The Sad Story of One Backslidden Cook

Hello friends!  

So Amanda and I have been reminiscing about my cooking days as though they were ages ago. Um, it was only a year ago that I was flipping out gourmet fruit tarts like I was the Barefoot Contessa.  Let’s just say that apparently my passion for cooking faded quickly.   I went from thinking about cooking every second of the day to loathing going to the grocery store altogether.  Not sure how that happened.  But it did.  Maybe it was a temporary newlywed high. Or maybe it had a little something to do with cooking on a tight budget.  I started planning my meals and it really became a chore to cook.  I’m not sure what happened but I just know it happened. 
Has this ever happened to you? Is there any hope for a cooking revival for me or am I done for…?  Maybe considering my familial history (a.k.a. my Mom), cooking is just not in my destiny.  Perhaps it was only a fool’s hope that cooking would really stay dear to my heart.
To make matters worse, I really don’t like cooking in the summer.  I prefer making winter meals because I love the warmth of the oven on a cool day.  All this to say, I am in a full on cooking crisis.  I have one and only one recipe that I really like right now and I thought you might, too.  It is wonderful for a warm day.  When we make it I try and make extra because it lasts so well throughout the week.  It pairs great with basic Turkey Burgers, if you are a Turkey Burger fan.  
So here it goes, my one little recipe just for you.  This is pretty much the only thing I’ve made in the past two months.  I wish I were exaggerating.  Please don’t judge me.
Couscous with Spiced Zucchini
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plain couscous
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 lb zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (crucial to the recipe, don’t leave it out)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Bring broth with 1/4 teaspoon salt just to a boil in a small saucepan, then pour over couscous in a bowl and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside until ready to use.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion with 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and sauté, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add zucchini and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to moderately low, then stir in coriander, chili powder, cumin, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Gently stir zucchini mixture into couscous and cool to warm or room temperature. Just before serving, stir in mint and lemon juice.

Makes 4-6 side-dish servings. 

Recipe from Gourmet Magazine September 2005 

Do you have a recipe that rocks your world right now? Or would you rather just eat out?  

Love to all,


P.S. This is for Roxanne Worsham… since you are going on vacation and all.  I usually don’t share my secrets but here it goes.  This is the mascara I use and I buy it over and over and over again:

I go light on the bottom but way heavy on the top.  The natural look is not for me- I like blackest black 🙂 


201 Responses to “The Sad Story of One Backslidden Cook”

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  1. 1
    Mandy, Tallahassee says:

    I have so been there! I try and set aside one night a week- usually Saturday- for a “fun” cooking meal- either a recipe I’ve been wanting to try or that is too labor-intense for a week night, and that has helped balance “just need to eat” food with fun food and it keeps the cooking passion alive.

    This recipe does just that- we tried it this past Saturday and WOW, it not only is perfect summer eats, but it’s healthy, and looks and tastes like it just came out a restaurant kitchen’s door. And, it’s portioned for 2, which is a rarity and I appreciate since we’re just two for now. Enjoy for a fun foodie evening, it is so delicious!

    Grilled Cilantro Fish in Coconut Broth

    (If you desire carbohydrates with the meal, serve atop a mound of plain white rice- we used jasmine)

    Makes 2 fillets- total time 30 min

    For the fish-
    1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves and stems
    1 garlic clove
    3 Tbsp fresh lime juice (only using 1 Tbsp here, save rest for broth)
    Pinch of salt and red pepper flakes
    1 Tbsp. olive oil
    2 fresh grouper or halibut fillets (4-6 oz each)- we used grouper

    Mince cilantro and garlic with 1 Tbsp lime juice, salt and pepper flakes in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and transfer mixture to a shallow bowl. Add fish, turning to coat all sides, and marinate for 15 minutes.

    For the broth-
    2 Tbsp. minced shallots
    2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger root
    Minced zest of half a lemon
    1 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil
    1 cup light coconut milk (we used regular)
    3 Tbsp. low-sodium chicken broth
    1 Tbsp. sugar
    1 tsp. fish sauce
    Optional- 1 serrano or Thai chili pepper, thinly sliced (we omitted this)
    1/4 cup diced red sweet pepper
    torn fresh mint leaves

    Saute shallots, ginger and zest in vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat until soft, 3-4 minutes. Add coconut milk, broth, sugar, fish sauce and remaining 2 Tbsp. lime juice. Simmer broth for 2 minutes. Stir in chile pepper, if using. Reduce heat to low and keep broth warm.

