NEW! Google Custom Search


Doodabug Needs Help

Doodabug's picture

I am a breaktime guy. I need help cooking.

My wife used to be a good cook and had a restaurant for a while. She had a stroke in 2000 and lost the use of her right arm so she no longer cooks.

I can heat water, make grilled cheese, spaghetti with Prego poured on top, and heat up TV dinners.

Getting pretty old after 9 years.

Anybody have a real easy recipe for a kitchen klutz.

We both like meat, potatoes, and pasta.

Even my dogs on a grille are yuk.

Jillsifer's picture

(post #37610, reply #1 of 1047)

Welcome. I'm sorry to hear about your wife's health problems and your kitchen struggles.

How about chicken and pasta with pesto? Get some boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Rinse them, and pat dry with a paper towel. Salt and pepper (both sides), then place them on a rack in a roasting pan or half-sheet pan. Cook them at 350 for . . . ummmm . . . about 45 minutes to an hour.

Do you have a food processor? Combine about 3 c. basil leaves with about 1 Tbsp. kosher salt (more or less--taste it as you go), about 1/2 c. of pine nuts, as much garlic as you like (some CT members find granulated garlic an abomination and insist only on fresh; I like the convenience of granulated and use both) and about 1/2 c. of good-quality Parmesan broken into smaller chunks. Whirl it all around in the food processor with about 1/2 c. good olive oil. Don't give in to the temptation to use the "easy" green cardboard cylinder--the flavor will suffer. Some people also like a bit of black pepper in the pesto. If the pesto seems too thick, you can thin it gently over low heat with some milk or cream.

Boil one box of Barilla pasta (blue box) according to the package directions--each Barilla box tells you exactly how long to cook it. Drain the pasta and keep it hot.

Slice the chicken breasts, then toss the hot pasta together with the chicken and the pesto sauce. Grate a bit more Parmesan on top if you like.



One thing they never tell you about child raising is that for the rest of your life, at the drop of a hat, you are expected to know your child's name and how old he or she is.

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

-- Washington Irving

Doodabug's picture

(post #37610, reply #15 of 1047)

Sounds very good. What is a "easy" green cardboard cylinder?

Thanks Dallas

Jillsifer's picture

(post #37610, reply #16 of 1047)

It's this detestable little product:

But seriously, have fun and do report back. LOTS of people here will enjoy coaching you.




One thing they never tell you about child raising is that for the rest of your life, at the drop of a hat, you are expected to know your child's name and how old he or she is.

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

-- Washington Irving

Marcia's picture

(post #37610, reply #17 of 1047)

And you said I was funny. Humph. YOU are the funny one.

Doodabug's picture

(post #37610, reply #32 of 1047)

Rae's picture

(post #37610, reply #38 of 1047)

This is a recipe from our resident Greek guru Evelyn. I changed it a bit using 2 chicken breasts and 1 potato. And way way less oil. It's great.

plantlust's picture

(post #37610, reply #39 of 1047)

Gretchen's Pulled Pork would be a good thing to make. I use Gretchen's method with FlavourGirl's dry rub. I believe both things are in the Tried & True file.

Oh and I serve Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes (one sweet potato to 2 or 3 "regular" potatoes) and Rot Kohl with the pork.

Home made potato salad, coles slaw and deviled eggs would be a treat.

I second, or is it 3rd the suggestion of making your wife the Direktor and you would be her hands.

It's going to be a chipping weekend!

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with parsley sauce, goat cheese garlic mashed potatoes, Galena Cellars Niagra grape wine & Pie Boss's apple crumble topped with Ruth & Phil's sour cream/cinnamon ice cream.

Doodabug's picture

(post #37610, reply #44 of 1047)

It all sounds so good. I will be trying and letting every body know

Thanks Dallas

kathymcmo's picture

(post #37610, reply #2 of 1047)

People here have been raving about this recipe, although I've not tried it yet. Hope to soon. But it seems pretty simple, in the "throw everything together and bake" category. NOt too many ingredients.

With luck Bosshog will come along, he's been getting simpler recipes from the folks here to try and perhaps can tell you which ones he's found most successful.

I also wonder if maybe your wife can "coach" you through doing some of the dishes she liked to cook--you be the "hands" and she can give you step by step instructions?

Check out the "Tried and True" folder below this one and see if any of those recipes strike your fancy.

Good luck and welcome to CT, let us know how it goes.


Tender and Crisp Chicken Legs with Sweet Tomatoes
Source: Jamie Oliver

Recipe By     :
Serving Size  : 4    
Categories    :

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------

4 chicken legs, preferably free-range or organic, jointed
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• a big bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
• 2 big handfuls of red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved, and ripe plum tomatoes, quartered
• 1 whole bulb of garlic, broken up into cloves
• 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
• olive oil

• 1 x 410g tin of cannellini beans, drained
• 2 handfuls of new potatoes, scrubbed

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Season your chicken pieces all over and put them into a snug-fitting pan in one layer. Throw in all the basil leaves and stalks, then chuck in your tomatoes. Scatter the garlic cloves into the pan with the chopped chilli and drizzle over some olive oil.

