This week I made all 3 dishes, trying to follow 2 rules:
- No recipes. No referencing the original recipe1. I updated this rule because some of my improvements (see below) involved new techniques that I needed to learn.
- Make one improvement to either the dish or the cooking process.
Pan Roasted Chicken
This is the dish I’m the most proud of so far. The process isn’t easy, but its worth learning because you can put together a satisfying meal in 30 minutes. Plus its versatile – I look forward to experimenting with flavors & sauces, and it feels good knowing how to make the core component in many soups, salads, and sandwiches.
My improvement was brining the chicken. I didn’t know what brining was until I asked a waiter how they got my chicken to be so juicy. The Kitchn has a great guide on the process and my results were great. It adds some time to the process, but the chicken comes out noticeably juicier.
This is the dish I’ll probably make the most out of the 3. Its a good one to lean on when you don’t have much time or energy. You need very little equipment to make it (fewer dishes to wash), and once you get to know your oven strength, you just set a timer and the dish takes care of itself. SO EASY.
My improvement was making the sauce in a measuring cup instead of a mixing bowl. This made it easier to pour into the freezer bag with the fish.
Pasta with Meat Sauce
From day 10 to day 28, I reduced the amount of tomato sauce in each version. I’m just not a huge fan of tomato sauce. This dish met my criteria of being simple and versatile, but I decided to replace it with something I’m more likely to enjoy eating.
I still wanted something with meat in it, but there aren’t many non-tomato pastas that incorporate the meat into the sauce. So I went with something that seemed like it’d go well with a piece sausage on the side.
I made Ina Garten’s Lemon Pasta with Roasted Shrimp and it turned out great. This was my first time making shrimp and her instructions were spot on — 6 minutes under the broiler and they’re cooked perfectly. I can see myself eating this meal more often than the spaghetti I originally made.
OTHER POSTS IN THE 100-DAY CHALLENGE SERIES
Day 1: Intro to Me & My Goal
Day 4: “Why Learn?” and My Cooking Background
Day 7: What Should I Learn to Cook FIRST?
Day 10: Pasta + Meat Sauce (Tomato Bolognese)
Day 21: Pasta + Meat Sauce (less Tomato)
Day 28: Pasta + Meat Sauce (Beef Stroganoff)
Day 35: Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs
Day 42: Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs
Day 49: Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs (coated with flour)
Day 56: Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts
Day 63: Miso Glazed Baked Salmon
Day 70: Miso Glazed Baked Salmon II
Day 77: Miso Glazed Baked Salmon III
Day 84: Final Exam
Day 95: What’s Next?
Day 100: Final Thoughts