    Remove fish from marinade, discarding remaining marinade.

    Grill fish over direct heat, covered, for 5 minutes (charcoal grill imparts great flavor with this marinade, if you have). Turn fillets over, cover and cook until firm, 5-7 minutes more.

    To serve, plate the grilled fish over a mound of jasmine rice, if using, and ladle the broth over, between the two bowls. Garnish with sweet pepper and torn mint leaves.

    We served it with sliced fresh mango, which paired well with the flavors. Happy cooking!


  2. 2
    Anonymous says:

    Here’s a delish dish from Food and Wine,
    Caramelized Black Pepper Chicken
    2/3 c dark brown sugar
    1/3 c fish sauce
    1/3 c rice vinegar
    1/2 c water
    2 t finely grated garlic
    2 t finely grated ginger
    2 t coarsely ground pepper
    1 or 2 fresh Thai chiles, halved
    2 T vegetable oil
    2 shallots, thinly sliced
    2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces-1/2″
    2 T coarsely chopped cilatro

    In a small bowl, combine the sugar, fish sauce, vinegar, water, garlic, ginger, pepper and chile and reserve.
    In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat and cook the shallots until softened and a bit brown, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken and stir fry browning it all over, about a minute. Add the sugar mixture and simmer over high heat until the chicken is totally cooked through, about 6 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and serve.
    Quick, easy and fab.

    Does this backsliding mean we won’t be having common meal suggestions for the summer study? sigh


  3. 3
    Those Crazy Clarks!!! says:

    I do not like to cook. I would much rather go out or have my husband cook. Our friends have nicknamed him Martin Stewart because he comes up with the most original and delicious recipes. Lately I have been making more of an effort to eat healthier. I have a few EASY and yummy recipes on my blog.

  4. 4
    marissaburt says:

    I’m with you, Melissa. Cooking just has never really worked out for me, and the first few years of marriage I spent mathematically trying to figure out how to write up a menu. I never mastered it. It still feels so complicated! I’m coming to grips with it. I have a few weekly standbys and try a new dish every so often, but we eat a lot of breakfast-for-dinner at our house. 😉

    Right now, my favorite recipe is a variation on the Indonesian dish Gado Gado – adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook.

    You basically cook up some rice – if you’re ambitious add 1/2 tsp turmeric with the rice while cooking to make yellow rice.

    Cover your plate with fresh spinach. Put on a layer of rice. Then, an assortment of veggies go on the rice (any kind: steamed broccoli, shredded cabbage, steamed green beans. I’ve also used a pack of lightly sauteed frozen veggies).

    You can also put on top hardboiled eggs and/or grilled tofu.

    Then smother everything with the yummy peanut sauce below.

    The Peanut Sauce (the most important part):

    1 cup creamy peanut butter
    1 heaping Tbs grated ginger
    1 heaping Tbs minced garlic
    3 Tbs brown sugar
    1 1/2 cups hot water
    4 Tbs cider vinegar
    2 Tbs soy sauce
    1 tsp salt (more if PB is unsalted)
    Crushed red pepper to taste.

    Put everything in a blender and puree until smooth. If it’s too thick, add a little extra water.

    You can top it with other goodies – coconut, pineapple, lime, lemon, more garlic.

    I love this because it’s easy, tasty, lots of veggies, and fills you up. Enjoy!

  5. 5
    Christine says:

    Oh, girl you hit my sweet spot this morning! I love to cook, but that said, I definitely go through fits and starts with it. There are times when it’s all I can do to get four grilled cheese sandwiches on the table and times when I’ve got a pile of 15 ingredient recipes in fron tof me and I can’t decide which one to do I’m so excited at the prospect!

    My favorite cookbook right now is one I’ve been in for about a year now an dI just love it. In fact, it just won a James Beard Foundation award (the Academy Award of restaurants and cookbooks) so other people really liked it too! The food is not complicated but it’s interesting and very tasty. It’s also healthy. Which is not my normal choice…Paula Deen and all her buttery goodness is usually more my style, but this is absolutely one of my faves! It’s Ellie Krieger’s “The Food You Crave”…you can find it on Amazon. I swear you’ll love it!

