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Still working on becoming meal master

I’m a so-so cook. I like to cook and I love trying new recipes.

     Of course, my husband Dennis is your plain meat-and-potatoes kind of guy, so anything exotic immediately gets a thumbs down, or at the least a turned up nose.

     One of my favorite cooks/chefs is Rachael Ray. I used to record her show every day on my DVR, but I found that I was spending way too much time watching her cook, since her show comes on five days a week.

     One of the magical things about watching the Rach is that she can prepare a whole meal in less than 30 minutes, and she makes it look so easy. She even has a cookbook of the same name.

     I can take the same recipe, ingredients, etc., and it takes me twice the effort and time. Dennis says it’s because she has someone who prepares all the ingredients for her and she doesn’t have to go looking for them.

     The Rach also doesn’t have to measure her ingredients, she just knows the exact amount to dump in her dishes.

     I’m so enamored with Rachael that I’m almost ashamed to say that I’ve even purchased several of her cookware items and utensils. They don’t make me cook any better, but my food looks really cool displayed in my bright orange dishes!

     A lot of times Rachael starts her meals in a dutch oven on the top of the stove and usually finishes them off in the oven. I recently ran across one of these cooking pots at a local discount store for about a fourth of the price it normally goes for, so I bought it.

     I must say, cooking beef tips, stew, ribs and other meats in the dutch oven is fabulous. It also makes for quick cleanup because I usually use only one or two dishes to prepare the whole meal.

     Even Dennis says that everything I cook in the dutch oven tastes better than the old way I prepared it. Just be willing to wait a little longer. Slow cooking things in the dutch oven takes time, but it’s well worth the wait.

     I’ve purchased several of Rachael’s cookbooks over the years and I’ve tried out many of the recipes, most of which Dennis won’t eat. If it has more than one ingredient or isn’t just meat or potatoes, he’s not interested. I usually have to try these dishes at family get-togethers or be prepared to freeze some for later.

     If I were a little more domesticated, I’d try some of Rachael’s “Week In A Day” recipes.

     On one of the cooking channels, Rachael prepares five days of meals in one 30-minute episode. Again, it’s just amazing how many meals you can prepare from just a few ingredients.

     If you eat out a lot, like Dennis and I do, Rachael even had a show at one time that catered to dining out. It was called “$40 A Day: Rachael Ray.”

     She would visit cities around the United States and the world. She would eat breakfast, lunch and dinner on only $40, just like the title says. A lot of times she would have change left over!

     I’m also going to confess … I have a subscription to her magazine, “EveryDay With Rachael Ray.” I’ve been a subscriber off and on for several years now.

     Her magazine is a mixture of recipes and stories about food, along with a few articles about food related subjects, such as travel.

     There is also this cute little pull-out booklet that will give you recipes for an entire month of food. It also comes with a shopping list. I’ve never tried it, but it looks interesting, and would take all the guess work out of “what’s for supper?” Which is an everyday decision.

     And how was your week?

     Lifestyles Editor Tammie Brewer can be reached at The DAILY LEADER at 601-833-6961 ext. 134, by email at tbrewer@dailyleader.com or you can write to her at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven MS 39602.