would be like to do a pot of spaghetti sauce this way? I don't even want to think about that.


  1. Sherry:

    I always try to cook everything from scratch but sometimes usually due to time constraints canned foods are hard to avoid. I like to throw it all in a crock pot and let er rip. I think the next time I do chili, I'm going to try that half beef/half turkey idea of yours.

  2. Scratchy, it's going to be a safe bet that I'm not going to be cooking 100% whole foods. I've done chili using 100% ground turkey and it didn't have the flavor I want. The half and half method preserved the beef flavor and cut the fat more.

    I have managed to get Hubby to eat the Jennie-O Turkey Burgers. Obviously not the same as a beef burger, but it is a nice taste change.

  3. While my wife cooks from scratch sometimes, I don't think I ever had, other than cooking pasta with tomato sauce from jar, or cooking meat (plain turkey baked, or baked chicken with paprika sprinkled on top. The recipe thing always seemed complicated, and it reminded me of doing the home repair thing where you start a simple job and end up making three trips to the hardware store. I'd be making multiple trips to the food store, and I don't wanna spend a lot of time on that.

  4. Woo-wee, Sherry.

    I know I would've gave up and cracked open a can of tomatoes pro'lly about an hour into the process.


  5. Sherry, Hey, I made it over here. Cooking, I wish everyone did more home cooking, it's pretty fun I think. I worked in a restaurant in Germany not to far from Luxembourg and France. German dishes mostly but some French to. Since I got use to doing lots of things fast in the kitchen it was not a problem to cook all the time. Well I have lost the highspeed kitchen ability now, but I still love to cook. We do all the whole grain and fresh types and organic, dried beans, meat almost every day but in very small amounts. Keep at it Sherry. I find the best thing to keep inspired is to keep the kitchen clean. As soon as I finish a meal I jump to the clean up mode, in a few minutes the kitchen looks like it was never used and we had a good meal, now relax.

  6. Sherry:

    It sounds like you are cooking the way my mother used to prepare our meals. Time consuming but delicious.

  7. Skinny,

    In the future, I will use the canned tomatoes. However, I must say the kidney beans were an improvement over the canned so that part will stay.

  8. Paul,

    It takes time, patience and more time. LOL.

    I would have had it done the first day if the LP gas hadn't run out.

  9. YF,

    Glad to see ya!

    I've always done some things from scratch. When I was home most of it was, but it was all comfort foods so that isn't quite the same.

    The problem is I'm needing to find a way to do all of it in a day and a half and have it prepared for reheating during the week. I'm not normally home much before 4:30. I had a cancellation today. I'm liking this early hour. gives me more time to experiment. If I don't waste it on the computer. ROFL

  10. I've never used a lot of convenience foods, but I've never tried to make my own crushed tomatoes for anything before either. I'm going to have to stick with the cans, that takes too much effort.

    My freezer has never been full of frozen dinners, except those I make myself. Unfortunately I work Saturday mornings too, so it only gives me a day and a half to precook what I need for the week. I haven't hit on the best schedule yet.