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Rachel Cooks Every Day

Thoughts from the kitchen of an everyday cook.

An Unexpected Feast (and Cooking Rule #1)

Cooking lesson one is definitely read the recipe. I've learned this lesson many times. For instance, the morning I had a bunch of students over to bake Christmas cookies and we made it halfway through the batch before getting to the line Chill dough overnight. (Uh, sorry kids.) Or the time I went to pop a roast in the oven for dinner at 6 and realized it needed six hours in the oven.


I learned this lesson yet again with the lemon chicken with asparagus and potatoes from Damn Delicious, which was featured on the free ALDI meal plan I've been trying out this week. It's no one's fault but mine that I expected this to be an easy, weeknight dinner. I mean, in my defense, the recipe does claim to be "extra extra easy ā€“ a no-fuss weeknight meal." But "easy" can mean a lotta things. For me, browning rounds of things in a pan and then swapping stuff in and out of the oven for nearly an hour is more of a weekend feat. I actually fried these ricotta donuts up just to kill time in between tending the oven.

The end result was, however, pretty glorious. After all that work, you bet I plattered everything up.

A note on the recipe: none of my ingredients were the same size as those pictured. I had giant red potatoes instead of tiny ones, twiggy little asparagus spears instead of hefty ones, and outsize chicken thighs. Because of this, I chopped my potatoes into small pieces instead of halving them and put my chicken in the oven for the entire 50 minutes. When the recipe calls to put the thighs on top of the veggies halfway through, I moved the thighs from a baking sheet to the pan and dumped all the molten schmaltz on top. Conversely, I should have kept the asparagus out of the oven for the first half. It ended up limp and noodle-y.

The donuts, on the other hand, were hot and crisp. Never fails.

Rachel Matuch1 Comment