I love cooking shows. Who doesn't? I love to watch the cook or chef create their meal. I started watching Alton Brown at a friend’s house after I lost my job, and I began to learn to cook. One of the cooking shows that I liked to watch was Rachel Ray’s cooking show “30 Minute Meals.” I thought it was cool to be able to cook a meal in 30 minutes or less. So, I watched the show every time it came on and learned new ways to cut and how to cook amazing dishes.

My first three meals

My first three meals were not total disasters. I have to say, Rachel Ray gives excellent cooking instructions, but so do other television cooks as well.

My favorite is penne pasta with tomatoes in virgin olive oil. All you do is boil the penne pasta until slightly tender. You then take your tomatoes and combine with the pasta in an olive oil heated pan. That will cook the pasta until desired tenderness.

When it was done, the penne pasta was very tasty to me. The second meal that I cooked was chicken with stir-fry vegetables. I have to admit that I cheated. I went to the store and bought stir fry veggies in the frozen food aisle instead of making the stir fry myself. Remember, I wasn't working at the time, so money was an issue. Then, I went and bought skinless, boneless chicken. Following the instructions, I made the chicken stir-fry, when I got home.

The third meal I don't remember except that it was a disaster. But, I do remember my chicken skewers. See, every summer, on my Dad's side of the family, his nieces would have a barbecue and invite the family. All the cousins would bring their kids, who bring their kids, who bring their friends with kids. And then people from the neighborhood came.

The key is you had to know someone at the party.

My cousin made chicken skewers. Lord, I love those chicken skewers and wanted to make them at my house. Even without a written down recipe, they are pretty easy to make.

Here are the ingredients I used to make my chicken skewers.

  • Buy 2-4 skinless, boneless chicken cutlets.
  • 1 large or regular size green/red pepper. (Note, if you can buy already cut green and red peppers then do so.)
  • Buy tomatoes, either fresh ones or packaged ones.
  • Get skewers. I got small ones.
  • Take the chicken out the package and slice it into thin slices of chicken or to your desired thickness. Then cut them again into three or four smaller pieces. After you do that, place in a bowl and put the bowl to the side.
  • Next, take the peppers and cut them into smaller slices. Do the same with the tomatoes unless they are cherry or snack-size tomatoes.
  • Take a skillet or an oven pan and put aluminum foil on the pan. Pre-heat your oven to about 375 or 400.
  • As the oven heats up, assemble your chicken skewer. Place a piece of chicken on the skewer followed by peppers and a tomato until it's full as you want it. Then place the skewers on the skillet or oven pan.
  • Remember to watch the skillet and turn your skewers so they cook all the way through. Some may be burned, but it is okay because they taste great even a little burned. You can also eat them with French fries or onion rings.

An alternate way to cook them is on top of the stove.

Cook each of your food items separately. You cook the chicken cutlets and then cut them up into smaller pieces to place on the skewer. You also cook the peppers and tomatoes separately as well, or you don't have to cook them. It depends on how you like your food. Then assemble your chicken skewer and serve with your side dish.

That was my first meal totally on the fly. But I knew what I wanted to eat and enjoyed every bite. I was also very proud of myself as well.

It's time to learn to cook

The question of when should you learn to cook is not an easy one to answer. For me, it was hunger and a desire to copy what I saw on television. Plus, I thought, if I don't get married then I better learn how to cook.

Why? Because I can't afford to eat out every night. Plus it is healthier to eat a home-cooked meal.

Also, my sister and her friends and my brother's friends were not bad cooks. So, I'm thinking I should learn how to cook, if not to save money then to know how to cook for myself. It can't be that hard. You should definitely read some books, take some classes and expect disasters.

My disaster was my scooped eggplant with cheese and meat. Eggplant is one of my favorite foods to eat. The recipe looked really easy to make, but as I found out. it was not so easy. After following the instructions, it came out very dry but smelled good when it was cooking. My note to myself was the next time I make that eggplant dish is it would be not only edible but a good meal as well.

In conclusion, cooking is a necessary part of life and something that we should all learn how to do. I think that even if you don't cook like a five-star chef, then cook like a hungry person that has to eat and save money in your pocketbook. But if you truly can't cook or don't want to, find friends that can cook or have a good enough job that allows you to buy out a lot and a microwave.