Alright. Cooking. Yeah…..
So I’ll preface this post by saying, I DO know how to cook. Kind of. I don’t have a huge repertoire, but I can usually throw something together that won’t give you food poisoning. And when in doubt, I just put some more garlic powder on it and call it good.
But I swear, cooking is NOT like riding a bike, you do forget stuff and lose your skills over time.
I haven’t really cooked anything for a good….9 months? Since before Christmas at least. And I don’t count microwaving and then mixing pre-cooked chicken with frozen veggies as cooking. Or heating up frozen dinners in the oven (although I will give a shout out to Safeway brand Eating Right meals, they’re all under 350 calories, and pretty healthy, except for all the sodium. They have a big variety too, so you can, literally, eat them 5 days a week for months and not get too bored. Yeah, know that from experience!).
But now that I’m a newlywed, and trying to be domestic (or just not die of non-crafting boredom), I’m going to make an attempt to cook more. I’m starting slow though, with some casseroles and slow cooker recipes, meals that only involve one night of cooking for several nights of food in return.
For my first attempt, I opted to use our brand new slow cooker (thanks to The Mr.’s co-workers), and the Fix It and Forget It cookbook, to make 20 Clove Garlic Chicken.
I was a good little blogger, and took step by step pictures, but I’m not sure they’re really worth posting because the dish only turned out just ok. The chicken was falling apart soft, but could have been a little less done. I’m not sure how it was both soft and dry, but it was. I blame that on having never used the slow cooker before, so I wasn’t 100% sure on the timing, especially when all the recipes give you a range of cooking times, with lots of non-specific notes on adjustments for different sized slow cookers.
The other problem? No flavor.
The recipe called for 2 tablespoons of parsley, 1 tablespoon of both basil and oregano, 20 cloves of garlic, some celery, ¼ cup of wine, and juice and zest from one lemon. For 6 pieces of chicken breast. You would think that would be enough spices, right? Especially with all that garlic.
But sadly it wasn’t. At all. It was nothing that some BBQ sauce couldn’t fix, and we still ate it, so it was a somewhat success. But by itself there wasn’t much taste, and even the garlic cloves themselves were mushy and nearly flavorless.
I’m guessing I went wrong in one of two places. 1) My spices are old? I don’t know, do spices go bad or lose their flavor over time? I have no idea, but I guarantee some of them are probably 7-8 years old. And from the dollar store. Or 2) the flavor went away because of the overcooking?
Is anyone else out there familiar with slow cooking and can tell me where I went wrong? Or was it just not a very good recipe and didn’t call for enough spices? I really don’t know enough to be able to tell, especially since I usually just season things to taste without much measuring.
And because I figure I might as well not waste them, here are the pictures I took while making the slow cooker chicken. It did not take the 10 minutes prep time listed in the book though, more like 40 minutes, because peeling garlic is time consuming! But basically I combined the spices and wine, added the garlic and celery, stirred and set them aside, then added the chicken to the spice mixture and left overnight. The next morning I just layered the garlic and celery in the bottom of the cooker, added the chicken, and topped off with the lemon juice, leftover spice mixture and the lemon zest. The recipe was followed, and it actually looked yummy, but just lacked any flavor. Please tell me why!
(The side dish of steamed red potatoes with sauteed garlic and butter was much better than the slow cooker chicken)