Thursday, November 3, 2011


I started experiment cooking about two months ago. When I came home from working 60 hours a week, I promised myself that I would finally make myself learn how to cook- before I get married in June. I got off with a running start. Flipping  through cookbooks and clicking through websites, I bookmarked all the yummy recipes I wanted to make. Of course, since I'm primarily gluten-free, I'd have to learn to cook that way too, but seriously, it couldn't be that hard. Some of the first things I tried to cook/ bake were embarrassingly easy, yet I flunked. Everything came out burned, dry, or not-finished. Being the anxious person that I am, whenever an item isn't finished on time, I nervously wait at the oven and check every .5 seconds to make sure it isn't smoking yet.

Chicken was my first real adventure. I love chicken, and I knew that I would have to man it a lot, so I decided to master the art of pan searing chicken on the stove top. Experience 1- horrifying. I swear cooking appliances hate me. The hot oil kept jumping out of the pan and onto my skin, the chicken looked incredibly burned on the outside but completely raw on the inside. I must have turned the chicken over and back about 50 times in 5 minutes. the end result was a very dry, edible piece of chicken. Even though I never saw any smoke, the house reeked of smoke. My hair smelled like smoke, and the kitchen was growing  a little dim.

Experience 2- slightly better. I decided to add some spices to the meat, perhaps that would make the difference. I coated the raw meat with a yummy fiesta lime chicken rub and tossed it into the pan. The coloring was much nicer, but it still looked a little burned and dry. I ate this batch with lots of salad dressing, and it wan't too horrible. Some ugly smoke situation- but the alarms never went off :).

Experience 3- After consulting a few housewives about how to cook chicken, I realized what my problem ways. I didn't have enough liquid in the pan. The next time, mom poured almost the entire bottle of olive oil in the pan. yuck. I love olive oil, but a gallon soaked into one little chicken breast is not really what my taste buds were looking for. I like subtly flavored things. Too much going on with flavor is really a turn off for me. I'm a salt and pepper kinda girl. Anyways, surely enough the chicken didn't burn me as much, and it didn't seem to be smoking or burning as usual. I kept rotating between high and medium low temperatures because the closer the liquid got to the top, the more anxious I became. The final result was good tasting chicken, with way to much olive oil.

Experience 4- At last, I know how to cook chicken ( on the stove-top at least). I grease the pan with a little olive oil, and combine a nice mixture of water and olive oil. I rub my chicken in whatever seasonings- I used pistachio last time, and place the chicken into the pan. The water bubbles and I let it do it's thing for about 2 minutes, then I flip sides. I continue doing this little routine for a long time, until the chicken looks done. I check the middle and then let it go a little longer. I guess I was getting a little too comfortable in the kitchen this week, yesterday I went to rinse out a glass and just as soon as I turned my back the chicken over boiled. Yikes. I grabbed that thing off the stove top, wiped the water away and put it back on, under close watch and a slightly lower temperature. The result was phenomenal. Like phenomenal. I'm telling you, best chicken ever. I was pretty pleased with myself and actually have been enjoying the chicken for 3 meals.

I have a lengthy list of new items to cook, but there are two I am going to attempt in honor of the thanksgiving season ( I should probably test-cook these before thanksgiving day... hmmm)

These look easy to make, and would be a nice, healthier dessert option for thanksgiving and Christmas parties :)

Sweet potato casserole. My favorite ingredients to put in: marshmallows, brown sugar and pecans. Yum!

Bacon wrapped chicken. This amazing recipe mentions a honey dijon mustard glaze over the top. yum! I definitely want to try these for Christmas

I'm such a fan of brie, but a lot of people aren't. I think sneaking it into this dip, disguised by lots of bacon would be a good try :).

Of course, all of these lovely images came from Pinterest

What is your favorite thing to make around the holidays?

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