Adulting Milestone

After much procrastination, I finally christened my kitchen repertoire with a venture into the world of crockpot cooking. I cook nearly every week night after a long day at work and I've been fascinated with the idea of coming home to a meal that has cooked ITSELF during the day and is ready to eat when I walk into the door. Before investing in a crockpot of my own, I borrowed Shari's to see what I thought of the size. That was nearly a month ago. That sucker sat on a shelf taunting me with every passing day. 
I'll admit, I was intimidated by the crockpot. I'm familiar with pots and pans and cookie sheets, but crockpots are a total mystery. It's size alone was enough to send me scurrying for a frozen pizza instead of prepping for a warm meal. In addition to the size of the instrument, crockpot recipes tend to be very ingredient heavy. I'm not an ingredient grocery shopper. I grocery shop once a month (or once every two months if I can get away with it) and buy the staples. Pasta, chicken breasts, ground turkey, spaghetti sauce, Kraft macaroni and cheese, frozen vegetables grace my pantry and refrigerator shelves. I haven't yet mastered the art of weekly meal planning (probably because since I'm only cooking for one and this one doesn't care enough to make every meal exciting) and every Pinterest crockpot recipe I have come across called for fresh vegetables and things like corn starch. Who buys corn starch? What even is corn starch? 
I found a recipe on Sunday during a Pinterest binge that promised "easy crock pot sweet garlic chicken." They had me at easy and garlic, honestly. I had frozen chicken breasts in my freezer and garlic powder in the pantry so I assumed I was set. 
When I got home Sunday afternoon I finally clicked the link to see how to assemble my ingredients. I was met with a plethora of added ingredients that suddenly made this easy recipe seem difficult.
Here's how my crockpot meal prep went: 

  1. 4-6 chicken breasts. Duh. CHECK. 
  2. 1 cup brown sugar. huh. I think so. Let me check Kirsten's sugar stash. Oh, it's all frozen solid. I'll bang it on the counter until it loosens. It's not working, I'll just sprinkle in as much as I can. 
  3. 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar. I don't even have regular vinegar. Red's Apple Ale it is. I'll take a sip or two. Sunday Funday. 
  4. 1/4 cup lemon-lime soda. Definitely don't have that. Oh! Here's some lemon juice. I'll squirt a few drops into the mix. 
  5. 2-3 tbsp minced garlic. Garlic powder works the same, right? 
  6. 2 tbsp soy sauce. CHECK. 
  7. 1 tsp fresh ground pepper. CHECK.
  8. 2 tbsp corn starch. WHAT THE HELL IS CORN STARCH? I'm skipping this one. Probably not that important.
  9. 2 tbsp water. CHECK. Thank you City of Norman. 
Needless to say, when I turned that four hour switch on, I was nervous. But after an hour or so I started to smell delicious smells coming from the kitchen. All due to the garlic, of course. Why is it that garlic smells so wonderful when it's coming from food, but when it's coming from someone's mouth it's horrid? Something to ponder. 
Finally, 4 hours later, I sat down to an "easy crock pot sweet garlic chicken" breast. And it was AMAZING. None of my improvisations had ruined it! I skipped a few steps at the end because lack of corn starch which probably would have improved the intensity of flavor, but overall I'm feeling like A Very Lucky Chef and have overcome my fear of crockpots. #adultwin


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