How To Cook

Last night I spent the night teaching one of my friends how to cook. He had mentioned to me one day that his cooking ability was essentially limited to pasta and a very basic stir fry. Since I am a HUGE advocate of home cooking (it’s usually far healthier and cheaper than anything you could pick up at a restaurant, and if you know how to cook it’s often tastier as well) I decided that I needed to change this. So last night I went over to his place and showed him just how easy it is to make fresh, delicious home cooked meals.

I chose something that was easy yet surprisingly yummy, chicken and rice with a chimichurri sauce. Both chicken and rice are incredibly easy to cook and can be used in many different ways. If you know how to cook chicken and rice than all of a sudden a whole world of interesting meals has been opened up to you. The chimichurri sauce was the added flavor I chose to spice up the dish and make it interesting, but you can make any type of sauce that fits your fancy or add any number of vegetables or herbs to the rice to make it fun and exciting.

CHICKEN: The Basics

What you need:

  1. Boneless, skinless, chicken breast
  2. Olive Oil and (optional: various herbs, chicken rubs, or sauces such as BBQ sauce or teriyaki sauce)
  3. A baking dish

What you do:

  1. Rinse the chicken breast
  2. Rub the chicken breast with olive oil and any additional seasonings you’ve chosen
  3. Put a little extra olive oil in the bottom of the baking dish and lay the chicken on top
  4. Stick the baking dish in the oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
  5. After 20 minutes check to make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through by cutting a small slice in the middle of the chicken. If it’s still pink then you need to cook it for a bit longer (I usually put it in for 3-5 minutes longer then check it again to make sure I don’t over cook it. If needed I put it in for another few minutes). When the chicken is done it should be whitish but still moist looking.
  6. Optional: at about 15 minutes you can turn the oven to broil and broil the chicken for the last 5 minutes to brown the tops
  7. And you’re done!!

RICE: the basics

What you need:

  1. Rice
  2. Water
  3. A pot

What you do:

  1. (for 1 serving) Boil 1 1/3 cups of water
  2. Lower heat to medium/ medium low until the water returns to a simmer
  3. Add 1/2 cup of rice
  4. Cook the rice for about 10 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. You have to watch it
  5. And you’re done!!

CHIMICHURRI SAUCE: the basics

What you need:

  1. A bunch of cilantro
  2. 1/2 cup olive oil
  3. 1 tablespoon lime juice
  4. 1/2 teaspoon dried chili peppers (if you like spice feel free to add more)
  5. Optional: Fresh mango

What you do:

  1. Finely chop the cilantro
  2. Optional: peel and dice the mango
  3. In a bowl stir together the olive oil, lime juice, red pepper, cilantro, and mango
  4. And you’re done!!!

And Voila you have a delicious meal!! Cut up the chicken, put it on top of the rice, spoon some chimichurri sauce on top, and you’re good to go. Enjoy!!!

Just remember, the 2 basic rules of cooking are:

WATCH YOUR FOOD – unlike baking you can’t just throw something in the oven for exactly 10 minutes, walk away, and come back to a perfectly cooked meal. That doesn’t mean it’s any more difficult though. As long as you hang out in the kitchen where you can easily check every few minutes to make sure your food isn’t burning and is cooking the way you intended, then you are free to spend that time doing whatever you want.

BE OPEN TO IMPROVISATION – If the recipe says put the heat to medium but your food is cooking too fast, just lower it a bit so that it doesn’t burn