I love the cable cast on, although I had trouble with it in the beginning too. A crochet hook instead of the right hand needle works well, but I don't normally bother with it. I discovered a technique that makes the cable cast on easy to do with two needles. When I snug up the newly cast on stitch on the left hand needle, I hold my right hand needle underneath the left as I snug the stitch. The right hand needle is between the previously cast on stitch and the newly cast on stitch. Doing this ensures that the newly cast on stitch isn't too tight, and my right hand needle is already in the correct place to knit on the next stitch. It's a little difficult to describe. I can post some photos if necessary.
Another way to do it would be to use a size or two larger for the cast on, then knit the first row with the right size needle. The cast on stitches will be a little looser and much easier to work with.