I discovered, as I got older, if I did the cooking, I could control the content of what was being placed in front of me at mealtimes. The added bonus was that my mom, who was a good cook, didn’t really like to cook. She did like to clean up. So our deal was whoever cooked didn’t clean. It was great deal for me since I could manage my food and make a mess at the same time.
One of the easiest proteins I was able to learn from was the chicken breast. I felt if you gave me a chicken breast, I could give you the world. Or at least the world as a picky eater would see it. It was such an easy meat to manipulate at mealtimes and it was very forgiving. I could turn this beautiful piece of white meat into anything I wanted and it always would taste good. I could marinate, sauté, pound, stuff, pan-fry, roast, grind, and grill. I could add spices, sauces, and veggies (those came much later) and it would be a different dish.
I started to get really adventurous and started reading cooking magazines. I was learning new terms and techniques. I never knew there were so many ways to prepare food. The first time I deglazed a pan with wine was an amazing night for Mom and me. Out of nowhere the brown gunk on the bottom of the pan was gone and a magical sauce appeared. Mom said it tasted continental and that got me all excited. I didn’t know what it meant at the time but it sure sounded cool and I wanted to do more.
It was at this point; I felt I was becoming a good cook. I had the confidence to try new things and I always received rave reviews. I had the most fun when I was making up recipes and giving them funny names. Some of my favorites were Catch-a-manatorie, Damn Burritos, Geek Chicken and the all time winner, Man Gittin’ Chicken. If you wonder if it worked, you can ask my husband. The recipe was pretty simple and basic but the tastes were all so new to me. This was one of my first “originals” and I am still very proud of it.
Man Gittin’ Chicken
- 1 Onion, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
- 1/2 tsp Oregano
- 1/4 tsp each thyme, sage, tarragon & basil
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 4 chicken breasts
- Parmesan Cheese
- In a small saucepan, melt butter.
- Add onion and cook over medium heat until tender
- Deglaze the pan with wine and add herbs.
- Reduce about 5 minutes
- Place chicken in baking dish and pour herb sauce over it.
- Sprinkle the top of chicken with cheese and paprika
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.
I would serve this over spinach noodles (because I thought that was considered a vegetable).
My picky eater days would soon be in my past but I was far from a foodie. I had one more obstacle to overcome……