Cooking To Impress

Fall-23 Cooking to impress

Week 2. 

Redo the grilled cheese and add a small dessert. Small salad as a side. 

Lettuce, tomato, onion (red/green), bell-peppers (green), cucumber, carrots. 




Week 1.  9/15

Grilled cheese – what are the little touches? 

Dessert – touch? – for later class… 

Set the table? 

Manners with eating? 

See chat GTP below: 



Chat GTP say: what to do to impress when inviting mother inlaw or a new friend


When inviting your mother-in-law or a new friend, it’s important to create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere. While trying too hard to impress can sometimes backfire, here are some tips to make a positive impression:

  • Be yourself: Authenticity is key. Trying to be someone you’re not can come across as insincere. Just be the best version of yourself.
  • Clean and tidy space: Ensure your home is clean and tidy. This shows respect for your guest and sets a positive tone for the visit.
  • Plan ahead: Have a plan for the visit. Whether it’s a meal, an activity, or just a chat, having a plan makes the guest feel valued and considered.
  • Personalized touch: Try to incorporate elements that show you’ve considered their preferences or interests. For example, if your mother-in-law loves a particular type of tea, have it on hand. If your new friend is a vegetarian, plan a vegetarian meal.
  • Be a good listener: Show genuine interest in what they have to say. Ask questions and actively listen to their responses. This demonstrates that you value their thoughts and opinions.
  • Respect boundaries: Be mindful of personal space and boundaries. Not everyone is comfortable with physical affection or sharing personal details right away.
  • Offer help: Be proactive in offering assistance with coats, bags, or anything else your guest might need. This gesture of hospitality can go a long way.
  • Avoid controversial topics: Steer clear of potentially divisive topics like politics or religion unless you’re confident it won’t cause tension. Focus on neutral or positive subjects.
  • Be polite and courteous: Use good manners, such as saying “please” and “thank you.” Courtesy and politeness are always appreciated.
  • Small gestures: Thoughtful gestures, like sending a thank-you note or text after the visit, can leave a lasting positive impression.
  • Relax and enjoy: Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect. People generally appreciate genuine warmth and kindness more than grand gestures.
  • Offer a warm farewell: See your guest off with a friendly goodbye and express your gratitude for their visit. This leaves a positive final impression.

Remember that building a good relationship takes time, so don’t stress too much about making a perfect impression. Be yourself, be respectful, and be considerate, and the bonds will naturally develop over time.























********************Archive*****************************************************Wednesday, 12/16:  Fun & Festive Foods to Share

Today is the last cooking class for Fall Term!  Wow, it went by so fast!  We decided last week to make some treats to celebrate Winter Break.  Thank you for all of the great recipes that you shared. I will be making the Thumb Print Cookies in class on Wednesday.  Hope you enjoy!

Thumb Print Cookies:


Homemade Peppermint Patties:


Christmas Baked Salmon: Easy & Make-ahead


Wednesday, 12/9:  Jalapeno Popper Steak Crunch Bombs

The first link has a great step by step video.  The second link has the recipe & directions.  Hope that you join us in class & try this at home 🙂

Jalapeño Popper Steak Crunch Bombs


Wednesday, 12/2: Bacon Mac And Cheese Casserole

Hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving Break!  I’m sure that you are all ready to have something to eat besides leftovers by now 🙂  Here is a really yummy recipe that was selected by your fellow students.  I am going to try to modify this recipe to my dietary needs as I am trying to keep my carbs down.  I will be using this recipe as a guide and making some modifications to it.  Feel free to make changes as you need as well.   *Update: Above are some photos that I took of the steps to making this dish.  I was able to make this Keto friendly by using Cauliflower instead of macaroni, 1/2 & 1/2 instead of milk, left out the flour all together, and used crushed pork rinds instead of bread crumbs.  It turned out really well!  Cauliflower was a great substitute!  Next time I make this dish I think I will use ham instead of bacon, and maybe just incorporate bacon crumbles to the topping.  

Bacon Mac and Cheese Casserole



Wednesday, 11/ 24: Thanksgiving 

Today we are prepping for Thanksgiving.  I will be prepping three of my families favorite holiday must haves.  I hope that you will join me in prepping, or planning something for your Thanksgiving meal.