    The blog link in my name above will take you to my regular blog but the homepage over there has a link to my food blog, where I post several of the recipes I make a lot for my family and get recipe requests for a lot. There’s a pretty awesome turkey burger recipe over there if you’re in the mood for a slightly different take on the turkey burger! I even reference Amanda’s Sopapilla cheesecake squares on it! 🙂

    Happy cooking…or not 😉

  6. 6
    Rachel says:

    That recipe sounds delicious! I love turkey burgers, so I’ll have to give it a whirl sometime. I occasionally daydream about being a great cook. Then I come back to reality. 🙂

  7. 7
    Terri Toman says:

    Hey Melissa,

    This is one of those too good to be quick meals. It takes just minutes to make, but tastes soooo good! AND IT IS GOOD FOR YOU! I have lost over 30 pounds eating like this!

    1 Box of *Barilla Plus Penne Pasta

    *(this pasta tastes so much better than regular pasta)

    3 cloves of garlic minced
    3 to 4 Scallions, (green onions) chopped

    1/2 cup Kalamata olives sliced (please do not use any other variety, it will change the flavor)

    1 cup grape tomatoes cut in halves

    Olive oil

    Feta cheese (you won’t need much, but you can choose the amount to taste)

    Cook Pasta according to directions. While that is cooking, prepare your ingredients to saute them in the olive oil.
    Pour enough oil in the pan to saute the garlic, olives, onions, and tomatoes. Saute’ just enough to thoroughly heat the ingredients, adding the tomatoes last to keep them from getting soggy.

    Toss with the pasta and Feta Cheese, adding more oil if necessary. Serve immediately.
    Great with whole grain breads.

    Easy. Enjoy!

  8. 8
    screamofcontinuousness says:

    did you know you can cook really good fish in the microwave? just google with the words “Parchment salmon and microwave”

    I tend to use the microwave a lot during the summer for my entrees and do a whole lot of cold salads for the sides.

    try adding sliced apples, almonds and raisins to a basic coleslaw yummmm

    or cook your favorite funny shaped pasta and toss it with blanched broccoli, cauliflower and carrots with a good dressing. make in large quantity, chill and dish up any time. Same with the slaw idea…..

    seriously, stay away from the oven and the cooktop during the summer. do lots of frozen desserts and chilled sides.

    easy dessert: 3 containers of black cherry yogurt, 1 small coolwhip, mix together, pour into a graham cracker crust. Freeze. makes a lovely, easy treat.

  9. 9
    Gena says:

    Melissa –

    I knew my problem had to be somebody else’s fault – and now I know it’s your’s! I haven’t cooked in ages (just hate the thought of trying to plan a meal). And now that you mention it, the last time I was remotely excited about cooking was when you were in your cooking frenzy and posting recipes on the blog. Apparently I cannot cook without your encouragement. I’m totally dependent – my husband is suffering greatly! You just have to start again!


  10. 10
    Leigh Ann says:

    New great Recipe for the summer and it’s great on grilled chicken or just with chips.
    Corn Salsa

    1 lrg can corn
    2 cans petite diced tomatoes
    1 can black beans
    1 large avocado diced
    1 can rotel (hot, regular or mild. Whichever you prefer)
    1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
    1 small tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
    ½ cup zesty Italian dressing

    Drain all your cans and rinse the corn and beans.

    For a smaller portion just substitute for 1 regular can corn
    1 can of tomatoes
    A little less Italian dressing

    I have found that if you put your shallot and cilantro and a little of the dressing in a food chopper all together and mix then it makes it all small enough that you don’t bite into a big piece of cilantro. Enjoy!

  11. 11
    Dana says:

    I love to cook, but I too suffer from a lack of inspiration and desire to heat the kitchen during hot weather. Here is my easy summer chicken recipe:
    thaw boneless skinless chicken breasts. Place in ziploc bag with Chipotle Citrus marinade (Good Seasons brand from Wal-Mart). Reserve small portion to use for basting on grill. Send husband outside to light charcoal. When charcoal is ready, send husband outside with chicken. May be served with your favorite side dish and/or salad. Delish! 🙂

  12. 12
    LeighAnne says:

    I go through cooking cycles of love and hate as well Melissa. Right now I am not loving it so much. I have to agree that cooking in the winter is just so much more “homey,” than in the summer. Thai Salad is my current obession.

