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It's taken me ages to post this, but I really need some help

(75 Posts)
Flgihtattendant Wed 22-Jul-09 21:52:03

Sorry to sound like an eejit

but I have NO idea when it coems to cooking.

It's been Ok all year, ds has had school dinners so just a sandwich after school plus fruit, etc has been Ok.

However. It's the hols, ds2 is slowly weaning off the breast and starting to eat proper food - atm I can give him some of my supper, but ds1 really needs feeding properly.

I have a history of eating disorder - ie I find it v v difficult to think about food, buy it, prepare it, or, well, eat it - I manage for me but only with the help of frquent shop-bought sandwiches, frozen pizzas, ready meals and chocolate so on. blush This isn't good enough for the kids, obv.

Please can anyone offer any ideas - I'm not averse to making stuff, but have genuinely NO idea how and every recipe book I've bought has a huge list of fiddly little ingredients and I just can't cope.

I need simple, REALLY simple meal ideas - I can make fish fingers, baked potatoes, can't do mash as I don't know how blushblush and I know how to boil pasta, usually add peas to that, but then no idea what to use for sauce.

I made the first dinner of the hols last night, using quorn mince (frozen) as I am mainly veggie and don't trust myself with raw meat cooking - simmered it after frying in olive oil, with some carrots and greens and a tin of chopped tomatoes. I liked it, but the veg was almost raw and ds didn't like the quorn.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed and please don't laugh at me - I know it's about time I learned.
Thanks xxxx

MarthaFarquhar Wed 22-Jul-09 21:55:39

do you mind eating meat? roasting a chicken is honestly one of the easiest routes to Proper Dinners.

Flgihtattendant Wed 22-Jul-09 21:55:49

Just how to make macaroni cheese sauce would be good. If I can plan maybe 5-7 different meals, and have the same every week it'll be Ok.

mankyscotslass Wed 22-Jul-09 21:56:19

Flight, will try to post tomorrow.

I was you!!!

Still not a good cook, but learning. I love Jamies Ministry of food, so easy, and a revelation, honestly. Dead simple, few ingredients, good place to start.

I will try to post some of them in the morning (1st day of holidays permitting)

Flgihtattendant Wed 22-Jul-09 21:56:38

Sorry x posts

Yes thought about chicken, how do you store it once it's cooked - not too keen on re heating tbh, but yes, would eat if free range smile

Flgihtattendant Wed 22-Jul-09 21:57:11

Thanks Manky smile

MarthaFarquhar Wed 22-Jul-09 22:00:45

Cool. A supermarket free range chicken will have cooking times and temps on.
Just pop some salt and pepper on the skin before you cook it.

We keep chicken in the fridge for a good 4 days afterwards - can serve leftovers with baked potatoes and pickles.

MarthaFarquhar Wed 22-Jul-09 22:00:49

Cool. A supermarket free range chicken will have cooking times and temps on.
Just pop some salt and pepper on the skin before you cook it.

We keep chicken in the fridge for a good 4 days afterwards - can serve leftovers with baked potatoes and pickles.

BikeRunSki Wed 22-Jul-09 22:01:49

My DH was you!
Try this book - Cooking for Blokes - decent food, broken down into simple steps, simple shopping lists, tell you what utensils you need, how long it'll take and so on.

Flgihtattendant Wed 22-Jul-09 22:02:49

Ah now that is good smile

The cooking times thing, though - I have cooked chicken before, but never know if it is done - it still looks pink in the middle sometimes, though juices clear etc and most of it is white. Does that mean it isn't cooked properly? I usually end up throwing away anything apart from what we eat immediately as I'm afraid of poisoning us all!

Flgihtattendant Wed 22-Jul-09 22:03:35

Thanks also Bikerun! Will take a look. smile

Thanks for not giggling at me folks.

wrinklytum Wed 22-Jul-09 22:04:16

Pasta with most things is really quick and easy.

