What's Cooking? [A hopefully weekly series]

Cooking hasn't been something I've excelled at. Growing up, I would help my mom or dad in the kitchen, but I was always the one volunteering to help bake cookies over casseroles. Even when I got to grad school, I stuck with my reliable grilled cheese sandwich and moved into the world of Clif Bars. I made lots of excuses about lack of time and was also lucky to know a couple of good cooks during my years in grad school. They feed me and I provided lots of baked goods.

However, now that I have a full time job, a new place, and far more spare time than I sometimes feel comfortable with, I see "ACCOMPLISH COOKING" as a goal looming in front of my face.

Learn. Learn it now. The tiny voice in my head tells me.

Okay okay, I respond.

So I did what any good librarian would do. I went to the library and checked out some books. And then as if she knew, a very good friend of mine gifted me a Joy of Cooking cookbook. I have no excuses know.

And so I cook.

I hope that this will be a weekly series, where I'll show off my slowly-but-surely cooking skills. In some ways, it will hold me accountable to actually cook (and to blog). I'll try to post my cooking adventures sometime each weekend. My current plan is to make something with enough leftovers to hold me for a week or so. But we'll see.

Now I guess the next question is: "What have you cooked Hailley?" Good question and yes, I have cooked up a few things.

Last week was a Fargo family favorite (or at least a favorite of mine): Beef and Bean Roundup. While I don't have a picture of the dish, it was just as delicious as I remember. This casserole reminds me of mom a lot -- she was a great cook and knew how to make an excellent casserole (a staple of ours when our family was at our busiest).

Yesterday, I broke out my crock pot and tried making Tomatillo Chicken Soft Tacos (taken from the Slow Cooker Revolution Volume II). It didn't turn out exactly how I expected but that's part of the adventure.

The slower cooker book ( find it here on Amazon ).

The slower cooker book (find it here on Amazon).

My creation after many hours of slow cooking.

My creation after many hours of slow cooking.

I also dabbled in my wheelhouse: oatmeal and desserts of sorts. I had also checked out Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant. She had lots of good recipes I hope to try. The first one I took a shot at was Baked Raspberry Oatmeal. Now I do love oatmeal (enough for its own blog post I believe) so I was skeptical. However it's not bad but definitely needs to be mixed with something to give it a needed kick.

The final product with a corner taken out (the test piece of course)

The final product with a corner taken out (the test piece of course)

Not bad for a newbie? I'll keep working and trying to enjoy cooking. Now that I have the time and space, I'm ready to hone my skills. Check back next week to see what's cooking!