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Learning To Cook – My First Meal – Grilled Chicken Pasta

A goal of mine for 2020 is to learn how to cook. Now that I’m officially ‘retired’, if only temporarily, I’m excited to fill my brain with a few more staple life skills. I’ve never had the need nor desire to cook a meal before but with the new year came an enriched thirst for personal development. My first challenge, Grilled Chicken Pasta. Follow me through.

Learning to cook - ingredients laid out.

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Finding my first challenge was perhaps the first challenge. I don’t know what foods I like so flicking through the pages of recipe books only confuses me more. But when I found the Healthy Family cookbook that all changed, if only a little. Turning page after page, it was on number 155 that I found the one; Grilled Chicken Pasta. Everyone likes pasta and everything tastes like chicken so this ought to be a nice starter meal to learn. Seems easy enough.

Healthy Family Cook BookI had my wife looking over my shoulder which I would normally find incredibly frustrating but finding that these books assume a basic level of cooking knowledge, her help was very much appreciated. I won’t go into too much details of what I needed help with, you’d probably think way less of me then and probably stop following my quest, ha. Things like what is a ‘thick slice’ of chicken and how do I know when it’s sufficiently cooked? How soft should the zucchini be when cooked? So many questions.

Zucchini awaiting to be cooked

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I got to preparing and cooking, reading from what is possibly my first instruction manual. That is maybe the bit I found most challenging, haha. What are instructions? Anyway, having cooked pasta before I knew how to do that. When Ruth goes away and I’m left to my own devices, if I don’t order pizza I’ll cook an easy packet pasta meal so look, I have skills, aight! The zucchini went into the pan first and then onto the chicken as the fettuccine cooked away at the other end of the stove.

The aroma filling the kitchen was phenomenal. Standing at the stove watching the ingredients change colours and listening to the sounds as juices flow, crackle and pop was something I was not ready for. I was getting a sense of why people enjoy this. The creative process was alive even if I’m just copying a recipe. I could liken it to when I’d build a bicycle wheel; I lay all the pieces out on the bench and then meticulously piece them together until I have a strong, working wheel. This time it is a meal and I made it. Time to serve it up!

Dinner is served

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Boom. No one died! Success. I totally get it. The personal victory when you work hard for something and it all comes together at the right time. The joy of setting out to create something and it being a hit. Everyone finished their meals tonight. That’s not uncommon in this active and healthy household but for me at least it was especially noticeable because it was my first meal. I’d go so far as to say it was the quickest the plates have been cleared too. But it doesn’t always go as planned. Read more about my Banana & Spinach Muffins.

Finished meal - Success!

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