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A Twenty-Something’s Journey To Becoming An Amateur Chef: Chicken & Veggies

I used to cook. Like, a lot. I worked in a restaurant for two years and tried my hardest to keep that skill once I left. Well, it’s been almost 3 years, and whatever I had was gone.

This is my attempt to get it back.

Chicken and Veggies

For this meal, I want you to picture yourself coming home on a Monday night after spending the entire weekend treating your body like the dumpster behind a liposuction clinic. Oh yeah, you did nothing but sit on the couch, eat bacon and Doritos, maybe drink way more vodka than you should have, all culminating in your first day back at work with a puffy face and those special pants that have the elastic built into the fabric. As soon as you walk in the door, you want something fresh. Something with a juicy crunch to it. Let’s put on some Pixies to set the mood.

Oh baby, that’s what I’m talking about. A little funky, a little weird, but it kind of makes you want to dance. Anyway, tonight’s meal is a classic simple dish that I really hope I don’t fuck up. You see, I have chicken, and I have a ton of vegetables, and so I just figure that if I cook them both together it’ll end up both healthy and tasty.

Here’s what you’ll need:

– Chicken (I’m using two chicken breast cutlets because I’m balling on a budget)
– 8-9 Stalks of asparagus
– Half of a tomato
– A handful of onions
– A bigger handful of mushrooms
– A touch of olive oil
– Salt and pepper for spice

The thing that’s nice about this recipe is that you can really use any vegetables that you want, as long as you cook them all at the same time. These are the ones that I used because it was all I had in my fridge at the time, but, y’know, if you wanted to toss a pepper or two in there I’m sure it wouldn’t taste too bad. Carrots might fuck it up though. But hey, who am I to tell you how to cook?

Here’s what you’ll do:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Make absolutely sure it’s on Fahrenheit. If there’s anything I learned from watching Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century it’s that the difference in those two temperatures is astounding and you will probably burn your house down if your oven is set to Celcius.

2. While your oven is preheating, get a baking pan thing (not, like, a flat baking sheet, but one that’s oven safe and has a good lip to it) and line it with aluminum foil. Take your chicken and put it on one side of the pan. Feel free to add salt and pepper or whatever to those bad boys so that the flavor starts sinking in.

3. Wash your hands. Salmonella is real.

4. Take your asparagus and chop about an inch off the bottom. That part is a shitty consistency and feels like you’re chewing on bark when you bite into it. Take the rest of the asparagus and toss it into a gallon zip-lock bag.

5. Slice the tomato into three slices. I only used half because I had half of one left and I wanted to get rid of it before it goes bad, you know? Anyway, once you’ve cut it into slices, cut those slices in half as well, and add those to the same zip-lock bag as the asparagus. You’ll start noticing a pattern here.

6. Grab your handful of mushroom slices and cut them in half. They should still be pretty big, but that’s okay. The consistency of a mushroom feels a little bit like a sponge, so I think that means it soaks up other flavors. The bigger the mushroom, the more flavor it soaks up. Add the mushrooms to the same bag as previously mentioned.

7. We’re going to cut another onion ring sized slice off of the onion again, only this time instead of dicing it, we’re going to cut it into four parts. This way, the onions are a little bigger and stringier and can add their flavor to more veggies. Add them to the bag.

8. Now that all of your veggies are in the bag, we’re going to pour just a touch of olive oil in there. Zip the bag shut, shake it up, make sure that all of our veggies get some oil on them. Then, dump the veggies onto the other side of the pan as the chicken. This is your chance to add any salt or pepper to those bad boys before putting them in the oven.

9. By this point, the oven should be preheated. Put the pan in the oven. Wait for 20 minutes. Do whatever you want to do during that 20 minutes. I mindlessly watched Curb Your Enthusiasm and wondered about the next steps of my career, but if you don’t want to go down that rabbit hole you definitely don’t have to.

Once that 20 minutes is up, you should be good to go as far as plating is concerned. Everything should be cooked through, relatively crispy, and nice and tasty.

A few things to remember are that you really shouldn’t put raw chicken on a wooden cutting board. Apparently, it soaks up the chicken juice and gives another opportunity for salmonella to invade your once-healthy immune system. Another thing is to make sure you’re using sharp knives to chop things. Mine are decently sharp. I’m not really sure what brand they are, but they have a red handle on them which I think is cool. Also, shout out to the guy from last week who tried to sell me Cutco knives over Twitter. I was very drunk, and he almost hooked me. But alas, I went to Target and bought this instead.

Overall, I give this meal an 8/10. It’s tasty, it’s healthy, and it’s quick to make. I definitely recommend it to anyone in a pinch for a meal.

If you decide to try and replicate this meal—which I think would be awesome — feel free to send me pics and tips for what you did that might make it better.

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Charlie

Using sarcasm as a defense mechanism since 1993. At any given moment I'm either tired, drunk, or stressed out. Get at me at charliepgp@gmail.com or whatever.

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