Cooking Without Looking: Week Four

Hello, Week Four

We have finally arrived at week number four of my hellofresh experience. At this point, I’m really enjoying being back in the kitchen again after such a long time. I know I've said this numerous times in past posts, but I guess that shows really how excited I get about cooking! And I hope YOU can say the same someday soon! In last week's fun time, I learned just how difficult cooking can be. I’m so glad I learned that sooner rather than later. Last week provided me with many learning moments that at the time I didn’t realize was a learning moment. I took it as frustration and for a minute or so, I was actually questioning whether cooking is something I was really serious about or not. In other words, when things were starting to get heated in the kitchen, I was basically thinking about quitting and figure, I’d learn it later. When in reality, “later” was just going to off and put off continuously. I knew that “later” that I was referring to in the past was now. Why put off learning something so important? The sooner you start practicing a skill, not just cooking, but any skill, the more experienced you will be, and you’ll continue to excel at that certain skill. So, I decided to look back and reflect on how I could do better next time. I discussed some key points I learned in the previous post. Fortunately, I was able to practice these tips I gave last week during this fourth week!

Get to know your kitchen!!

The recipes I made this week were not nearly as difficult as a few last week. Some were harder than others, but something I definitely noticed this week was many meals I made this week required me to use the oven multiple times. As a matter of fact, nearly all but one recipe required me to use the oven. The oven was one of those appliances I was always nervous to use. When I was younger, I thought of the stove as this big dark and scary box of heat that I should always stay away from when it was on. Now, I don’t see the stove as “scary” but rather, as a helpful and necessary cooking tool. I discovered that part of the reason I was so scared of the oven in the first place was because I really wasn’t familiar with it at all. I didn't know what all the buttons did, or how big the oven was. Prior to this week I was using the oven once in a while, but this week, since I was using it many times, I decided to get to know my oven. I Used my hands to feel around to see how big and deep the oven was on the inside and of course figured out what all the buttons did. Something I also did was taking some cold cookie sheets to practice putting things into the oven and taking things out. This gave me practice ensuring my chances of spilling anything or burning myself in the oven were little to none. I highly recommend you guys get to know not just your oven, but everything you use in your kitchen. In addition, knowing where everything is kept. From pots and pans, to the spices. You’ll be better oriented around and comfortable in your kitchen. This will build up your confidence when cooking since you will have a better idea of what things in the kitchen do and always know where everything is kept, thus making cooking slightly easier for you.

What’s cooking this week?

This week I didn’t just learn new skills about my oven, but I also tried cooking different cuisine. One of my favorites I made this week was broccoli flatbread. This is different from anything I’ve made before because it was my first full on vegetarian meal. Personally, I eat a lot of meat. I’m Filipino and we love our meat! That's not to say that we never eat anything with veggies, no we do! In fact, one of my favorite foods Pancit, which is a noodle dish that has a variety of veggies and meat implemented in the recipe. But the point is, I’ve never made a vegetarian meal and it is good to know that I can add a great tasting healthy, quick, and easy meal to my meal arsenal. 

-Casey

Fourth Week

Before using Hello Fresh, I struggled a lot during cooking. I would be all over the place. I had trouble making sure the meat was done, and had trouble cutting vegetables. Now, I am way better at cooking. I know how to cut vegetables, I am organized. I also know how to make sure meat is done. The last week of HelloFresh was great. The flatbreads with broccoli and ricotta was AMAZING. It was also the easiest thing I had to make all week. 

-Hannah

The Final Countdown!

I can’t believe it’s my last week with Dinnerly! I have so enjoyed this experience and have learned so much about myself, the kitchen, and most importantly… making delicious meals! Dinnerly definitely helped me to improve upon my skills in the kitchen overall. It was accessible and allowed me to explore several ways to access their recipe cards, discovering which way to read a recipe supports my vision the best. I was able to improvise; when a challenge arises now while I’m cooking, I know I can figure out a way to solve it. That was a skill that really came in handy for me this week…

But Where is My Box?

There was a slight error in my Dinnerly subscription which caused my fourth and final box not to be shipped. But I didn’t let this throw me for a loop! I decided to do some research and worked on some of my own recipes using the skills I learned from my three weeks of Dinnerly!

So, What’s Cooking?

This week, I decided to make two of my favorite dishes: chicken parmesan and pizza! I also decided to work a little bit on my plate presentation by putting together a charcuterie board! For those of you who may not know, a charcuterie board is a fancy cheese and cracker plate that also usually has some fruit or another sweeter treat to add some flavor! In the past, just diving into a cooking project would have made me extra nervous. That’s part of what I loved about Dinnerly. It allowed me to really prepare for my boxes and think about my meals ahead of time. When my box didn’t come, I had to come up with a back up plan and fast! So, I turned to the internet. I thought of the meals I would want to make and found some simple recipes for them. Some of these recipes I already had ingredients for which was helpful. I then turned to my mom to help me get to the grocery store in order to get the rest of my ingredients. I then had another idea. The meals I had made up until this point were only enough for two. This time I wanted to share my meals. So, I decided to make the chicken dish for my family for dinner one evening. I got together with a group of my friends to do a “Make Your Own Pizza” night, and the charcuterie board I put together for my best friend’s birthday, delivering it to her in a picnic basket!

Making food for more than just two people is definitely a bit more of a challenge, but I was happy with my progress. And even happier with how successful all of my dishes were! My family loved my chicken parm (a meal which allowed me to work on my skills of cooking with oil on the stove top as well as baking). Our make your own pizza night was a huge hit as well! My friend who made the dough from scratch was super helpful in teaching me how to shape the crust. She really nailed the action words that I have written about before that can be hard to understand in recipes when they aren’t specific. And finally, the charcuterie board was the perfect appetizer for a Birthday picnic on the beach! Making the board allowed me to work on my chopping/cutting skills as well as making a visually appealing plate. For me this was difficult at first. I couldn’t tell if it looked right at first but then I thought about dividing the plate into sections. I had one corner of the plate be one kind of cheese, crackers in the corner next to it with another kind of cracker diagonal from that. The final corner was filled with another kind of cheese. In the cracks between my sections I put raspberries as well as another kind of cheese that was seasoned with garlic and herbs. 

The Verdict?

Dinnerly was great! It was an accessible, affordable, and most importantly delicious way to practice my cooking skills and build my recipe repertoire! I finished this project feeling much more confident and comfortable in the kitchen! I would highly recommend Dinnerly as a viable option for others who have been in my position; for those who may have a hard time getting to the grocery store, who are looking for affordable meals, want to have more recipes for their apron pocket, and more! Truth be told, I’m sad that the project is over but am excited to take charge, find more recipes on my own, and to keep on cooking!

-Frankie Ann

Week 4

Hey everyone, this is my last week of cooking hellofresh, telling the truth, it's a little sad! But I am glad I got a chance to cook and shared my experience with everyone! All right let's go in this week! 

My favorite meal to cook is Mexican chicken rice bowl, it's really easy. I learned a little tip of seasoning the chicken better from my sister, it's really easy. Go find a plastic bag, put the chicken and spice in, salt and pepper them, and closed the bag. And after that, all you have to do is shake the bag, hard, and twist it, so all spice and salt will sink in the chicken. 

When I cooked the chicken, I had a really hard time flip the chicken, it's hot, and really hard to get the chicken, but if you use a fork to poke the chicken you want to flip,  so that chicken is stable, than you can flip it easy. Just wait few minutes, flip again, and wait, and flip. 

The chicken will take a while to cook, not really fast. All right, that is what I learned this week, next time will be my last week write about hellofresh. Thanks everyone for read it! 

-Conner   

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