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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Cooking Non-Adventure

When I cook, it's usually time to batten down the hatches. My mom says that I'm not a bad cook, and that's sort of true. My biggest problem is that it bores me and so I tend to wander off. Things get very dry or burnt regularly. I try to stick to simple things that are nearly foolproof like hamburgers or eggs. After I moved to Georgia, I did invest in a slow cooker. Mostly that helped, but even then things don't always turn out awesome.

My biggest challenge is chicken. I love it, but I'm scared to death of cooking it. I'm always worried I'm going to under cook it, and because of this, I cook it too long and it ends up dry and horrible. Not even the slow cooker is a guarantee that it will come out moist.

Despite all this, I bought chicken and kalamata olives at the grocery store, and with a little help from a Twitter friend, had Greek Chicken recipe that sounded good.

First off, I was missing a couple of ingredients. I didn't have any tomatoes or feta cheese. Since I loathe grocery shopping with the fire of a thousands suns, you can bet I wasn't going back to the store for a second time in three days. I knew I had diced tomatoes in a can and lots of other kinds of cheeses and those would have to do.

Four pounds was a lot of chicken and the recipe only called for a half a cup of broth. Hmm, I thought, I think I'll add the whole can. It's not like I have anything else I'm going to use the broth for and I'd just end up throwing it away so I might as well. I also poured the entire can--liquid and all--of diced tomatoes (with oregano and rosemary) into the slow cooker. Oh, I didn't have garlic cloves either, so I used garlic powder. Without measuring any of the spices, I just shook some into the slow cooker. Yes, I like to live dangerously. Also measuring seems like such a waste of time--which is why chemistry class was such a challenge for me.

The recipe said 4-6 hours on low, so I set the slow cooker for 5 hours. That seemed like a good compromise.

By the time the chicken was done, I'd forgotten that the kalamata olives were supposed to be chopped. Oops. I also had a heck of a lot of liquid in the slow cooker. I used a ladle to lower the level although it was still a lot more than the recipe called for.

Okay, so I dumped the pitted olives in whole instead of chopping them. They definitely would have been better chopped. Lesson learned. And my substitute for the feta cheese was sharp cheddar. That actually worked out really well with the chicken and olives. If you don't like feta, this is a good option.

And people, I made rice! PERFECT rice! Rice is like a huge challenge for me. I always seem to end up with dried out fossil rice, so the fact that it came out moist is like a minor miracle.

I actually had an edible dinner! And given the fact that I had four pounds of chicken in that slow cooker, I'll be having a lot more dinners of the same thing.. Luckily it was good.

So circle it in red on your calendars. I actually cooked an edible meal with chicken and rice. Maybe I should have gone to the grocery store so that I could have bought a lottery ticket. It was my lucky day.