Author Topic: I really suck at cooking...  (Read 5026 times)

jeromedawg

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I really suck at cooking...
« on: October 18, 2015, 02:53:47 PM »
Well, normally I enjoy it. But I really screwed up some pretty good chicken breasts by overcooking them. Not sure what I was thinking - butterflied them and then tried pan-searing them in cast-iron and covering to finish but all over high heat. Chicken is super rubbery and I can't even shred it with the two-fork method. Ughhh I'm pissed and defeated (my wife says I'm overly dramatic) but for some reason I feel like a huge failure as funny as it sounds.

Anyway, how can I salvage this given that I can't even shred it with a fork? Should I give it a whirl in the food processor or blender?

I've overcooked chicken breast before I'm pretty sure, and obviously never learned my lesson. There have been times where I made it perfectly too. So I don't know what gives. I think I have amnesia or something :T

brotatochip

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Re: I really suck at cooking...
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2015, 03:17:47 PM »
Eat every last piece of dry chicken rubber...lesson learned.  Low and slow next time with some chicken broth and a few snipps of rosemary from the garden. 

Rezdent

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Re: I really suck at cooking...
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2015, 03:27:56 PM »
Not every piece of chicken comes out like a picture, thats totally okay, because you get to be creative.
I vote no to the blender.
Dice finely with a sharp knife.  You still want some texture, just not all of it.

Now decide which way to go with it....you'll want to add wetness:

Salad
Curry
Sandwich spread
Add eggs/flour and make patties or croquettes
Spoon into tortillas and make enchiladas
Add to some stir-fried veggies



jeromedawg

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Re: I really suck at cooking...
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2015, 03:36:31 PM »
Oops, my wife tossed all the rubbery pieces into the trash before I could get to it. Oh well, lesson learned: never cook again!

lhamo

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Re: I really suck at cooking...
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2015, 03:44:31 PM »
Chicken breasts are actually hard to master.  I have found I have best luck when I don't butterfly them and cover the pan while cooking to keep the moisture and heat in.  I usually cook them several minutes on each side, until the exterior is nicely browned, and then turn off the heat and let them sit in the pan for a few more minutes.  That way the outside stops cooking but the inside is still cooking from the residual heat.  Seems to turn out nicely juicey while not rubbery that way.

Can you dice it and make chicken soup out of it?  If you don't have stock on hand (or bones to make it from) you can always use canned stock.

Here is how I make chicken noodle soup, btw:

To make the stock:

Put the bones from a roasted chicken or two in a large pot (I use my costco pre-roasted chickens for this -- usually keep the bones from one in the freezer and then make the stock from two carcasses).

Add saved vegetable ends that have been saved in the freezer (typically onion, celery and carrot ends)

Add a few bay leaves, some garlic cloves (peeled but whole), salt and pepper

Cover the bones with water, bing to a boil, and then turn down to simmer for 1-2 hours (the longer you simmer the richer the stock will be.

To make the soup:

Dice 1 large onion, 2 carrots, 2 pieces of celery, and 2 potatoes. 
Add roughly 1 tbsp of oil (I use olive oil) to a heated saute pan
Add diced onion to the pan and saute until they start turning brown. 
Add diced vegetables to the pan, along with salt/pepper.  Saute until they start to get brown. 
Strain the bones out of the stock.
Add vegetables and pre-cooked chicken (I usually have about 1-2 cups of meat) to the stock, bring to a boil, and cook for about 15 minutes.
Optional:  Remove half the soup base from the pot to save for later use (I do this because I am only making enough for DS and I and the noodles get mushy if you pre-cook them)
Add 1/2 a lb of pasta (I like Rotini) to the remaining soup base, cook until just under al dente (6-7 minutes depending on noodle type).  Turn off the heat and let the noodles sit in the soup base for another 3-4 minutes to al dente (this helps to avoid the "OMG I just burned the entire roof of my mouth with boiling soup" effect)

This usually makes enough for 3-4 large bowls.  That is typically one meal, or a meal and a half for the two of us.  We like our chicken soup!  :)


Evgenia

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Re: I really suck at cooking...
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2015, 04:15:21 PM »
Chicken breasts *seem* like they should be easy, but they're more common and popular than they are easy. They are also flavorless, in my opinion, and difficult to cook because of the lack of fat, which makes them easy to burn and dry out.

