I don’t know if it was the guilt I felt about not making something yummy for Thanksgiving for the umpteenth consecutive year or what, but I decided to enter into unchartered territory post-turkey day.
I went online and found a super-helpful website, nailed down a couple of easy-to-make recipes, went ingredient shopping and returned home to start the adventure.
I figured the best time to loose my rookie skills in the kitchen was when my husband was at the Husker-Hawkeye football game. First, I find it hard to believe that hunting 45 minutes at the grocery store, gathering two dozen ingredients and preparing/cooking for 90 minutes only equates to two dishes. That doesn’t seem rational.
While prepping the chicken (I was supposed to get three breasts and instead accidentally brought home seven smaller “flanks” or something like that), I had to ignore my total disgust for raw meat. I honestly don’t know how chefs can wash, chop and heat animal flesh . . . blegh! I realize I’m a total hypocrite, because I love mowing down cheeseburgers and tacos at restaurants. The difference is in the consistency and color, I guess.
Pink and slimy. Couldn’t wait to coat these bad boys in something and then heat them until they weren’t recognizable anymore.
Aren’t you all proud that I realized extra virgin olive oil was not the same as vegetable oil? I had to borrow the former from my neighbor, but now at least I know what it looks like. My husband swore we already had some, but I didn’t want to call him to ask where . . . that would have made me look weak and hopeless.
The recipe also called for placing the chicken between two sheets of wax paper and pounding it with a mallet. I was fresh out of mallets and could only find parchment paper at the grocery store. Don’t worry, I didn’t assault the meat. I gently smacked it with the side of the hammer and prayed none of it would ooze out the side of the paper (dry heaving as I type).
My final substitution of the night was this box of Easy Bake seasoned coating mix for Pillsbury shaken blend flour. I don’t even believe the latter exists. Before you roll your eyes and assume I baked chicken and now call myself a cook, JUST YOU WAIT.
I not only had something in the oven a-heatin’
. . . but also two pots a-cookin’. And I didn’t even set off a smoke alarm!
The result was a nice meal of chicken marsala, broccoli casserole and flaky crescent rolls made from dough I kneaded with my own bare hands. OK, they were straight out of the Pillsbury tube, but whatever . . . they tasted great. My husband thought so.
My oldest not so much.
My middle child did what he does best . . . and copied my oldest.
And the pinky princess wasn’t impressed either.
So I ask you: How can anyone actually enjoy slaving away for hours only to have her — or his — family show this level of gratitude?
I am not giving up, though. I will forge on. Back to the website. Roll the dice on another recipe.
When I master the tastiest of dishes, I will share the recipe with you. Consider this my junior varsity debut. I’ve got my sights set much higher. Who knows, I may even shop for an apron. Nah . . . I can think of a whole slew of things I’d rather do with that money.
And eating out is on the top of that list.
Heidi Woodard is married with three children. Read her Thursdays on momaha.com