For our February spotlight, we are delighted to feature Charmie777. A Food.com chef since 2004, Charmie is a recipe-sharing enthusiast who loves experiencing the joys of cooking with others. At home, she often experiments with new dishes that score big home runs with her baseball-loving family of five.
What was the inspiration behind your nickname, Charmie777? My full name is Charmie Sue. I was named after my granny (she’s 99 years old!), as she helped deliver me as a baby. I go by both Charmie and Sue.
When did you first learn to cook and what were some of the first things you made? I learned the basics because my parents had me cook a couple of meals weekly. Once when I was 16, my mother had just returned from the hospital, so I made an entire Thanksgiving dinner myself! I was so nervous, but it turned out fine.
You’re a mother of three boys. How do you manage to keep them all full and satisfied? It’s hard! They are 19, 20 and 22 now, but for most of the year, they’re still at home. We don’t eat a lot of snacks, so I try to make the meals filling for them. Pasta always helps. They are proud of my cooking and often invite their friends over to eat. Their friends all call me Mama Fish!
You’ve taught cooking in your community. What’s your favorite thing to teach others and why? I love to teach people how easy it is to make something “fancy,” like Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo. They are always amazed that they can make it themselves at home, and so quickly!
Have you taught your sons to cook? Yes. I homeschooled all my boys until they reached high school. Cooking was a subject. They took turns cooking one meal each week. They had to plan ahead and add ingredients to the shopping list.
What advice would you give busy moms who are just learning to cook for their families? Make a weekly menu! This alleviates so much stress later in the week. I sit down and look through the sales in the newspaper with my calendar and plan out my meals. On the days that I know I will be busy, I plan something quick. On days where I have more time, I try something new or something more time-consuming.
You say your family rarely gets the same dish twice in six months. How do you make this happen and where do you find recipe inspiration? I’ve learned the types of recipes my family likes and try to mostly stick to these types. Planning my menu ahead allows me to explore Food.com and pick new recipes. I do have a few go-tos that make appearances more frequently, like Chicken Pot Pie with 2 Crusts, Ziti Pepperoni Casserole, or Parmesan Chicken Fingers or Fillets. I try making at least two new recipes weekly.
If you had to pick one recipe of yours to be passed down within your own family, which one would it be? Wow; I guess it would have to be the one that gets requested most often, which would be my Chicken Pesto Pillows.
You frequently experiment with new dishes. What advice would you give others looking to be more adventurous? Know what your family likes. If you stick to that, you will have fewer flops. Within the taste profiles they like, there are plenty of adventurous recipes. For example, if you know they like chicken strips, you could try these Japanese Pork Cutlets. Or if they like burritos, how about making these Chilean Empanadas?
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