Friday, January 21, 2011

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's SuperCooks!

When Scott and I were living in his condo together, and we both had office jobs, we were pretty good about sharing food responsibilities.

At the time, I had approximately four go-to dishes. Two of which I recently found out he was less than fond of, and had only been pretending to like for certain selfish reasons I imagine you all can figure out on your own.

When it was his evening to cook, I would continually be amazed at his lack of plan.

Me? I had a recipe, I checked off said recipe to make sure I had all my ingredients. When I was ready to cook, those ingredients were lined up on the counter, in order of appearance in my dish. I pretty much viewed said recipe as navigation instructions from the flight deck: you ignore them, someone dies.

Now, Scott on the other hand, he’s flying without radar and buzzing the tower like Maverick in Top Gun.

Watching him cook was both the most exciting and most nerve-wracking experience. He just threw some stuff in a dish and while that simmered, he’d hunt for something else to throw in the dish, and then he’d top it off with a little something else and toss it on a plate.

Delicious, every time delicious.

I’ve grown some since those days in the sense that I now know more about substitutions, I have general ideas of how long each item should cook. But I still use a recipe as a guide.

This growth has come mostly out of necessity. With me working at home, it just makes sense that I handle the meals. Also because I have been trying to lose weight and eat healthier, I’ve become an obsessive meal planner and it’s easier for me to cook the meals I know I can eat rather than letting him go willy nilly and me trying to figure out the nutritional content of “um, I think I threw some tequila in, mighta been a cup, mighta been like a few tablespoons? I was kind of in the zone, Babe.”

In the last six months for money and weight loss purposes, I have become an obsessive meal planner. Sadly, winter has ruined a good chunk of my best-laid plans so far this year.

You see, when snow is about to hit Suburbia, people flock to the grocery stores like they’re stocking a bomb shelter. And guess what they do after snow hits? Yeah, the same thing.

Recently, this became a big problem when we had invited some friends over for brunch. I, of course, had planned to make a quiche and some elaborate sides that would make Rachael Ray turn spinach green with jealousy.

Then it snowed. And snowed. By the time the snow stopped and Scott had fired up the snowblower, it was mere hours before my friends were to arrive. And I was in full panic because all we had in the fridge was some eggs, milk, and less than stellar cheddar cheese.

But I was NOT about to go shopping. If I had to serve them egg on toast, I was not going shopping.

Suddenly I remembered this website a friend of mine had sent me. SuperCook is a GREAT site to help you figure out how what to make with what you have in the house. MAGICAL!

I began crazily entering any random item we had in our fridge and freezer, and it was giving me lists and lists of recipes I could make. I ended up making an egg bake with frozen potatoes o’brien and bacon and some cheddar we had left over from a cheese and cracker night, pumpkin muffins (thanks to Itzys Kitchen I always have those ingredients on hand), and banana bread.

I have to say, it looked like I had spent a ton of time coming up with these elaborate recipes, when in fact I had just whipped these things up.

So to look like a total superstar, I highly recommend Super Cook.

Have you used this site before? Do you have go-to recipe sites you use when you need to make something on the spot? Are you good at creating things or do you need a recipe to guide you?


Kristen said...

I haven't used the site before but I'm gonna book mark it now! I hate those moments of desperation... I did that on New Years morning. I had bought all the ingredients for a fantastic looking breakfast casserole that I saw on another blog, she said it was a "quick" breakfast so I thought we'd try it. Yeah, the quick part about it, not sure what that was. This dang thing had to sit in the fridge for 8 hours before you could bake it for an hour and 45 minutes! No joke my friend! I ended up throwing together scrambled eggs with leftover xmas ham and some mozz cheese... I know mozz, gross right?

Stephanie in Suburbia said...

Mmmm, I love me some mozz! But what I love most about this site is that you think you have nothing and viola! So my goal is to use it also to make my food (esp produce) go further. I often meal plan not taking into account how much of something I need. It says spinach, I buy a bunch of spinach. With this site now I feel like I can figure out what to do with leftover stuff so I am using everything to the fullest.

Amanda said...

I've never heard of this site, but it's awesome! WE have the same troubles here -- full pantry, never enough to make a real meal. I need to check it out! My husband cooks like this too. It makes me super nervous -- not even exciting to me, just nerve wracking. And he uses like 14 pots and pans to do it, too.

Stephanie in Suburbia said...

I have to confess, I end up using a lot of measuring cups and spoons and prep bowls. But Scott uses what Rachael Ray calls a "garbage bowl." Where he basically puts all the peels and ends and stuff in a bowl, and THEN puts it in the trash at the end. So I think we're equally messy. Which has been a real problem since Wee 'Burb has been crawling. If I had a dime for every time she tried to eat an onion skin or garlic peel...let's just say we have the # for Poison Control prominently displayed.

Erica said...

First off- thanks for the shout out :) You are so sweet! I have never heard of this website but what a GREAT idea! We all get in those last minute situations where we need something to make stat! Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Kristy said...

Yes, I am not one to fly by the seat of my pants either! Will have to check it out.

Anonymous said...

I've never used Super Cook before, but thanks for the suggestion - I love this idea and honestly, it's so necessary.

What I can basically always action (depending on the time alotted):

- Some variety of homemade pizza
- Black Beans and Rice
- Baked Potatoes with Chili (or Oven Fries w/ Chili)
- Risotto
- Hummus
- Artichoke Dip
- Pasta Toss w/ Chicken Sausage (but you could probably bake it and rename it as something else)

Yes, it's all carb-y as heck, but you know it's how I do :)

Christina said...

i have never heard of supercook but that sounds awesome. i am checking it out now!

Hungrigyrl said...

Will totally be going to that site now...I have been caught in some situations where I've had no ingredients (according to a recipe) but had lots of "stuff". I think I might just check it out for fun to see what they can do with items I have on hand! Thanks!

Small Town Mommy said...

I am pretty good at making up stuff, but I would love to find a site where I can put in what I have and figure out what to make. When I have stuff left over, it is usually because I am not sure what to do with it.