Loving to Cook

This is part of a comment posted earlier today: Could you post about WHY you like to cook?

I can’t answer that question! I don’t know why I like to cook.   I love to try new recipes and find it very boring to cook the same old things. We love to eat really outstanding meals and I don’t like going out to eat. Yes, I understand it’s weird but . . what can I say?  When I’m out of town for a few days and come home, it’s a toss up whether I’m going to sew or cook first because I miss doing both when I’m away.  Usually cooking wins out and that’s what I do first.

You may not believe this but the recipes I make are almost always quick and fairly easy recipes.  It’s like the quilts I make . . I like the ones that look like they were hard but they’re very easy.  All I can say is  . . even if the recipes look hard, try them.

Some people just aren’t going to ever enjoy cooking.  I understand that.  There are things I don’t enjoy doing (like shopping).

Tonight for example, this was dinner – Chicken Paillard over greens and Buttered Poppy Seed Pasta:

And homemade focaccia bread:

CJ mentioned that her Chicken Paillard recipe has brandy.  Mine didn’t so I used her recipe and it is so terribly good!  And, look at this:

How can you not love making something that’s so fun?

Here’s where some of you I-don’t-like-to-cook folks may be shocked.  I sewed til 4 p.m.  I came upstairs, broke off a hunk of dough from the Olive Oil Bread (made from the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day book).  The dough was in the fridge, where it can sit for 10 or 12 days (but never makes it that long).  The bread has to rise for 20 or 25 minutes and then bake for about that same amount of time.  Nothing was done ahead of time except the bread dough.  Half an onion was sliced for the bread, the other half was chopped for the pasta, the onions were sauteed for the bread (in the same pan I later used for the chicken), the bread was prepped and started rising;  the pasta was boiled and set aside.  Green onions and parsley were chopped.  Chicken breasts were dredged in seasoned flour and sauteed in butter/olive oil.  Bread was placed in the oven.  Chicken was finished except for adding the lemon juice and brandy.  Pasta was finished up.  At the last minute lemon juice and olive oil were added to the greens, along with salt and pepper; lemon juice and brandy were added to the chicken and it was ignited.  Oh, how pretty! Anyway, start to finish, everything was done and on the table at 5:15.  And we had a nice bottle of wine with dinner.

I cleaned up as I cooked so afterwards, most everything else went into the dishwasher.   And, there are leftovers for lunch one day this week.

There’s no place near here where we could get a meal close to this good.  Now . . you tell me . . why do you NOT like to cook?  🙂

Tomorrow is my slacker meal . . grilled steaks, baked potatoes and salad.  At least the snow will be melted enough that we can get to the grill!


  1. 1

    Claudia W says

    Judy – Interesting that both you and CJ have recipes for Chicken Paillard on your blogs today. Great minds must think alike.

    How on earth do you get chicken breast to not taste dry like dust?? I seriously have not had a chicken breast IN YEARS that tastes like anything but dry as cardboard. And I’m not talking about only chicken that I cook. I mean anybody’s chicken even good restaurant’s. I never understand how people can cook with chicken breast…..Any hints? claudia

    • 1.1

      Mel Meister says

      If your chicken breast is dry, it’s been overcooked. If a breast is uneven, put it between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound it to an even thickness. Once it’s in the pan, watch it like a hawk! I cut very small slices in mine to make sure the insides are done, but they really don’t need much time on each side, just a few minutes.

    • 1.2

      Lisa says

      You can brine chicken to safeguard against dryness too. Brining is a soak in a salt water solution. Sometimes sugar and other seasonings are included.

      This may sound new-fangled, but my 75 year old mother has always sworn by soaking her chicken in salt water before cooking. She makes mighty fine fried chicken.

      Try mixing 2 quarts water 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup table salt. Add skinless boneless chicken breasts and refrigerate 20 minutes to 1 hour. Proceed as usual. You will find that it is harder to overcook/dry out chicken that has been brined. If you find you don’t like the flavor that the sugar gives, leave it out next time.

      You shouldn’t leave meat in brine too long or it will become too salty. You can brine in advance though. If you know you need brined chicken and you will be short of time, you could brine the night before or early in the day and remove the chicken from the brine when the time is up. I think you could also brine a big batch of chicken before putting it in the freezer.

