First off, I am super sad about Robin Williams. Nick and I watched The Crazy Ones last season so it feels like I just saw him. I know that’s not the same as actually knowing somebody, but he touched a lot of people. I worked at a crisis hotline for several years and have my own struggles with depression, so it always hits me kind of hard when I hear of someone dying by suicide. If you’re having thoughts of suicide please reach out for help before making any decisions. You can call 1-800-273-TALK to reach a trained counselor anytime of night or day.
Now onto comfort food. I feel like one of the best strategies in getting more comfortable in the kitchen is to develop a few basic techniques that can be tweaked to accommodate whatever time and ingredients you have available. I’m not sure why cooking isn’t just taught this way in the first place. If you know how to cook some basic ingredient without requiring a specific recipe then it becomes easy to build a meal around what you have. Example: my technique for Perfect Chicken.
Start by seasoning one large or two small chicken breasts on each side. I use salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Heat some olive oil over medium heat in an ovenproof pan and brown the chicken for four minutes on each side.
While the second side is browning you may add other ingredients if you like. I’m a fan of onions, frozen spinach, mushrooms, garlic, butter, and a splash of vinegar (a variation of this recipe).
Bake for 25 minutes. I boil a pot of water during this time and cook some pasta. The chicken comes out smelling and looking awesome.
For this particular meal, I prefer the chicken shredded. I pop it in my stand mixer on low for about five minutes and voila, shredded chicken. Then I add it back into the pan with the pasta and some shredded cheese and bam, dinner is ready.
The great thing about this technique is that you can adjust it to your needs and preferences. I’ll skip all the extra ingredients and just cook up the breasts for some chicken salad, or season the chicken breasts with some Mexican seasoning before cooking and use them for burrito bowls. This particular meal is a big hit in our house so I usually make it every week. You can also leave the chicken out altogether if you’d like.