After doing a lot of homework, I was able to determine that a friend's saying, "Don't cook with wine you wouldn't drink," is not one to live by. There are some serious food snobs that did some blind taste tests with recipes using expensive wine and the cheap stuff. Somewhat shockingly, they determined that the cheap stuff stands up to cooking better than the good stuff. In fact, they found that expensive wines had a tendency to lose their balance of taste - the dominant elements of their taste would take over in an unflattering way.
So, not being one for moderation, I decided to start as cheap as I could. That led me to the wine aisle at Kroger and straight to the (wait for it. . . ) $2.97/bottle Bay Bridge chardonnay. I'm not a drinker, so I had no preconceptions. We pulled it out for paella one night and pan sauce another. Cutting to the chase - 100% success. Everyone loved the new dimension it added to dinner. I was careful not to let it sit in the fridge more than one night, but I did not feel bad throwing out what was left of a $3.00 bottle of wine that I had used for two meals.
If you have any favorite wines for cooking or other quick tips, please do share!