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Friday, March 11, 2011

cooking, and other hazards

tonight, i was reasonably productive, and i cooked.  whoa!  after going and working out for almost 2 hours!!!!  i think i'm setting a personal record for being productive.

i am a general disaster in the kitchen; tonight, i destroyed a mixer, whilst making brownies.  no, that's not an exaggeration:  i'm pretty sure it's completely dead.  it smells of burnt plastic.

i would share the brownie recipe (actual homemade, does not come out of a cake mix box recipe), but i haven't perfected it yet, obviously, and it's still too crumbly.  delicious, but it won't come out as a whole brownie, and i DID freakin butter the pan.  it's not stuck, it's just a big crumble.  goes well with ice cream, according to The Matt.  me, i just want to pick up the damn thing and eat it, but these fuckers require plates.  and they're not fudgy enough yet, either:  i want my brownies to almost oooze chocolate.  i'll let you in on the secret, whenever the hell i find it.

so.  onward ho, to recipes that i DON'T screw up.  and trust me, if i can't fuck them up, you probably can't either.

Chicken Stuff

i call it "chicken stuff" because it's not quite anything.  it could be a soup sometimes, but sometimes it's not, depending on what ingredients i have on hand.  it could go over rice or involve noodles, but it doesn't have to.  generally it boils down to three or four ingredients.

what you need for the basic recipe:

family size can of Campbell's cream of chicken
family size can of Campbell's cream of mushroom
three or four chicken breasts ( i prefer 4)
(garlic, and other spices to taste can be added, but they aren't necessary)

yes, this will make a ton of chicken stuff.  trust me, you will want a large quantity of it once you taste it.

you can do this in a crock pot or on the stovetop.  on one hand, the crock pot makes it terrifically easy, but all this stuff fills it almost too full, so you can't add the full amount of water to the condensed soups.  still, it can be done.  although you probably don't want to add any more ingredients, at least in the crock pot.  you could always fish it out of there and finish it in a big soup pot on the stove, and add veggies then.

bah, anyway (can you tell i am not good at writing down recipes??):
dump out the canned soups, add recommended water (or less if necesary), add the chicken, add the garlic (either chopped cloves, or powdered, whatever) if you want it, and/or other spices.  you can do this with either fresh or frozen chicken, but the frozen will take longer, naturally.
cook it until it's almost falling apart.  then fish it all out on a plate, and shred it.  throw it back in the pot, and cook it until you can't stand it anymore, and you just have to eat it.
if you're doing all this in a crock pot, you can throw this stuff in and keep it on low all day, and you'll be cool.  if you're doing it on the stove, be sure to stir often to keep the bottom from scorching.  because scorch, it will:  this soup base is heavy.

now.  when you're done cooking the shredded chicken for a good long while (because the more you cook it the better it tastes), you can eat it just like that:  shredded tender chicken,  and the soup base.  it's delicious.  or you can put it over rice.  or cook noodles in it as well.

when i cooked Chicken Stuff today, after i shredded the chicken, i threw in potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and shredded cheese (sharp cheddar, in this case).  but trust me, you want to add the cheese either after you're done cooking, or just after you dish it.  cheese burns all too well.  or maybe it's me.  i wait on the cheesy goodness.

but you can throw anything you like into it.  peas, noodles, peppers, tofu instead of chicken and two cans of cream of shroom instead of one of each (if you're vegetarian), rice, onions (i personally LOATHE onions beyond belief, but to each their own), the works.  if you like it, and it typically goes in a soup, it'll work.  if you hate mushrooms, you can use two cans of cream of chicken.  that is actually how i started cooking the recipe, but i like cream of mushroom, so i improvised, and lo, it worked.

try it out.  you will not regret it.  is it healthy?  hell, no.  it's a good solid meal, and it is FULL OF AWESOME, but healthy it is not.  although you can get you some ingredients from whole foods (although they don't have cream of chicken, believe me, i looked), and make it slightly better for you than Campbell's.

another tweak??  try two (family size) cans of tomato soup, instead.  the acid in the tomatoes has the funny effect of discoloring the chicken brown, and you would swear it was beef in the soup if you didn't know better.  it's also excellent, but has more of a tendency to scorch on the bottom if you don't stir, even in the crock pot.  and i definitely recommend adding lots of veggies to this variant:  it's boring otherwise.  i guess this different version really is more like an actual soup.  huh.

recipe background:  i first had chicken cooked in cream of chicken soup, in an ex boyfriend's grandmother's house.  it was outfuckingstanding, and i always wished that i could recreate it.
i'm a bad cook now, but i was even worse in college, so i didn't attempt it.  then, about a year ago, i decided to just wing it, and figure it out.  and it was Very Good.  so i've been experimenting with it ever since.

other things i can't fuck up in the kitchen:

Portabella Mushrooms Full Of Win

you'll need:

large unsliced portabella mushrooms
soy sauce (or white wine, or your preferred sauce)
cheese (i recommend sharp cheddar, provologne, mozzarella, etc)
oil (peanut oil, or olive oil, if you're me)

firs things first:  oil your pan.
then, you break off the mushroom stems if they're still there, and lay the mushrooms gills up in the pan.  (i usually throw the sliced stems into the pan and fry them, then eat them while i wait, because i'm impatient like that.)
when the gills start to look watery, flip them over.
cook until the mushrooms start to flatten out.  then, flip them back over, gills side up.
at this point, you want to pour your soy sauce (or other sauces or wine) into the gills (not too much or it'll pour out and burn a bit on the pan - not that you can't eat them that way, but it'll stink).  then, you top with sliced cheese.  cook until the cheese melts, then voila!  you have dinner.
the best part?  they're mushrooms, and they're full of water, so it's almost impossible to burn one.  i've never done it, and i've burned almost everything i've ever cooked, at least once.

you can eat these suckers by themselves, or you can use them as a mushroomburger between bread.  if you want sides, i recommend asparagus or steamed green beans, or something.  although i'm sure they'd go well with steak, too.  but that would be quite filling.

and another bonus:  this recipe is vegetarian, and can easily be converted to be vegan.     : ]

if i don't eat meat i get sick and anemic (i found out the hard way through the accidental poor-college-student vegetarian diet), but i always like to be able to convert my recipes, if possible.  people eat differently.

recipe background:  i used to dislike mushrooms.  i wouldn't avoid them like the plague, but i thought they were kinda "meh."  then, an ex cooked this recipe for me (although i think he used worcestershire sauce).  yes, i get all my best food recipes from my exes.  usually they can cook better than i can.
i fell in love with all mushrooms after this, but especially portabellas.  and i never thought i would:  of all of them, i think they have the most earthy, fungus-y taste. 

so, what are your good, easy recipes?  because i sure need some.  i try to cook more, but... i suck.  hard.

1 comment:

Autumn C. said...

there is an amazing recipe for brownies on the back of the nestle's chocobake package, everyone who has ever tried it loves it! make em all the time