Three Things About Cooking Chicken I Learned The Hard Way
I admit, folks, I was not a natural cook. If anything, putting milk in cereal was cooking to me for several years. I didn't have any reason to cook, really. For a long time, I was eating my dinner here at the station, so it was mostly microwave stuff or snacks. Then when Husbando came along, he had been a cook professionally for several years, so at first, he took over. Then we got to our now compromise, where three nights a week, he cooks two, and there are two where we mostly rely on leftovers.
As I got to do more in the kitchen, I started to learn a few things. One being that pickles can get moldy. I've seen it with my own eyes. It was not pleasant. Another being that you don't put water on a grease fire. Just... trust me on this. And lastly of course, I learned that you can, in fact, get tomato sauce all over your kitchen wall and not see flecks of it weeks.
But I've also learned that having chicken in the freezer is always a good move. It's versatile. You can use it in pastas, in tacos, in soups, in salads, stir frys, pretty much anything. So I always try to keep either some chicken thighs or chicken breasts in the freezer. BUT. You gotta be careful with this stuff. While chicken can be in just about any dish you want, it's also really easy to mess it up. So here are some things that I've learned over the years, so you don't have to make the same mistake.
1. Defrost it right.
Put it in a bag, and submerge that bag in cool water for a couple of hours. Don't put it in hot water, or you'll start to see it kind of boiling itself. Yes, I learned that the hard way. It looked like some kind of lump of mucus.
2. Season it thoroughly.
It's easy to make chicken, but it's also easy to make it bland. I am guilty of this crime. I once made chicken salad and it was so boring I wanted to slap myself in the face. I tend to use the same seasonings when I'm making chicken in any kind of dish: seasoned salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. If I'm feeling really bold, sometimes I might substitute lemon pepper. It's simple, it's tasty, and it works for just about everything.
3. Brining is definitely a thing.
Brining, in case you don't know, is a process where you soak your defrosted meat in a container of salt water. It helps to make the chicken more juicy. I don't tend to do it, though, because Husbando doesn't like it. He says he likes his chicken drier, for some reason. And I never did it when I was cooking for myself, so. I just skip it. But it can be good if you Don't like your chicken dry.
With everyone staying home more often these days, I'm sure you've been doing some more cooking as well. What are some of your tips? Have you learned a lesson in cooking the hard way?