I lived as a vegetarian for more than a decade, and then I met my husband, who happens to be a hunter. I slowly tiptoed into the world of eating, and later, preparing meat, but it took a good while to find comfort in cooking foods so unfamiliar to me.
The first time I made a pot roast the thing was tough as leather. I was in my early 30s and, of course, I had invited people over for dinner to share this pot roast. They were gracious about this first attempt, and I went on to cook many roasts, all of which fared better than the first.
Fear often keeps us from experimenting in the kitchen because we are afraid of wasting food, wasting time, wasting money – or all three. These are all natural responses to valid grown-up concerns, but experimentation, and yes, even failure can open a world of possibilities in the kitchen.
When we experiment, we discover new flavor combinations, cooking techniques, and even lessons on what not to do. All of these things contribute to building confidence and increasing our skills in the kitchen.
By embracing fear in the kitchen, we open ourselves up to joy and endless learning. Being joyfully fearless in all aspects of my life, but especially in the kitchen, is part of my mission for the coming year.
I hope you discover a few new experiments to try in this week’s meal plan!
Meal Plan for January Week 4
1 Farro, Mushroom, and Spinach Soup: If you’re new to farro, a versatile and chewy grain, let this be the week you take the road less traveled. Top it with a poached egg if you’d like a little more to your meal.
2 Carne Asada Tacos: Take Taco Tuesday up a notch and serve flank steak. This is one of my favorite cuts of beef because it cooks quickly and can be made on either the grill or a hot cast iron skillet.
3 Lemon Chicken: Lemon chicken has a way of brightening up dreary winter nights. This is a fast, easy dish perfect for a weeknight meal. Serve it alongside some green beans. You can reduce the butter if you want to shave off some calories.
4 Oven-Roasted Salmon with New Potatoes: One pan! It’s all in one pan! The asparagus called for in this recipe is not in season this time of year, so substitute green beans and you’re good to go.
5 Spicy Vegetarian Chili: This vegan chili is loaded with healthy vegetables and bursting with flavor. Even diehard carnivores will love it. Make this on Friday and enjoy the leftovers all weekend.