    1 package of broccoli slaw (available at Wal-Mart or Winn Dixie)
    2 packages of Raman Noodles – Any Flavor, but I prefer chicken or Oriental
    1/2 cup sliced almonds (walnuts are yummy too)

    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    1/2 cup sugar or splenda (less if you want it more tangy than sweet)
    1 packet of seasoning from the Raman Noodles

    Add crushed up, uncooked raman noodles to the broccoli slaw. Top with sliced almonds. Mix dressing in separate bowl. You can either pour it over the salad and mix well or you can serve the salad and allow individuals to spoon their own amount of dressing on the salad. Either way works, but the dressing will make the salad
    soggy, so if you don’t think the entire salad will be consumed in one meal I suggest the latter.

    Hope it sounds good to you! 🙂

  13. 13
    Anonymous says:

    This has nothing to do with cooking (sorry!) but I’m dying to know when the Summer Seista Bible study will start with the Jennifer Rothschild book? Any idea’s yet? There are 20 of us girls up here in Alberta Canada waiting to study along with you this summer!

    Medicine Hat, AB

  14. 14
    kimberly says:

    i feel your pain. i loved cooking when my husband and i first got married because it was an adventure – i had no idea how to cook whatsoever! but now i hate cooking and put off going to the grocery store till we are really scraping the bottom of the barrel. the only thing i don’t really mind cooking is soup, which can hardly be done in el paso, tx at 102 degrees everyday. i hope for both of our sakes that this is a phase…

  15. 15
    Donna says:

    Even though I love to cook and bake there are seasons where I just can't get motivated! I have three teenagers and a husband to feed daily. Some of our easy "go to" favorites:
    Homemade pizza
    Cheeseburger Pie

    Grilled anything! Chicken breasts with all varieties of dry rubs and marinades, hamburgers, brats, ribs, pork chops – endless!

    Cranberry Pork Loin
    Place pork loin in crock pot
    In med bowl mix together one packet onion soup mix and one can whole berry cranberry sauce
    Pour sauce mixture over pork loin
    Cook on low all day

    Roasted/Grilled Asparagus
    Spray Asparagus with olive oil cooking spray
    Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, parmesan cheese
    Grill in foil packet or roast at 450 in pan for 5-6 minutes

    I wished I lived closer to come over & help you cook!

  16. 16
    Big Mama says:

    Girl, the first three months of our marriage, my fabulous cooking caused P to gain 20 pounds. TWENTY.

    Sadly, he hasn’t put on any weight since then because I burned myself out.

    Also, now that it’s almost summer, I guarantee we’ll be eating hot dogs at the neighborhood pool at least three times a week. Nothing says gourmet like pork products prepared by surly teenagers.

  17. 17
    Amy says:

    Whew! So good to know this former home ec teacher and cooking class instructor is not alone in the cycle of this love/hate relationship with cooking. Sad to admit? No. Just stating the facts. I prefer to be served and that just doesn’t fly unless we eat out which does get old and expensive!

    So, Melissa, you just hang in there. This (burden of cooking) is part of your life for the rest of your life. How’s that for offering you no hope?! LOL.

    Build up a recipe repertoire of a few things over time (lots of good recipes in the comments, btw) that are your tried and true favs. When I get into the “I hate cooking” mode, I watch the Food Network for a bit of inspiration. I also ask for a complimentary menu from favorite restaurants and try to emulate some of their dishes that inspire.

    A friend of mine “googles” the ingredients she has on hand and gets lots of interesting recipes after searching that way. Kind of makes it a game for her.

    Once, I took advantage of one of those “make and take” places and went home with a cooler full of delicious dishes packaged by yours truly. I went with a friend and we had a blast.

    Just a few suggestions hoping you get your mo-jo back.

    Hug yourself!

    Amy Ward
    Columbus, GA

  18. 18
    Keri Early says:

    The bug has not quite bitten, but has for sure been buzzing around me recently. I found a website ( that gives 5 dinner meals, 1 dessert and 1 breakfast recipe each week plus a grocery list! There is a free week to try out on the website and this is one of the recipes. I gave some leftovers to a friend who is an awesome cook and she said “I feel like I should pay you for eating this!” Score! So quick and easy!

    -1 lb penne pasta noodles
    -3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
    -2 tablespoons olive oil
    -2 tablespoons garlic
    -8 ounces prepared basil pesto (I used sun-dried tomato pesto instead)

    1)Cook pasta according to directions on package.
    2)In a medium skillet, saute chicken and garlic in the olive oil. Add pesto to cooked chicken and cook on low for 15 minutes.
    3) Add cooked pasta to skillet. Mix well and serve. (I served chicken over the pasta)

  19. 19
    Anonymous says:

    Darling Melissa if you are still making recipes with the title, Couscous with Spiced Zucchini, Never Fear!! You are still light years ahead of the rest of us in the cooking department. Hang in there and I suggest watching at least one show from the Food Network a day. That will inspire you again I promise!!

