I've been writing about starting to cook for quite some time. So far, I'm just short of preaching. I don't mean to nag. But I believe there is value in preparing one's food at home. Food is communal. We create memories in the kitchen. A lot of our lives revolve around the kitchen.
For me cooking is creating. I like knowing that I can make something. And I do enjoy it when people like something I cook. I cook for my enjoyment and for the enjoyment of those I feed. All my dishes are not masterpieces or works of art. Sometimes I just need to get dinner on the table. So I have a few things like eggs and pasta that I frequently fall back on.
Convenience ingredients are great for getting meals on the table. Try rotisserie chicken, bagged salads, frozen vegetables (without sauce), canned beans, fresh pasta, and pre-made pizza dough.
If you need a scientific reason to cook, here's one. According to a paper published in Public Health Nutrition, adults who cooked dinner 0 - 1 times per week consumed 2300 calories on an average day. Those cooking 6 - 7 times per week consumed 2163 calories on an average day. While that is only 136 calories, multiply 136 calories by 365 days. Get the picture?
Here is my recipe to help you get started. It is a Stromboli. A Stromboli is an Italian-American sandwich of pizza dough wrapped various fillings. I chose spinach, onions, ham and cheese.
Spinach and Ham Stromboli
½ medium onion, chopped
Olive or vegetable oil
4 ounces deli ham
1 package (16 ounce) frozen chopped spinach
6 ounces grated cheese, about 1½ cups
1 container (13.8 ounce) refrigerated whole wheat pizza dough
1. Heat about one tablespoon of oil in a medium skillet. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
3. Add another tablespoon of oil to skillet. When oil is hot, add spinach. Cook until spinach until most of the water has evaporated. Set aside.
4. Coat a work surface lightly with flour. Unroll dough onto floured surface. Roll dough into a rectangle, about 11 X 14-inches.
5. Brush dough with oil. Top with cheese to within one inch of the edge. Add onions, ham and spinach.
6. Roll dough up jellyroll fashion. Place bottom of dough on cookie sheet. Brush top of dough with oil. Bake at 400°F until crust browns, about 20 to 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Slice into 1-inch slices. Serve with pizza sauce.
Note: Onions, ham, and spinach can be cooked in advance (one to two days) and refrigerated until ready to use.