1)  Sweet potato casserole w/ marshmallows:               This is such a yummy classic!  In this video they peel and boil their yams/ sweet potatoes.  I like to bake mine with the skin on let them cool, and then scoop out the insides.  Pecans are a great touch, but it is optional if you don’t like them, or don’t have any.   Here is the link:


2) Spinach Dip:  I use the recipe exactly as it appears on the package of Knorr Vegetable Recipe Mix.  I often will serve it in a Kings Hawaiian Round Loaf.  With the top and hollowed out bits near by for dipping 🙂   Here is the link:


3) Ambrosia Salad  My families recipe is just like the one she uses in this video.  But, instead of maraschino cherries we use fruit cocktail w/ cherries.  You can do this with fresh fruit and substitute yogurt instead of whip cream & sour cream if you want to make it a little healthier 🙂




Wednesday, 11/18: Calzone

(On the left is a photo of the Calzone’s that I made this morning during class.)

The recipe below is for a meat lovers Calzone.  But, please use use whatever fillings that you like.  Just make sure meats are cooked, and if using vegetables with a high water content be sure to cook them a bit before adding to the filling.  If you would rather not make your own dough it is easy to find pre made pizza dough at most grocery stores, or you can check your favorite pizza parlor to see if they sell uncooked dough.  The Greek salad that we made a couple weeks ago would be an excellent side with this.  Enjoy!   

Wednesday, 11/11:  No School/ Veterans Day






Wednesday, 11/4: Spicy Sausage Pasta

I can’t wait to make this dish, it looks like a real crowd pleaser!  If making this for your friends or family try combining with a side salad, or some steamed veggies.  Should be a great meal for these cold nights we’ve been having lately.    

Spicy Sausage Pasta



Wednesday, 10/28: Greek Salad

This week we are making a super delicious Greek Salad.  I practiced making this over the weekend and it was a big success!  As usual please feel free to adjust the recipe to your liking.  I used about half of the tomatoes that were called for in the recipe, and added romaine lettuce & baby spinach.  On Wednesday, I think I may mix in a bit of protein like garbanzo beans, or black beans.  Hope that you enjoy!






Wednesday, 10/21: Curry

This week we are making Curry!  Curry is a very flavorful dish, and it’s fun to make because there are so many different ways to prepare it.  The recipe I have chosen to share is a Thai Panang Chicken Curry.  This is very similar to how I make Curry at home, and believe me it is a crowd pleaser.  This recipe has a lot of ingredients, and seems a little complex… but, if you plan ahead, prepare your ingredients, and take it step by step you will do great!  I have made some notes below to hopefully make it a little easier:

  1) You will probably only need 2 cans of coconut milk.  If your sauce gets too thick you can always dilute it with a bit of  water.  If your sauce is too runny you can thicken it by mixing 2 tbsp corn starch in  about a 1/4 cup of water, mix well and slowly incorporate into sauce.  A little bit goes a long way.

2) Use whatever curry paste that you would like.  Yellow curry paste is easy to find at most grocery stores & is delicious.  

3) Any onion variety will work.

4) Makrut lime leaves are optional, and may be hard to find.  However, you can get a similar effect by using a bit of lime zest. 

5) Tamarind paste & fish sauce are optional.  No need to go buy ingredients that you may only use for this one dish.  You can easily substitute lime juice in place of the Tamarind paste, and 1 tbsp soy sauce for the fish sauce.        

6) Use whatever vegetables that you enjoy.  Potatoes and carrots are commonly used in curry, they are both inexpensive and easy to find.  If you are vegetarian, or just don’t care for meat please substitute whatever protein you enjoy in place of the chicken.  

Link to recipe, directions & video:


Wednesday, 10/14: Chili & Cornbread

Fall is a really great time to enjoy chili!  It makes a great dinner, the leftovers can be enjoyed for lunch the next day, or frozen for a future meal.  The recipe below uses ground beef, but you could use ground turkey or chicken if you like.  If you would prefer a vegetarian option skip the meat and try substituting tofu, lentils, or beans.  Season to your taste… if you prefer your chili mild, or super spicy go for it!  Top with your favorite ingredients and enjoy!  *Just to let you know I will not be using the thickener that she does in this recipe.  If needed I will be using corn starch.  (Please let me know if you would like a typed list of ingredients and instructions.  I would be happy to email that to you.)  

Cornbread muffin recipe, directions & video Link:



Wednesday, 10/7:  Pumpkin Pasta & Roasted Vegetables

It was really fun cooking live on Zoom today!  I hope that you all enjoyed the class, and will try making this recipe at home.  Remember you can always make substitutions as needed … like today I used yams instead of pumpkin, and it turned out great!  For the roasted veggies I used Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash.  That was a great combo!  Below are the links to the recipes that I made during class today.  You may need to copy and paste the pasta recipe link.

Pumpkin Pasta Recipe, Directions, and Video Link:

Easy Oven Roasted Vegetables Video Link:

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