      Pork and shrimp can also benefit from brining. Do a web search to find instructions. Various meats need different brine solutions and brining times.

  2. 2

    Toni says

    Thanks to your inspiration I got both 5 minute artisan books for Christmas. Still need a pizza peel but I’ll pick that up on the next trip to the big city. Can’t wait to try one.

  3. 3

    Linda (Petey) Fritchen says

    M-m-m-m-m! Still full from dinner, but I could sure dig into those dishes. They look really tasty!

  4. 4

    Cathy Stoddard says

    Love your menu Judy! I just ordered the Artisan Bread book and can’t wait to get it. I love cooking for my family and coming up with “new” things to make for my husband. What kind of greens do you like to fix?


  5. 5


    I’ve been making the Artisan bread for a while now and was shocked at how easy it was….and delicious. I am one of those who cook and enjoy it. But, what else can you do when you have 6 hungry people at the end of the day? You gotta feed them!! Your meal looks yummy!

  6. 6

    Connie says

    I’ve always wanted to like to cook, but I struggle with it, does that make sense? I blame a lot of things….a house with some picky eaters and a husband that likes a totally different style of food than I do, a way too tiny kitchen, living for so many years on a majorly tight budget…. and I could go on and on. So, what can I do to try to enjoy it more?

  7. 8

    Carla says

    Why don’t I like to cook? Because I never learned how to shop for and stock a pantry to have things on hand that taste good. Because I never learned how to put things that I have on hand together to taste good. Because I never learned…. you get the idea. I can crockpot like the dickens and just about everything that comes out of that tastes great, as long as I have followed a recipe, but I do get tired of mush meals. Any suggestions for where to start to learn how to stock a kitchen and how to cook a decent meal? So many recipes are so much effort and so much time. Your prep in this blog entry seems doable (I never learned the process either). And I’m excited to order the Artisan Bread book you mention.

    • 8.1


      Carla, you can learn right now! I had never even boiled water til I got married. My recommendation is to look for recipes that look interesting and not too difficult. There are zillions of recipes on the internet. Check out The Pioneer Woman’s cooking blog. Everything I’ve made from her site has been wonderful. Maybe keep yourself a notebook of the recipes pyou want to make again. As far as stocking a pantry, as you’re going through recipes and planning meals, buy the things you need and the things you know you’ll use. Just take things one step at a time

  8. 9


    Hmm… I also have the same olive oil bread that I made up with some additional chopped olives. Lunch was a slice of that bread, avacado (they were on sale for 38 cents!) and a tomato…. it was delicious!

    By the way, you can use parchment paper instead of a pizza peel. I live in a “big city” but none of the local stores have a peel. I will have to go to the local restaurant supply store to get one, someday!

    • 9.1


      Liz, I use parchment paper and the peel and leave my bread on the parchment paper so my stone doesn’t get so yucky. A flat cookie sheet with parchment paper on top easily works for peel til one can be found.

  9. 10

    Karen says

    A tip that my daughter brought home from cooking class at school was to cook meat in stock rather than dry fry in oil. We do that all the time now and the meat- chicken, pork whatever – is always succulent and never dry. Karen.

    • 10.1


      I usually quickly brown meat just to get a good outer edge and some pan drippings but I never cook meat past the point of being done.

  10. 11


    Hi Judy,

    I don’t like to cook. Partly because I get home at 19.00u and I really want to eat right then, not 1 hour later. Also because I am a difficult eater (don’t like a lot of things). So I make things in the weekend and microwave a lot. I do like to bake however, and the fun about that is that is does not have the pressure of ‘having to’. I do bake my own bread in a machine. Also I do a lot of preparing in the oven (meat and potato’s) that way I do’nt have to add a lot of fat.

  11. 12


    Even leaving my house to run my business I like to come home to cook, I do like to eat out but not alot I would rather have my cooking. And don’t get me started on eating red sauce out..yuck! I want my homemade red sauce…ooooo now I know what I’m making on Sunday…a big pot of sauce.

  12. 13


    I like to cook sometimes and I like to go out sometimes. It’s nice that we have so many options for eating out. When Keith’s running late or I’m caught up in quilting we just walk down the street for something good!

