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Update on my cooking progress

Thanks so everyone who gave me so many good suggestions on how to begin cooking. I'm learning so much for all of you and I truly appreciate it.

Here's what I've been up to: I've been doing a lot of pasta dishes primarily. I'm planning on moving to meats (which is my true scary area) this weekend. So far I've made: pasta w lemon and parmesan, fettucine w asparagus and salmon, pot roast, croque monsieurs, spaghetti carbonara (again), a warm swiss chard salad, pasta with gorgonzola sauce, arugula and tomatoes.

My biggest issue thus far has been the timing of food and trying to figure out the sometimes fine line between undercooked and overcooked. Our broiler cooked a lot faster than I expected. I feel like I'm burning and overcooking a lot, but I'm always so nervous to undercook anything.

This weekend I'm going to try Ina Garten's macaroni and cheese recipe with tomatoes on top. I'm also going to branch out into meats with a chicken milanese. Does anyone have any recommendations for good vegetables and sides for the chicken milanese?

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  1. Traditional Milanese is served with a salad on top. You could go that route. Just a simply dressed arugula with lemon and good extra virgin olive oil tossed with some grated parm reggiano would be fine. Or sauteed broccoli rabe with garlic and red pepper flakes. Heres a good recipe:
    http://www.lidiasitaly.com/recipes/de...

    Congrats on your progress!

    4 Replies
    1. re: ttoommyy

      That sounds great! I was going to top it with arugula and tomatoes. My husband is also requesting some kind of grain or carb. What kind of potatos would go with it?

      1. re: kdlalib

        I make this probably once a week. Soooo easy and sooooo good!

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/889921

         
          1. re: ttoommyy

            i loooooove olive oil mashed potatoes. good if the potatoes are left with somewhat chunky pieces in with the mashed. it always tastes like an elegant, simple dish.

      2. How about roasted vegetables? You can even do radishes and watch them transform!
        Or a slaw?

        6 Replies
        1. re: pinehurst

          I do have to try roasted vegetables. I haven't cooked that. I haven't roasted anything yet. It must be the next thing I check off my list.

          1. re: kdlalib

            My newest roasted veggie love is green beans. I toss fresh green beans in olive oil, sea salt and pepper then put in the oven at 425 for about 10-15 minutes, or until they begin to brown on the bottom. I could eat the whole pan. My hubby (Mr. Anti-Veggie) now loves roasted carrots tossed in a little melted butter, brown sugar and salt & pepper.

            1. re: mrsfury

              Yes! They're almost like french fries this way. So addictive.

            2. re: kdlalib

              I like roasted asparagus with a sprinkle of balsamic and some olive oil.

              1. re: Ruthie789

                +1 eat it up like candy. I have a few favorite variations of roasted asparagus - simple salt and pepper +/- garlic, Old Bay, sprinkle of balsamic or Parmesan or blue cheese. I have to admit though that the simple salt and pepper is a favorite. The roasted vegetables have so much flavor on their own. I also enjoy roasted mushrooms as well.

              2. re: kdlalib

                Try roasted cauliflower with pasta. Break the cauliflower into small pieces, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and a little red pepper flakes (personal preference) and roast at 450 for about 15 minutes (basically until it's as done as you want it to be...i like it nice and brown, the taste is amazing), then toss with cooked pasta, adding a little pasta water and some grated pecorno (or parmiggiano, whatever you like). Plenty of black pepper on top. Perfect!

            3. Rice or pasta are both good choices. Since you seem to have pasta down good, try this: http://foodforthoughtblog.wordpress.c...

              But any good greens or a nice salad would be a great compliment. Good luck

              1 Reply
              1. Good for you! Keep going!

                Jerseygirl111

                1 Reply
                1. I'm curious. What did you use the broiler for? I use my oven for very high heat cooking but have never used my broiler IIRC.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: c oliver

                    The Joy of Cooking told me to use my broiler for the Croque Monsieurs.

                      1. re: kdlalib

                        is the broiler to brown the bread? I find a small lid on top of the sandwich sufficient to get a nice crust on the bread. Not a heavy lid which might squish the sandwich but even a light lid improves the browning. You could try that and if not satisfactory pop them under the broiler to brown.

                        1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                          I think it's to brown the bread and melt the gruyere.

                          1. re: kdlalib

                            Better to do Croque Monsieurs in a frying pan on medium heat, weighing the sandwich down. Nice buttery crispness to the crust.

                            1. re: greygarious

                              The traditional croque Monsieur is a ham, cheese and cheesy bechamel sandwich. You use the bechamel inside sandwich as you would mayo then you top off the sandwich with more bechamel and grated gruyere. Then you broil it. Daniel bouloud makes a delicious one where he weighs the sandwich down overnight. Chad Robertson at tartine makes a killer open faced oneas does the barefoot contessa. It is by far my favorite sandwich but without the bechamel it is just a grilled cheese with ham!