blog:Love of cooking shows |

blog:Love of cooking shows

JoAnn Chaney
Vail CO, Colorado
JoAnn Chaney

I own every cooking gadget that was ever created. Measuring cups? I’ve got billions of them. Need your mango pitted? I’ve got something for that too. Having problems with hot oil splattering out of your pan and on to you? Borrow one of my splatter screens. I even have silicone spatulas that can withstand temperatures up to 900 degrees.

You may think that I’m a world renowned chef, perhaps employed at one of the local hotels or resorts, but you would be wrong. I’m just a stay-at-home mother who can follow a recipe pretty well. (That is, except the time that I was finalist in the Beaver Creek cookie competition and screwed up my own recipe”and several hundred cookies). I suppose that because I am a stay-at-home mother, everyone automatically believes that I LOVE to cook.

Really, I only cook in self-defense.

If I didn’t cook dinner every night, I would be overwhelmed with the whines and hungry shrieks of my entire family. My husband can’t find his way to the refrigerator without a detailed map, and my children would eat nothing but potato chips and the powdered kool-aid mix if given the opportunity. So for the sake (and digestive tracts) of my entire family, I must take my ridiculously expensive French cast-iron pan and a box of Hamburger Helper and solider on.

That being said, I do like to do cook simple meals that taste good. (And the less dishes that get dirty, the better). I hate looking down the ingredient list of a recipe and seeing fifty different items that I would never keep in my kitchen (capers? What the hell is a caper?) or that I could never convince my family to eat (please, please”take just one bite and ignore the anchovy staring back at you. Yes, it has eyes”and NO, it can’t see you).

So what do I cook, you ask? In these days of unbelievable summer heat and no central AC, I try to keep my oven off and use the grill. Here’s one of my family’s favorite summertime recipes:


-1/2 lbs. ground beef

-1 package of dry ranch dressing mix

-1 egg

-1/2 crushed saltine crackers

-1 onion, chopped

1. Mix all of the ingredients together. (This works best if you use your hands, but if you’re squeamish, a fork will do in a pinch.)

2. Form beef in to patties

3. Grill until burgers reach desired done-ness.

This will make about 4 big hamburgers, so you can adjust the recipe according to

what you need. And if you don’t care for the taste of ranch dressing, I would think that Italian or some other flavoring would work just as well. Of course, I always serve these burgers with a slice of cheese melted over the top (usually American, but Muenster is delicious”and the kiddies sure enjoy eating “monster” cheese). Chips, potato salad and pickles are good additions on the side.

And what about dessert? Being a big fan of dessert myself, I always try to have a little something sweet ready for after the meal. And you’re feeling adventurous and don’t want to dig through the stale Halloween candy again, try this recipe:


-1 prepared graham cracker pie crust

-3 1/2 cups strawberries (cleaned and halved)

-1/2 cup sugar

-2 tbsp cornstarch

-1/8 tsp salt

-6 tbsp cold water

-8 oz cream cheese, softened

-2 tbsp orange juice

1. Take 1 1/2 cups of strawberries and crush with fork.

2. Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in small pan. Add cold water and stir until smooth. Add crushed strawberries. Cook on medium heat and stir until comes to boil. Cook for 1 minute. (This can burn quite easily, and it is a pain to clean from the pot. Take my word for it.) Cool pan by setting it in a bowl of ice water.

3. Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add orange juice and beat until smooth. Spread this in bottom of pie crust. Put the rest of halved strawberries on top of this, then pour the cooled strawberry mixture over the top of this. Put in fridge til cooled and serve.

And if you like the extra taste(and calories) this can be served with a big dollop of whipped cream on top.

Both of the recipes I have featured here are quick and easy, and will allow you to get back to cleaning the Cheerios off the floor and unwrapping the wailing child from around your leg. Oh, sorry. That’s my life.

Good luck!

Support Local Journalism