  20. 20
    Sandy says:

    As a newlywed, I enjoyed cooking too, until we both gained 25 pounds the first year and I discovered fat grams the hard way. Sigh. I hated cooking from then on out, but I do have one cookbook that has lots of recipes that I actually enjoy making. It’s the “Body For Life Cookbook” and it has lovely photos, recipes for the *entire meal* so I don’t have to think too much, most of the recipes are really yummy… and it’s healthy! Who woulda thunk?

  21. 21
    Party of Five says:

    I’ve never posted here before, but I read this blog every day. I just wanted to say that you might need to find yourself a Pampered Chef consultant, (or visit my website!), and get a Deep Covered Baker. I use that thing to cook in the microwave on these hot Texas evenings. You can make a whole chicken in 30 minutes in the microwave (and it’s the tenderest, juiciest meat I’ve ever had! I was a skeptic!), or I love white chicken chili, mexican chicken lasagna or chicken penne pasta, too. Those are all microwave recipes. I have a ton of other recipes, all under $2/serving and cooked in the microwave in under 30 minutes. Just a thought 😉

  22. 22
    Anonymous says:

    Get the grill going!

    Marinate vegetables (at least 1 hour in frig)such as sweet red peppers, portabella mushrooms, red onions, zucchini in Olive Oil, Balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, fresh crushed garlic — put in grill pan, toss a little from time to time until tender and serve. Also, try marinating boneless, skinless chicken (breasts, thighs) in olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice, crushed fresh garlic, salt and pepper (at least 1 hour while in frig turning a couple of times) then grill on medium to low heat.

    I love eating out but am finding more and more that there is something extra special about eating with loved ones at home.

  23. 23
    TraciG says:

    Cooking is one of my VERY favorite things to do, but the drudgery of every day kind of steals my thunder. After a long day of Dr. appointments and a late trip home, all I could muster today was tuna salad sandwiches and fruit from Costco!

    Here’s a great summer salad though: Baby spinach, sliced water chestnuts, strawberries and onions. Throw together, add a little raspberry or strawberry vinaigrette dressing…. And Wah Lah!

    You can add things like dried cranberries, or chicken, or some sunflower seeds or almonds or whatever… It’s really fresh and light! And nice enough for company!

  24. 24
    Chanda Locklear says:

    I LOVE to cook, but do have temporary moments of insanity when cooking is more of a chore than an enjoyment, but I love to do nothing more. Eating out is too expensive and planning meals is too tedious takes away the spontaneity that I love. I often visit and they have everything under the sun, also has lots of good recipes. Love trying new things like skillet spaghetti, and homemade sloppy joes. Ground turkey substitutes well for ground beef and is cheaper.
    Hope your passion returns, I am sure it will……

  25. 25
    JottinMama says:


    That recipe sounds awesome! Thanks for posting it 🙂 I’m expecting a baby this summer – so food and cooking have been ummm…interesting lately 🙂 I’m excited to try this one!

    Sweet Blessings to you,
    Kate 🙂

  26. 26
    barbara head says:

    I’d rather go out!!! We are building a new house and I am going to have a beautiful state-of-the-art kitchen. But I must admit it will be to show off to my friends much more than down to earth real use as in cooking.

  27. 27
    Anonymous says:

    probably because I need to cook on a budget and it is such a chore to plan everything out — totally not my personality. I would much rather eat out any and all the time. Also, it is really nice to have someone waiting on me for a change even if it is just to give me more ice tea!

  28. 28
    Anonymous says:

    No judging here….I like to eat good food, I just wish I liked to cook. The mood hits me every so often also and then it leaves as fast as it hits!!

    My sister is the cook in our family, so we have let her do it. The other sister decorates and I take pictures. So, we have a wonderful party environment, good food and pictures to assist in reliving the event.

    The grocery store is not my favorite place either….and cooking..well, if I didn’t have to eat, I wouldn’t!!

    There are some quick recipes that are really good that I like….when I get in the mood, this is where I turn – quick, easy and tasteful!!

