Happy Cinco de Mayo! For this holiday, I…didn’t cook anything Mexican. Sorry, mijos. Instead, I wanted cook something with ingredients we already had at home, which was why, for this dish, I had to substitute chicken for Italian sausage. (Because of the salads, we already had lots of chicken in the freezer.)
This dish is called “Sausage, Peppers, and Onions” and it’s from The Blue Bloods Cookbook, written by Blue Bloods actress Bridget Moynahan and the wife of their executive producer, Wendy Howard Goldberg. I’m not sure of I can call it that though since I used a lot of substitutions. If I had used sausage, it would’ve looked a bit like this:
…Supposedly. Instead, I ended up with this:
“Why so dark”, you ask? Because I hesitated. And, since I divided all the ingredients by half, I didn’t think to set the heat to low either. I mean, is that something you have to do, when you’re reducing the amount of food? You’d think I’d figure this out by now, having cut almost everything I make down to half.
WHAT AM I DOING WRONG, @bridgetmoynahan (I’m seeing if that works when I publish this on Twitter)?! Besides using chicken instead of sausage. And red onion instead of yellow. And super sweet mini peppers instead of actual bell peppers. And white wine instead of red (although I wasn’t sure if it absolutely had to be dry). And, if it had to be that specific, avocado oil instead of extra-virgin olive oil.
So here were my thoughts as I was cooking (and I wrote them all down as I went along this time!):
- Do I flip the meat as it’s cooking in the oven?
- How do I cook frozen chicken if I’m substituting that for sausage links? I think I answered my question though. I took a photo of the chicken after it was all cooked and sliced: Pretty decent? I followed the amount of time it would’ve taken to properly cook the sausage. I know the recipe specifically said that it had to brown, but I was going to cook it in the pan anyway. Why not ketchup then? (Lol get it? “Catch up”? I know: “Focus on the cooking, Ginny. Leave the puns to the professional comedy writers.)
- Thoughts while cutting onions: WHY ISN’T THERE AN OFFICIAL PART OF CHEF’S GEAR THAT PROTECTS THE EYES?! Also, do people waste time dividing each layer of the slice, or do they just throw it all in? I also answered this question during the cooking process: no, they don’t. It is a huge waste of time trying to separate each piece of onion, since they’ll come apart while you’re mixing anyway.
- MAJOR IMPORTANT TIP that my mom told me about, since I was looking for the meat thermometer the other day: you can actually check the temperature of the meat while it’s cooking in the oven. The thermometer is attached to something you can hook into your oven (like a jack on your earbuds). Then, the temperature shows up on your oven screen. I didn’t get to use it today since the cookbook didn’t give me a specific number, but next time I use the oven to cook meat. For sure. #TheMoreYouKnow
- Is there supposed to be a greater vegetable-to-meat ratio? My mom didn’t like that there was more chicken–which were two breasts that I cooked, but ended up using just one, so we’re giving the rest to our dogs–than veggies.
- I also laid out all my ingredients again! Look how pretty! (I think I said that last time too.) Organized in the order I needed them.
- The only reason why the vegetables are so dark is because I hesitated. Don’t get me wrong: it would’ve been worse if I hadn’t set up all the ingredients beforehand, but because I cut everything down to half, I had to constantly stare at my computer screen, wondering how much “a half” was for each ingredient. Sometimes, I would’ve used one measuring spoon multiple times for a single ingredient and then used the exact same one just once for the next. I wanted to get that right, with hopes that I wasn’t using too much heat.
- I mean, is that a factor though? When you’re reducing all your ingredients, what else matters? Time? Temperature? WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?! HOW CAN I FIX THIS?!
Well, I think that’s about it for today! Again, I would like to thank Bridget Moynahan and Wendy Howard Goldberg for this recipe in their book, The Blue Bloods Cookbook. If you’re interested, I made some other dishes based on their recipes so please read about The Pitch-Perfect Pizza and the table of temperatures I used for my personalized steak recipe.
I lied. There’s one other thing: because the chicken was frozen, I initially tried microwaving it on “defrost”. Twice, because to them, it takes 1:30 minutes for that. Instead, I boiled water and set the breasts in there. Not boiling, but letting them sit there. It turns out that even doing that can cause the chicken to cook a little bit. The outside was white, but the inside still very raw, and a little piece had broken off, so I gave it to my dog. It was that well done. So instead, I reset the water and let the meat sit there till I was finished prepping the vegetables. Once they were ready (I actually felt up those breasts this time 😏), I started the cooking process with the oven.
There. NOW I’m done.