The Slow-Learning Chef


That’s me!  Growing up, my mom preferred having the kitchen to herself.  As a result (and tomboyish lack of interest), learning the art of cooking took me quite awhile.  In fact, I’m still learning!

Memories of bad results pour from my mind over the years.  My dad’s bewildered and entirely amused comments about how I managed to screw up box mac-n-cheese while staying with him (it all stuck together in one solid chunk).  A manager forcing me to start the spaghetti at one of my first jobs even though all the managers knew, if it wasn’t something I had to just throw in the oven, I’d find some way to mess it up.  “Who can’t cook spaghetti?!  That’s just an excuse and we have no time.  Make the spaghetti!”

Well, she got in trouble for that one.  I made the spaghetti.  I told myself…I can make mac-n-cheese (in a small pot, not a huge metal cauldron!).  Somehow I screwed that up and it was just like my pre-teen disaster with mac-n-cheese multiplied by about a thousand.  There were no chili-macs at Steak-n-Shake that day.  Removing the ball of starched together spaghetti was NOT fun.

Then I met some people who consistently shoved me down the respect totem pole in several areas.  Despite making a stew everyone (including myself) found absolutely heavenly a few years prior, I bought it.  Constantly repeated statements about how horrible and hopeless (or at least mediocre) a cook I was, complete with mocking laughter tends to do that to a person.

I only recently began trying again with my husband’s support (I love him so much, he’s been such a blessing for my self-esteem in all areas).  Thanks to him I stopped saying “I’m a horrible cook” too.  Our own verbal confirmations can do as much damage as those shoved at us from others.

So, one of my recent creations, and possibly the one I’m most proud of:

Potato Veggie Dish
My husband and I absolutely LOVE this dish.  After joining Lose It! (if you haven’t joined it and want to, please comment or email me the email you want to join with, I get a badge for referrals ^_^ )  I found cause for more pride in my recipe.  I make a total of six servings and one serving stuffs me full at dinner with only 350 calories (Wow!  Most clear illustration ever tasted that veggie calories are more filling than junk).

A few people recently asked me for the recipe, so…yeah this entire post is an excuse to share the recipe and tie it in with my Memory Monday theme.


Screen-cap of the recipe off Lose It! 'cause I'm lazy that way (and hope they won't mind).   Edited for added red notes when the servings/prep on my Lose It recipe weren't clear.

Screen-cap of the recipe off Lose It! ’cause I’m lazy that way (and hope they won’t mind).
Edited for added red notes when the servings/prep on my Lose It recipe weren’t clear.

The calorie count at the top is for the entire large bowl of ingredients (6 servings).  The picture of my lunch is about half a serving.

Basically, most ingredients are finely shredded (especially broccoli since I hate the texture).  I also like my carrots thoroughly cooked (rather than crisp), so the potatoes are in the largest chunks (4-6 chunks per potato).  This is so they don’t turn into mashed potatoes after all the cooking, stirring, and shaking I do.  Spices and smaller-piece ingredients go on top.  Then I pour in about 1/4 cup hot water (just from the tap), in small amounts to provide some initial “steam” juice for the vegetables I used from my freezer stock, and to more evenly distribute some of the spices on top.

Now, my oven and crock pot are out of commission.  So, I created this meal with the microwave.  I put the bowl in without a lid, and cook on high for 5 minutes.  Pull it out, try to break up iced vegetable chunks some more, and see if I can close the lid yet.  If I can, I close the lid and hold it over the sink with thick oven mitts on and shake the whole bowl, turning it upside down and shaking it a little.

Back in for five minutes.  Next time it’s out, the fluffier vegetables have usually cooked down enough that I have enough room to stir them up now.  Stir, close lid, shake over sink again, including turning upside down.  Back in for 5 minutes.  Repeat until thoroughly cooked.

I keep neglecting accurate time-keeping for this, but last time it took me two hours to do a bunch of dishes, chop all the vegetables up from fresh (I depleted my frozen stores), walk back and forth to note the exact amounts of everything I was putting in (before I just dumped stuff in), and then cook it in 5-minute increments.  I think I finished the cooking part in 30-45 minutes.

Sometimes I have no potatoes in the left overs but a bunch of the shredded and blended vegetables at the bottom.  In this case, I love adding it to a few cups of rice or a chicken noodle dish for other lunches/dinners.

Since I am such a “slow-learning chef,”  I’m sure many better ways exist for making this.  This is my way, it is tasty, and it feeds my family one very healthy dinner my husband and I love (and my son tolerates), and usually feeds me for 2-3 lunches after.

Now for lunch!  Yum!

About Saronai

I'm an eclectic amalgam of confusingly combined oddities. PS If I liked your post it means I really liked your post. You don't have to visit back, but it would be nice. Either way, I read it because I wanted to and liked it because I did. I don't do the fake like for returns thing :)
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4 Responses to The Slow-Learning Chef

  1. Marilyn Steben says:

    Thanks so much for posting this recipe. It looks and sounds delicious and I believe I will try it soon.

    • Saronai says:

      No problem, it’s an unexpected pleasure to share a recipe of my very own.

      I hope my instructions were clear enough that yours turns out as awesome (or better) than mine when you try it out.

  2. Fox says:

    I never had a good knowledge of cooking either, though I can never beat the killer brownie incident. I didn’t make it, but I was a witness.

    It’s a kids’ book, but you should check out the first Peewee Scouts book. They make the worst cookies ever. They do crazy things like use root beer instead of baking soda. It’s cute. It reminds me of the days of my own cooking disasters, and my apparent inability to make Jell-O!

    • Saronai says:

      Sounds cute. One thing I have learned are that failed experiments like that are necessary.

      I remember a younger class from our church’s program for girls made powdered donuts from scratch but used a jar of sweet-n-low instead. Oh my those were so nasty. The reactions hurt their feelings until they tasted their own work lol.

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