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Old 12-26-2012, 11:03 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by tinlizzie View Post
Thanks, panda. One more thing -- if you wouldn't mind, can you tell us where/how/why "pandathorax" comes from? Inquiring minds (and nosy people) would love to know.
Hehe Sure thing.

My real last name is White. For me, pandathorax is a clever (hopefully) way of saying white since the mid-section of a panda is white.
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Old 12-26-2012, 11:44 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by pandathorax View Post
Hehe Sure thing.

My real last name is White. For me, pandathorax is a clever (hopefully) way of saying white since the mid-section of a panda is white.
Creative minds fascinate me. I would have gone for polarbear myself. Welcome again to the DC funnyfarm.
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Old 12-26-2012, 11:49 AM   #23
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I thought polar bears had hollow hair which only appears white

Just kiddin' with ya, Kay

Clever username, Panda
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Old 12-26-2012, 01:20 PM   #24
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I'm a veggie too and I often cook for one. Lentils are an excellent, easy, and healthy way to make enough to eat for a whole week. I'm slightly oversimplifying this but just rinse them and boil them with some seasonings in a pot and you're done. You get protein, fiber, and essential nutrients with minimal prep. You can easily do beans, too, you just let them soak overnight the night before you cook them and they cook up about the same way as lentils.

Snag yourself a rice cooker, you literally can't make rice any easier. Rinse the rice, put it in the cooker, put in water to the line, add a pinch of salt, set & forget.

I'm a big fan of the soy chorizo or tempeh chorizo. It's so easy to cut it out of the casing, and cook it in a pan over medium-high heat then scramble it into some eggs and spoon it into a corn tortilla. One egg per taco, and full of protein & nutrients. Sliced avocado makes it infinitely better and better for you, and you can also add some cheddar cheese if you feel like it. Top with some of your favorite salsa. If you do it right you get a total of four dishes dirty with this recipe while taking 10 minutes to make. Instead of soyrizo you can get some Ore-Ida crinkle cut fries and bake them in the oven for 10-12 (don't want them fully crispy so bake less than the package says, 10-12 minutes is perfect) minutes then scramble those into the eggs as well and it's equally good.

Those are some good standbys I use and they're pretty darn easy. When I cook for myself I try and keep cleanup in mind and honestly the recipes I use the most taste good, but more importantly, use minimal dishes so cleanup is a breeze. Dishes are the bane of my single-living existence.
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:14 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by pandathorax View Post
Hehe Sure thing.

My real last name is White. For me, pandathorax is a clever (hopefully) way of saying white since the mid-section of a panda is white.
I'm not Mrs. Green... just an Ogre and married to one...
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:53 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by pandathorax View Post

I want to like cooking, but I'm 36 and I have almost zero experience. Just getting started with the basics seems like a hill to high to climb.

Anyone have any advice?

If you like to eat but aren't crazy about the prep process my advice is learn to play to your strengths. Find a few delicious dishes that are easy to make and then build on those success.

Using a menu planner can help. Lay out the weeks dinner menu and get all the stuff you need at the store - make one trip. if you have some fast meals on that list, you can rearrange the menu items within the week to fit your desires. For instance if you planned chili stuffed potaoes on Monday night but don"t feel like eating chili on Monday - save it and move on to Tuesdays menu instead. Be sure to include that frozen pizza for a night that is likely to be busy.

Once each week, try something fancier than usual, something that has a bigger prep time commitment and do it on a day that you have ample time to cook.

Here are a few meal suggestions:

  • Tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwich and a salad - easy and fast
  • Bean and cheese tostatas topped with shredded lettuce and tomatoes (use fresh corn tortillas and toast them first)
  • "Stuffed" baked potatoes. Nuke the potato, and top it with vegetarian (canned) chili or broccoli w/cheese
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:23 PM   #27
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I say get married and then either your spouse will cook, or you will feel need to cook, especially when kids come into the picture.
Honestly, when my family is not home I survive on sandwiches, I hate to cook for my self. So I totally know how you feel. Also my oldest son, who lives by him self doesn't cook either. He says it is cheaper to go out. Because when he cooks most of the time he will eat it ones and the rest goes to garbage. I know I am not being helpful here. But that is just reality of living alone. As far as liking cooking I do not know if anybody can teach you to love it. I for example love to cook for people, but, like I already said, not for myself.
If you really feel the need to start cooking maybe you should cook like ones a week, pick a day. Pick a recipe, buy everything you need and just do it. If that works out for you after couple of month move onto two days a week. See how that works out for you. I think for a single person if you can cook enough for two days twice a week, that will cover 4 days and go out 3 times. That would be a good beginning.
Whatever you do, good luck.
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:07 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by bakechef View Post
They are more expensive, but take advantage of the prepped veg in the produce department.

