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Cooking Disasters By Lauren: Chicken, rice and roasted veggies

By Lauren Peebles, February 11 2021—

Let’s start with a quick moment of honesty — I don’t know how to cook. I don’t bake, sauté, fry or char and I most assuredly do not know my way around a kitchen. This led me in my ineptitude down the dark path to the university student diet of oatmeal, rice and chicken for most of my undergraduate degree. Now, starting law school at the University of Calgary, I am committed to eating better. However, I also recognize that I have no money to spend on food. As a result, I have decided to chronicle my adventures in the kitchen this year, and see if I can make easy meals that are not extraordinarily bland. 

Moving away from the chicken-and-rice diet, I thought the first thing I should make is chicken and rice. However, this time, there is an ultra-secret ingredient that could fundamentally change the way the whole dish comes together: vegetables. 

Here are the main ingredients:

  • 4 Chicken Breasts  
  • 1 cup Brown Rice 
  • 1 Zucchini 
  • 1 Yam
  • 1 Bunch of Kale

Here are the things that make this meal taste more like food and less like cardboard:

  • 1 x 3 tbsp of olive oil 
  • 1 x 2 tsp of salt
  • 1 x 2 tsp ground pepper 
  • 1 x 2 tsp chili powder 
  • 1 head of Garlic
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp lemon juice


  1. We’re going to roast these vegetables, so we first need to chop them up. I called my mum and she said you don’t need to peel them, so we’re going with her learned opinion. Chop the onion, yam and zucchinis in chunks and put them in a big bowl.
  2. Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of ground pepper and 1 tsp chili powder over the vegetables. If you are poor and don’t have olive oil, use canola oil or vegetable oil.
  3. Spread the vegetables on a baking tray covered in foil and then promptly forget about them for a bit.


  1. I cannot make brown rice very well. I think it has something to do with the fact I never read the instructions. So, today, I will be trying to follow the directions on the bag. Pour 1 cup of dry rice in a measuring cup and add it to a saucepan. 
  2. Pour 2 cups of water into the saucepan. Add some oil or butter if you don’t want to spend your evening trying to clean a severely burned pot.
  3. Cover the pot and put it on high heat. Forget about the pot until it is boiling and you have a panic attack about what to do. 
  4. Once your panic attack is over, turn the heat down to low for 30 min and promptly forget about it. Do not take the lid off unless you want to have super gross rice that is slightly crunchy. 
  5. Once you have remembered that 30 min is probably up and your rice is probably done, take it off the heat and let it sit for 10 min. Again, just don’t take the lid off. Don’t look at the lid, and don’t ever think about taking that lid off. just don’t do it. 
  6. Rice is probably as ready as it’s ever going to be so it is good to eat. 


  1. If you want some truly interesting chicken, set the oven to 450 oF.  
  2. Lay chicken on a pan lined with foil
  3. Mix 2 tbsp mayonnaise and 1 tsp lemon juice, and spread it on the chicken. Add some chili powder if you are feeling adventurous. You can also add some chili powder if you are feeling like school is sucking the life out of you. In any event, add 1 tsp of chili powder on top of the chicken.

Oven Time

  1. Put the chicken and the vegetables in the oven. Promptly forget about them for 15 min.
  2. Turn down the oven to 350 oF and promptly forget about them for 30 min.
  3. Once you remember, pull it out of the oven and remark how great you are at cooking!

Kale and Garlic

  1. Chop up a head of garlic. I highly recommend taking the skin off the garlic, but if you want gross pieces of skin in your meal, please, by all means, keep it on.
  2. This one is really easy — chop some kale. If you are like me and think that kale is probably the most disgusting leafy-green to ever have been grown on the earth, take the leaves off the stalk, to make it slightly more palatable. 
  3. Heat the garlic in a pan with 1 tbsp of oil. Wait, or not, for the garlic to become brown.
  4. You’ll know when you are ready to add the kale when your roommates remark that “something smells good.” However, if you do live with vampires, please note they may find this smell unpleasant. At any rate, when there is an aroma in the air, add the kale. 
  5. Salt is also key to this as kale is incredibly gross. Add 1 tsp of salt if you are like me and cannot even fathom kale without some sort of flavour. 
  6. Fry Kale until you like the taste and texture of it. It’s not up to me to decide when that is for you. 

Food Time

  1. Once everything is prepared, enjoy a little bit of each on one plate. According to my research, this is in fact, called a “meal.”

Until next the next kitchen disaster,


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