I didn’t touch a stove until I was almost 30 years old. No, I’m not kidding. I obviously had lovely, spoiled early years. My parents cooked for me until I moved in with my now-husband, and then we mostly ordered out. Sometimes he cooked or we microwaved up some hot dogs. Frozen dinners were also a staple. Recipe? What’s a recipe?
This was the life of a twenty-something who didn’t care about chemicals or gaining 5,000 pounds, who had enough expendable income to eat delivery all the time, who lived with no burns on her wrists, no cuts on her fingers, and no dishes to clean. That was a very nice life.
I finally got sick of frozen dinners when my husband went out of town for two months. There’s only so much gray chicken and papery green beans a girl can take. I started out easy, Googling “How to Boil Eggs.” The first time I faced off with the gorgeous gas stove in our LA apartment and witnessed—nay—participated in raw chicken becoming edible, I felt proud. Especially when I didn’t die after eating it.
The problem is that I’ve never learned the basics of cooking. I’m not yet at the point where I can let myself go and experiment—like a good cook should—and I still haven’t figured out the difference between broiling and baking. So for me, it’s all about the recipe. I started gathering them up very early—starting with recipes from my childhood, and then moving on to the great big world of Google. When looking for new recipes, I would search “easy” and “healthy” and come up with billions of results. “One pan” was also a winner.
And that is how I became a recipe hoarder.
I currently have 277 recipes in my Pepperplate app. There are 70 additional pins on my “To Cook” board on Pinterest, and 15 more in my “Food” bookmarks folder in my browser. I also have countless dog-eared cookbooks in my kitchen. How many of these meals have I actually cooked, you ask? Well, I have about four repeats on rotation, plus cookies. That’s over 350 recipes rotting and collecting dust—over 350 recipes that I have hoarded.
I must be stopped.
Here’s the mission I have chosen to accept: I will cook the meals I haven’t looked at since pinning/posting/saving them. I will do this each week until I run out of recipes. I WILL NOT save another recipe during that time. If I find a saved recipe that I don’t think I’ll like or I don’t have the equipment for (say this one, for “Zoodles”), I will erase it. Gone. Done. Out of my life.
I started this last night with a Korean Beef Bowl recipe that took around 15 minutes to make. I halved the sugar and doubled the soy sauce. I used canola oil instead of sesame, since it’s what I had in the house, and I nixed the ginger for the same reason. I also used ground turkey and added broccoli—to make up for the brown sugar. If you’re not a fan of spice, I’d cut down on the red pepper flakes too.
So, week one is done. Next week, I’ll be doing a recipe I got from my mom:
Refrigerator Mashed Potatoes
- 5 lbs potatoes
- one 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 1/2 tsp onion salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Milk as needed
- Cook and drain potatoes (usually about 20 mins after full boil)
- Mash, add remaining ingredients.
- Beat until light and fluffy.
- Cover and place in refrigerator (up to 3 days)
- Bake at 350° for 30 minutes
I can tell you now that those potatoes will not be sitting in the refrigerator for long. These are meant for big parties, so you can prepare it ahead of time, but tooooo bad. I’ll be subbing greek yogurt for sour cream, but that cream cheese is staying in. I mean, I’m not a monk.
I know I said I wasn’t going to add any more recipes, but I will make an exception for you guys. Send me your favorite recipes and FEED MY HABIT! And my family!