- I can’t keep track of my meals myself!
- My food is never photogenic (unless I try really hard).
- Many times, unless it’s a Wacky Food Combo, my meals are boring.
During one of our recent marathon catch-up phone sessions, my best friend, Becca, who is never wrong about anything, informed me that I’m not incorporating enough protein in my daily meals. Sidenote: I’m not being sarcastic – this girl should be a Life Coach: Whenever she tells me to do something, and I actually follow her advice, something good ALWAYS happens.
Since my conversation with Becca, I’ve been eating lots of egg whites, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, egg muffins, tuna and other easy-access lean proteins. I’m well aware of the benefits of a protein-packed diet, so I’ve always eaten some of these every day, but I’ve never focused on eating lots of them all in one day. Already, I’ve noticed an increase in my energy level and the ability to power through workouts to the very end. But, I’ve also gotten bored with these easy-access proteins. They are somewhat bland, and a girl can only use so much bbq sauce, ketchup and other random condiments (well, actually, I would swim in bbq sauce if I could, but buying all of those bottles would get kind of expensive.)
Enter the Chicken
Spurred by food boredom and my recent post on fried chicken (the song), all signs were pointing towards this Sometimes Healthy Girl heading to her tiny kitchen and baking up some finger lickin’ good ol’ chicken.
I’m a bad cook. It’s out there. I finally admitted it. It feels so good to finally have it out in the open. Sometimes Healthy Girl’s Official Statement: I’m a healthy living blogger with subpar (at best) cooking skills.
But where I lack in cooking skills, I make up for with my kitchen creativity. Just so we’re all clear, you can always come to this little blog for unique/easy/wacky recipes, such as 2.5 Step Healthified Comfort Foods. However, if you’re looking for more intricate, mainstream recipes, I’m not your girl. But please, stick around for the entertainment.
Now back to Mr. Chicken.
Courtney recently wrote a post about being afraid to cook salmon (of course, she still does!). In her questions section, she asked about foods that other readers were afraid to cook/prepare. Interestingly enough, no one said chicken. Am I the only one that fears that once I touch a piece of raw chicken, I’ll immediately be rushed to the hospital with salmonella poisoning, even if I wash my hands with the strongest anti-bacterial soap in the world 10 times?
Nevertheless, I decided to overlook the grave concerns for my life and finally bake up some chicken last night. As you all know, I’m never one to stray away from pre-cooked chicken, but it’s very expensive and often, the sodium content is off the charts.
Step 1: The Introduction
First, I plopped the raw chicken into a large bowl, as I grimaced at the slimy texture of each and every piece. I also pinched my nose because the smell was kind of strange. Does raw chicken smell bad? Then I washed my hands 10 times, just in case I touched something that might touch something that might touch something that would go in my mouth which would then have come in contact with my hands and therefore give me salmonella….Paranoid much?
Step 2: The Whining
Next, I called my mother to complain about the sliminess of the chicken/get her opinion on what type of dish I should bake it in. She gave me her chicken-cooking tips, and I told her I had to go so I could marinate my chicken. I then disinfected my phone, just in case it had come in contact with the raw chicken…because clearly, I put my phone in my mouth all the time.
Step 3: The Marinating
I looked up a few recipes for marinades and sauces, but all had too many ingredients (more than 3 stressed me out), so I decided to make my own. My favorite chicken in the world is this Balsamic Chicken from a restaurant in Omaha, Biaggi’s. Not really sure what’s in the sauce. I figured a lot of balsamic vinegar, a bit of yellow mustard and some honey might achieve the tangy flavor.
After I poured the vinegar on top of the chicken, I realized I was supposed to mix the sauce before pouring on the chicken. Ooops. No sauce tasting for me. I rolled it all around with a spatula until the ingredients appeared to be well-mixed. Marination time: 2 minutes…until the oven was pre-heated to 350 degrees. I’ve heard chicken is more moist when you marinate it overnight, but since thinking ahead doesn’t always work out for me, the 2 minute marinade had to suffice.
Step 4: Shake n’ Bake
I gracefully dumped the chicken into my foil-lined baking dish, using my trusty spatula to swirl around the marinade and ensure every piece was covered. Then, I gave the dish a little shake to really get the sauce a swirlin.’ Finally, I threw the chicken into the oven and breathed a sigh of relief. I washed my hands again, just in case they had touched the chicken without me realizing it.
Step 5: Scrub a Dub
While the chicken baked, I threw away all trash and loaded the dishwasher with any and every dish that I thought MIGHT have come in contact with the possibly infected raw chicken. I ensured the dishwasher was on the “superwash” setting.
Step 6: The Triple Check
While the directions on the chicken packaging had said to bake it around 20 minutes, I wasn’t taking any chances. I baked it for a good 25, took it out, and cut into a piece to check for pink. I didn’t see any, but just in case, I baked for and additional 5 minutes. I’d rather have over-cooked chicken than raw chicken. Again, I washed my hands…this must have been about the 15th time.
Step 7: The Masterpiece
And after all that, I had myself 8 perfectly portioned piece of lean chicken breast…that looked slightly less than appetizing. Nevertheless, while somewhat dry from the over-cooking (oops), the marinade was a success! Sweet and tangy, just like I hoped. Winner!
I’m happy to report that it’s 8:00 the day after my chicken-cooking ordeal, and I have not yet experienced any salmonella symptoms. Phewwwww. I MAY just cook it again sometime soon. Please stay tuned
Do you consider yourself a good cook? What’s your best dish? How are you at cooking chicken? Got any tips for me?