Cooking Chicken Parmesan
Without any experience or skills in the kitchen, I embarked on a treacherous journey to cook chicken parmesan. Because I am a naturally neurotic person and automatically go to worst case scenario, I immediately thought about all the horrible things that could happen-burning the chicken, burning myself, or even worse catching the house on fire. But after all of these terrible thoughts went through my head, I calmed down and decided to tackle this challenge head on.
For my first attempt I decided to use a recipe from foodnetwork.com because it seemed simple enough that I could cook it without a disaster happening but interesting enough that it would be delicious. I began the cooking process by reviewing the recipe and getting everything I need out. While I was looking the recipe over I noticed that I it requires frying the chicken in a skillet which scared me because I am absolutely terrified by anything sizzling with piping hot oil. And all I could think of was scolding hot droplets of oil flying everywhere, burning off all the hair on my arms and face. However, I put my fears in the back of my mind and began to cook.
I was going through the first couple steps, of making the sauce, pretty smoothly, until I started chopping and realized that I had no idea how to chop and almost sliced a couple of my fingers off. Once my mom taught me how to cut properly, I was flying through the recipe. I was having so much fun that I almost forgot about the scolding hot skillet filled with popping, sizzling oil. But then, I saw the huge frying pan with little drops of death popping out and the all the terrifying thoughts popped right back into my head. I wanted to retreat but I put all my fears behind me and stuck that chicken into that crackling pan like a champion. I was so proud of myself and felt as if I could do anything.
After the food finished cooking, I sat down with my parents and aunt to see if I succeeded. As I cut into the golden brown chicken juices started seeping out of the perfectly cooked chicken. It was actually edible, not to mention delicious. then, it was time to move onto the spaghetti that was placed under the magnificent chicken. The noodles weren’t as good as the chicken because they were a little over cooked. But it didn’t matter I proud of myself. Not only did I survive the sizzling pan of death, I also managed to cook a decent meal.
For the second attempt I decided to use an easier recipe from about.com because I was cooking in smaller, less sophisticated kitchen then the one I cooked in the first time. I wasn’t nearly as scared as I was the first time and far less stressed in the kitchen. It actually went fairly quick, with only taking 45 minutes to prepare, whereas the first one took almost an hour and a half to prepare. Since, I was already familiar with the frying part, I was much more comfortable and laid back. The one problem I did have this time was the noodles because I didn’t have my mom this time to tell me if they were done or not, so I had no clue if they were finished. When I took them out the first time they were still hard because I didn’t have the stove high enough. So I had to put them back in the pot and finish cooking them, which resulted in the noodles being cold and mushy.
I sat down at the table with my roommate and aunt and ate this extra cheesy parmesan chicken. At first I thought the food was going to be terrible because cooking it went so smoothly. But, for the most part it was very good but since this recipe did not have use flower, like the previous recipe, it wasn’t as crispy and not as tender as the last. The second recipe was still delicious and golden brown. However, I preferred the first recipe because it was a lot more flavorful and tender because I made my own sauce, which had much more oregano, and I cooked the chicken at 400 degrees the first time, as opposed to the 350 degrees the second time, which probably added to the moistness of the chicken.
Overall I was shocked in my own abilities in the kitchen and was very proud that no one ended up sick from salmonella and the house didn’t burn to a crisp. Not only did I learn to cook, I overcame a life long fear that haunted me for my entire life. Overall, this was a fantastic experience that taught me basic cooking skills that I hope to expand in the future.