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Old 10-16-2014, 02:25 PM   #11
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Check out this link for explanations of different pots and pans. Cookware Tutorial

Then browse the rest of the site for more detailed information.
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:37 PM   #12
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I use those sticks of butter, not the butter that comes in those round containers. The sticks are wrapped in paper and have the measurements on the papers. I just hack off a piece that is about an inch long and put it in the veggies.

Cover the pots with the lids that go with them, and use the cookie sheets for the trays. I have an electric stove, so maybe someone else can help with the gas stove. I would guess the medium heat would be in the middle of high and low on the knobs.

The thing she cooks pancakes on is a griddle, which is flat. The grill has ridges and grooves on the surface to let the grease drain away. I don't know if you could cook burgers on a pancake griddle, as I've never tried it.

Hopefully someone can help you with that. I cook pancakes in a skillet, a 10" non-stick Calphalon skillet over medium heat. And do practice with the eggs. That's a great idea!

Good luck, and no, you aren't a lost cause. Never thought that!
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:42 PM   #13
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Andy M.,

That's a fantastically helpful site too. I looked at their tools page and without being terribly thorough, it looks like my kitchen has pretty much everything marked "Starter Kitchen", most things marked "Standard Kitchen", and a at least a few things marked "Well Stocked Kitchen." I didn't even bother with Luxury and Specialty Kitchens" because I figure if it's in that list, I'm not going to be using it.
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:47 PM   #14
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We here will gladly help you where we can. If there is anyone who can actually come into your kitchen and give you some face to face basics, that would go a long way.

Don't forget the "Dummies" books. Cooking Basics For Dummies, 5th Edition:Book Information - For Dummies
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Old 10-16-2014, 03:05 PM   #15
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All right,

So I returned to some of my earlier searches before finding this site and I can now begin to sift through some of the reading. Google images and a couple of the reference links given here are going a long way to helping me interpret things.
I appreciate the eggs suggestion as well (that's gonna be messy but it makes sense). I have hope now that I might be able to figure out enough to keep us from starving anyway. If I do have to be Mr. Mom I'm sure I'll be back on here a lot. In the meantime, I think I've got a better grasp at least on what homework I can do before then. Thanks for all of your help.
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Old 10-16-2014, 03:36 PM   #16
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I suggest making RESERVATIONS! At least until you calm down and get your head on straight.
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Old 10-16-2014, 03:49 PM   #17
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I think you need to jump in and start cooking! Start slowly and go back to basics to feed your family. If you have kids, you are going to need to keep menus simple anyway.

menu suggestion:

Baked chicken pieces
Salad (you said you could do this...)
Roasted small red potatoes
Applesauce


Shop:
1. Buy a cut up chicken. They sell whole chickens that are cut into pieces and packaged. Make sure it has the skin on.
2. Salad fixins and a bottle of Italian or ranch dressing (consider learning how to make this to save money)
3. Small red potatoes (these are raw and in the produce section). They should be smaller than golf balls.
4. A jar of applesauce.

Cook:

Preheat the oven to 400

Place the chicken on a sheet pan or in some oven safe dish (make sure your pan has a side on it so that juices stay IN the pan), skin side up. Don't crowd the pan. Pieces should not touch. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and if you like, some dried sage or garlic powder. There's no need to grease the pan, the fat in the chicken skin will do the job as it heats. Wash your hands with soap and water after handling raw chicken as well as any surfaces you got chicken juice on.

Wash and cut the potatoes in half or quarters so they are large bite size pieces and drop them into a plastic bag or medium bowl. Add a 1/2 cup of Salad dressing and toss them to coat. Then spread potatoes on an oven safe dish - and again don't crowd them.

Bake the bird and the potatoes in the oven at the same time but on separate racks and cook for 45 mins.

While the bird is cooking: Make the salad. Open the applesauce. Set the table. Tidy up kitchen, feed the dog, call the kids.

Fancy last minute twist: Make a light gravy. When the chicken is cooked and while the pan is still hot from the oven, pull meat off the baking pan. Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of flour over the pan drippings and stir in with a fork or whisk. Next add 1/2 C or a little more of water or canned chicken broth onto the pan, again mixing with fork. It will be a little lumpy but very yummy and you can spoon it over potatoes.

Be brave - you can do this.
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Old 10-16-2014, 04:02 PM   #18
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There are all sorts of cookery demos on Food Network on the television. Not all of the cooks who demonstrate assume that you know it all and it might help to watch a few of them. I like Ina Garten on "Barefoot Contessa" as she explains what and why as she goes along and cooks simple every day but tasty dishes. Just watching with a cup of coffee and a cookie is therapy!

My best piece of advice is "Don't Panic".

Start at the beginning and choose the best quality and freshest ingredients that you can afford - it tends to be cheaper in the long run.

Then start with simple dishes that you like and you know how they are supposed to turn out. For example, meat loaf is dead simple to make, tasty and if you do exactly as the recipe says it can't go wrong. You can serve it hot with vegetables (buy frozen and read the cooking instructions on the pack), cold with salad and in sandwiches.

Do you have a mother, aunt, mother-in-law or older friendly neighbour on whose mercies you can throw yourself and who will teach you to cook? There's nothing like hands-on teaching to point you in the right direction.

I can't recommend a basic book for you because I'm not in the USA but supermarkets here often have inexpensive paper back books of simple recipes with fool-proof instructions. You might find something like that in your local store. In Britain we have a cook (NOT a chef!) and cookery writer called Delia Smith who has written a couple of books for people who don't know how to cook - "How to Cook" is her most recent and comes as three separate volumes or as a collection of all three in one book. I don't know if she is published in the States but there must be similar books. People on DC also recommend "The Joy of Cooking" as a good basic book.

And to answer one of your dilemmas:

The Mysteries of Cracking Eggs De-Mystified

You take the egg and GENTLY tap one side of it on your work surface so it cracks the shell just in one place but doesn't break the membrane that lines the shell.

Hold the egg over a bowl or cup between the fingers of both hands and GENTLY push the tips of your thumbs into the cracked area and ease the two halves apart, tipping the contents into the bowl or cup. With your first few attempts you may break the yolk into the white but this doesn't really matter (unless you are making meringue which, at this stage you probably won't be doing).

Practice makes perfect.

Hope this helps. Remember that every single cook and chef started life with no cooking skills or knowledge at all.
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Old 10-16-2014, 04:31 PM   #19
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Next suggestion: Master the grilled cheese sandwich

Menu:
Grilled cheese sandwich
Canned soup
Veggie sticks and cut up fruit

Shop:
Sliced bread
butter or margarine
sliced medium cheddar (2 slices per sandwich)
two cans of soup (you have a lot of kids)
Carrot and celery sticks and/or some sliced apples or other fruit.

Cooking gear needed:
Frying pan - note the video says cast iron but any pan will work
Spatula or fork to flip half cooked sandwiches
Pot to heat soup in
knife for cutting veggie and fruit as well as spreading butter on bread.

Here's a video about how to make a grilled cheese:




The canned soup is generally heat and eat. Kids like chicken noodle. Traditional campbells soup is perfect and easy. Open the cans and add to pot, add one can of water per can of soup used. Turn on the burner and stir it a bit until hot. (only takes a few minutes).

Carrot and celery sticks - either hand cut or purchased already cut and sliced apples round out the meal. Perfect kid friendly meal.
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Old 10-16-2014, 04:32 PM   #20
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YouTube is an awesome resource. Just look up cooking for beginners. Don't try to follow along at first, just watch a bunch of videos and watch what they do and how they do it. They will often include a link to their website for the recipe. There is a ton of useful information on there
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