Mix around a bit, pushing the tomatoes underneath. Place in the oven for 1½ hours, turning the tomatoes halfway through, until the chicken skin is crisp and the meat falls off the bone.

If you fancy, you can add some drained cannellini beans or some sliced new potatoes to the pan and cook them with the chicken. Or you can serve the chicken with some simple mashed potato. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins before serving. You could even make it part of a pasta dish - remove the chicken meat from the bone and shred it, then toss into a bowl of linguini or spaghetti and serve at once.

  ". from Jamie's Dinners"
S(Internet Address):

Doodabug's picture

(post #37610, reply #18 of 1047)

Thank You  Wife can't speak to well but she will follow along and yell at me if I start doing something wrong.

Good idea about her getting ingredients out and coaching me through.


Doodabug's picture

(post #37610, reply #348 of 1047)

I think I will do my wings with this recipe.

kathymcmo's picture

(post #37610, reply #350 of 1047)

Let me know how you like it, I haven't tried it yet but think I might next weekend, since the cherry tomatoes are so good right now.

Doodabug's picture

(post #37610, reply #354 of 1047)

I will let the world know. Dallas

My other hobby is my stress reliever.

Edited 7/25/2009 3:33 pm by Doodabug

kathymcmo's picture

(post #37610, reply #351 of 1047)

I cook for just myself, and have a pretty stressful job, so I tend to cook on the weekend and then have leftovers for the week. I'll decide towards the end of the week what I want to make, then make a grocery list from that. I shop at the farmers market Sat a.m. first thing, then head to the grocery store for the rest of what I need. I try not to have to go back to the store more than once during the week, saves me money and helps me resist temptation.

Usually on Sunday I'll make a pot of soup that will be my lunches for the week. And then I sort of rotate my dinner entrees, one week I'll have chicken, the next week maybe pork, the next week chicken again. then maybe beef or shellfish.

I also try to find things that freeze well, so that some weeks I don't cook at all, just defrost and reheat. It makes me feel good to know there's healthy tasty food in my freezer if I just get too busy on the weekend to cook.

Doodabug's picture

(post #37610, reply #355 of 1047)

That all makes sence, I have to realize the freezer is my friend and shop a little smarter. Thanks Dallas

Doodabug's picture

(post #37610, reply #20 of 1047)

The macaroni salad sounds good and easy to make.

Thanks I gotta try   Dallas

evelyn's picture

(post #37610, reply #22 of 1047)

you're welcome. Let us know how you're doing...or run in and ask a question when you're making something. This is a knowledgeable crew - and we love to share. :-)

Parents are the bones on which children cut their teeth. (Peter Ustinov)

In life, learn the rules so that you know how to break them properly.
Maedl's picture

(post #37610, reply #4 of 1047)

Cooking is not rocket science and once you know the terminology, you can cook! Start by learning the basics. Get a copy of Joy of Cooking (easily available second hand) and read the information sections that describe how to make the recipes succeed. See if you can find Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison (libraries are a great resource for cookbooks)--she has very good instructions and the recipes are not terribly complicated. You might also look at Mark Bittman's books. I'm not a great fan of his, but he uses very short ingredient lists and might be just perfect for what you need right now.

In your early attempts, don't try to improvise--just follow the recipes and instructions. That should minimize failure and discouragement. Once you have some experience under your belt, you'll have a feel for how you can substitute and improvise,and then you can "riff" a recipe and make it your own.

You might also try out some cooking shows on PBS. It's useful to watch how someone else prepares a recipe and you can learn an immense amount that way. You may not want to prepare the recipes that Julia Child cooked on her shows, but you will learn so much from her--and perhaps catch her enthusiasm. A bit more up to date, Lidia Bastianich does some great Italian meals--fresh, straightforward and delicious.

Finally, explore the food resources around you. Find small shops that stock ethnic ingredients, visit farmers' markets, find farms that sell directly to individuals. See what kind of dairies are available in your area--who's producing cheese, butter, yogurt. Where can you find a good loaf of bread? You and your wife could do this together, and she would still be involved in making choices. Get excited about all the wonderful foods that we have now, notice how fresh, homemade foods taste, and ENJOY!

Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay:
Where Food and Culture Intersect
Margie Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay: Where Food and Culture Intersect
Doodabug's picture

(post #37610, reply #21 of 1047)

Thanks, I will get the book. Have been wanting something new to read.


Maedl's picture

(post #37610, reply #40 of 1047)

I was looking through a southern Italian cookbook last night and found a recipe that sounds lush and is very simple. I haven't tried it yet, but will put it on the menu for next week. I've copied it below.

I noted some of the comments from others who suggestged Betty Crocker or Good Housekeeping cookbooks over Joy of Cooking. I think which book you prefer depends on how you like to eat. I try to stay away from prepared foods or canned goods because I want to know how much sugar, salt, and fat goes into what I eat. Since JoC (at least the older editions) recipes are very much oriented on basic foods, that's my book of choice--but you may be more inclined toward more convenience foods.

