Part of my role as The Homemade Chef  “sous chef” is to create posts aimed for people like me who are deathly afraid of the kitchen. First of all, I am with you! While I am now a decent sous chef I still get nervous, especially when dealing with the stove. I know I am just one bad decision away from burning down the house! Historically I cooked Chinese takeout when it was my turn to make dinner – it’s even in my wedding vows!

Despite my worries I have come lot more confident in the kitchen. While cooking is an art, practice goes a long way.  Like may, I struggled with the following issues in the kitchen:

  1. The Stove and the anxiety of burning down the house
  2. Time management.  How do I cook an entree and sides without messing everything up and then having everything ready to eat at the same time?
  3. Knife skills-I do prefer having 10 fingers
  4. Long complicating recipes.  It is too overwhelming!

The recipes and advice I have are for those who want to cook, but lack the confidence.  These recipes are tasty and certainly good enough for a weeknight, but classy enough to serve company; but most importantly, they are easy to follow and multitask while creating your masterpiece.

Tonight when I get home from school I am making Ina Garten’s (a household favorite) Lemon Chicken Breasts with a side of Basmati rice.  You could certainly add a vegetable such as Green Beans or Asparagus to make this more complete, but alas it is a weeknight and rainy and that is just not happening.  Matt is lucky I am not Doordashing an overpriced mediocre dinner.

Ina Garten’s Lemon Chicken Breasts recipe is so easy, outside of a little prep, the oven does almost all of the work.  The stove is a very minor player in this meal. Honestly outside of a little chopping there is very little you have to do and it is great for those who have the same fears as I do.  The best part is – your spouse won’t know that!  He/She will think it took you hours.

My Summary of the Recipe and Tips

  1. The stove: There is virtually no stove.  All you have to do is cook chopped garlic in a hot pan of olive oil for literally 45 seconds.  Throw a small piece of garlic and if it is sizzling, the oil is ready and throw the rest in.  There is no chance you will burn the house down.  As soon as those tiny pieces of garlic turn a little brown (45-60 seconds), shut that stove off for good.
  2. Time Management and Knife Skills: 75% of this recipe is just prep work.  You can take as long as you need for this.  I do not cook a thing until all the lemons are cut, garlic is chopped and the herbs are washed.  The prep process on this recipe used to take me almost an hour.  Now it takes me less then 10 minutes.  Who cares there is no urgency which gives you time to get comfortable.  Make sure you use a sharp knife for the chopping.  I used to be deathly afraid of sharp knives and would use basically butter knives for everything which is alarmingly dangerous.  Just go slow until you get the hang of it.  Nothing goes into the oven until you are ready.
  3. Long Complicating Recipes: This recipe takes about 40 minutes and you get to do one thing at a time.  10 minutes of prep and 30 minutes in the oven.  While the chicken is roasting you have 30 minutes to prepare your rice and/or a vegetable.  If you are still nervous about the stove don’t be ashamed of boxed rice.  It is healthier then ordering pizza!

When it is done, take out a plate and place as much rice as you want on your plate.  Put a Lemon Chicken Breast on top of the rice and pour some extra sauce on it and wow your partner/friend or yourself!

More novice chef advice to come. Bon appetite!

-Sous Chef Andrew


One thought on “Confidence in the Kitchen Part 1

  1. Awesome post Andrew!! Yoou under estimate your cooking ability!! You have come a long way and I have enjoyed some ferrrific meals made by you!! Good job!!! And keep on cooking.


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