  13. 14

    Quiltinggranna says

    I enjoy your blog, quilting, cooking and knitting! Probably my 3 favorite things to do…but add in gardening. I have used several of your recipes and have found them great. Still think you should post the Chicken in Caper Cream Sauce (on Lime Green Kitchen) from sometime back as that is one of our favorites! This chicken dish looks good (except for the brandy) but I wonder about the ‘greens’ you mentioned. It looks like salad greens but I can’t tell for sure from the photo–with some lemon juice and olive oil. Is it salad greens? Also I ordered the knitting book from the shop sometime back you told me is the one you use (or used) when you taught yourself to knit socks. I have the book, and some yarn but have not had the courage to start one. Have you seen the sock yarn called Happy Feet? It comes as an already knitted piece so you can see the colorway and you unravel it as you knit. Got it at the fall Houston Quilt Show. So fun.

  14. 15


    I love to cook! Somewhat like quilting, you take raw materials and after hands-on manipulating, you turn them into something finished and satisfying. In my professional life, I worked in education in which results take at least 5 years to see progress – or longer if teaching – and you never really finish. At home, parenting is the same – you never finish. But with cooking and quilting, you finish – results are not always what you expected (Rueben soup is a NOT) but you receive immediate feedback and self-satisfaction.

  15. 16


    Judy–I love to read your recipes and I’m with you–we live so remotely in Montana that there is nowhere we can go out to eat that is better than what I can make (and my friends who come for dinner say the same thing!) Thanks to you and CJ, I now make all my own bread (I don’t go so far as you do and grind my own flour) and for some reason, you have made me feel better about cooking all the time and never going out to eat.

    While we are in Arizona for the winter there are more places to go out to eat but we still prefer to eat at home and as for small kitchen, you should see the kitchen in our motor home and I am still baking bread–mixing by hand instead of using the Kitchen Aid but it works!

    Check out my mobile quilting studio (it is a trailer we haul the car in behind the motorhome, Mike built me a shorter table for the Millie, when we get set up somewhere out comes the car, up goes the Millie) It is tight but it works, I have a queen size quilt loaded on Millie right now.

    Keep blogging Judy, you are an inspiration!

  16. 17


    We had the slacker meal last night, lol. Tonight, we’re having orange-ginger pork with broccoli, sauteed onions & almonds over Basmati rice (our favorite from our Middle East travels)…with a leafy green salad.

  17. 20


    I’m also a member of the love to cook club. One thing I love about cooking is that I’ve discovered that for me, simple meals made from good quality ingredients can be as wonderful as any meal in a restaurant (and better than most).

  18. 21

    dawn says

    I used to be pressed to cook for the family. up at 4 am ,work till 6 pm pick up kids and get dinner on the table. I used to take one day of the weekend and get a head start. I would make for example maybe a lasagna, or a chicken cordon bleu, meatloaf etc to have a head start on some nights meals. then on a slow night after my quick meal and dishes were done I would start on another nights meal. It worked for me and I taught the kids to like the kitchen and help cook too. they learned cleanup and could stir or put that special spin on my “clean out the fridge soup”. We always had meatballs and noodles in it but the rest depended on the findings in the fridge.

  19. 22

    Rexanna Maxine says

    Can I tell you instead why I like to sew? I love to watch the needle go up and down. It’s so soothing. I love the smell of a hot iron. I love the feel of fabric, and how immaculate it looks when the seams match. When something goes wrong I know how to fix it to make it come out good.

    None of those things can be said about cooking, ESPECIALLY the part about knowing how to fix something that isn’t right.

    Looking at your list of recipes is overwhelming. I am a sad sorry shame in the kitchen.

    Love to read your blog, though. You make it sound so easy.

  20. 23

    Rexanna Maxine says

    Can I tell you instead why I like to sew? I love to watch the needle go up and down. It’s so soothing. I love the smell of a hot iron. I love the feel of fabric, and how immaculate it looks when the seams match. When something goes wrong I know how to fix it to make it come out good.

    None of those things can be said about cooking, ESPECIALLY the part about knowing how to fix something that isn’t right.

    I cannot think of one redeeming quality or enjoyable aspect of cooking, except that I don’t die of starvation. 😉

    Looking at your list of recipes is overwhelming. I am a sad sorry shame in the kitchen.

    Love to read your blog, though. You make it sound so easy.