As I write this final post for my ECMP 355 course I am becoming quite sad. I truly enjoyed this class for a few reasons: there was a great teacher, the subject area was of great interest and use to me, and finally that I got to take time to learn something I have learned to love.
Before this class I was a classic student; I ate a lot of ramen and kraft dinner and as a server I also ate a lot of food from work. When I would cook it was extremely simple and I followed a recipe quite strictly. I have enjoyed baking for a long time; when baking you must follow the recipe diligently to receive a perfect product.
Over the course of this semester, on top of learning more about technology and education, I learned how to cook proper meals. This was quite the undertaking as I tend to be broke most of the time and don’t have a lot of spare time. I believed that cooking well meant you needed the best ingredients and that it would involve slaving away in a kitchen all day. I was so pleased when my first cooking endeavor took less than two hours. My first post was lemon honey chicken and asparagus and hassle back potatoes. This was a delicious meal that was not overly expensive and tasted very good. I then followed it with my barbeque challenge. Later on, I tried pan-frying a marinated steak with a broccoli cheddar twice baked potato. My next endeavor involved collaborating with a fellow classmate, Tanya. She and I made a peach and basil pizza vegan style; her learnnig project was to learn how to cook vegan. Each of these required less than 50 dollars, gave me two servings and was delicious.
I loved using Pinterest to find new exciting things to cook. At this point I began to feel more comfortable in the kitchen, I started stocking up on groceries and cooking more often for myself. I even made my own homemade hamburger helper, it was quite good to be honest, but needed more cheese. My last two posts were focused on creating casserole-like meals which I could portion and use for lunches for more time. Part of my reasoning for choosing cooking was so I would feel more comfortable, but also so I would start eating better food and taking better care of myself. Learning to make the cottage pie and the lasagna were two of my biggest cooking accomplishments thus far. I learned how to make bulk meals that tasted good, were broke student friendly and would last a long time. I am so glad I was able to take this time to learn the art of cooking so I might continue on my own. I will continue to use Pinterest and hopefully keep updating my blog so you can continue to follow my journey as I attempt to further my love and skills in the art of cooking.
So last week I started to explain my love for cheese. This adoration began with my mother and grandmothers cooking. Some of the staples of my household included macaroni and cheese with hotdogs, lasagna, pork chops with apple sauce, letcho (but it was my grandfather’s recipe from Hungary which had some specific changes to the regular) there was also a variety of other meals that varied constantly. We were also big fans of going out and eating out. I remember going out every Tuesday because my grandmother loved toonie Tuesday at KFC. Part of me has come to realize that the reason I eat out all the time is that I never really learned to cook a meal. My family was never one to cook a turkey for thanksgiving, and when my family cooked they never asked my sister and I to help or watch. This is the backbone of my lack of knowledge in the food world.
This learning project helped me realize how fun cooking can be, and also how much I love cheese. Look at the recipes I have cooked; the twice baked potato with broccoli and cheese, the cottage pie, hassleback potatoes and peach pizza with homemade vegan mozzarella. Every post I have done involved cheese in some way, except my barbeque challenge. This lasagna was a masterpiece of cheese so let’s start right at the start of the wheel. I began by finding a recipe that was simple but looked delicious, and found this one! I also knew I wanted to do a garlic cheese toast because well yummy! Who doesn’t love some toast to soak up and sauce and juice left from the main course? This recipe required many ingredients so I made a trip to the grocery store and found all I needed.
The recipe started out easily enough the noodles I got heat in the oven so that saved me a step. I started by browning some chopped onion and some fresh minced garlic in a pan. I also started cooking the ground beef and then added the onion mixture to the same pan. After it was all cooked I drained it.
I also had to mix up some tomato paste, sauce and a few other ingredients to make my lasagna meat sauce.
Next step was to begin layering the lasagna, I didn’t realize the pans I got were too small so I had to adjust and make two lasagnas which made this even more challenging. I started by greasing the pans and adding the first layer of meat sauce, followed by the noodles. I then added the cottage cheese, the mozzarella and a tex mex mixed shredded cheese (my own little touch). The layers continued one more time and then off to the second pan repeating the same sequence.
I put those in the oven and then went to the bread. I started by softening some salted butter with garlic and smothering it on to my French loaf which I cut in half lengthwise horizontally. I then cooked that for a short time and added the cheese. Because I made two lasagnas I used all the mozzarella so I only used the tex mex. I then replaced it into the oven. Finally I was able to remove first the bread, and later on the lasagna. Let it be known that it was delicious! Stay tuned for my next cooking adventure!