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I'm Shit At Cooking, So I Banned Myself From Takeout

If you want to learn, you must force yourself to do what's right.

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The Rules:

1) No ordering takeout

2) No eating at restaurants

3) Cook your own dinner

My goal was to find one simple, healthy-ish meal that I could repeat every week.

Monday: Timing Is Everything

Sarah Burton / BuzzFeed

When I went to cook my chicken, I realized I had failed to take it out of the freezer earlier in the day. I didn't want to microwave defrost it because in the past I've accidentally cooked it that way. In the end, my meal consisted of steamed broccoli and carrots and couscous. The couscous finished far sooner than the steamed veggies, so I never actually plated my food for presentation.

I gained a new appreciation for anyone who cooks Thanksgiving dinner and is able to time and plan for all of the foods.

Tuesday: Attempt to Prep

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I tried to prep this meal by cooking chicken in the Crock-Pot. I was trying to use ingredients I already had, so I ended up attempting some sort of buffalo ranch chicken dish.

Sadly, I failed hard on this one. There wasn't enough liquid in the Crock-Pot, so the chicken ended up being very dry and almost inedible.

I ended up eating microwaved corn and three servings of mac and cheese (which I also microwaved).

I knew that if I was going to be a real cook, I was going to have to graduate to the oven.


Wednesday: Too Much Fruit

Sarah Burton / BuzzFeed

I fell for a mistake I commonly make on Wednesdays: I ate too much fruit. I made a "peach smoothie" that sounded healthy to me, but in reality was just a ton of sugar and also not that good.

I made another attempt at finding food in the grocery store.

Grocery stores are overwhelming places for me — there are so many decisions to make. I've been told I don't get enough vegetables and protein, so I tried to factor that in to my remaining meals.

Thursday: Oh Fuck Me

Sarah Burton / BuzzFeed

Thursday I tried following a REAL recipe. I knew Thursday was a busy night for me and I wouldn't have time to cook, so I prepared a chicken and broccoli curry casserole the night before. All I had to do was pop it in the oven! So easy, right?


In my hurry to get home and walk my dog, I had thrown my casserole in the oven WITHOUT REMOVING THE PLASTIC LID.

It wasn't until an hour later, when weird-smelling smoke started to fill my kitchen, that I realized my mistake.

The plastic lid melted in the oven and released toxic fumes throughout my kitchen.

Instagram: @alliekokesh

My roommate and I escaped the fume-filled apartment, and I bought chicken tenders for dinner. I officially failed.


Tonight I learned 1. cooking plastic in the oven fills your apartment with poisonous smoke and 2. my smoke alarm is purely decorative

Admittedly, I was close to giving up.

So I decided to take a step back. Simplify. I know how to boil water and cook pasta. Why didn't I just try to do a healthier version of that?

I stopped by the grocery store, my personal hell, and picked up some spinach ravioli. My meal was ready within 20 minutes, and guess what?