Each Thursday, I make a menu for the week ahead. I plan out the meals we’ll make and eat for dinner each night, usually relying on a stockpile of tried and trues, but striving to introduce at least one new recipe per week. On new recipe day, the time between 5pm and 6:30 can be very… interesting.
Yesterday, I had planned to attempt a recipe for pretzel chicken that I had seen on one of my favorite family food blogs, Dinner a Love Story. The Dinner a Love Story people said it was super simple, the commenters said it was a piece of cake, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong. Unfortunately, nothing is too easy for me to screw up.
(Note: The recipe can be found here. You should try it despite the story that follows. I am certain that you will have success)
A bit of background: I’m a pretty reluctant cook. Before Baby arrived, M did 90% of the cooking in our house. The only reason I am motivated at all to learn some level of cooking now is because it is important to me that Baby eat nutritious, home-cooked food as often as possible and I want to be involved in making that happen. So these days I confidently pre-heat the oven (I guess there is a reason that is always the first step in a recipe), touch raw chicken (gross), and embrace tossing spices into a pot without the aid of a measuring spoon (woohoo!). It’s a whole new world.
Some daysthough, I walk into this brave new world, and fall flat on my face.
The first two nails in the coffin of my pretzel chicken plans were two frozen chicken breasts. Defrosting is such a NECESSARY STEP that is SO FAR REMOVED from everything to do with cooking. UGH. So I popped the frozen breasts into a bowl of water, as I have seen M do in the past, hoped for the best and moved on to grind up the pretzels.
This should be the simplest step of the whole simple recipe. Put pretzels into food processor and grind. It is, however, not so simple when you put the lid of the food processor on in such a way that it is COMPLETELY JAMMED and WON’T COME OFF. Oh – and when the lid isn’t on right, the food processor knows enough to save you from yourself and refuses to spin a blade.
Of course, by this point Baby had spied the pretzels and we had this conversation on repeat while I tried to free the lid:
Me: yep, pretzels!
Baby: eat pretzels!
Me: nope, we can’t eat pretzels now. we’re making pretzel chicken to eat for dinner!
Baby: pretzel chicken!
Me: yep, pretzel chicken!
Baby: eat pretzels!
I should have given up there. Instead, I dug out our super small food processor (seriously super small; it can barely chop up a small onion) and dumped some pretzels in there. The noise made by the super tiny blades against the hard, crunchy pretzels terrified Baby. I wasn’t exactly a fan either. And when, after about a minute of that terrible noise, I still had some rather complete looking pretzels staring up at me, (and two fairly solid chicken breasts swimming disgustingly in their bowl) I finally gave in. I texted M and asked him to meet us at a Mexican restaurant halfway between his office and our house. I then handed Baby a pretzel so that the getting-her-shoes-on process would go smoothly and started getting her excited to eat rice and quesadillas.
After we got back from dinner, M walked me through things I could have done to defrost the chicken quickly and safely (quick answer for cooking neophytes like me: boil it till soft). He also worked some magic to get the lid back off of the food processor (no idea how he did this. And I don’t really want to know).
So maybe I’ll be ready when new recipe day rolls around next week…