    NO, no judgment here just curiosity about your cooking.
    Thanks for sharing!!

  29. 29
    HIS Child says:

    Grilling is the name of the game in our house, this time of year. My man operates this quite well and I add the side dishes. Just recently we did a “Monday Night Mojo Fest” (pre little league baseball game celebration) and I was in charge of homemade spanish rice and homemade pinto beans. I must say I did enjoy cooking and bring these dishes to share with our friends. It was great fun.
    PS They liked it with the grilled carne and chicken asada.
    PSS Always add cumin to get that great flavor when cooking the sides.
    Have a great summer!
    Much love Celeste

  30. 30
    joy in the journey says:

    My daughter just said to me yesterday…”when are you going to start cooking again, Mom? …we need to eat you know.”

    I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one in a rut. The bridge between winter soups and casseroles…and summer grilling and salads…has been a bleak bridge. Thanks for all the inspiration everyone!!

    Here’s my favorite:

    Sam’s Club rotisserie chicken
    Romaine lettuce
    Walnuts or pecans
    Purple onion

    3/4 cup oil
    1/2 cup vinegar
    3/4 cup sugar
    1 tsp. dry mustard
    2 tsp. poppyseeds

    It’s pretty, too 🙂


  31. 31
    Megan says:

    HAH! This cracked me up! As a newlywed I can completely relate. I went from loving cooking,reading recipes, buying ingredients – to not even wanting to step foot in the kitchen. I am still looking for my cooking motivation. Let us know if you find yours!

  32. 32
    Anonymous says:

    My husband does pizza on the grill. He takes tortillas, brushes them with olive oil, then puts whatever looks good on them. e.g. fresh mozzarella, halved grape tomatoes, fresh basil, sweet onion, etc. Then he grills them until the cheese start to melt or the edges start to brown. So good and easy.

  33. 33
    Amy Storms says:

    Well I have been there. For me, it was a newlywed/”playing house” phase that never came back, and I never wished it back. I just don’t really get the point of it…all that work, for a few minutes of eating, and then all that work to clean it back up again. Wore me out and bored me to death…and I was really, really bad at it. 🙂

    And like you said, it’s expensive! Add a couple kids to the mix, and you’ll be buying frozen stuff at Sam’s Club, irritated that it won’t go in the microwave instead of the “big oven”. 🙂

  34. 34
    Kimberly and Grace says:

    Judge you? Melissa you’re speaking my language! I just don’t have the slightest interest in cooking. I’m afraid to say that we eat out more often than we should, but I hate trying to figure out what to cook every night. I wish I loved it, but alas…I don’t.

    My husband was chastised by the dental hygenist a couple of days ago for being MIA for several years. She said, “What if you didn’t clean the oven for that long?” I laughed when he told me and said, “It would still look as clean as it does today since I never use it.” ;o)


  35. 35
    roxanne worsham says:

    I am a chiller and a griller, baby!
    All the way!
    Try this – no clean up or mess
    Healthy, fun way to eat!

    Big sized shrimp – shells on – head off

    yellow squash
    zucchini squash
    pearl onions
    green and yellow bell peppers
    green if you like ’em

    clean and cut up all of your veggies
    salt and pepper them
    toss with some olive oil

    put on the grill for about 10-15 min – depends on how hot your grill is

    a few minutes before they are done
    throw on those shrimp

    when they get pink, they are done

    eat everything on a paper plate with your fingers.

    We do this all summer long
    Sooooooo good and such a fun meal!!

    Have some garlic bread if you must..

    PS ALWAYS make your own red cocktail sauce – do not use the jar stuff

    Here is Roxy’s recipe for homemade cocktail sauce

    Heinz ketchup

    1 T brown sugar

    The juice of 1/2 lemon

    2 dashes of Worcestire Sauce

    Fresh horseradish to your liking

    Mix together and let chill for an hour or two before serving

    Now Melissa, will you pleeeeeeease tell me what kind of mascara you use????!!! I am leaving for vacation in 3 days and need to know!!! Pretty please!??!?

  36. 36
    Anonymous says:

    Honey, I hear ya…I am on a cooking low myself. I HATE cooking in the summer as well. I do better in the winter. But there is always hope. I pray to the Lord to give me the desire to cook. Especially in this economy. Going out is really expensive. I have no recipes at this time. Sorry. I am sure you will be revived soon and hopefully I will too. God Bless

  37. 37
    Anonymous says:

    Sweetie – I have been married for 25 years and cooking was fun for about the first 3 months and I have hated it ever since. I pay someone to clean my house but would gladly give that up if I could hire someone to plan my meals, go the grocery store, cook and clean up for me (even just dinner 3-4 times a week would be great)
    Don’t worry – you cook when you need to and we are thankful we live in a country where we have the option to cook or not to cook. Praise God for that blessing.

