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Need some cooking advice please, feeling very embarassed

(34 Posts)
veryembarassedbythis Tue 26-May-09 12:52:47

Am so embarassed by this i have name changed Would really appreciate some advice and ideas please if anyone has any to share

Growing up i was given a rather limited diet as my dad was a limited cook and rarely cooked with anything but mince beef! And consequently i have NO idea what to cook apart from these meals. Feel like a failure atm.

Meals we eat in the evening:

Shepard's pie
spag bol
roast dinner
sausage, mash and beans

Would really love some meal ideas. What do you cook for your family, would love any ideas to make our diet much more varied.

TheDevilWearsPenneys Tue 26-May-09 12:54:36

Jamies Olivers books would be a good starting point, his recipes are generally fairly simple.

claricebeansmum Tue 26-May-09 12:58:09

Chilli con carne
Toad in the hole
Chicken caesar salad
Fish goujons & chips
Homemade burgers
Roast chicken

I find the john lewis recipe website useful.

There is also a book with recipe plans for each month - Kitchen Revolution - for just this sort of thing!

Poledra Tue 26-May-09 12:59:40

This is a good book, there are simple quick recipes and then more complex ones. My children will eat pasta in any shape or form!

Have a look online too - the bbc have a food page with loads of recipes from the their programmes there.

AMumInScotland Tue 26-May-09 13:00:02

You can do lots of variations on stir-fried chicken - different types of vegetables and/or sauces, served with rice or pasta, or in tortillas or pitta bread.

Also stews and casseroles - though probably not so much now we have some hot weather. But again you can vary the type of meat and vegetables you use, and serve with dumplings, jacket potatoes or crusty bread.

And grilled meat - things like pork chops, or gammon steaks, which I like with jacket potatoes and cauliflower cheese.

TheProvincialLady Tue 26-May-09 13:01:19

If you cook those meals from scratch then you are already a perfectly competent cook and well ahead of most people in this countrysmile

Lasagne is another mince type meal but you can also spark it up a bit with some roasted vegetables (chop courgettes, aubergines, sweet potato, peppers and red onions, add olive oil and put in a very hot oven for as long as it takes to make them soft and slightly black around the edges)

How about stew and dumplings? Or real beefburgers (mincemeat, herbs, onion, egg)? Or lancashire hotpot? What kind of food do you like to eat if you go to a restaurant - traditional English food, Indian or something else?

I am vegetarian so if you want ideas for meat free meals, I'm yer gal!

MARGOsBeenDrinkingTea Tue 26-May-09 13:01:27

I don't think you need to be embarrassed about your range of cooking.

Now, if you'd have put;
pizza and oven chips
turkey twizzlers and beans
fishfinger sandwiches

I'd understand

veryembarassedbythis Tue 26-May-09 13:07:34

thanks for the book ideas and meal ideas

Feeling better now and not so much of a failure !

naomi83 Tue 26-May-09 14:38:14

Large sald with cheesy garlic bread? Can vary the salad depending by what leftovers and veg you have in the house. Roast veg is lovely with chicken or feta, and then just need to add lettuce and any other fresh veggies you have.

hf128219 Tue 26-May-09 14:39:26

Mary Berry is good too.

castlesintheair Tue 26-May-09 14:41:18

There's a monthly foodie magazine called 'Olive' that has loads of ideas including quick & easy suppers. I've been buying it recently on a friend's recommendation and have increased my repertoire enormously grin

Overmydeadbody Tue 26-May-09 15:19:18

I don't think you need to be embarrassed. I bet if you can cook things like all those in your list then you can cook anything. All you need is to start with some recipes and follow them to start with, then when you get the hang of cooking something new like sitr fried chicken for example, you can start experimenting with it and adapting it etc.

There are lots of variations of the meals you have listed, like chillie instead of spag bol, casseroles instead of roasts, other meat with the mash and beans, varying the veg, etc etc

How about fish pie? That's really easy to make and just involves mixing cooked fish (just white fish or a mix of white and smoked) with a white sauce, covering it with mashed potato and heating it in the oven like shepherd's pie.

KayCadburyButton Tue 26-May-09 15:28:50

a nice sweet and sour chicken stirfry is always nice.
you have the healthy white meat.
lots of lovly vegies.
and you can ajust it to your taste.

