Today’s cooking lesson: Tuscan Chicken

Brenna Ferrell’s motto is “I can make anything. I don’t have time to make everything.”

The cook, crafter, baker and jewelry maker is sharing her Tuscan Chicken recipe.

“It’s something I just kind of put together,” she said, adding that it’s morphed over the last three years. “It’s been a favorite.”

Ferrell’s tinkering is a little more advanced than the average cook’s. She teaches family consumer science at Genoa High School through Penta Career Center.

The additions to the recipe over the years include the sun-dried tomatoes, shallots, red onions and cream.

“I probably use way more heavy cream than I should,” Ferrell said.

She serves Tuscan Chicken with a wedge salad or vegetable: A favorite of the family’s is a mix of zucchini, yellow squash, red onion and red pepper.

Even though she cooks or teaches cooking daily at school, Ferrell can’t wait to get into her huge Bowling Green kitchen that overlooks Bowling Green Country Club, and whip up dinner. She’s always loved cooking.

“I don’t even remember having to learn how to cook,” she said.

Some of her popular dishes include caprese chicken with roasted tomatoes and her grandmother’s Danish pork roast, which has wine, currant jelly and — heavy cream.

Every Monday is spaghetti night, a tradition carried on after Ferrell’s mother started it with a recipe from her great-grandmother. The sauce is simmered on Sunday, then it’s available as a “real dinner” on Monday when no one feels like cooking.

In addition to planning meals, Ferrell offered some other cooking tips.

Try using a hard block of cheese and shredding it yourself.

“Shredding your own cheese is best when you want it to melt,” she said, adding that it tastes better too.

Searing chicken requires patience and trust, but it’s worth it, Ferrell said.

“The browning is really what adds a lot of flavor to it. A lot of people, they put the chicken down and they want to lift it up right away and make sure it’s not sticking. You’ve got to leave it on there,” she said. “Once it’s properly seared, it won’t stick anymore. Give it a few minutes.”

Also, taste your cooking as you’re making a dish. Adjust seasonings to your taste, Ferrell said.

During the pandemic, when she was home, Ferrell also got into baking.

“I’ve never been a good baker. I’ve always been a good cook. I taught myself to bake cakes and turned it into a little business,” she said. “But it got way too big, too quick for me and I had to shut it down.”

Her specialty cakes included an armadillo with an elaborate chocolate head.

She teaches five classes at Genoa in the family consumer science block: Culinary, career and college readiness, interior design, childhood development and financial management.

“There’s a lot of variety,” Ferrell said. “I really do find fulfillment in my job.”

In the beginning of her teaching career, when she had “less life experience,” the courses were more challenging to develop. Now that she’s had 19 years of experience, she said the classes are enjoyable.

“I have a base of everything, and I get to tweak it and make my assignments even better and more interesting and more fun and more exciting for my kids.”

Ferrell and her husband, Kevin, have two daughters, Avery Harris, 13, and Fynnigan, 8.

“Food’s a big part of our life,” Ferrell said. “We’re raising kids who like to cook and try new things.”

When they’re not eating at home, they’re out at SamB’s, which Kevin’s father owns.

The 1999 Bowling Green High School graduate earned her bachelor’s degree in education in 2002 and her master’s in curriculum from Nova Southeastern University in Florida in 2007.