  38. 38
    Tara G. says:

    Smoothies- love them. I freeze the extra in the glasses covered with saran wrap and let them defrost in the fridge overnight for breakfast another day.

    2 cups pineapple chunks
    1 medium banana, cut in 1″ pieces
    1 cup orange juice
    1 cup fat free vanilla yogurt
    2 cups frozen strawberries (do not thaw)

    Place all ingredients in blender in order listed. Set on high and blend until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately.
    Makes 48 ounces.

  39. 39
    Anonymous says:

    I haven’t been too much into cooking lately either. In the summer I mostly enjoy grilling out and making salads. I enjoy baking desserts the most. God Bless!

  40. 40
    Anonymous says:

    I love to cook…but hate to plan WHAT to cook. It helps if someone has done it for you. Check out and look for their monthly menu planner. It does have a nominal cost but they e-mail you recipes AND the shopping list. While we haven’t loved every single recipe, they have had some really good ones and just not having to think of what to cook is helpful.

    I love this Spinach Salad

    2 Tbsp sesame seeds
    1 pkg crushed Raman noodles (discard seasoning packet)
    3 Tbsp sesame oil
    Pinch red pepper flakes
    Heat oil, sprinkle in pepper flakes for 10 seconds before adding seeds/noodles. Lightly brown seeds. Set aside to cool.

    Mix Dressing and set aside:
    2 Tbsp rice vinegar (can substitute cider or white vinegar)
    2 Tbsp honey
    2 Tbsp soy sauce
    2 Tbsp vegetable/canola oil

    Toss together:
    10 oz baby spinach leaves
    1 granny smith apple peeled and cut into matchsticks
    1/2 c. chopped green onion
    1/3 c. craisins (dried cranberries)

    When ready to serve pour dressing over salad then toss in noodles/seseme seeds. Yum!!!

  41. 41
    Anonymous says:

    Maybe you are trying too hard. The gourmet cooking is more involved and expensive than the everyday stuff like Chicken and Dumplings. Especially when you can buy the frozen dumplings and they taste as good as the old fashioned kind. Another reason we don’t like to cook is because we know there is another alternative, the drive thru at your favorite fast food restaurant!

  42. 42
    Kevin, Brooke, Harrison and Emmett says:

    Myself and a couple friends meet once a month to do freezer meals. We get time together, plus a huge benefit to our family by having a meal most every night at home. I LOVE cooking, but with 2 small boys at my feet, it is more of a chore than anything. This has really helped all of our families – even cutting grocery costs too.

    Our family loves this recipe, Grilled Chile Pepper Cheeseburgers:

    1/3 c. finely chopped green onion
    3 T. nonfat plain yogurt
    2 T. seeded, finely chopped jalapeno
    1/2 t. black pepper
    1/2 t. salt
    2 lbs groud beef
    8 slices Pepperjack cheese
    8 Kaiser rolls

    Mix first 5 ing. together then add the beef and mix well. Shape in 8 patties. Can be frozen at this point. Grill the burgers until no longer pink in the center. Top each burger with Pepperjack cheese and let melt. Serve on a kaiser roll.

    The little heat and spice it has isn't over powering, but and great little twist!

    From "Once-a-Month Cooking" – Mimi Wilson & Mary Beth Lagerborg

  43. 43
    Julie says:

    Ah, another episodic chef. I love to cook. Sometimes. I really, really like to cook. Sometimes. I go through dry spells when I don’t even want to eat out. I am just over food altogether. But then something will excite me and I’m right back at it.

    Remember that cooking often just means “assembling”. Some of the best eating is different kinds of salads.

    Throw some chicken in the slow cooker and you can use it several different ways over the next few days: in a salad, as chicken salad, wrapped in a tortilla with some salsa, chopped up and toasted on a piece of bread with some tomatoes and cheese.

    Don’t worry. You’ll get your cooking groove back and lose it again lots of times over the years.

