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

by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

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