Eric’s not much of a cook.
Not that he can’t cook, (because he can) just that with all the cookin’ and recipe testing that I do, he really doesn’t have to cook.
I know, lucky him!
But the things he does know how to cook, he does well! I have even shared a few of his simple yet tasty recipes (like his Chicken and Yellow Rice, Chicken Parmesan and even Mashed Potatoes). He even came up with this zesty Jalapeno Mayo.
Even though he does cook like a rock star when it comes to certain things, in other areas of the kitchen he needs some assistance. Like multitasking to make everything for dinner (from the main dish to sides) come out successfully at the same time and not take all.night.long to prepare.
So when I was approached by the people of the new cooking website and app, Cooking Plainit, to challenge a friend or family member who lacks confidence in the kitchen, to host a dinner party, preparing everything from start to finish, I knew the perfect person for the job, Eric. (Even if I had ulterior motives and only wanted to get Eric in the kitchen so I could relax and have a night off!)
The idea behind Cooking Planit is to help new and intermediate cooks, prepare full complete meals, by guiding you through the entire cooking process from planning and grocery shopping to cooking and execution.
You can browse their chef recommended meals or custom build your own meal by searching for specific courses, dishes or ingredients. After you create your meal you can then print your shopping list or access it through the iphone/pad app. What makes the shopping list unique on Cooking Planit, is that it includes photos of the ingredients, perfect for those just getting into cooking or learning about new foods.
(It also has pictures of the kitchen tools/appliances at the top of each recipe.)
Once you get home and are ready to cook, go to the website or app and select your saved meal and then click ‘Prep and Cook.’ This is where you will be guided through every step of every recipe as you need to. So you will be prompted to get your potatoes in the oven before getting your steak going or your salad made since the potatoes take the longest. Thus ensuring you will have your entire meal ready at one time, not letting other food get cold while things finish. Perfect timing in the kitchen is even something experienced cooks struggle with.
It was fun watching Eric in the kitchen (even though he dirtied like a million dishes!). His meal came out perfect and he was even impressed that he could so easily make homemade blue cheese salad dressing and how delicious it came out! A wonderful steak house dinner in the comfort of our home! Dinner was a success!
A few thoughts and comments Eric and I both have about the site. First, right now they only have an iphone/pad app. I have seen the app and it is very similar to the website, just more portable than even a laptop and has a voice command feature, you know for when you are up to your elbows in chicken. However, for us folks that are not aboard the iphone train and are android peeps, this makes us sad and left out. But I have been told that an android app is in the works, so for now we just have to wait.
Also when going through the guided cooking process, Eric got a little frustrated when he got ahead of the program in cooking and the program would not let him advance to the next step even though he was ready. When this happens, a box pops up asking if you are for sure ready to move forward, and you have to click again to proceed.
Eric wanted to cook something else originally but they didn’t have a recipe for it, because currently they only have a few hundred or so recipes. But I am told that this is something they are constantly adding to, and plan to build up their recipe collection. This is a new website, and as my experience with all new websites and companies, they are constantly growing and improving!
Other things to note: Every recipe has a photo of the completed dish. You know I love this and so many of you do to! When you search for recipe you use advance search features that allow you to filter out dietary restrictions, search by course, or special occasion. And for those of you on special diets, unfortunately at this time, they do not provided nutritional data.
Eric chose to make Blue Cheese Steak with Rosemary Scalloped Potatoes and Romaine Wedge with Bacon and Blue Cheese Dressing. Even though he tried to follow the directions and recipes as written (for the complete Cooking Planit experience), he is like me and just can’t. So he made a few slight changes (like how can you have a wedge salad without tomatoes?) and felt like there wasn’t quite enough ‘sauce’ in the potato recipe. So this is his version of the Rosemary Scalloped Potatoes. For the other recipes click on the links above and head over to the Cooking Planit website to check them out!
Rosemary Scalloped Potatoes
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 50 minutes Serves: 4
1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary
2-3 large Russet potatoes
1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon butter
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup milk
½ teaspoon each black pepper and salt
Preheat the oven to 425 °F.
Peel the potatoes and thinly slice. Place in a microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave the potatoes on high for 7 minutes until slightly tender. Strain any liquid from the potatoes after microwaving.
Pick leaves of rosemary off the stems and finely chop. Place in a medium mixing bowl. Combine whole milk and heavy cream in the bowl with the rosemary, seasoning with salt and pepper.
Lightly butter an 8×8 inch baking dish. Layer the potatoes on the bottom, overlapping them slightly. Cover with 1/3 the Gruyere cheese, 1/3 the Parmesan cheese and 1/3 the heavy cream mixture. Season the first layer with salt and pepper, then repeat layering process until all ingredients are used (approximately two more times). Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and sauce is thickened. Remove foil and cook for another 15 minutes until top is golden brown.
After cooking, let rest for about 5 minutes before cutting.
Adapted from Cooking Planit
Disclosure: Cooking Plainit sponsored our dinner party. But all thoughts and opinions are my own.