If I am in a real rush and want a quick snack for the dcs I usually do pasta and add a dollop of pesto and grated cheese.Pasta with cream cheese,chopped up ham and spinach,pasta with tuna mayo and sweetcorn,pasta with "Hidden veg" sauce (blitztogether cooked courgette,aubergine,onion,garlic etc with some tinned toms,you can freeze it in small portions and defrost and add to pasta)

Risotto also quick and easy veggie one - boil rice,add veggie stock cube to water.Meanwhile peel and chop onion finely and fry gently,add mushrooms,peas,sweetcorn,diced courgette.Add chppoed tinned tomatoes,season.Mix it all together,add boiled rice..Put in oven for about 20 mins at 200.

Another easy and fav veg one.Ratatouille.

Chop up onion finely and fry,add chopped up pepper,chopped up courgettes,diced aubergine and tin or 2 of chopped tomatoes and garlic cloves 2-3.Leave to simmer for about half and hour.Serve with crusty bread.

BecauseImWorthIt Wed 22-Jul-09 22:06:40

To make mashed potato:

1 large potato per person

Peel potatoes and cut into chunks roughly an inch square.

Boil a large pan of water and add about a teaspoon of salt.

Add potatoes and boil for around 20 minutes, until they feel soft if you pierce them with a knife.

Drain potatoes in a colander/sieve, then return to the pan. Add a large knob of butter, lots of salt and pepper and a splash of milk, then mash - I assume you have a masher? The best way, IMO, is to use a potato ricer, but if you haven't got one of these an ordinary masher is fine. Or you can use a hand blender, just go easy so that you don't turn it into gluey gloop!

MarthaFarquhar Wed 22-Jul-09 22:06:45

Chicken will be slightly pink close to the bones. This is known as dark meat, and IMVHO is much tastier than the white breast meat. the cooking times on the wrappers err on the side of caution so you really should be fine, but you're right, the juices should run clear.

notnowbernard Wed 22-Jul-09 22:07:48

Fair play to you for tackling what must be a sensitive situation for you

What about something REALLY simple to start...

Like pasta with shop-bought pesto sauce?

If this feels easy and safe enough you could adapt it by adding additional ingredients - some fried onion and bacon, or some other chopped veg for example

DesperateHousewifeToo Wed 22-Jul-09 22:08:03

Have you looked on the recipe section on here?

I've started doing a very easy pasta dish with leeks, bacon and mushrooms then all mixed with philadelphia or creme fraiche that is loosely based on someting I saw on there.

Kids hate it but dh eats it!

Are there any evening classes you could do locally that would show you some basic cooking?

Or any good friends that cook something good and you could ask them how they do it?

Flgihtattendant Wed 22-Jul-09 22:09:11

Thanks Wrinkly, those are great. With the pesto, how do you make/buy that - I'm not sure what it is exactly. I think I need to hire Jamie to come to the shops with me like in the ads blush

Can you just add those things tot he pasta after it's cooked, or do you need to cook them with it somehow?

I will try the ratatouille thing, and start having nice bread as the usual sliced nonsense isn't going to taste very nice as part of a meal.

My mum never taught me to cook much, and school was always just awful puddings or eggs mornay <blee>

HuwEdwards Wed 22-Jul-09 22:10:04


For you and DS1, crack and beat 2 eggs. Melt some butter in a frying pan and throw in a couple of sliced mushrooms/tomatoes. Fry for 3/4 mins then throw in the eggs- this can have half a small tim of sweetcorn added, if toms and mushrooms aren't liked.

Let it cook on a medium heat for a few mins and use a spatula to drag in the mixture from the edges - this way it will cook quicker.

If it's still a bit runny on the top, stick the pan under a hot grill till toasty on top.


HuwEdwards Wed 22-Jul-09 22:10:56

oh yes, and adding a handful of grated cheese is nice too.

muffle Wed 22-Jul-09 22:11:44

You're along the right lines with your quorn recpe, it's just a matter of getting used to timings, for example knowing that if you put carrots in it will have to simmer for a good long time - whereas you could use mange tout or mushrooms and it would be much quicker.

