Sunday, August 31, 2014

Crispy Baked Chipper Chicken Fingers


Weeeee’rrreee back!!! From vacation, that is. I am working on a little photo blog…do they call that a Plog, I wonder??... as I was saying, I am working on a photo blog of ALL the THINGS. We ate and we cooked, we shopped, we did had some fun, saw some things, most of all we EXPERIENCED! It was exhilarating and refreshing. I came home very relaxed yet only motivated to do one thing…MOVE!

We are looking, seriously, and looking at places far away. Maybe we'll pick up and move to France or Spain, or Italy…Ahhhh yes, Italy, and all the pasta. Greece, maybe, seafood on the rocky cliffs. I can feel the water misting my shoulders. Vivid imagination. OH, and the VINO….all the vino. None of this is reasonable, of course, starting with the simple fact that neither Superman nor I are remotely close to being fluent in any of these languages. But, I am fearless in a strange way that laundry is intimidating and threatening but moving to a foreign place seems reasonable – like, let’s just DO it and we’ll thrive. I have this theory that if we are dropped in a situation, human nature forces us to figure the thing out and our nature as a family forces us to thrive.

The fella doesn’t know that we are looking, of course, but…that’s to save for another day.

I’m only kidding. He is warm to the idea (closer to the luke end of the spectrum). To a place that’s maybe a hop, skip and a jump. Like, an hour plane ride would be perfect. But not Los Angeles…he’s been there, done that, and “has no desire to be back there, again.” I think he’d take Tuscan country side over the thought of driving to and from the Valley five days a week. So, that’s a win for me, for now… I’ll keep ya’ posted.

As for the today's recipe, it was inspired by an old movie favorite, Father of the Bride. We’ve all lost a lot of comedic powerhouse as of late. I turned to Father of the Bride, Martin Short and Steve Martin. I am such a sap for this movie. Without further ado, the scene that always leaves me laughing - when George loses his sh*t:
 
 
 


Ah HA! George was on to something….the CHIPPER CHICKEN, indeed.

 

Crispy Baked Chipper Chicken Fingers

Crispy Baked Chippy Chicken Fingers Printable Recipe Card HERE!!


2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast

1 Cup Milk

1 Large Egg

4-5 Cups Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips (2.5 Cups Crushed)

Salt & Pepper

Non Stick Cooking Spray

Yields 14-16 Chicken Fingers

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.



....

Like the melted knob?

Speaking of melting ... This is too cute



Or this one from a cute little blog called
http://myidlelittlehands.blogspot.com


That's an actual silhouette, she explains it step-by-step on her blog!


Now, I'm reminded that I need to order that replacement knob; as cute as these crafts are, "Salvador Dali" isn't the theme I'm going for in my kitchen! 😹😹 

....back to the chicken!

Cut chicken into strips, about 1 ½ “ wide and 1” thick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let them rest while  you prep the coating.


Crunch up the chips into “Chip Crumbs”. I used a Pestle but a plastic bag works wonders here, too. Just throw them in the bag and scrunch them up!



Whisk egg and milk together in a bowl.
 




Lay out the crunched chips on a plate.



Prepare a baking pan with non-stick cooking spray before laying coated chicken on.
 
Prep a station for easy dipping and rolling by lining everything up something like this ::think assembly line::

Assembly Line setup makes coating cleaner and easier



**Kitchen Tip: Use one hand for picking up the raw chicken and laying in the "chip" crumbs and the other hand, reserve for rolling & patting (marking with a B). Use the same hand that you use for dipping in the egg mix, for laying the coated chicken on baking dish. This way, you always have a "crumby" hand and a cleaner hand. Otherwise - if you are like me - you'll be washing your hands every few pieces.
 

Dip chicken in egg mix, twice. Drip off excess for a second, then roll in Chip Crumbs. I like the cover and pat method myself (see photo process below).
 
Here's my "process"

Once coated, lay chicken fingers on the prepped baking sheet.

Before their stint in the Oven. Looking so young and innocent ... like a little Lindsay 😹  😹 


Bake chicken on 400 degree for 20 minutes. Turn oven off and let rest another 5 minutes while oven cools.


Crispy Golden Goodness



The coating on the chicken needs no extra oil or fats, the fats in the chips help to crisp up the coating and still keep the chicken moist. By baking, we've eliminated about 50 calories...this recipe comes in around 150 calories per finger; a typical restaurant fried chicken finger comes in over 250 cals per finger. No flavor lost, no cheat point lost!
 
 
Served here with Vert & Violette Salad with Yogurt Bleu Dressing

 


 
Until next time, everyone...Happy Cooking!!! Also, check in soon for the next posting on - Yogurt Bleu Dip/Dressing!

