“Variety is the spice of life.” Sure, we’ve all heard it, but it is so easy to fall into routines, isn’t it? All too often, we depend upon tried and true recipes to get us through the week. Our Cook of the Week, Nicole Morissette of Sabattus, knows this can be a problem for many families.

“Always try cooking a new dish every week,” she advises. “Nobody wants to get into a meal rut where you eat the same seven meals week after week. Try new recipes, even if they are not good at least you’ll know for the next time. And the piece of advice I always give my husband: ‘You don’t know that you don’t like it until you try it!'”

Nicole is a relative newlywed (married to her husband, Bobby, for a little more than a year now). She discovered that the cooking skills that got her through single life had to be kicked up a notch.

“I became interested in cooking when I met my husband three years ago. Before I met him, I was a single mom who lived off of ramen noodles and English muffins. After getting married, I realized that was not going to cut it anymore so I slowly started learning how to cook.”

The source of Nicole’s cooking inspiration is usually other people. She enjoys getting recipes from friends, and when she tastes a dish she enjoys, she always asks for the recipe. Both Nicole and her husband are health-conscious so meals that are stir-fried are their favorites. “You can pretty much just add whatever you want together, and it always tastes pretty good,” explains Nicole. “You can be very creative with them.”

Nicole also is a proof that a busy schedule doesn’t mean a person has to give up variety in cooking. The mother of one son, Isaiah, she works as an assistant manager at the Auburn Wal-Mart branch of Mechanics Savings Bank. In addition, she is a part-time student at the University of Maine, where she is studying business management. During her spare time, Nicole enjoys snowmobiling with her family, as well as scrapbooking.
Zucchini Bread
3 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup oil

3 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups flour

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

1½ teaspoons salt

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
2 cups grated raw zucchini – do not peel
Mix together eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla in a large bowl. Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add walnuts and zucchini. Grease two loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Nicole’s note:
This bread is my favorite treat. A friend of mine’s mom baked this for me and I fell in love with it, so she gave me the recipe.
Sesame Stir-Fry
½ cup brown rice

½ pound lean ground turkey

1 teaspoon sesame oil

3 green onions, chopped

2 cups cabbage coleslaw mix
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
Prepare brown rice according to package directions. In a medium skillet, brown the ground turkey; then remove turkey from pan and set aside. Heat sesame oil in same skillet over medium heat. Add green onions, coleslaw, rice and soy sauce, and stir-fry for four minutes. Return ground turkey to the mixture, heat briefly and enjoy.
Nicole’s note:
This comes from Bill Phillips’ “Eating for Life” cookbook. It is really simple and quick to make and really good for you.

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