Cooking Challenge: Make at Least One Homemade Meal Every Week for the Next Month

As much as I’d like to think I’m someone who cooks regularly, I’m not. I want to get better at cooking, though, and take the time to make myself healthy meals. After a long day at work I usually just throw together a salad, heat up a veggie burger or make an open-faced rice cake sandwich with tomatoes, hummus and cottage cheese. (Don’t laugh — it’s actually better than it sounds!)

I figure that if I set a reasonable goal of cooking one meal for myself each week, then maybe I can ease myself into a more regular cooking schedule and start to feel more comfortable around food. Sometimes the best way to accomplish a goal like this is to let others know about it and ask for their ideas and encouragement.

So, I’ve put together a list of recipes from Smitten Kitchen (my favorite cooking blog) and Martha Rose Shulman’s “Recipes for Health” series on Each week for the next month I’ll cook at least one of these meals and write a related blog post. I’ll include pictures of the final product and let you know what the experience was like and how the meal turned out. It’s always easier to cook when you have people to cook for, so maybe I’ll invite some friends to eat with me and sample the meals I make.

If there are other relatively easy-to-make vegetarian meals that you think I should add to the list, let me know!

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Pasta with asparagus, arugula and ricotta

Black bean chili

Mushroom burgers with almonds and spinach (these look especially good!)

Garlic green beans or mixed bean salad

Asparagus and herb lasagna

Stewed peppers with tomatoes, onions and garlic (over rice or beans)

Red pepper risotto

Black bean tacos with feta and slaw

Spinach and chickpeas

Pizza with red and yellow peppers


Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at

4 thoughts on “Cooking Challenge: Make at Least One Homemade Meal Every Week for the Next Month

  1. Hey Mal,

    Why not try soups? You can make a basic veggie/bean soup, then freeze portions. Customize each portion with pasta, rice, chopped greens, tomatoes, etc.

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