Some of you might not know who does the majority of the cooking in this house. Some of you, however, might be able to guess, particularly those of you who read this blog on a regular basis. When my wife went out of town last Saturday, I knew that at some point, I would have to cook for myself, without supervision. For those of you who don’t know me that well, you might not understand the enormity of that task.
I was able to sustain myself on leftovers for the first few days. As Tuesday evening rolled around, however, I knew I would have to venture in the kitchen if I wanted food. Doing some research online, (aka Googling “paleo chicken recipes”) I came upon the recipe found here.
Looking over the recipe, I thought to myself, “That doesn’t look too hard, and I have all of those spices.” So, I decided to give it a go. Right away, I knew that I didn’t know the first thing about making mashed sweet potatoes and I didn’t even know if I had them. So, the first thing I decided to do was substitute mashed carrots for the mashed sweet potatoes seen on the plate for the recipe. Mashing carrots, however, turned out to be a greater misadventure than I anticipated. After picking out five large carrots and slicing them, I put them in a bowl and tried to mash them using a potato masher. Yes, that’s right. I had no idea what I was doing. When this was met with little to no success, I used the handheld immersion blender. This succeeded only in shooting carrot fragments all over the kitchen. So, unsure of how else to do this, I googled “How to Mash Carrots.” Realizing that I needed to boil some water and use that to soften the carrots, I grabbed a pot, threw the carrots in, and put the water to a boil. This, I figured, was probably the incorrect way, but whatever. After several more attempts and primarily through trial and error, I was finally able to mash the carrots up sufficiently. I then added a touch cinnamon for flavor.
Moving on to the chicken. I selected to use chicken breasts rather than chicken legs for the simple reason that I didn’t have any chicken legs. I selected three chicken breasts, and, following the recipe, coated them in olive oil. Here, I’m pretty sure I used too much, so if you try this on your own, make sure to do a lighter coat at first and add more if you need to. Then, I simply lined a baking pan in tin foil, though I admit I had no idea what a baking pan was, or how to line it with tin foil. Using the internet again, however, was my salvation. After a few minutes of wrangling with tin foil, I realized that I wasn’t that great at lining baking pans, but I made it work. Spicing the chicken was the easiest part of the whole process, just lightly spicing both sides with garlic powder, chili flakes, cumin, sea salt, and pepper. I didn’t really heed the estimates used in the recipe, but it turned out fine. Once I had the chicken prepped, I turned to the oven, which I have never used. Ever.
I knew enough to pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Once it was ready, I placed the chicken in the oven as instructed in the recipe: uncovered, in the center of the oven. I then thought I was ahead of the game when I used the oven timer to tell me when I needed to switch sides for an even roast. I, unfortunately, learned my lesson the hard way. This actually turned the oven off after 20 minutes. I learned this when I saw “Done” prominently displayed upon the oven’s display. So I then had to re-heat the oven, and this time used the microwave timer. Once everything was finished and I was able to enjoy my first solo-cooked meal in years, I had just a couple observations.
1) Carrots were a good substitute, especially with the cinnamon added. That being said, I don’t think can beat the taste of sweet potatoes, so I know next time I try this recipe, I’m gonna use sweet potatoes. Hopefully my mashing experience will go better.
2) There’s a reason the recipe calls for chicken legs. I could tell, even though the chicken was juicy and tasted great, it would’ve been even better with the chicken legs. Further, and this may just be me being a salt fiend, but I could’ve used more salt in the initial seasoning process.
Overall, this wasn’t quite the disaster that I thought it was going to be. Nothing burst into flame and I didn’t burn the house down. If that were the only fact, I’d call this a win. I did, however, make a relatively easy meal that was a great jumping off point to further cooking endeavors down the road. Anyway, I wanted to make a “guest appearance” on this blog to document my experience. Hope you all enjoyed the story, and hope you keep up with our blog even after Lent ends tomorrow!