Reporting in on The Wifening... I made dinner. Just like a real grown up. And I handled raw chicken and everything... And no one got salmonella!
I call that a success!
I decided to make a twist between a recipe that we already love (that’s not really a recipe at all) and a recipe that I found on-line (I think it was on food.com). For the part we already love: simply take however many boneless skinless chicken breasts you need to feed who you are feeding, put it in a Ziploc bag with a crap-ton (real measurement) of sweet-hot mustard (or whatever mustard you happen to enjoy), and let it soak in that overnight. J would normally just cook this up in a pan the next day and it is ridiculously simple and delicious. Something about that sweet and spicy mustard coating the chicken is just magical.
But I had to make it different. Because I wanted to make it mine. SO... For the twist: Take it out of the mustard and coat it in a mixture of panko bread crumbs and fresh shredded parmesan cheese (slightly more panko than cheese). Then put it on a rack on a foil-covered tray (I improvised this and used the roasting tray out of our turkey pan on a cookie sheet) that has been sprayed with olive oil (or other oil...) and bake it at 450 degrees for about 20-ish minutes. Maybe more, maybe less depending on the size of your chickens. There were two random chicken strips in our pack of chicken, so I made those too. I just put them in the oven about 7 minutes or so into cooking the rest of the chicken so that they wouldn't be overdone.
For a side – because I had to make sure there was a veggie too... I made carrots with garlic and shallots. This is something that we have regularly because it’s simple and yummy. Basically peel and chop your carrots, par boil them for about a minute, dump out the water and set them to the side. Chop up about 2 cloves of garlic and 2-3 shallots (TOTALLY depends on how much you like...), throw them in a pan with some olive oil and let that cook up until the shallots start to get pale. Toss in the carrots and make sure it’s all mixed together. I also added some spicy Japanese seasoning that we love at this point... Then shove the pan in the oven for about 10 minutes. Normally J would have it at 350, but since the chicken was already in there at 450, it went in at that... It's pretty forgiving. Just keep an eye on it – you want the shallots to get crispy, but not burnt. I sorta failed on the crispiness because I was overly concerned with the non-burntness... But they still tasted good... I just really love when the shallots are super crispy...
So there you go... My easy dinner.
It’s not super pretty (well, the chicken actually is quite nice looking – the carrots aren’t lookers, but they sure are yummy), but it’s still dinner. And fairly healthy. And I thought it was delicious. J said he didn’t love the parmesan with the mustard, so if I make it again I will probably leave it out. I actually liked the flavors together, but I’m not gonna lose sleep over taking it out...
It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I had built it up to be in my mind and I’m slightly less worried about cooking chicken now. I thought it was going to be super dry, but it was delicious and moist.
My big problem is that I love baking, but I don’t like cooking. And the biggest irritation for me with cooking is that there aren’t really any exacts. Not with measurements or times or anything! There are too many variables... And I never liked that. Baking is so specific and orderly.... Cooking feels like just slappin’ some stuff together, cooking it “until it’s done,” and hoping it’s good. J loves that kind of thing – he can walk into the kitchen with no idea what he wants to make and come out with something incredible like pomegranate duck or salmon with a plum-chile glaze. I have to have a game plan.
But I’m going to keep doing this – I already picked out what I’m making this week. For the time being, I’m going to go into each week with my meal picked out so that I at least know WHAT I’m making. I’ll work up to the grabbing of random things and making a dinner out of them eventually... And I’ll keep enjoying watching J have to do the dishes for a change on the nights I cook... haha