Amateur chicken pounder

Two new accomplishments to check off the list:

-Pounding chicken
-Making homemade mozzarella sticks

Last month, I made stuffed chicken breasts for the first time.  It wasn’t anything fancy–just Swiss cheese–but it was a successful first attempt and I immediately grew fond of stuffed chicken breasts.  Tonight, I decided to try some stuffed with ricotta and herbs, coated in bread crumbs and garlic.

So if I’d already been successful at stuffed chicken breasts once, you might wonder why tonight’s made a “new” accomplishment.  Well, the first time I did it, I used the method of slicing the chicken breasts in half and sandwiching a slice of cheese between the top and bottom halves.

I’m terrible with knives.  I tell them where to go, and they don’t follow my commands.

Anyway, the first round of stuffed chicken breasts worked, and they were tasty, but the task of slicing the breasts was a little frustrating for an amateur chef who can’t decently operate a knife.  Tonight, I decided to go the opposite direction:  pounding the breasts flat, scooping the ricotta on top of the breast, and folding it in half.  Now, two important things:  1)  I have always been intimidated by the idea of “pounding” chicken flat (my mom does it, and I’ve always watched her in awe), and 2)  I don’t have the necessary tools to pound chicken flat.  I turned to the internet–ahh, the good ol’ internet–and read on a forum that some people placed wax paper over the chicken and beat it with a cast iron skillet.  So I, the inexperienced, scared-to-pound-chicken-flat cook that I am, I covered the chicken in wax paper and took a good whack with one of my heaviest pots.

Holy CRAP, it’s hard to pound chicken flat.  Had I known what I was in for, I may as well have skipped the gym this morning.

Eventually I got the chicken flat enough to prepare for the oven.  One challenge was complete, but I still had one more to go:  homemade mozzarella sticks.  Had you told me a week ago it was easy to make them homemade, I would have laughed myself silly.  But the recipe is really simple and they turned out great!  As I prepped the ingredients, I kept thinking, These are going to suck.  Somehow I’ll screw them up.  After all, that’s what has happened every time I’ve every tried to make homemade French fries.  But once they were in the oven, I kept a close eye on them and scolded myself for losing confidence.  I didn’t screw them up at all!

Dinner tonight was delicious.  It may not have been prepared gracefully, but the point is, I wanted to try something and I was determined to do it come hell or high water.  It’s an important step for me.  Can’t wait to challenge myself even more!

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