Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cooking Shows That Can Help You Spice Up Your Family Meals

Over time, my family gets incredibly tired of eating the same boring meals for dinner. They are always complaining about having a certain meal too often, or wanting to try something new. For me, this turns into a very time consuming problem. I don't mind making a tasty, new dish for them to try, but I have a hard time deciding what to make or finding recipes that I am certain will turn out well.

It is very easy to select a recipe out of a random list and make it for my family. I have done this countless times from cooking sites, friends and family members or cookbooks. The biggest issue for me in doing this is that you cannot always tell how a recipe will look by reading it. Even though, as adults, we all know that you can't judge the taste of something by the way it looks, try telling that to three very picky children. It is a time  proven fact, if it doesn't look good to them, they will not even want to taste it. It really becomes a battle when you want them to eat a full serving.

While this may not be a big deal to some, we have a rule that you eat what is cooked for family meals. Breakfast and lunch are usually at different times for us all with work, school and other obligations in the way, but I refuse to waste my time cooking a meal and throwing away money on groceries by making something that won't even be eaten. To simply select a new recipe at random and hope it turns out well is really not an option for me anymore. I prefer to at least see a photo or watch something being prepared to get a full idea of how it will work for my family.

Recently someone suggested that I sign up for Comcast TV Service so I could take advantage of all the amazing cooking shows featured. They pointed out that this is a way for me to be able to watch as a meal is prepared and get a good idea of how it will look in the end. Not only can this save me time in tracking down new and interesting recipes ,but it can also save money by avoiding those meals that nobody wants to eat. Then I would just need to decide which shows work the best for me.

I am a huge fan of the competition shows like Master Chef and Hell's Kitchen, but they aren't really what I need for detailed cooking. They show great food, but don't show enough of the actual cooking process to allow me to make those recipes. I want something that will show me step by step how to make something and what ingredients to use while it is prepared. I can take notes as I go and try the recipe myself later. This is also a great way to pick up on special techniques and tricks that you just can't get from a written recipe. Rachael Ray's Week in a Day has great kitchen tips to make cooking easier. Seeing that entire process makes it easy to recreate it later, or at least attempt to.

Shows like Everyday Italian, with Giata De Laurentiis, Extra Virgin,or Symon's Suppers, with Michael Symon, tell you what they are doing, as they do it. I can see how the food looks at each step and what the end result should be. I love recipes that allow you to cook without perfect measurements. I watched a video for an amazing looking french toast topped with strawberries grilled in foil with orange juice and zest ,balsamic vinegar and honey. It was topped with fresh whipped cream and just watching it prepared made me want to run out and grab some fruit. I imagine this would work with other berries too, like raspberries or blueberries.

Of course, I can always take advantage of the offered DVR service and record all the shows I want to see. This means I could still follow my normal schedule, set the shows to record, and view them when the time is right for me. I could watch the show and cook along at the same time by stopping and starting the episode as needed and I wouldn't even need notes. I could just scan the episode to check the needed ingredients, and get started.

Either way you go, watching the cooking shows really could save me time, money and maybe even a little sanity.

No comments: