Thursday, November 12, 2009

Kitchen Insecurities

Well, Ive come to the conclusion that I should not be a housewife. (not that I ever REALLY thought I could be)

It's been a hard month food wise at my house. My dear friend Bonnie (see post below) is Martha-Freaking-Stewart, and I began to feel bad about my lack of domesticity. Soooooo I decided it was high time for me to put my oven mitts to use and start creating some wonderful meals. Unfortunately, my kitchen knowledge is scarce, AT BEST, so there are always lots of "Googles". For example "how to hard boil eggs", "how to tell when pasta is ready", etc.

Problem number one= My oven doesn't work.
While I HAVE mastered the art of Crescent Rolls on the grill, there are just some things you can't "cook out".

Problem number two = My Work Schedule
I work from 8am-5pm and 6pm-10pm daily, except for the weekends, which I only work 6pm-10pm. This doesn't leave much time for gourmet cooking....

Problems #1 & 2 lead me to one conclusion. A Crock Pot.

So off to the store I went for said Crock Pot, and some groceries to put in it. I decided to break in the Crock Pot with some good old fashioned Chicken Noodle soup. I mean HOW HARD CAN IT BE?! So I got what Google told me I needed, but had NO idea how to go about cooking and chopping a whole chicken, so I cheated and went with good ole Pilgrims Pride chicken breasts.

My thinking, "I can cook the cut up chicken breasts in some broth overnight, then add the veggies in the morning, and Ill have some kick ass chicken noodle soup by lunchtime!" What really happened, skip to about 3:13 am, "Oh holy hell, I cannot stand the smell of that chicken cooking for one more SECOND!!!" Even the dogs were nauseated. So up I got to put the chicken and the Crock Pot on the back porch for the remainder of the night, and smear some Vicks under my nose so I didn't vomit.

Needless to say, chicken noodle soup was the LAST THING IN THE WORLD I wanted the next day, so Mr. Chicken got a nice burial at sea down my toilet.

Lesson number one= Do your cookin during the day, preferably with open windows.

So two weeks go by, I have stopped cursing at the Crock Pot, and decide to give porkchops a try. The night before I set out the chops to thaw, and then the next morning put all my ingredients in the Crock Pot and got her going. There they were, ready and waiting for their Pork Chops to jump in, when I realized I had set out two giant steaks to thaw the night before....


ckclifford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ckclifford said...

Buy a couple of large chicken breasts with bone in and with skin. Improves the flavor & the moistness of the chicken in the soup. Slice a couple of carrots, chop up a bag of boiling onions, slice 2-3 stalks of celery, and one white potato, diced. Add veggies and chicken to about 6 cups of water. Add salt & pepper. Cook on high until boiling. Reduce to low-medium and continue to cook for about an hour. Chicken should feel tender when you stick a fork in it, and the potato should be almost falling apart. The only reason that the potato is added is to create a thickener for the chicken broth. I like a hardy soup. Remove chicken and set broth to the side. Let the chicken cool and then shred it with a knife and fork. Place chicken back in broth & refrigerate overnight unless you want to cook and eat the soup the same night. Cook the noodles in the broth and hour or so before you want to eat, and then let them stand on the stove on low. Also, when I get ready to boil the noodles in the broth, I add one box of Swanson's Chicken broth. It enhances the flavor nicely. Now, enjoy your homemade chicken noodle soup. You'll have plenty of left overs. Just put the whole pot in the frig and reheat each time you want more soup. It will last for three or four days of yummy soup. Cherry Kay

Miss Scarlett said...

Cherry Kay!!!
You are THE BEST!!! I already copied and pasted it into a Word doc. to save for later (when I can stand the thought/smell again).

Thank you!!!!!!!!! *smiles sweetly*

ckclifford said...

Pork chops & chicken breast can be prepared pretty much the same way. I use a square Pyrex pan. Preheat oven to 350º. Place chicken or pork chop in Pyrex pan. Pour one of a variety of things* over the top. Place it in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. That's all there is to it!

"Things I like to pour over the chicken or pork chops;
__Fischer & Wieser Sauce (Raspberry Chipolte, Blueberry Chipolte, Blackberry Chipolte, Mango Ginger Habanero, Pomegranate Mango Chipolte, Bourbon & Charred Pineapple, etc.). Although I used to have to get them at Central Market in Dallas, I've found them at WalMart over the past few months. They'll be on the aisle with the salad dressings. These sauces are company good!
__Rub a drizzle of Olive Oil, course salt & pepper, & a bit of fresh garlic into the meat. If you don't have fresh garlic, use garlic salt.
__Wishbone Fat Free Italian Dressing.

ckclifford said...

