One thing you’ll never miss on Facebook is videos featuring fast-moving hands conjuring up a seemingly delicious and easy meal in a matter of seconds. For example, Buzzfeed's One-Pan Chicken and Veggie Meal Prep video. 

With all the tags I've gotten and the comments I’ve seen, combined with no exclamations of anyone having cooked the best dinner ever based on a Tasty video, I decided to make it my summer goal to replicate at least one of these meals to see how they REALLY turn out. 

I mean, does anyone's homemade nachos actually look this nice?

Personally, something about these recipe videos just doesn’t resonate with me. And I’m not alone in this:

pizza, beer
Wendy You

In my opinion, these videos undermine the precision and time it actually takes to create a home-cooked meal. We become wired to just mimic these anonymous hands like a machine without any thought as to how to adapt them to our own taste buds. The creativity vanishes. 

So back to the one-pan chicken recipe — I decided to give it my best shot. Granted, I’ve had quite a few setbacks in the kitchen in my past, but the open kitchen in my new apartment has inspired the budding chef in me to try making more than just garbage stews. While I intrinsically don’t believe in the successful outcome of these recipes, I can promise you I'm giving it my best attempt. 

The Trial

Buzzfeed's One-Pan Chicken and Veggie Meal Prep recipe requires a lot of ingredients. However, because of the lack of grocery stores featuring ample produce choices within a conveniently walkable distance from my apartment, and a need to comply with a budget, I had to take a few liberties with this recipe. 

tea, condiment, pepper
Michele Hu

I intended to replace the Brussels sprouts with more sweet potatoes, but I ended up having to use Korean batatas because apparently, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts are not popular enough for a grocery store in my neighborhood. 

cheese, vegetable
Michele Hu

I also used aluminum foil instead of parchment paper, and though it is admittedly a loose substitute, it was to avoid spending more than $40 for four servings. The price tag on parchment paper, especially in small stores, is not for every college student to invest in.

Since we didn’t have parchment paper to wrap the chicken, we placed the breasts on top of the veggies in hopes of allowing the chicken juices to drip on ‘em. 

chicken, pork
Michele Hu

The Truth

After baking for about 40 minutes, the meal was done. My roommate and I observed the following: chicken is dry, but tastes okay, the broccoli has a tingly taste, the Korean batata is nice and soft, and the carrots taste like carrots. I also used probably too much black pepper.

chicken, salmon, broccoli
Michele Hu

So maybe it wasn't super tasty after all. Overall, we thought:

Roommate: Overall not bad.

Me: What you expected?

Roommate: Eh, I don’t know what I was expecting. Maybe just that it would be more flavorful.

I’ll admit a simple recipe like this one helps amateurs like me play with combinations of herbs and spices, but I think you must adhere strictly to the instructions, playing into the mindlessness and non-budget-friendliness of these videos. As for me personally, more practice is required. Luckily for y'all, if you don’t live with me, you won’t have to be my guinea pigs.

Michele Hu