Full disclosure: my loving husband will tell you that when we first moved in together, I couldn’t make scrambled eggs. I was working for a very demanding company that required 60 – 80 hour work weeks and I don’t recall ever cooking dinner for us during those early years. Sometime in my late 20’s, I realized my job was taking a toll on my health and I needed to re-evaluate what was best for my overall quality of life. I accepted a position at a new company that was more manageable and found myself home at a decent hour wondering what to do?! And that’s when my friendship with the kitchen began.
I recall starting out with simple recipes: vinaigrette dressing, fried rice, steamed vegetables, scrambled eggs. I also found a cookbook that was realistic for my skill level (i.e. no skill). The first cookbook that I used frequently is My Father’s Daughter by Gwenyth Paltrow. Once I started to feel more confident in the kitchen, I began cooking on regular basis.
About two years after I had switched employers, I noticed a remarkable improvement in my overall health – increased energy, reduced anxiety, weight loss, more restful sleep. Although I am sure there are many variables that contributed to my improved health, eating more home cooked meals played a huge part.
My hope in sharing this information with you is to lessen the pressure some of us feel when it comes to cooking – give yourself permission to fail in the kitchen. The kinks will work themselves out over time. Also, it’s important to set realistic cooking goals. If your schedule doesn’t allow you the time to cook or you just don’t want to spend your free time cooking, there is nothing wrong with that. These recipes are here to provide inspiration, no matter who does the cooking. For me, cooking 3-4 meals each week is realistic and the remaining nights are take out or social events. However, some weeks I am able to cook more and other weeks, I barely cook 1 meal. As with many motherhood experiences, flexibility is essential.
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
1 lb spaghetti
½ cup of olive oil
7 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 ½ – 2 teaspoons of red chili flakes
1 large handful of chopped Italian parsley
Reserved pasta water
- Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Once the water is boiling, add a generous pinch of salt and the pasta. Cook according to the pasta’s instructions.
- While the pasta is cooking, put the olive oil, sliced garlic and chili peppers in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Constantly stir the garlic until it is a golden color and then immediately remove the pan from the heat.
- Once the pasta is done, add the pasta directly into the pan with the garlic. Reserve roughly 1 cup of pasta water in case you need it to loosen the pasta.
- Stir the pasta up until it is the desired texture.* Top with the parsley and eat!
* I use silicone tongs to stir pasta.
Link to original recipe: https://www.valleybrinkroad.com/recipes/3523/spaghetti-aglio-e-olio