I say this as someone who cooked in restaurants and cooks a lot at home.

Get yourself a whole chicken, and roast it. Follow the Cooks Illustrated method for roasting a whole chicken. I have found none better. Here's my short version:
* Get a good, pasture fed chicken (none of that "vegetarian fed" chicken crap, they're supposed to eat bugs and grubs and the chicken tastes better when it did).
* Preheat over to 450 F.
* Remove any chicken innards, rinse, pat dry with paper towel. Cut a few slits on the back of the bird.
* Mix 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Rub this all over the chicken.
* Put chicken on its breast and roast on a rack in a roasting pan for 25 minutes. (Don't have a rack? Ball up four balls of foil and set the chicken on these.)
* Flip the chicken (so it's breast-side up).  Roast until temperature hits 135, about 20 minutes.
* Crank the heat to 500 degrees F.  Cook until chicken is 160 degrees, another 10-15 minutes.
* Rest, eat, and use remainder meat (there isn't any left in our house though) and innards to make stock, as a previous poster mentioned. If you don't have a lot of freezer space for stock, reduce it down to be really strong and store it in ice cube trays. Pop a stock cube out for making rice, chili, anything that calls for broth, etc. When I don't feel well I put a stock cube in a mug, add boiling water and a little salt, and drink it.

Rubic

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Re: I really suck at cooking...
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2015, 04:18:54 PM »
My pressure cooker has never failed me for cooking chicken (or anything else).  Here's another active thread going on now:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/forget-the-slow-cooker-give-me-a-pressure-cooker!/msg839203/#msg839203

I purchased the Cuisinart and I'm happy with it, but the consensus seems to be to go with the Instant Pot:

http://www.amazon.com/Instant-Pot-IP-LUX60-Programmable-1000-Watt/dp/B0073GIN08

Gerard

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Re: I really suck at cooking...
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2015, 04:54:29 PM »
"I overcooked 2 chicken breasts" =/= "I really suck at cooking". :-)

If it happens again, maybe chop 'em up real small, freeze in smallish amounts, and then add a serving to fried rice every now and then?

Helvegen

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Re: I really suck at cooking...
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2015, 08:41:48 PM »
My pressure cooker has never failed me for cooking chicken (or anything else).  Here's another active thread going on now:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/forget-the-slow-cooker-give-me-a-pressure-cooker!/msg839203/#msg839203

I purchased the Cuisinart and I'm happy with it, but the consensus seems to be to go with the Instant Pot:

http://www.amazon.com/Instant-Pot-IP-LUX60-Programmable-1000-Watt/dp/B0073GIN08

Will vouch for the IP. It has saved me so much money already just in Greek yogurt and ricotta cheese. These are things that are pretty idiot proof with the IP and I am not sure how you could screw either up too terribly. Soon, I'll be using it for other types of cheese. It makes effortless beans and rice. I've made soups and stews in it. I made spaghetti sauce in it. I've used both the slow cook and pressure cooking settings for cooking lean cuts of meat for shredding. I've seared and sauteed in it. It is one of the best pieces of kitchen equipment I have ever bought.

Sloeginfizz

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Re: I really suck at cooking...
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2015, 09:47:52 PM »
Skip the chicken breasts. More expensive and super easy to over cook. Chicken thighs are cheaper, tastier and moister. I use them in any recipe that calls for chicken breast.

jeromedawg

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Re: I really suck at cooking...
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2015, 10:53:06 PM »
Thanks guys. These are Zaycon chicken breasts btw, and I have a ton of them. I don't know what got into me today or what I was thinking... I guess I wasn't. I think it was just a mental lapse but it sure pissed me off. Normally when I cook chicken breasts they come out pretty juicy. Guess I just had a pretty crappy off day. It has been a while since I've cooked them this way too. I do enjoy cooking/roasting whole chickens too - super easy and delicious. Just haven't gone out to the market to pick any up as of late. Brining is a good reminder, although I sorta need to watch out for my sodium intake.

