Wednesday, May 22, 2013

In the Kitchen With Chris

I've developed a list of things that make someone a grown up in my mind. I won't bore you with all of the traits, but most of them are food related. For instance, every grown up I know always has eggs, butter, and bread in the house. A grown up always has a clean pizza cutter. They always know how much sage to use without measuring (thanks for that complex, Mom). Grown ups drink milk before the expiration date, and a grown up can go to their refrigerator and make a meal from the contents.

I'm not talking a culinary masterpiece here, but eggs, butter, and bread sounds like it would make a damn good sandwich. My fridge on the other hand...well, let's just take a look:

1. Booze (mine...and empty)
2. Booze (not mine)
3. Booze (not mine)
4. Club Soda
5. Club Soda
6. Club Soda
7. 17 Taco Sauce Packets
8. Pickle Juice

The pizza is still good (I think?), but other than that there aren't any meals coming out of this refrigerator. I count nine things that are expired (and that's if you're not counting the 6 bottles of flat club soda). There are two different empty packages, and for reasons I cannot fully explain I save the pickle juice every time I finish a jar. I blame an especially strange (and kind of unsanitary) trip to Dreamworld Skating where they served frozen pickle juice cubes, thus imprinting in my mind that pickle juice is food. Although, I did recently hear about Pickle-tinis, so I think I'll hang on to those (just in case).

It's just so much easier to stop at the grocery store on the way home and buy a box of 25 mini tacos that I can microwave and eat in one sitting than it is to prepare an actual meal. The problem is, it's also much more financially irresponsible. So I'm going to give this grocery shopping thing a try. Instead of a vending machine muffin for breakfast, I'll bring a piece of fruit from home. Instead of running out to get something to eat for lunch every day, I'll bring a sandwich along. And instead of the mini tacos (the delicious, delicious mini tacos) I'll prepare one real (and nutritionally balanced) meal that I can eat leftovers of throughout the week.

I found the perfect recipe to get started with. Dorito Crusted Chicken Fingers.

Seriously. Let that sink in.

Dorito. Crusted. Chicken. Fingers.

Those of you who know me know just how much I love anything coated with orange cheese powder, so I was ecstatic to give this a try. Now, I haven't breaded chicken since my years at Rick's Foodcenter in high school (and I wasn't terribly good at it then). So I decided to keep it simple, sticking with what I know for side dishes and make red mashed potatoes and corn.

I figured the cooking would be a disaster, but what I didn't account for was my inability to organize even a simple grocery list. I made my first stop at Wal-Mart. I say first stop because I ended up going to five different stores before I had everything I needed. When I was leaving the parking lot (marveling at how far under budget the trip ended up being) I realized I'd forgotten two of the major things that I needed.

I remembered that I no longer had a cookie sheet (it got thrown away one day when cleaning it seemed just positively exhausting), and I also need some aluminum foil (to put on the cookie sheet so I wouldn't have to clean it). I crossed the street to Shopko to get both items. I got the aluminum foil, but I need a smaller than normal cookie sheet to fit in my oven (it's roughly the size of an easy bake oven), which Shopko did not have. I decided to just swing into the Dollar Store to grab a cookie sheet (I probably could have gotten the aluminum foil there too, but am I the only one who feels like people will think I'm stealing if I leave a store without buying anything?).

After the Dollar Store, I thought I was done. I proudly surveyed my purchases and realized I didn't buy the potatoes to make mashed potatoes. One more stop at Cub Foods, and luckily they have a liquor store. I was gonna need to get some wine (because at this rate the evening was obviously going to be a  f#%!ing disaster). I was in and out of Cub Foods in under five minutes and was almost home when I realized I didn't have the wine. A stop at the Walgreen's Liquor Store across the street from my apartment, and I was home.

The cooking itself went surprisingly well, and the recipe was really easy to follow (check it out here). I had no idea how fine the Doritos were to be crushed, and the recipe said to use a food processor (yeah right). I figured that there had to be a way to crush shit up before food processors were invented, but unfortunately I do not own a mortar and pestle. I do own a bowl and the blunt end of a bottle of pomegranate chipotle sauce though. Good enough. It was recommended that the finished product be the texture of panko (is panko a thing that normal people just know about?).

The finished product was fantastic! The only real issue while cooking was when I blew a fuse (every damn year I forget that the microwave and air conditioner cannot be used at the same time). Everything tasted delicious, and there were plenty of leftovers that I could stretch out to make more than one meal!

I feel like knowing the term "egg wash" gives me grown up points.

Apron is courtesy of my friend and fellow blogger, Emma. A freebie she got for her blog, Cheapskate4Life, check her out!
Watch for me next season on Top Chef
Let's take a minute to get real here though. I cannot fathom how people cook on a regular basis. This was a fairly simple meal, and it took me hours of prep time (plus now I have buttermilk that I don't know what the hell to do with). I mean, the food was amazing, but I think I could achieve the same level of awesome by sticking a Dorito in the middle of a chicken mini taco. If this little experiment was supposed to make me want to cook more, then it has failed.

Plus, it's the month before Pride. The month where gay men across the country celebrate how proud they are by starving themselves for their annual Pre-Pride Crash Diets. 

Such poor timing on my part. 

I'll definitely (probably) start this whole eating healthy, balanced meals thing next month though.


  1. Make bran muffins with the buttermilk!! They are super easy, require few ingredients, they're freezeable, and excellent for your digestion, right? (Of course, then you'd need a muffin tin...)

  2. I totally have a muffin tin, Tyanne! I've been flipping it over and propping my cell phone up in it to watch TV on!

  3. Hey just an FYI you can make buttermilk or soured milk with normal milk and lemon/lime juice. That way you don't have to buy another item and you can always have it on hand (if you have lemon juice).