The basic onion/tomato sauce will get you a long way so you can start with that:

- chop one normal or two small onions, after removing the skin and a good chunk of each end. Fry on low heat in about a tablespoon of olive oil, with pan lid on, for 5-10 mins. At this stage you can also add garlic (I use squeezy garlic puree in a tube, much easier) and dried herbs eg oregano and basil for italian-style recipes, thyme for english)
- now add in a tin or carton of chopped tomatoes, plus a squirt of tomato puree, splash of worcester sauce, bit of salt and pepper and a teaspoon of sugar, a sprinkling of stock powder, and a splash of red wine (optional; if not using wine add a bit of water). Simmer for 10-20 mins, stir occasionally.
- at the same time as the tomatoes you can add chopped mushrooms, peppers, mange tout etc or courgettes and they will cook quickly. If you add carrots add an extra 10 mins cooking time.

Now you have your basic sauce here are things you can do with it:

- great as a pasta sauce, or on baked potatoes, topped with cheese, or put fish or chicken (or quorn fillets) in an oven dish and pour the sauce over, then bake for 30 mins (and test to make sure cooked through)
- for spag bol, add meat or quorn mince after the onions are done, but before the tomato stage. Stir and break up the mince till it's cooked, about 10 mins, then add the tomatoes etc.
- for pizza, get plain pizza bases and spread sauce on, then add toppings and cheese, bake on high for 10-15 mins (you can make pizza dough quite easily, look for pizza dough mix)
- for cottage/shepherd's pie, add the mince as with spag bol, use minimal liquid so it's not too sloppy, then out into casserole dish and top with mashed potato (boil pots till soft, mash, add teacupful of milk, tablespoon of butter and tablesoon of mayo, mash)
- for chilli, add mince as for spag bol, then add chopped peppers and a tin of drained kidney beans along with the tomatoes, and add a little chilli powder
- another great variation is to stir in a large cupful of green lentils along with tho tomatoes and veg, add extra water (and top up if necessary), and simmer till lentils are swollen and soft. Lovely on its own or use to make a shepherd's pie type thing, or serve with fish that's simply fried, or poached in milk a frying pan with lid on.

This is just one strand of cooking but I use it a lot. Also have a look at cookery books and see if you can find a very basic helpful one. I love Nigel Slater as he has a lot of very simple stuff and very friendly, slapdash style - you might like Real Food or Real Cooking.

MARGOsBeenDrinkingTea Wed 22-Jul-09 22:12:07

How about getting a slow cooker?

Quite a few of the recipes tell you to throw in all of the ingredients and leave for 3 hours +.

notnowbernard Wed 22-Jul-09 22:12:54

Jacket potato

Bake in oven for about an hour (or until soft in middle when poked with knife)

Add butter and whatever topping - cheese, beans, tuna mayo, egg mayo, prawns and mayo

Bit of salad on the side and it's a dead easy meal smile

Flgihtattendant Wed 22-Jul-09 22:13:55

Oh you lot are lovely, I feel better already.

It is a good idea to do a course, I'm kind of resistant to the idea but tbh 7 weeks of cooking every day is terrifying...I've survived for years on shop bought stuff, I adore salad and different types of them (ie with pasta, and so on) but every time I've tried to make it I fail, so eat rubbish instead. I've often wished I had a dh just to cook simple stuff, I am happy to mend things and DIY and put the bins out, all that is easy to me - but cooking is my nemesis.

Tonight I made macaroni from the freezer, the boys wanted some so they had it between them - I ended up having some crisps. Rubbish isn't it.

I'm backed up against a wall now - this is it. I have no choice. smile cook or die!!!!

Thankyou so much for these ideas, I am reading avidly.

wrinklytum Wed 22-Jul-09 22:14:29

I buy pesto (Dont have time or inclination to make it).

It is basil/pine nut/olive oil and parmesan blitzed into a paste.

I buy the cheap stuff from tescos,it is about 99p.You just dollop a few spoonfuls onto cooked drained pasta and stir it around.Then I grate cheese on it.You can buy posher versions from a deli though.

Flgihtattendant Wed 22-Jul-09 22:17:13

Funny how getting over the fear, is the main thing, and once that's faced it all becomes very interesting.

I have got Nigel Slater ook as he is lovely chap, but have never even opened it...sad

I think I'll start with some of these ideas, then maybe books later.

Thankyou...really, really thankyou smile

I am going to make a shopping list.

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