Even better, since you are cooking for one, take advantage of the salad bar, if your store has one, for fresh veg already chopped, you can buy exactly what you need with no waste, who says that salad bars are only for making a salad! This is a huge time saver!

Commit to learn one new dish every week, and before you know it, you'll have a collection of easy go-to recipes.

Don't get bogged down with complicated recipes. TV chefs are constantly challenged to make more interesting and complicated foods, so following their recipes full of exotic or expensive ingredients, can be daunting. Learn "base" recipes that are easy to build on and customize.

And clean as you go, no need to make cooking more of a chore than it needs to be.
pandathorax, welcome to dc, a very friendly and knowledgeable collection of foodie folks. i have read through this 'not big on cooking' thread with interest. bakechef has a few ideas that immediately jumped right off of the page at me! ( i can relate to your quarrel with prep work--it is my hangup too.) bakechef suggests a couple of Huge prep-savers: the salad bar, and cut-up veggies, pre-prepped produce.

prepped produce and salad bar items are more costly than foods you prep yourself. but not if you're single and find yourself regularly throwing out quantities of mushrooms, peppers, celery, etc., because you aren't able to use up these things before they go bad. already chopped and sliced onions, peppers, celery, carrots, tomatoes, minced garlic and shallots, all can be purchased in the produce department, as well as prepped broccoli, cauliflower, soup and stew mixes, various lettuces and other greens mixes. in other departments, you can find potatoes diced, sliced and shredded, boiled eggs peeled, cheeses diced, shredded, and so on and on, throughout the store. cookiing can be a lot more satisfying, even fun sometimes, when you have prepped foods on hand with which to put together a tasty meal.

the convenience of using shortcuts as i've mentioned, in no way detracts from the pride i take in creating dishes and preparing meals. also, a good, healthy appetite for new and different of foods, can help to motivate a reluctant cook into action. good luck....
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:26 AM   #29
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Lentil soup is a good (and easy) choice. Lentils don't have to be soaked, just rinsed. For enough soup for a week (you can freeze this), you need 2 lb of dry lentils, throw in about 2-3 stalks of chopped celery, onion, garlic, a couple of cans of tomatoes, tomato sauce, and some veggie stock (about 32-40 ounces). If you don't have veggie stock, you can use V-8 juice, but that adds a lot of sodium. Chopped fresh parsley, and thyme (you can use dry if you don't want to chop the parsley or strip the leaves off the thyme). You can add chopped carrots if you like; hot pepper or hot sauce. You just need to saute the onion, celery, and garlic in a bit of EVOO, dump every thing else in, ending with the herbs, and let it simmer for about 35-40 minutes. This makes about 12 servings. In the winter, I rely on soup unless s/one is coming for share a meal with me. Then I cook. I tend to use home-canned or frozen tomatoes and tomato sauce and homemade veggie stock, but that's because I do those things.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:29 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by vitauta View Post
pandathorax, welcome to dc, a very friendly and knowledgeable collection of foodie folks. i have read through this 'not big on cooking' thread with interest. bakechef has a few ideas that immediately jumped right off of the page at me! ( i can relate to your quarrel with prep work--it is my hangup too.) bakechef suggests a couple of Huge prep-savers: the salad bar, and cut-up veggies, pre-prepped produce.

prepped produce and salad bar items are more costly than foods you prep yourself. but not if you're single and find yourself regularly throwing out quantities of mushrooms, peppers, celery, etc., because you aren't able to use up these things before they go bad. already chopped and sliced onions, peppers, celery, carrots, tomatoes, minced garlic and shallots, all can be purchased in the produce department, as well as prepped broccoli, cauliflower, soup and stew mixes, various lettuces and other greens mixes. in other departments, you can find potatoes diced, sliced and shredded, boiled eggs peeled, cheeses diced, shredded, and so on and on, throughout the store. cookiing can be a lot more satisfying, even fun sometimes, when you have prepped foods on hand with which to put together a tasty meal.

the convenience of using shortcuts as i've mentioned, in no way detracts from the pride i take in creating dishes and preparing meals. also, a good, healthy appetite for new and different of foods, can help to motivate a reluctant cook into action. good luck....
I toss peppers in the freezer without blanching them. They work fine in soups, etc. I do the same with chopped onion and celery.
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