Now, for a complete meal;
__Sister Shubert already baked Frozen yeast rolls. Just take what you need out of the bag, place them on a cookie sheet, & bake at 350º for the last 10 minutes that your meat is baking. Put them on the rack underneath your meat.
__Uncle Ben's Ready Rice (Long Grain & Wild or Brown are my favorites) Bright Orange package, usually on top shelf. Follow instructions...90 seconds in microwave. Serve immediately. Do it in last minute that your meat is cooking.
__or...Roasted homemade potato chips. Slice new or red potatoes about 1/4" thick. Toss in a bowl w/ 1T. olive oil to coat the potatoes. Place on cookie sheet( I use a Silpat sheet on my cookie sheet...keeps things from sticking). Sprinkle w/ coarse salt and Parmesan Grated Cheese(the big Kraft container works just fine). Cook at 425º for 15 minutes per side = a total of 30 minutes. Use a flat spatula to flip them on the cookie sheet. i think that metal ones work best. Hint: Prepare them prior to sticking the meat in the oven. Set your timer for 10:00 minutes. That way they'll cook for the last 30 minutes that you meat is cooking & come out at the same time! New concept!
__Now, add your favorite veggie or a green salad for a variety of color, and you're ready to serve your guests. This whole meal can be done in about an hour.
Call me if you have any questions, and I'll walk you through it.

ckclifford said...

In case my instructions on timing the potatoes was a bit obtuse....Set the timer for ten minutes when you start the meat. Stick the potatoes in the oven at that point, and cook the meat and potatoes for another 30 minutes. I just realized, I do this in a double oven because they are done at two different temps. I don't know if you have a double oven. Do you have a toaster oven, too? You could probably do the potatoes in a toaster oven if you don't have a double oven.

Miss Scarlett said...

Betty Crocker here I come!!!!! Thank you SO much Cherry Kay!!! There may be hope for me yet!

jessicabold said...

I've pretty much given up on the kitchen. It hates me...I hate it...we understand each other.

Anonymous said...

If it's any consolation, the only thing I could cook before I got married was pasta. Also, the occasional macaroni and cheese, but that takes pretty much the same exact knowledge.

I've been married for almost three years now, and not only do I LOVE to cook, but I'm actually getting quite good at it.

So, I was totally going to suggest this awesome (and totally fast) recipe for a balsamic glazed salmon, but then I remembered that your oven doesn't work. Here's an easy and fast one for Chicken Piccata, instead.

[PS: all you really need to do to prepare is to "butterfly" your chicken breasts, which means to cut them in half (but not into two pieces) and open it up like a butterfly. Beat it between wax paper with a rolling pin until it's about 1/4" thick.]

If you do that ahead of time, then you can cook yourself a delicious meal really quickly. Here's how:

1) Dip the butterflied chicken breast into Bowl #1 (flour + salt + pepper)
2) Shake off the excess flour, then dip into Bowl #2 (a beaten egg)
3) Dip into Bowl #3 (Seasoned bread crumbs)
4) Heat a few Tbsp olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat.
5) Cook the chicken in the olive oil, about 2.5 minutes per side. Cover with foil so it stays warm. Repeat steps 1-5 for each piece of chicken you're cooking - won't take long if you're only cooking for yourself.
6) In the same pan, melt a Tablespoon of butter. After it melts, add: 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons, and save the outside shells of the lemons) + 1/2 cup dry white wine + 1/2 tsp salt + 1/4 tsp pepper. Stick the outside shells of the lemons straight into the pan and let it cook for 3 or 4 minutes.
7) Pour the sauce over your chicken, and voila. That's, what, about ten minutes if you butterfly the chicken (and maybe squeeze lemon juice) ahead of time?

Oh, and PS: if you like salad, here's an incredibly easy and yummy balsamic vinaigrette that takes about two minutes to make. Chop a clove of garlic into really tiny pieces. Add 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar and about 2 Tbsp of brown sugar. Whisk this together. Slowly, add 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, whisking the whole time so it blends together with the vinegar. This is SO YUMMY and so easy. Pour over salad (and, if you like store-bought cheese tortellini, it tastes pretty amazing with that, too).

Hope this helps! As a former busy-busy-busy person and current food-making wife, just thought I'd share! :)