I started cooking out of necessity as a student away from home. I got tired of eating crappy food and decided to do it myself. I found excitement in creating flavors that I like. It gives me the same kicks as software development. It is an excellent way to decompress and feed our family.
I improvise a lot, and sometimes it backfires. I have learned a lot from them. Over the years, the failures have reduced, and things are mostly tasty to my wife and me. Our kid is too picky at the moment, but she will understand one day what she is missing. Or the wife is too kind to find faults in my food, and the little one is brutally honest.
I'm not too fond of bland food. I wouldn't say I like the spices to overpower or burn my mouth either. I know what we like, so the quantity of the seasonings is adjusted accordingly.
As part of the challenge at the gym I go to, we are supposed to share a healthy recipe or meal prep. Here's mine:
1) Season chicken breasts with black pepper, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Use the quantity per your taste and amount of chicken you are cooking.
I always use kosher salt or sea salt. The later gets expensive fast, so I stick with the kosher salt for cooking. You can add sea salt on top if needed. There is nothing kosher about kosher salt; besides, it gets used to kosher the meat. Please toss the dusty white dirt you have in the pantry as an imposter salt and use some proper salt. You will thank me later. Just an FYI, there are no health benefits to sea salt or the kosher salt over the white dirt. Everything is NaCl (sodium chloride). It just breaks down food better to my knowledge.
Alright, is the salt in general damaging? Yes, if you have a heart condition and the doctor has asked you to reduce it. Many studies, such as one mentioned here have debunked the low sodium effectiveness on healthy active individuals. The same goes for MSG. In fact, some of the MSG phobias are based on the racial stereotypes. Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark go into all kinds of details about MSG in one of the Stuff You Should Know episode.
I am not saying it's time to eat a whole bunch of salt starting tomorrow. No, that's not the point. I just want to point out low sodium/salt stuff doesn't do much besides tasting bad. Too much of anything could be bad. Even drinking too much water can kill you. If you cook regularly at home from scratch and don't overeat canned or preserved food, you are probably ok as a healthy individual. You don't have to eat unsalted or low sodium food because that's going to improve your health magically. It may actually backfire.
Ok, that was some tangent. Back to the recipe:
2) Cut half an onion and a tomato. The amount can vary per your taste.
3) Toss it in a slow cooker and add about half a cup of stock. Don't add too much because the chicken will release some juices also. You don't want this too watery. It will drown out all the flavor. Instapot slow cooking is also ok if it works for you. For me, it ends up overcooking or burning my chicken.
4) Cook on High for about 3 hours or until the chicken easily falls apart. Try pulling it with two forks. It should come apart easily
5) Shred the chicken and mix well. It is ready to eat or continue reading it to take it to the next level.
6) (optional and potentially unhealthy based on the choice of the mix) Get your favorite taco mix, add a bit of water (enough so that it is not chalky or pasty), give it a nice stir, and add it in the shredded chicken. Mix and cook on low for about 5 min.
7) Garnish with some lime zest, lime juice, and cilantro.
You can eat this with rice or with tortillas and make a taco. You can eat it with shredded lettuce like the one you get at Chipotle. You can make it unhealthy and more incredible by adding sour creams, cheeses, etc. or eat it a healthier way.
Here's my end product: