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Franchefsca: What to Cook When You're Hopeless

I cannot cook. I talk about this time and time again, but I just can't. It is partially because I am hopeless and partially because I am so picky that I don't really like anything. I eat virtually the same things repeatedly because if I don't eat those things, then I won't eat at all. I don't eat particularly many things, so what I do eat I know how to make (somewhat). I also don't really have the time or money to purchase endless ingredients to make some of my favorite things from scratch. I mean...who has time for that? I barely have time to boil water for pasta let alone spend hours prepping a meal for myself that I will probably devour in ten minutes or less because time spent eating is time wasted for me.

All jokes aside, I am not very adventurous with my food, therefore I don't really experiment much in the kitchen. Even if I did, I'm fairly certain it would be a disaster. I'm definitely pretty proud of myself for not relying on microwavable meals (aside from Trader Joe's mac and cheese, which I truthfully haven't had in a few months), but I sort of cheat when it comes to cooking. I generally raid the frozen section at Trader Joe's and find things that require some prepping, but not much. I like simple things.  I don't eat things like sauce or cheese or really anything that's super soupy like that. I don't like pork or most beef and I just like my stuff fairly plain. My food palette, quite frankly, is a bit boring, but that's how I've always been. Sometimes (read: most of the time) it's difficult to get myself excited about eating, but it must be done. Grocery shopping isn't fun, it's a routine, one that I follow to a T. I get the same things in the same quantities and I just embrace it. It's better than not eating at all!

Since I do shop solely at Trader Joe's (occasionally Target, but that is usually just to pick up tortellini), there are a few bits and bobs I like to pick up from their frozen and refrigerated sections that become my weekly dinners. Trust me, they're super simple to make and I'd like to think that they're quite delicious.

The first is fettuccine alfredo with broccoli. They have pre-packaged frozen fetticune alfredo meals, some with mushrooms and some with chicken. I just pick up the plain one and grab a bag of fresh broccoli in a steaming bag. Basically, all you do is throw some water in a pan to heat up the pasta. While that's happening, I steam the broccoli in the microwave. When it's done, I wait for the sauce to get liquid and for the pasta to unravel from its frozen coils before I add in the broccoli. I'll usually add some parmesan cheese and a bit of milk or half and half to add some more cheese, since the broccoli tends to steal some away from the pasta.

I also get a lot of meals out of their frozen Mandarin orange chicken. All you have to do it bake it for a little shy of twenty minutes and you're good to go. I'll generally serve it with either jasmine rice, brown rice (a new favorite), or vegetable fried rice depending on my mood. If I make it with vegetable fried rice, sometimes I crack an egg into it to add some fried egg pieces to it as well. The orange chicken comes with a sauce that you can drizzle if you want, but I prefer to put my orange chicken into a container and after heating up the sauce, I'll pour it in and shake it around so it gets a coating of the orange sauce around all of the pieces.

My tried and true recipe and the only thing I know how to make from scratch (it's not even something to make it's so easy but I'm dramatic so it's okay) is grilled chicken. Or more like baked chicken, considering I don't have a grill. Basically, I'll just marinate my chicken all day in some sort of dressing (either balsamic vinaigrette or Italian dressing). When it comes time to bake, I'll pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees and will bake the chicken for 20 minutes. I serve my chicken with romaine lettuce to make a nice grilled chicken salad that I can then take for lunch to work the following couple of days.

My life is just a series of simple tasks. I'm not a talented chef, nor will I ever be. I'm far too picky and pretend that I'm too busy to do that. I tend to eat a lot of fruit during the day, which requires zero preparation. I'm like a zero-prep kind of gal. Anything that doesn't require putting a lot of time behind it is a good food to me. Apples? One quick wash? Done, I'm there.


  1. You love to cook; your family loves what you cook. But lately kids have been nagging about eating out. You are still cooking the same things, still as well, but the interest has been going down. You are even finding it monotonous.

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