I've been doing this menu planning thing for a few weeks now, and have been actually cooking food rather than just taking it out of the freezer and putting it in the microwave. There's been some frustration and a lot of angsting, but I'd like to share some of my excitement with you instead.
Like stir fry. Why did no one ever tell me about stir fry? It's so easy! The way I make it, anyway. Bag of frozen veggies, packet of pre-cooked chicken cubes, can of water chestnuts, bottle of stir fry sauce. Then you just put it on heat and stir it around. WHAT IS THIS MADNESS? Needless to say, I'm exploring the world of stir fry with a nearly ridiculous amount of enthusiasm.
I also made my first-ever chicken dinner. It was a simple rice bake, but it involved actual uncooked chicken that I had to make so that it didn't give me Salmonella poisoning. (Here's the thing... I have this weird, nearly pathological fear of cooking chicken. I have no idea why. I've never had a traumatic experience with undercooked chicken, I don't know anyone who's died from poor chicken preparation. I just feel like it's the pinnacle of how I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to cooking. So the chicken bake was kind of a big deal for me.)
I even have a go-to recipe that I call Baked Ziti (even though I make it with penne). It's possibly the most simple recipe in the history of ever, requiring only boiling the penne, dumping it into a pan, adding a bottle of Prego and half a bag of shredded mozzarella and mixing, then sprinkling it with the remaining half of the bag of cheese. Then bake it for a while and I've got five meals. FIVE. Awesome!
I've got some more adventures in my near future, including fish – FISH! - and from-scratch veggie burgers. I'm also glad to report that I've successfully navigated the grocery store a couple of times now, with almost no blank staring or aimless wandering or panicked beelining.
That sound you hear is me patting my own back. Damn right.