For May’s featured member, we are delighted to spotlight AZPARZYCH. This busy mom of three is the perfect guest for parties because she’ll gladly volunteer to cook — as long as no cleaning is involved. She loves Food.com recipes and never misses an opportunity to test them out on her family and friends.
What tricks do you have for keeping your kids entertained while you are cooking?
My 19-month-old makes it tricky. I try to do as much prep as I can while she naps so when she wakes up all I have to do is get things grilled, or in the oven. I also rely on my two boys to keep her busy. They are old enough to entertain themselves while I cook. The boys have the chore of setting the table and the baby has been excited to help them out.
Do you have any rush-hour recipes for when things get really hectic?
My last-minute go-to recipes are usually breakfast for dinner, homemade pizza or sandwiches. We have breakfast for dinner at least once a week, so I keep the ingredients on hand for bacon with pancakes, waffles and French toast.
Do you get to experiment with interesting ingredients?
I would love to experiment with interesting ingredients, but my kids and husband are the pickiest eaters I know! My husband is from the Midwest and prefers chicken, rice, casseroles, “common” veggies, and meat and potatoes. When it comes to regional dishes or seafood, I can only make them for myself.
What recipe of yours is a win with your picky eaters?
My version of Tater Tot Casserole was something my mom always made when I was a kid and I did not look forward to eating it. It is the only version I have found where you add raw ground beef, and then layer the other ingredients on top. This makes for almost no prep! Once my husband and I moved in together, and I realized the simple palate he had, I tried it out on him and he fell in love with it. I have since grown to love it; I guess tastes change when you grow up.
What has been your biggest potluck hit?
For potlucks, I love making appetizers or things that can be eaten while standing up. I like making meatballs or little smoked sausages.
You’ve mastered the slow cooker. Any advice?
My big tip is to use the right-sized slow cooker for the amount of ingredients you are cooking. I have an average-size oval slow cooker, and I was given a larger, digital one as a wedding gift. The larger one is fancier, so of course I wanted to use it for everything. However, unless I double the recipe it is too big. The liquid quickly cooks out and everything burns. I never knew you could burn an entire meal in a slow cooker!
Grilling season is around the corner. What are your favorite FC recipes?
My all-time-favorite grilling recipe (which I just made for the millionth time two days ago) is Grilled Pork Chops by diner524. It doesn’t matter the cut of chops you use; as long as you marinate them for at least 6 hours, they come out tender, juicy and flavorful! I also like to grill chicken in large batches so that I can save some to throw on salads or sandwiches for lunch. One of my favorite marinades is this teriyaki sauce. I have been trying to grill more veggies. Citrus marinades and spice mixes have been working well for veggies like zucchini and asparagus.
Even a great chef makes mistakes in the kitchen. Have you ever had a mishap?
I make the biggest mistakes when I get going too fast, and misread a recipe or skip ingredients and steps. On more than one occasion I have added too much butter to a baked good, or didn’t divide an ingredient, so when I got to the “add the remaining” step, there wasn’t anything left. Luckily, I have never completely ruined a dish.
What are your hobbies outside of cooking?
With three kids and a husband who works out of town, who has the time?! I do enjoy looking for new recipes, and I have become addicted to Pinterest! I also love taking pictures of my kids and I have recently gotten back into working out.
Do you enjoy entertaining friends and family?
My husband always tells me that I am like Monica from Friends when it comes to having parties. There is an episode where she works for two straight days making over Joey and Chandler’s apartment, and then invites them over to see her work and eat the snacks she made. In the end, as she falls asleep on the couch, she says, “I’m always the host.” I always want to host the holiday dinners, BBQs, etc. but I plan on cooking way too many dishes. I get so stressed out and always promise that I’ll never host again, but I always do. I love being the hostess!
Learn more about our community, by visiting these recently featured members:
Know a good cook that should be our next Member of the Month? Or do you yourself want to be featured? Contact us!