  44. 44
    Blessed Little Girl says:

    Here is a great summer salad:

    2 cups chopped watermelon
    2 cups chopped cucumber
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
    1/4 cup rice vinegar
    2 tsps sugar

    Dissolve sugar in vinegar and toss with all of above.

  45. 45
    Glenda says:

    Well I have been married 42 years and for the first 35 I did all the cooking except when my husband wanted to grill out. I was also the baker of the family so much so that for several years I had my own home based Bakery.
    Now basically the only thing I do is bake,I really hate cooking at this time of my life. My husband is the main cook and bottle washer at this time of our marriage and I love it. He cooks all the meals. He does ask for suggestions for the go alongs with the meals but it is a good thing to sat back and let him have at it . I do hate it when he tries to get by with cheap and I mean cheap coffee that he will mix with good coffee. Boy does that taste bad and I know good cooffee as we used to own a coffee shop with Great coffee so of course he gets the evil eyebrow when he does that but that is really about the worst thing he does.
    I do thank God for him every day.
    Love in Christ, Glenda

  46. 46
    Anonymous says:

    Melissa, girl, I'm feeling ya! I, too, have the blahs regarding cooking lately. I used to LOVE it! I would look through recipe web-sites & print a ton of recipes that I wanted to try. Well, the other day I went through all of my printed recipes & I threw away all but about 10 of them. I've just totally lost interest in firing up the stove/oven. I did, however, make a recipe last night & my cousin's 12 year old daughter had a fit over it. She made me tell her mom how to fix it so she could make it, too. Even with her enthusiasm, I just wasn't into it. Here is the recipe, though. Maybe you can give it a try to see if it helps with your cooking slump. Enjoy!

    Stuffed Shells

    1 (12-ounce) package jumbo shell pasta, cooked
    1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
    1 (16-ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese
    2 cups cottage cheese
    2(10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
    2 eggs, beaten
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1 (28-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce, divided
    Garnish: grated Parmesan cheese

    Rinse pasta with cold water; drain and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients together (excluding parmesan cheese); mix well and set aside. Spread 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce evenly over the bottom of a 13" x 9" baking pan. Spoon cheese mixture into shells; place stuffed-side up on top of the spaghetti sauce. Pour remaining sauce over the shells; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

    Note: When I make this, I use the amount of spaghetti sauce listed, but then I add about 1/4 of another jar. I also omit the parmesan cheese & instead, I top it with about another cup of mozzarella. Oh, I also don't use all of the shells. I probably have about 10 or so left over. I guess it depends of how much stuffin' you put in them!


  47. 47
    Tyson, Rachel and Kariya says:

    That looks like a great recipe…I’ll have to try it. My desire to cook definitely comes in waves. One thing I do is try to double recipes whenever possible. When I make lasagne, chicken enchiladas, or casseroles I just double the recipe and stick one batch in the freezer for a day when I don’t feel like cooking. That works great for soups, stews, and chili too. Good luck getting your cooking mojo back. 🙂

  48. 48
    Anonymous says:

    The grill is your friend in the summer. Pork tenderloin on the grill is divine and cost effective. Peaches also taste good if you grill them, and then put over ice cream, or in a salad.

    If there is a local farmer’s market, you can get really good fresh produce at a bargain. If you need to buy in bulk, get several of your girl friends and make a date. One buys a bunch of tomatoes, one buys a bunch of peaches,etc and then you divide it up between you.

  49. 49
    Anonymous says:

    I love cooking out in the summer…I am almost embarrassed to tell you about the meal I am hooked on right now, way too simple! My husband actually fixed it first…grilled thin cut pork chops that have been marinated in KC Masterpiece’s honey teriyaki marinade, served over white rice. Sometimes we grill fresh pineapple as a side. Throw in a bag of steamed edamame (steam in the bag, freezer section) for a complete meal. Of course, low sodium soy sauce to top it all off. Enjoy!

  50. 50
    michellemabell says:

    I love to cook but also and am in the middle of a uninspired cooking spell.

    But the ONE thing that I never tire of is bread. I make bread just about everyday.
    I love the smell, the texture…everything about the process. Everything.

    My standard recipe is
    3 tsp yeast
    2 cups water
    5-6 cups flour, white with 1/4-1/2 cup of either rye or whole wheat
    2-3 tsp salt

    mix, knead
    and rise till doubled then form into a big loaf.
    Let rise on cookie sheet while oven preheats at 400.
    Slash top and bake for 40 minutes.


    Michelle in VT

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