Strascinati with Mint

1 lb. Strascinati (large orecchiette)
(Orecchiette are shaped like ears--you could use shell-shaped pasta)
1 slice bacon
1 dried pepper (or dried tomato), cut into small pieces
A handful or two of chopped mint
1 tsp horseradish

Dice bacon and add to a large frying pan with the chopped pepper (or tomato).

Boil a large pot of water and cook pasta. Drain when the pasta is cooked.

Add the pasta to the bacon and pepper and stir.

Strew with mint and grated horseradish.

Serve in heated bowls.

The recipe doesn't call for it, but I would add olive oil--I would fry the bacon in about a tablespoon of oil, and then once the pasta and other ingredients are mixed together in the pan, I would add more olive oil--enough to make it glisten. This recipe makes a big quantity, so if you are cooking it for you and your wife, don't makbe a pound of pasta--I figure 2 ounces of pasta per person, but that depends on your appetite and what else you are serving. I would not reduce the amount of bacon, but be gentle with the horseradish! You can top this with some grated Parmesan cheese. If you make a green salad, this would be a fine dinner.

Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay:
Where Food and Culture Intersect
Margie Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay: Where Food and Culture Intersect
Doodabug's picture

(post #37610, reply #46 of 1047)

I am a rookie. What is Strascinati? All the pasta stuff sounds good so far.

Thanks Dallas

Maedl's picture

(post #37610, reply #51 of 1047)

Strasinati is a shape of pasta that resembles a shell--and holds sauces very well. In the recipe, I suggested substituting pasta that is shaped like a shell, which is readily available in the US. If you can find orechiette, that would be fine, too. Orechiette are shaped like tiny ears--cute ears!

Pasta is a good place to begin cooking. It's forgiving--just don't overcook the pasta and you'll be fine. Happy eating!

Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay:
Where Food and Culture Intersect
Margie Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay: Where Food and Culture Intersect
roz's picture

(post #37610, reply #5 of 1047)

Sorry to hear about your wife, it must frustrate her terribly. Hats off to you for taking over the cooking and wanting it to be more than pizza and hot dogs.

Cooking good food is lot like building objects out of wood....start off with good quality materials, measure twice and cut once and be in the moment.

Everybody is giving good advice. Libraries and videos here at Fine Cooking are a great resource as are all the recipes. I found Food Network (ages ago when it first came on air) to be of great help. The chefs on it gave great confidence. Haven't seen it in years so cannot recommend....but it did help.

Good luck.

Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Do your best. Don Miguel Ruiz
Doodabug's picture

(post #37610, reply #23 of 1047)

She takes good care of me and it didn't get her down.

She stills does laundry, sits her chair when she vacuums, gets up early and makes my lunch, and weeds the flower gardens.

Thanks Dallas

MadMom's picture

(post #37610, reply #6 of 1047)

So sorry to hear about your wife's problem.  I have temporarily lost the use of my right hand due to a broken bone, and it is soooo frustrating.  I have been able to cook some meals, mostly Italian, for some reason.  I browned ground beef and (seperately) mushrooms and also made pizza dough (FC #49, I think) and froze enough for 4 pizzas, also made meat sauce and spaghetti.  Cooked fresh corn on the cob and made mac and cheese.  The freezer is your friend, always make enough for several meals and freeze some.  That way, you'll have homecooked meals even if you're tired.  Bless you for helping!

Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

Doodabug's picture

(post #37610, reply #25 of 1047)

Thanks, Bummer about the hand. When you take something out of freezer is there a general time and temp for reheating. or just keep testing.


MadMom's picture

(post #37610, reply #35 of 1047)

It is a bummer, but I know it's temporary.  I can only imagine how terrible it would be to permanently lose the use of it. 

Time for reheating varies with the food, thickness, etc.  One suggestion - put the frozen food in the fridge in the morning, and it should be thawed for supper.  Good luck.

Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!
thecooktoo's picture

(post #37610, reply #7 of 1047)

You'll always get all kinds of advice when you ask for help in this forum, and almost always is very good advice and if it includes recipes, they are always pretty darn good.

But I'm going to differentiate from the norm.  I'm not going to suggest that you follow any recipes or buy any cookbooks.  I'm going to suggest that you try to find some nearby cooking courses that  you can take through recreation departments or county agencies.  These would be simple, one session classes.

Failing that, go on line to websites like or even on You Tube and look up instructional videos on cooking and cooking techniques.  You will also fine all kinds of cooking instructional videos on cooking magazine websites.  To me, it's always easier to learn when I watch somebody do something first.

Good luck.



TracyK's picture

(post #37610, reply #9 of 1047)

Total non sequitur -- is that you pictured in the Montgomery County Parks & Rec catalog?  :)

"One of the great strengths of the United States is … we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."

                                                            --President Barack Obama