Knowledge is power. Knowing a few basic methods of cooking will empower you to compose a simple, delicious meal for your family quickly and easily with what you have on hand. Today we will discuss a couple of these methods.
Every mother’s favorite, right? So many wonderful recipes available, but you can also use it simply, without having to look up a recipe.
Most pieces of chicken, pork or beef can be cooked easily with water or broth and some seasoning. If you keep seasoned salt on hand, you will always have that to use. There are also many seasoning mixes available or you can experiment with your own tastes. Adding fresh root vegetables (onions, carrots, potatoes) adds flavor, but remember that they will absorb the seasoning and meat flavor. Also be careful to include enough liquid to keep the meat moist.
Note: A whole chicken can give you cooked chicken in the freezer for future meals, like chicken divan or poppyseed chicken. A pork roast today can yield pulled pork sandwiches another day. It will also help your budget if you stretch the meat by portioning it out before it is on the table.
There are also plenty of marinades available off the shelf, so you can throw chicken breasts in the cooker with a bottle of Hawaiian teriyaki to enjoy later with rice. A bottle of Italian dressing, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, or even barbecue sauce does the same thing. Cream soups and some water will also provide a simple sauce.
Finally, if you simply want cooked chicken or pork for other recipes later, you can just put in plenty of water with the meat and cook all day. Seasoning will happen with the recipes when you assemble them.
High heat, butter or olive oil, and a little spice or garlic — voila! You have your entree.
Line a cookie sheet with foil, place the meat on it, drizzle the oil or dab the butter, sprinkle with seasoning, and place in a pre-heated oven at 425 degrees. Fish usually takes 15-20 minutes. Chicken is more like 25-30 minutes. Timing depends a great deal on your oven and the thickness of the meat, so experiment until you are comfortable.
Vegetables work the same way, usually around 15-20 minutes, so you can expand your menu to roasted vegetables as well. I personally recommend Brussel sprouts and sliced sweet potatoes this way. Yum!
Or you can cut up chicken or smoked sausage with vegetable chunks and have a complete, delicious meal in one pan and fairly quickly. Play around with combinations and seasoning blends, or find one or two that work for you and use them regularly. Either way, make the option work for you.
One recipe I’ve found useful is slightly more involved than simply roasting — but not much! It is easy and delicious; let me know if you agree. Click here for the recipe.