I Married a Chef, But I’m the Cook at Home
(And my favorite recipe to cook!)
People always say “You must eat the best food!”
Or they ask, “So who cooks at home?!” I know they mean well, but it can be both frightening and fun to look at my husband and announce, “Well, I cook at home,” and then watch their faces as that sinks in.
I wouldn’t call it the best, I am by no means a chef. But I make it work.
If comparing my skill level to kitchen utensils, prior to finally working up the nerve to cook dinner for my husband Joshua, who truly is a master chef, I was a butter knife. Dull, but got the intended job done. Today, I would say I am a steak knife. Jagged around the edges, but sharp enough to do a bit more.
I remember many moons ago, when we were first dating, with the cupboards and fridge I kept pretty bare, he made me a box of macaroni and cheese. He tweaked and twisted, added and tasted, until I could not place it as coming from a box…. The secret? A lot of Sriracha, garlic and a little freshly grated sharp cheddar. (And minus one packet of included seasoning.) Done and done.
My husband taught me I CAN eat great food at home, and it doesn’t always have to come by way of a four-star dining experience price. I had to learn about the ingredients I had, why the sauce always breaks when I made mac and cheese from scratch, why the fish always burns, how to get some crisp color on the veggies but not totally mutilate them. I learned to bake. To make meringue and turn it into French buttercream. Then we had kids…..
Dinners changed. What to cook for kids who, early on, announce their favorite foods as caviar, calamari, and fois gras, but refuse anything green that may be considered a vegetable? Again, I can’t compete with that, I thought! I went through a whole new series of crises, a new nightly panic. I had to relearn how to make it work. It took a lot, a lot of asking for help, a lot of quick and greasy take out, tears (both me and the kids), whining (again, both), and fighting (yep…), but I have gotten there. To my comfort zone, happy to make dinner, loving to watch them enjoy it.
I know I am very lucky and spoiled when it comes to food, especially my husband’s food. I am not only forever grateful for all the times he cooks, but also for what he has shown me. Surely, so too the kids, since they have to eat what I cook!
The following is my go-to recipe. I first made it on accident while mimicking a dish my grandmother made, but it was such a hit with my husband and me, it stuck. At the end of a long day, no dinner planned, not enough of any one thing to make but plenty of bits of things, this always pleases the crowd. A little extra spice and punch of flavor for the adult servings, and serve with a salad, or fresh (or leftover!) veggies. It is a versatile dish, that is easy to change each time you make it. Play with it, as I did, and still do.
Easy Peasy Chicken Wingies
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
- One large package of chicken wings, thawed
- Chopped garlic
- Salt- 1/2 tsp.
- Pepper 1/2 tsp.
- Soy sauce- 4 tblsp.
- BBQ sauce- 1/2 cup (whatever is your favorite kind, or in your fridge!)
- Terriyaki sauce- 1/2 cup (I like the kind with sesame seeds in it!)
- Hot sauce (I add a dash to start, especially if the kids are eating it also, then a few more dashes before serving for me and my husband)
- Dijon, whole grain, or brown mustard- 2 tblsp.
Mix all ingredients, except chicken wings, together in large bowl and whisk thoroughly. Add chicken wings and turn with spoon until fully coated. Place into an ungreased glass baking dish, cover with foil, place in preheated oven. Cook for an hour, uncover and stir, put back in oven and cook uncovered for an additional 20 minutes to add some color. Remove, cool, serve and enjoy!