Some people are born chefs. They cook up fancy meals with all kinds of spices and herbs that tickle the taste buds. In this modern age, many buy frozen dinners or eat out a lot. However, there are people who still cook a meal each night for their families. It’s easy to make unhealthy meals that are quick and simple. In these busy days, who has time to slave over the stove? Eating healthy can be a challenge. Trying to cook meals when you’re used to taking the easy way out can be an adventure.


My mother always made home cooked meals when we were kids, and she still does. She is a wonderful cook. When I got married, I started using many of her recipes, but after standing for six to seven hours a day at work, I became lazy. My husband and I started eating out a little too much. With my recent diagnosis of prediabetes, I began a new adventure of cooking healthy.

I decided my husband would be my victim. If he flopped over from my cooking, then I wouldn’t make that recipe again. If he asked for seconds and bragged about how good it tasted, the recipe would get a high score. First I had to learn some new things about cooking like what certain spices are and if I can leave them out or if they are necessary. I had no idea what spices like curry and cumin are. Being a cashier, I did know that spices are expensive. There are a few cheaper ones you can get at the dollar store. So with this knowledge I was hoping to make recipes with the cheapest spices I could get or find alternatives.

Wednesday, my husband Lou and I went shopping for ingredients for several different recipes. That night I decided to make chicken broccoli casserole for the next night’s supper. My husband went to bed at seven-thirty and I went to work.

I read through the ingredients and put them out on the counter. Will my husband survive this recipe? Can I cook him a healthy meal he’ll love or will I be sending him to an early grave?

It said to mix the ingredients in a bowl. Two of the ingredients were bread crumbs and curry. I realized I forgot those two. I didn’t even know what curry is. Was it something necessary? Could I use something else in place of it? I private-messaged my friend Amy and she told me it’s a hot spice. My husband and I don’t like hot stuff, so I decided to skip it. My solution for the bread crumbs was to take piece of wheat bread and rip them up into small pieces. Perfect solution, I thought.

I started mixing all the ingredients in a bowl. I forgot the cream of chicken soup. I reached up into the cupboard and a can of tomato sauce fell into the bowl. The bowl tipped, and the contents splattered everywhere. Our dog was fast at licking up what hit the floor and she didn’t flop over. I took that as a good sign. On the bad side, I had to start over.

Once again I started mixing the ingredients. I tore up the bread into crumbs and dumped them in. Next I mixed in the cheese and olive oil. It looked like a clumpy, yellow, and slimy mess.


Oh boy. I hope this taste better than it looks. I really hope Lou doesn’t divorce me for trying to kill him.

I read the next steps. It said, “Pour contents of the bowl over the chicken and broccoli layer in the pan.” Then next to it, it said, “Mix bread crumbs, olive oil and cheese in a separate bowl and sprinkle it on top of the casserole.”

I threw my hands up in the air. Now I’m really going to kill Lou with my cooking. I mixed everything together and I needed actual bread crumbs. What have I done? I failed big time. What do I do now? I already mixed it all together.

I decided I would put it in the oven anyways and pray my husband would survive the next day when I served it to him. It did smell good while it was cooking. Another good sign.

This had to turn out good. My husband doesn’t usually like chicken. How could I make him want to eat this if I messed up the recipe? He loves cheese. That was a plus, but it had chunky pieces of bread mixed in instead of bread crumbs sprinkled on top. Cheese couldn’t be bad mixed in, but pieces of bread?

I worried the next day while at work if I would score a 10 or make my husband double over. After work I pulled out the casserole and dished it out on plates. I warmed each one up. Then we sat down at the table. I said the prayer and afterwards my hubby picked up his fork.

I held my breath. This is the moment of truth. Should I move the garbage can close to him in case he gets sick? Should I stand next to him so I can catch him if he keels over?

He scooped up some of the casserole and put it in his mouth. “Yum, this is delicious. You have to make it again.”


I let my breath escape my lungs. I wanted to scream, “I scored a perfect 10.” Instead of saying, “Mikey likes it,” I wanted to say, “Louie likes it.” I actually impressed my husband with a fumbled, healthy chicken recipe. He even wants me to make it again. I felt like a medal was being placed on my chest. I graduated from a simple chef to a moderate chef.

“Yay, Louie likes it.”

My advice to you is don’t be afraid to try something new. If you goofed up, keep pushing forward. Don’t mark yourself as a failure. Your goof up may turn out to be better than you think. Take on new adventures with your fight towards recovery from mental illness, breast cancer, prediabetes, and so on.


Cooking healthy recipes is going to help me lose weight, beat prediabetes, and feel better mentally and physically. Working towards being healthier and taking on new adventures is allowing the light above the hole shine even brighter.



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