I can’t cook.
Sure I perfected hot pot macaroni and cheese, and heating up a can of spaghettios in college, but I did not inherit my mom and grandma’s love and knowledge of cooking. When I had my first kitchen in college, and then my first apartment after, I lived on frozen burgers (the pink slime stuff, yuck!) cooked on a George Foreman grill, microwaved hot dogs, instant mashed potatoes (which I do still love) and pasta. I lived for a year on frozen dinners by Healthy Choice and Lean Cuisine. I wanted to make corn muffins one time, but found out my oven was broken, so I figured I’d cook them in the toaster oven. FYI, that does not work. One time I accidentally bought filet mignon at Wegmans for $27, and panicked because I knew if I tried to cook it I’d ruin it – so I took it to my mom to cook for me.
I’ve had my mom and my friend Adrienne show me how to cook chicken in a pan, but leave me on my own to do it, and I can’t. I am so paranoid about meats being under cooked that I over cook everything. I don’t know what temp to cook things on, so I’ll burn the outside but the inside will be raw.
But the last few years I’ve collected quite a few recipes on Pinterest, things I think I can handle, and I have been successful! I’ve perfected cooking chicken breasts in the oven, since I am (still) incapable of cooking chicken in a pan. But I have no skills, so when a recipe says there is 10 minutes of prep time, I’m easily taking 30 minutes. How on earth do you peel an onion quickly? I watch the Food Network, and it’s *wham bam zip smash voila* peeled onion. I stand there, my nails digging into the onion, trying to break the skin away a little bit at a time. 5 minutes later, my oil is burning and my onion still isn’t chopped and ready to be added to the pan. Because besides the onions being impossible to peel, I can’t manage my time properly, so I’ll still be chopping something when it’s more than ready to be added to the pan. And stir-fry is out of the question because I have no idea when to add each item so that it’s cooked properly. Oh well. I’m light years ahead of where I used to be.
For 12 years I’ve worked overnights, but since I’ve been on “special assignment” since December, and working in the afternoon I’ve discovered crock-pot cooking. I found a bunch of interesting recipes on Pinterest that I could turn on before leaving for work, and when I got home at midnight, I’d have dinner ready. And most of them are pretty easy – dump things into the pot, and turn on for 8 hours. I can handle that! When pinning things the other day I came across a Bloody Mary crock-pot chicken recipe. Basically it was chicken and a bloody mary mix cooked for 8 hours. I had been looking for something to do with the Burning Asphalt mix that is too thick to drink, so I figured why not try it. I altered it a bit though. And now that I tasted it I’d do a few things different.
Basically you combine chicken, chopped onion, garlic, and bloody mary mix in the crock-pot and cook. Add in rice or quinoa at the end. Done. It tastes pretty good! However next time I think the onions should be softened a bit in a pan with oil before adding to the crock-pot for the rest of the cooking – they are still a bit crunchy. I also think it could benefit from a can of diced tomatoes.
I used the Burning Asphalt mix that was already open, I had about a half a bottle left. So to make sure the chicken was fully covered by liquid I added some chicken broth I had in the fridge, and about a cup of water. If you had enough mix to cover the chicken, you wouldn’t need to add much more liquid. If I add diced tomatoes next time, it will need even less additional liquid.
So here it is, my very first, very imprecise recipe!
Bloody Mary Crock-pot Chicken
Prep time: No idea, but it’s not too much
Cook time: 7-8 hours
2 chicken breasts
1 small/medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Bloody Mary mix of your choice*
1 can diced tomatoes
Chicken broth or water if needed
Rice, quinoa, or other “filler” of your choice
Cook the chopped onion and garlic with some olive oil in a pan until softened. Combine the chicken breasts, chopped onion, diced tomatoes and bloody mary mix in the crock-pot. If needed add additional broth or water to ensure the chicken is fully covered by liquid. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Once the chicken is cooked, or nearly cooked, cook your rice or quinoa on the stove following package instructions using as much liquid as you can from the crock-pot. Shred the cooked chicken in the crock-pot and stir in cooked rice/quinoa. Serve.
*The taste will be based on the mix you use, so use something you like.