One of my biggest challenges I have had since coming to school has been cooking meals for myself. Everything from portion control, to meal-prep, grocery shopping, and then cooking the meals themselves. I am no chef and whenever I would have to cook dinner for myself in high school I would always resort to ordering food or heating up a frozen dinner. As an almost twenty year old, I can't keep eating Lean Cuisine meals. College is the time to experiment with cooking and try to figure out which meals you like and what you enjoy cooking so when you're a full fledged adult, you don't have to worry about learning to cook.
This new blog series "Daily Dose Cooks" is the result of my current cooking struggles. I want to share to all of those newly living on their own, struggling with cooking, or interested in learning cooking tips. This series, although for everyone, is geared towards the girl just starting off on her own who isn't extremely skilled in the kitchen. We can learn together. I am slowly learning useful tips, and easy and inexpensive meals for throughout the week.
The first thing that I want to share is my very first homemade meal I cooked in my apartment. Two nights ago, I cooked myself homemade chicken tacos and let me tell you, I was SO proud of myself. I immediately texted my mom and sent her a picture because when it comes to life in the kitchen, I need some sort of validation that I did things right.
- Half of a fresh Perdue boneless, skinless chicken breast - Old El Paso chicken taco seasoning mix
- Two teaspoons of water
- Taco shells
- Shredded lettuce
- Shredded cheese mix
- Diced tomatoes
First, I want to talk about the chicken that I used. I used Perdue boneless skinless chicken breasts. I had previously cleaned, portioned, and froze them so I used one frozen bag of chicken. If you are interested in learning how I prep my chicken breasts, leave a comment below and I can write a post on it! Chicken is one of the cheapest forms of protein you can buy and it also keeps for an extremely long time in the freezer. I love having chicken in my freezer because when in smaller portions, it thaws pretty quickly, and you can cook it a thousand different ways.
To start off, take your half of a chicken breast and place it in a sauce pan. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the chicken breast fully in water. I put a little pinch of salt in the pot to give it some flavor. You are going to boil the chicken until there is no more pink left. The reason you boil the chicken it to ensure that you create moist chicken so when you shred it, you're chicken isn't dry. It too my chicken breast about 12-15 minutes to completely cook through. A guide from Better Homes and Gardens is below if you're not too sure how long to boil your chicken breast...
- Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts: cook about 30 minutes
- Skinless, boneless chicken breast halves: cook 15 to 20 minutes
- Skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into 2-inch pieces: cook about 10 minutes
Once the chicken is boiled through, drain the water from the sauce pan. I left two teaspoons of the water in the pot to help the seasoning stick to the chicken better. Before adding the seasoning, shred the chicken. You do this by taking two forks and pulling with the grain of the chicken breast. Once your chicken is all shredded, add half a package of Old El Paso chicken taco seasoning. You can use one package for two servings of this dish. Half of a chicken breast should make three tacos which is plenty for one dinner. Top each taco with shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, and diced tomatoes. If you aren't a big fan of hard taco shells, this chicken would be great in a quesadilla or with rice, lettuce, and pico for your own take on a burrito bowl.