Monday, September 12, 2011

Cooking Class

In an ongoing effort to get married* become a more well rounded person, one of my goals for the fall is to become a better cook. I can already make the basics- chicken, tacos, toast, bascetti. And I have a few slightly more complicated dishes up my sleeve for dinner parties or special occasions. But that's about it. So this fall, I'm determined to become a more interesting, more talented cook.

To start out, I've been focused on crock pot cooking. Up till this point the only thing I've made in my crock pot is pulled pork, and that is delicious every time. So I have faith in the magic powers of the crock pot! But I need to branch out.

This is the crock pot recipe I tried yesterday:

Apricot Chicken

1/2 cup apricot preserves
1/3 cup bottled Russian (or Catalina) dressing
1/2 envelope onion soup mix
6 frozen chicken breasts

Mix the first three ingredients together. Place chicken in crock pot and cover with apricot mixture. Cook on low 5-6 hours. Serves 6.

I threw it all in the crock pot in the morning before leaving for church for the afternoon. While in church, I found myself thinking about it as if it were my child: "Is it doing what it's supposed to be doing? Is everything going well? Is it burning?" (a thought I hope I never have about an actual child.)

[Dang, I just realized I'm blogging about cooking. This is weird. Moving on.]

Good news though, the meal turned out delicious. I served it with rice and a salad. So if you're looking for a good recipe idea, I give it two thumbs up.

I wish that cooking came naturally to me. I know a lot of people just have an instinct for it. A pinch of this, a dash of that. I'm the kind of person who studies the recipe very closely and refers to it nonstop the whole time I'm preparing it. Which is why I'm starting off pretty easy. The next recipe I'm going to try is for lil smokies. It calls for a cup of grape jelly, a cup of bbq sauce, and two packages of lil smokies in the crock pot for several hours. I'll probably make this for a football watching afternoon. I love lil smokies so I'm pretty excited about it. Plus, it's really fun to say lil smokies. Lil smokies.

Do you have any cooking tips for me? Are you a good cook? How did you get to be one? What's your specialty?

*Totally kidding!


violet50 said...

I'm going to get all of your recipes and try them out, too, because my cooking has become very predictable - read boring!! I'm hungry now - thanks so very much. I'm going to thinking about lil smokies all day now!

Angela said...

Oh. My. Heck! I heart cooking and trying new recipes! That lil smokies recipe is awesome! If you've got some lil smokies that you don't crock, it's way fun to tuck them into a nice little crescent roll blankie! I get the cans of crescent roll dough, cut them long-ways so they're thinner and wrap the lil smokie up and bake the rolls as directed. It's awesome. Another fun thing w/ crescent rolls for an appetizer is to use a half wedge of laughing cow cheese in it and bake them up - crazy delicious. If you'd ever be down, I'd have a blast coming up for much overdue visit - and if you want do a cooking class a la Pampered Chef for you and your friends ;) or I could just come for a visit. I mean, it is quite overdue by more than a decade.

Angela said...

Oh! And PS -i'll have to send you the super easy potato soup recipe I have! Fun times for the crock pot!

Katherine said...

Lil smokies. Ooooh, it IS fun!! I really enjoy cooking, and, like you, have some recipes I fall back on a lot. When I'm just cooking for me, I'm much more inclined to experiment. I started out following a lot of recipes exactly, but have become more comfortable trying different things. Some work, some don't! I think I'll try using my crock pot more, too!

lizzie mc.- said...

Not a great cook, but a cheap and lazy one. I'm on board with the crockpot cooking. It my fave.

Big brisket a cup of marinade. LOW. yum. That's my preferred.

Catalina chicken similar to what you posted... 1 C. Catalina (aka in-store brand honey french), 1 C. apricot jam 1 pkg onion soup oven 350 40 min. (Although I'm thinking I'll give it a try in the crock pot.)

Chicken something... very technical a C. or so of frozen veggies a can of condensed cream of something and chicken (cut up cooks faster and more evenly.

Chinese chicken something. Chinese type veggies, your choice cabbage, green onion, carrots, broccoli, baby carrots, bamboo (thawed) Day old left over rice. Med-hi skillet Rice crack and scramble egg. Sprinkle on ginger, soy, onion flakes (unless onion in the veg) little garlic, add veg. In separate skillet little olive oil little sesame oil (check for allergies) chicken cut bias to the grain (slightly frozen cuts easier) Cook hot and fast same seasonings.

Cantonese chicken
cube chicken marinade in soy. Dredge in flour (gal zip bag shake n bake style) Fry in 2 tbsp oil olive/ sesame med-hi 3-4 min each side. last min place prepared mixture to glaze chick. 4 Tbsp katsup, 1 Tbsp vinegar 1 tbsp sugar (or 2) tabasco to taste. serve over rice.

A new, rather interesting concoction VERY tasty. Nawlins chicken. I'll try to remember cooked noodles (rotini or shells) Cream of mushroom soup condensed, green chili 5 oz cheese, tomatoes, chicken cubed. something to that effect. So good. Less ingredients is more fun, cheaper, easily memorized and no weird ingredients sitting useless on the shelf or special trips to the store.

Melissa C said...

I am a non-adventurous cooker too, thanks for the recipes. I wish I had something to add, but I don't.

It is amazing that I am married :)

However, if you do need any baking tips, I can help you out there.

Erin Harris said...

I love that apricot chicken recipe! One of my faves! I made it for the absolute love of my life at school one time because it is so delish and it was. He broke my heart shortly after. But don't worry, the food tasted SOOO good! I'm sure the same thing won't happen to you. (Although this story is true, I had to throw in another Happiness Squasher moment. Its been a while Hehehehe).

I'm so excited for our Fall adventures!

Erin Harris said...

P.S. You are the best and I adore you!

Liz said...

Crockpots scare me, I don't like the idea of leaving them plugged in and turned on.
My main cooking skills are limited to anything that I can microwave.
Jelly and BBQ sauce?! That sounds so disgusting.