I have to tell everyone out there about a little tip I've came up with from pure necessity. I was in a hospital in Los Angeles for a week and, after the first meal, I knew I had to do something to the food to be able to eat it because I am not a vegetarian. My chicken was baked DRY and I almost threw it out, until I looked at the little packages of Italian dressing they supplied, and I thought "heck why not, I can't make it taste any worse."
I hope you are doing well now. Have you ever cooked with the Italian dressing? My mom had a recipe that called for putting chicken breasts in a glass pan, then cover with sliced onions and top with a bottle of Italian dressing and bake till chicken is done. It was so tendar, moist and deeelicious! Oh, I pound out my breasts with a cooking mallet until the thick part is the same thickness as the thinner part.
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When you encounter a "dud" recipe that is not to your families' liking, always try to look for ways to use those ingredients in another manner - your grocery budget will thank you! "Deconstructing" the finished product is always preferable to just pitching the offending food.
Recently, I tried a new recipe that had chicken breasts, spinach and nutmeg. My husband didn't care for it at all, but I always listen to his comments about why he didn't like the food. He felt the chicken was too bland so I took out the remaining cooked chicken and will use it in chicken salad or a chicken casserole. His primary dislike centered upon the spinach that had quite a bit of nutmeg in it.
You are my kind of cook. I never let anything go to waste if I can help it either. Often the second dish was way better than the original. Love your hints--please keep them coming.
If the recipe is in a cookbook, write a note in the book so you won't try in by mistake. All mom's cookbooks have notes on how well the recipe worked. Notes about what she would do different next time.