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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dinner Its Ready

For the past few days I have been making dinner for my husband. This is not a huge deal to a lot of couples, but when your husband generally is the cook of the family...its pretty big for me. In the past when I've cooked, I typically stayed close to what I feel comfortable with making dishes I made along side my Mom when I lived at home such as meatloaf, spaghetti...and velvetta shells and cheese. Okay I know velvetta doesn't necessarily count as a hard dish because it takes almost no effort, but you basically get that I don't venture out into making anything out of my comfort zone... until recently.

Yesterday I made a yummy chicken dinner that took hardly any effort. I peeled and diced up potatoes and then placed them on a cookie sheet. I mixed the potatoes up with a little olive oil, salt and Italian seasoning and put it in the oven at 350 (cook time was 1 hour). Next, I fried up some chicken in olive oil by dipping it in flour, then egg and finally bread crumbs/parmesan cheese. Once it was browned on both sides I popped it into the oven at 350 for thirty minutes. I threw some canned vegetables in the microwave and presto...we had a yummy dinner. My husband was a bit surprised and happy with dinner being ready when he got home. I was happy because as simple as it was...I never made it and my esteem in cooking skills significantly shot up. I wasn't cooking the same old thing and it turned out pretty damn good.

Today while I was at work I was wondering what I should make for dinner tonight once again. I figured since I was planning a little ahead that I could make a run to the food store to get any necessary ingredients and surf the web for a new recipe. After debating what I should do, I decided to make a recipe I've been meaning to make for a while....Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana. Its no secret that a lot of favorite recipes from popular restaurants are out there on the web, and I knew how much my husband LOVES this soup. Once that was decided, I was on a roll to make something else I haven't made before, Herring or Purple salad. This certainly isn't a dish for everyone because you are eating pickled herring, but as my husband is from Russia, this is a common dish and something he LOVES. This dish is also something else I have never made. Finally I decided on something that both of us loves, pelmeni. This is also another Russian staple, but if I, the worlds most pickiest eater will eat it, then I think 99% of the population would eat it. Its delicious! It took some time, some sliced fingers (I'm not always steady with a knife) but it was nearly ready by the time the hubby got home. My husband walked in the door with a smile, smelling the aroma coming from the kitchen and had NO idea what I made. All he saw was a pot on the stove (the soup) as the Herring salad was already cooling in the refrigerator and I was not yet ready to boil the pelmeni. After settling in, he came over and investigated the pot and to his contained his favorite soup. He knew what it was almost immediately once he saw the contents. A smile that I can only describe as "worth every cut and effort to make him the dinner" shined on his face, but he did not yet know about the other surprise. I opened the refrigerator and he could not believe I made another favorite of his plus this was ANOTHER dish I have never made. He was shocked. I told him after we sat down a bit to let the pelmeni boil so we could be ready for dinner that I bought him some french bread...he loves soaking up juices of soups or sauces with wonderful, fresh crunchy bread and another one of his amazing smiles of pure thanks crept over his face. He was touched, appreciative and it made everything so worth it.

I am not sure what I will make next, but with my successes over the past few days, I think I'll try to make some new dishes outside of my comfort zone. I don't think I'm ready for five star gourmet cooking, but it has also gave me some new confidence that I can cook...even impress our family cook. When your dishes turn out well and its appreciated, it makes every effort worth while.

What are you cooking for dinner?

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