2ndTimer

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Re: I really suck at cooking...
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2015, 10:36:22 AM »
If i were presented with some over-cooked rubbery chicken breasts I would run them through the food processor until the were the texture of cooked hamburger.  Then I would either use them in soup or stew or mix them will lots of chopped onion, celery and mayo and have chicken salad sandwiches.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: I really suck at cooking...
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2015, 09:24:10 PM »
When I was 18 I had a job that bounced a pay check to me. I was paying off 5 mortgages at the time and things were tight: they shut my electric off when their check bounced.

I had friends coming over for brunch and I made a fire in the backyard (didn't own a BBQ) and was going to make scrambled eggs....didn't want them to smell like the paper/sticks/cardboard I was burning, so added a few dashes (a few too many) of various spices....

My one friend took one look at them and fell on the ground laughing, and began screaming: "Where's the fucking ham? And the goat? Where's the goat?"

We all just stared at him and finally had to throw a mimosa on him to get him to stop. WTF?

"Green eggs and ham....where's my fucking ham?"

yeah. so never think you're a bad cook until people start screaming, "...and I would eat them on a boat, and I would eat them with a goat..." at you.

Just saying.


undercover

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Re: I really suck at cooking...
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2015, 09:37:20 PM »
When I was 18...I was paying off 5 mortgages

?

Rezdent

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Re: I really suck at cooking...
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2015, 09:41:15 PM »
When I was 18 I had a job that bounced a pay check to me. I was paying off 5 mortgages at the time and things were tight: they shut my electric off when their check bounced.

I had friends coming over for brunch and I made a fire in the backyard (didn't own a BBQ) and was going to make scrambled eggs....didn't want them to smell like the paper/sticks/cardboard I was burning, so added a few dashes (a few too many) of various spices....

My one friend took one look at them and fell on the ground laughing, and began screaming: "Where's the fucking ham? And the goat? Where's the goat?"

We all just stared at him and finally had to throw a mimosa on him to get him to stop. WTF?

"Green eggs and ham....where's my fucking ham?"

yeah. so never think you're a bad cook until people start screaming, "...and I would eat them on a boat, and I would eat them with a goat..." at you.

Just saying.
Omg.  That's funny!
You win the Internet today.

jeromedawg

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Re: I really suck at cooking...
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2015, 11:57:53 PM »
When I was 18 I had a job that bounced a pay check to me. I was paying off 5 mortgages at the time and things were tight: they shut my electric off when their check bounced.

I had friends coming over for brunch and I made a fire in the backyard (didn't own a BBQ) and was going to make scrambled eggs....didn't want them to smell like the paper/sticks/cardboard I was burning, so added a few dashes (a few too many) of various spices....

My one friend took one look at them and fell on the ground laughing, and began screaming: "Where's the fucking ham? And the goat? Where's the goat?"

We all just stared at him and finally had to throw a mimosa on him to get him to stop. WTF?

"Green eggs and ham....where's my fucking ham?"

yeah. so never think you're a bad cook until people start screaming, "...and I would eat them on a boat, and I would eat them with a goat..." at you.

Just saying.

I was going to say "Cool story bro. TL;DR" but then I read it. Crap. You win. Cool story though. :O

The_path_less_taken

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Re: I really suck at cooking...
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2015, 09:20:04 AM »
When I was 18...I was paying off 5 mortgages

?

Yeah...Mom died, I became an instant landlord. Only way I found out about probate is I locked myself out of one duplex while frantically cleaning it after school one day, and the locksmith said, "You don't own this." as I stood in the front yard covered in paint with a drying paint brush in my hand. "Wish I didn't, but..."

He had to explain how to file in court to me. Nice guy to do that.

I find that the more mortifying the experience when it happened, the more enjoyment people seem to derive from it later, on the internet.

Life is wayyyy too interesting at times.

skunkfunk

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Re: I really suck at cooking...
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2015, 09:47:21 AM »
Try cooking the breasts you still have sous vide.

http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/04/cook-your-meat-in-a-beer-cooler-the-worlds-best-sous-vide-hack.html

Do you have a smoker? Easy to go low and slow with a smoker, too.

GuitarStv

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Re: I really suck at cooking...
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2015, 09:54:50 AM »
- Chop 'em up small and add them to some fried rice.
- Chop 'em up small and drown in gravy.
- Throw it in the crock pot and make some kind of stew/soup.

My methods of dealing with fucked up chicken.