"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I Still Don't Own Cookware

I know. No, the irony is not lost on me. One of the things I did before I left Boston was place a WalMart order for many of the items I would need when I arrived. It was timed so that it would hit me within a day or two of my arrival. I figured I'd eat out the first night or two anyway, so I'd be able to settle in a bit before I had to actually cook for myself.

Well, I forgot I was traveling during the holiday season and maybe, just maybe, things might sell out before my order was picked. That's exactly what happened.

I cheaped out on certain items, like cookware and knives, because they're the most important tools to me and when I buy them for real, I intend to purchase top notch (as I always have). Meanwhile, I figured I'd live with the throw-away stuff for a few months. Hence, the order for housewares from WalMart rather than Macy's.

On the other hand, I decided to treat myself to a really good slow cooker because even the cheapest of the cheap last quite some time and it would just be a sin to buy a "disposable." No, I didn't get the Ninja, but I probably will if I decide to upsize from a tiny studio to a full-sized apartment with a bigger kitchen.

Anyhow, the knife and cookware sets I chose were out of stock when I ordered them. No big deal. I could pick up the same sets in-store when I did my grocery shopping, right? Weeeeellll ... I decided to just grab a three-piece knife set with only the basics. It cost me almost nothing and I figured I didn't need more than that for now.

But cookware ... All those years selling housewares turned me into the biggest cookware snob. When I actually looked at, and handled, the pans I had initially chosen, I was so happy I hadn't been able to buy it. It was way worse than junk. I picked out a different set that cost only a few dollars more, but after spending over four hours at WalMart (long story short, I shopped for a LOT of items that night, including groceries), I was in no mood to lug it home. I figured I'd make do with the crock pot, microwave, and toaster oven for a few days and simply order the cookware online (yay for free shipping). It's due to be delivered some time today.*

Of course, since I haven't been able to boil or saute, I've had to be resourceful. Thankfully, I was wise enough to ensure that I purchased ingredients for several slow cooker and oven recipes I wanted to try. In fact, only one or two of the recipes on my list required any sort of stove-top preparation, so I postponed them temporarily.

Anyhow, I have two recipes and one fabulous tip to share with you this week (links are in the titles):

This technique is supposed to produce excellent, crispy, golden brown fries. Meh. I didn't see any major difference between the way I normally make my own oven fries and following this procedure. I did follow it pretty much to the letter just so I'd be sure to come up with results based on the changes vs. my usual method. I found the cooking time needed to be much longer in order to get the potatoes to crisp. It also uses more oil than I normally would.

The verdict: I'll go back to the method I've used for years. It works for me. I will also post my own method soon, but not just yet, because I'm trying to work a way of seasoning the potatoes without using the processed crap (packaged onion soup mix) that I usually use while still getting that flavor.

I kept the meal itself simple. I just microwaved leftovers that I'd packed in the freezer and threw together a side salad. (BTW, for the dressing on that salad, I mixed a little Italian dressing with the honey mustard sauce from last week's post and, YUM!)

I swear if this chicken were a man, I'd marry it.

No, that's not really what this recipe is called, but it may as well be. It is unbelievable! I did not tweak it at all. The only change I might make is to double the amount of chicken OR serve it over rice to catch all of the amazing sauce it makes. Seriously, this sauce is so good, I could drink it. Actually, I think the recipe says to oil or grease your crock pot before you put the chicken in, but I didn't and I had zero problems with cleanup. I had to freeze the leftovers immediately because I didn't want to end up in a food coma.

I actually paired the chicken with baked sweet potatoes and a side salad. An excellent choice, I might add. There was so much sauce that I didn't want to waste, so I put it in a container in the fridge and had it a few days later with just a left-over sweet potato. When I say amazing, I mean A. May. Zing! This recipe alone is reason enough to buy a slow cooker. Make sure it's a 6-quart. As I already stated, you could easily double the amount of chicken (and bacon, of course) without needing to double the other ingredients and still prepare it in a 6-quart cooker. However, if you decide to upsize any more than that, go with an 8-quart.

So what would I do if I decided to tweak it? I'd throw chunks of onion in there. That sauce would be even more fabulous with a large vidalia or a couple of medium yellow onions.

Also, the cook time is perfect. My chicken was basically still frozen when I put it in and it cooked on low for about 7 hours. It came apart with a fork, just like the best pulled beef or pork does.

One of the reasons lettuce and tomato were on my grocery list this time around was that I haven't had a BLT in ages. I'm not kidding; it's literally been about 20 years. I figured if I was going to wrap chicken in bacon and end up with a few slices left over, I may as well make myself a sandwich. Well, duh! I didn't buy bread. I did cook up the rest of the bacon after basket weaving it per this tip. In fact, I broiled it, then I drained it thoroughly and froze it. I still ended up with a couple of stray slices, so I crumbled them and used them on a huge salad for lunch one afternoon. However, the woven slices look too good not to use in a BLT or club sandwich.

Happy Cooking!

*Remember, I pre-program my posts, so I haven't lived without stove-top cooking as long as it may appear.
**OMGWTFBBQ is the title of chapter 7 of my friend William Vitka's first novel, Infected.


  1. I know what you're getting for Christmas.

    1. A manservant? LOL

      For the record, I have acquired cookware and am quite impressed with the quality vs. price. I now have the most tricked-out postage-stamp-sized kitchen in the OKC.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping to say hello. And thank you for the compliment.