The First Meal I Cooked for My Husband or Damn You, Rachel Ray!



My ex-husband and I met when we were in college in Cheney, Washington.  We dated for two weeks and were married a short five months later.  It was ridiculous, romantic, and dizzying.

I was living in the dorms when we met.  A foodie, even in a dorm living situation, I had a full set of knives, pots, pans, and utensils that I pulled down from my bookshelves on a regular basis to cook for friends.  I invited my future husband to eat a dorm-cooked meal with me and my roommate soon after we started dating.

The only thing I knew about his taste in food was that he loaded everything with hot sauce.  Everything.  Drowned. Drenched. Buried. Flooded.  Soaked.

So, with this limited information, I scoured the Internet for recipes.  At that time, I was a huge Rachel Ray fan.  30 Minute Meals, 40 Dollars a Day…I was addicted to her cutesy food nicknames and the way she talked to her food as she cooked.  “Get into the hot-tub (what she calls her pots or pans), kids!” she’d shriek to her chorizo.  Naturally, her website was the first one I went to and this is what I cooked:  Smoky Orange BBQ Chicken Sandwiches


The recipe is simple enough: Grill some chicken breasts and make the smoky orange bbq sauce.

Sauce ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 chipotle peppers (smoky hot peppers) in adobo sauce, found in cans in Mexican foods section
  • 1/2 cup ketchup, eyeball it
  • 1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Basically, all you do is sauté the onion, put the other ingredients into a blender, blend, pour liquid into the pan with the onion, simmer, and reduce.

Now, I’m not one for following directions exactly.  And at this point in my culinary experience, I had never cooked with chipotle peppers before.  Instead of three chipotle peppers, I probably added five.  Or the whole can.  I don’t remember.

I finished the sauce, cooked the chicken breasts, put the sandwiches together, and plated them up for the roommate and the future-mate.  The roommate was a picky (read: weird) eater, anyway.  She used to eat meals that consisted of white rice with sugar on half and soy sauce on the other.  I didn’t expect her to love Rachel’s sandwich.  But I fully expected the boyfriend to love them.  (Especially because I didn’t realize that I turned the sauce into citrus-y, liquid fire.)

He loved them.

With tears streaming down his face, with me quietly cursing the Scoville units under my breath (I told him I could cook! Look at him; he’s weeping!), he ate the entire sandwich and then finished my roommate’s.

He said he loved it.  Still says he loved it.

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