ProfYaffle Tue 26-May-09 15:39:49

Home made burgers is a good one to master. (basicallly a pack of mince and an egg plus any seasoning or grated veg you fancy. I add salt, pepper, garlic, mustard powder, grated onion and carrot) the basic mix can then be adapted to meatballs (with tomato sauce) and meatloaf (wrapped in bacon). All v popular with my dc smile

Agree that Jamie Oliver's book Ministry of Food is a great starting point.

gardeningmum05 Tue 26-May-09 15:48:56

i do the fish pie that overmydead.. suggested, and i add veg cut up really small in it as well.
i think jacket potato is a good starting point to a meal as well, goes with practically everything.

i spend as little time in the kitchen as possibe, lifes too short grin

MissisBoot Tue 26-May-09 15:52:12

have a look on there are lots of really good meal ideas on here and most are very simple as well.

BlingDreaming Tue 26-May-09 15:55:12

You're doing pretty well with what you've got.

I'd try some lighter meals - either pastas with simple sauces (tomatoe based or even just olive oil, bacon, mushrooms etc) or simply cooked meats and vegetables like lamb chops with a selection of steamed vegetables. Will add variety for taste and health purposes.

if you like salads, try some of those too - they're really flexible and can be very tasty.

Here's a very easy, very tasty pasta recipe you could try:

Halve large tomatoes or prick cherry tomatoes and lay tightly in a dish. Add approximately 1 tbls olive oil per person you're making for. Pop in the oven at abou 160 for approximately 40 - 60 minutes - when the tomotoes start to go squishy they're almost ready.

Cook pasta according to packet instructions - I think penne works well.

Then add pesto to taste to the pasta and then the tomatoes and then top with feta/goats cheese and chunks of avocado.

Delicious. easy. Different to what you've done before but still very filling and satisfying.

BlingDreaming Tue 26-May-09 15:55:48

Also - what do you eat when you go out. If you post that here, I bet people could offer you easy recipes that are similar for you to make at home.

FabulousBakerGirl Tue 26-May-09 15:58:11

Is all about confidence.

When I was 21 I had to wean the baby (I was a nanny) and had no clue what to do. I bought a child's recips book and off I went. I am a much more confident cook now, 16 years later shock, have far too many recipe books, and feel if you can read, you can cook.

Good luck.

Overmydeadbody Tue 26-May-09 16:48:00

FBG is right, it is all about confidence, and I'd add experience too. Something may seem daunting the first time you make it, but by the tenth time it isn't so daunting any more, because it is familiar.

I'd also recommend making home-made pizzas. Really easy and everyoine loves pizza!

I make pizza once a week. I make the dough in the morning, have tomato sauce in the freezer that I cook up in big batches about once every three months and freeze in ice cube trays so all I have to do is defrost enough cubes for that day, then just roll out and assemble about twenty minutes before we actually want to eat.

Practically any toppings can be added really quickly, and as long as you're not feeding an army you can make individual pizzas for each person, nice and thin, with whatever topping each person wants on it. I started by adding the same toppings as I would order in a pizzeria. They are so muh better than bought ready-made pizzas and firly cheap to make too.

Overmydeadbody Tue 26-May-09 16:53:45

pizza dough:

500g plain white flour

15g or 2 sachets od instant dried yeast

1 tspn sugar or honey

300ml of luke-warm water (about)

2 tspn salt

Disolve the yeast, sugar or honey in the water. Add it to the flour and salt and knead till you have a soft ball of dough. You may need to adjust the water or flour to get it right, as different flours absorb different amounts of water. Once it's kneaded and elastic you can leave it in a large bowl, covered, until ready to use.

I tend to roll out my pizzas in advance and let them rise for anything from half and hour to an hour, but this step can be left out, especially if you like a nice thin crust.

Spread with your favourite toppings and pop in a really hot oven until the cheese is melted and golden (anything form ten to twenty minutes)

WorzselMummage Tue 26-May-09 16:57:05

I'll second the Jamie Oliver Ministry of Food book.

It's really

You sound like your doing really well already though.. there is absolutly nothing wrong with shepards pie.. we eat it loads !

WorzselMummage Tue 26-May-09 16:57:36

oh bugger..

It's really GOOD !

gardeningmum05 Tue 26-May-09 17:00:19

pancake gateau..lovely, but not very low fat blush

ready make 4 pancakes.
start with one pancake on the bottom,cover with sliced tomatoes,then another pancake,then a layer of spring onions, then another pancake, a layer of cottage cheese and top with another pancake. just before cooking pour over some double cream. bake in the oven roughly half an hour.
great with crusty bread, a nice summer dish, but like i said not exactly low fat blush

Sidge Tue 26-May-09 17:02:20

Cheesy chicken with mustard:

Take chicken breasts and make a cut in the sie of each one to make a pocket. Put some cheese in the pocket (I use the squares of Boursin, but you can use anything really).

Bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the breasts.

Mix a generous teaspoon of mustard with a pot of cream (I find a 300ml pot does 4 big chicken breasts) then pour over the chicken. Return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes.

Not exactly low cal but very yummy and really easy!

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