***UPDATE: That DELISH Yogurt Bleu recipe can be found RIGHT HERE!!



XoXo
 








 


 

 
 



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cheese Tasting Printable with Pairing Suggestions


Getting ready to head out on vacation and couldn't be more excited. My brain is swimming with details, though, and I'm making lists like a bandit. Oh the LISTS! 
On top of the packing for myself, the little man and my guy, I've been planning a wine tasting for my family (we like---scratch that---LOVE---our wine) and then on top of that, we added a cheese selection to the list (same goes for cheese.) So, I thought, I would include a little sheet to help us along as we try new cheeses. 

There's nothing worse than going in blind. "What does this go with?!?!" If it's overwhelming, no one enjoys it, no one "gets" it. That was my motivation on making this little info sheet. I thought I would share these with ya'll as I make them, in the happen-chance that you might be looking at doing a cheese tasting sometime. Just print out this handy dandy sheet and set it out for guests to read as they eat. It's a little bit of what to expect, and some ideas on what cheeses work with what. A little disclaimer - I ran into a problem when saving, and lost my Photoshop file :( so since it was a just-for-fun thing, I skipped remaking the file - which means there are some spelling errors and visual errors that I normally would have tweaked : /  tend to be a little OCD with this stuff, so it's driving me a little crazy, actually, but still - good information for a cheese tasting that can become a convo starter at your next gathering- so I am sucking up my OCD and sharing anyways - :)




I am still working on one more of these handy dandy info sheets - for another 5 - YES FIVE- more cheeses! Needless to say, there will be cheese....there will be wine....there will be A GOOD TIME :)




Until next time....Happy Cheesin' !!!

XoXo

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tuscan Rubbed Chicken

Good Morning! Sitting here on my second cup of coffee and trying to get my brain fired up for the day. Topic of the day? Whole Roasted Chickens. When not feeling super creative, I’ll just do my go-to Three: Grapeseed Oil/EVOO, Lemon, Garlic (S&P, too). Other days, I'll go for my fella's favorite - Garlic, Lime Juice, Grate Lime Peel, Salt & Pepper. Just roast it for a couple hours on 350. These are the standards at my house. Along with Dick Dale & Otis Redding. 

But, I just purchased this big beautiful Basil plant from TJ’s so, today, we are jumping out.

One question, though, "What to DO?!" After some foraging in the pantry ::which lead to a much deserved organization of the cabinets::sigh:: then, finally....tomato paste…AH HA! It was there, where lighting did strike.

The Juice

A whole chicken gifts us with all its yummy juices that gather in the pan. To waste all that good stuff would be a travesty! Luckily, it’s no hard task to make good use of the juices. Throw in some carrots & potatoes in the bottom of your roaster and toss with the chicken in the drippings as they all cook together. 

Or, separate the fat from liquid and freeze both for another day – a.k.a. broths, rice, crispy breakfast potatoes, sautéed veggies… Later this week I'll be posting the recipe for a No-Noodle-No-Nonsense Chicken Lasagna with Tomatoes roasted in the pan drippings. TO DIE FOR. 

What I'm trying to say is the possibilities are endless – we like that.

Tuscan Rubbed Chicken


1 Whole Chicken

Stuffing

½ Yellow or White Onion
½ Cup Approx. Celery bunch
Handful Fresh Basil Leaves

Rub

2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
Splash of Water (1-2 Tbsp)
1 ½  Tbsp Grapeseed or Olive Oil
1 ¼  tsp Garlic Powder
½ tsp Dried Basil

Sprinkle of Salt/Pepper


First, prep chicken on a roasting pan to catch the drippings and liquid, which also allows the skin to brown all around and not sit in a pool of juices (ie….rubber flappy skin on one side – no bueno!)

Sprinkle all around with salt and pepper. The recipe calls for just a sprinkle of each in the rub so you can be liberal. Salty skin is good skin in my book. The salt and pepper will sit and soak in to the chicken while you prep the stuffing and rub.

Stuff chicken with half of a yellow onion, ½ cup approx.. celery and a healthy handful of basil. I was down to the little end-bunch-of-celery-full-of-flavor-leaves, so I used that and it was PERFECT – I love that leafy part of the celery!






Just kind of haphazardly chop them all and fill that chicken UP! 



In a food processor, puree tomato paste, basil, oil, water, garlic powder, dried basil, salt and pepper.







Rub a nice layer over the whole chicken.







Start the chicken at 350 degrees for 25 minutes; lower temp to 325 and roast for another 45 minutes. 



Normally, I roast on 350 the entire time, but found with the tomato rub, roasting on 350 for the full time browns the rub a too dark, whereas 325 is the sweet spot.

Remove from oven; let rest. Gather the dripping into a bowl and let the fat rise to the top.




Use a gravy separator or spoon out the solid fat slick off the top, leaving just the solids and juices below. 



 Reserve juices and use them! That chicken died to give you the JUICE so really go for it - freeze for broths or flavoring rice or check in later this week for that Chicken Lasagna recipe with Quick Roasted Tomatoes in Pan Drippings Here


A little before & after:


Until Next Time...Happy Cooking!!!



XoXo