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Monthly Archives: September 2013

[21/100] Crispy Chicken Fingers

It’s almost too much to call this a Recipe.  Really, it’s more of a Method.  Making oven-baked crispy things isn’t quite rocket science, and there isn’t a lot of variation in the recipes.

In general, you’ll have some sort of meat (boneless or bone-in), sometimes cut to finger-food size and sometimes not.  This meat will first be coated with some sort of moisture- and stickiness-creating substance, maybe egg or even mayonnaise.  Then, it will be coated with some sort of crumbly stuff seasoned to taste, such as pulverized corn flakes, bread crumbs, or even a store-bought mix.  Bake, serve, enjoy.

HOWEVER.  Last night, after having made this a few times, all four kids seated around the table announced that these were so good, they didn’t want to eat frozen chicken nuggets ever again.  Life being what it is, they probably will, but I was so delighted that I called my father to brag about it.

This will prepare about 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  (Very easy to double, if you want to freeze any for future consumption, but I haven’t tried that yet and don’t know how they’ll take to it.)

  • one egg, beaten
  • two tablespoons of butter, melted — And by this, I mean “measure two TBS of butter and then melt it,” not melt some butter and then measure two TBS of it.  Sometimes, that makes a difference.
  • one cup corn flake crumbs — You can use the store-bought crumbs (which we have found both in the gluten-free section and in the regular baking section),  or pulverize your own corn flakes.  Last night, I used about half of the store-bought (unseasoned) corn flake crumbs and about half of my own pulverized corn flakes.  I intend to increase the ratio of non-store-bought flakes in future iterations.
  • seasonings — I tend to purchase my crumbs unseasoned (like I buy my butter unsalted), so I can pick and choose whatever seasonings I’m in the mood for.  Last night, we went with some garlic salt and white pepper, along with a bit of Fox Point seasoning from Penzey’s.
  • meat — Like I said, we were cooking up chicken fingers, with each chicken breast slicing up into about four “fingers.”  If you want to get fancy, you could marinate the meat ahead of time.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Assembly time is about ten minutes, depending on whether you have an eager ten-year-old helping you or not, and whether you remembered to thaw the chicken out beforehand.  Prepare for yourself a cookie sheet, covered in foil, with a cookie rack resting in it (ever so lightly coated with non-stick spray…or not).  Like this (with apologies for my failure to get text to wrap artfully around the picture):

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I don’t care what seasonings you add, but this is a pretty important step to achieving Crispy Chicken Finger magic.  Otherwise, you have to cook the fingers much longer for crispiness, and by that time the meat is overcooked and not very tasty.  The aluminum foil is optional; I’m just a lazy cleaner-upper, and that step makes life easier for me.

Beat your egg in a smallish bowl.  Blend the corn flake crumbs and melted butter to a consistent…er, consistency, and then add seasonings of your choice in a shallow, wide bowl (even a plate will do).  I have to admit here that I have never once measured these seasonings; I just sort of add this and that to taste.  When in doubt, overseason, because the corn flake crumbs can be bland-bland-bland. With your meat all sliced up, go in assembly-line fashion to dip the meat into the egg, dredge it in the flakes, and then place on the rack with a little space between each piece.

Cooking time will vary with the size you’ve cut your meat to.  Our chicken fingers generally take about 25 minutes.  I’ll typically use that time to steam some veggies or make a side salad for a quick school-night meal.  If the crispy coating still seems a bit “wet” when you check, then give them a few more minutes.  When they’re done, they’ll separate easily from the rack.  (If the coating starts to look toasted, then they might have cooked a bit too long.)  Yum!

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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[20/100] Omelets inna Cup

Let’s talk about breakfast for a change.  I used to call these “eggy cups,” but FionaPie called them “adorable little omelets” and I couldn’t resist re-naming them.  

For starters, this recipe lets me use all eight of my ramekins (always a bonus in my book).  It’s gluten-free and low-carb and — though I wouldn’t go so far as to call it healthfully low in fat — it does include two superfoods, controls portions, and creates a re-heatable and transportable breakfast.  WINNING all around.

In the time it takes to preheat the oven to 325 degrees, I can usually have these assembled.  You’ll need:

  • cookie sheet, covered in foil — the foil is important, because otherwise you’ll be trying to clean bubbly cheese off the sheet and that’s a pain in the butt I’d rather avoid
  • ramekins (one for each serving you want to prepare; I don’t bother making fewer than four at a time, but I suppose you could do just one if it suited you) — spray the inside lightly with cooking spray

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From there, you’ll create the layers.  From the bottom up, I tend to go with:

  • sliced meat (optional) — I use deli slices of ham or turkey, but you could use shredded-up bits of chicken or whatever is handy.  I’ve also made these without meat, and they’re just as yummy.
  • green power-veggie — These days, I use (thawed) frozen, chopped kale.  You’ll need about 1/4-cup per serving.  Spinach works too, but FionaPie prefers the kale.
  • eggs — crack one into each ramekin. leaving the yolk intact if you can.  I used to try to center the yolk in the bed of veggies, but nobody will ever see that and it makes no difference at all in the taste.  
  • some sort of complimentary veggie — Tonight, I used a slice of tomato on top of each egg, because that’s what we had in the kitchen.  Other times, I’ll spoon some salsa on top.  FionaPie suggested mushrooms next time.  
  • shredded cheese — This is a topper.  You want enough for each cup to be covered and bubbly with cheesy goodness as it bakes.  

Admire your work, and pop them in the oven for about 25-30 minutes.  The time can vary, but what you’re looking for is the yolks to be set.  If you were going to eat them right away, then I think mildly soft yolks could be okay, but I worry about safe storage if they’re not cooked through.  Your call.  

After they’ve cooled off, cover each with foil and refrigerate until breakfast.  They reheat nicely with a paper towel on top for about 50 seconds in the microwave.  Dear lord, please cover them, because they will POP and get eggy cheese all over the inside of your microwave and then you’ll cry.  Okay, maybe that’s just me.  Eat ’em right outta the cup or ease them on to a plate or into a bowl…top with extra yumminess if you want (like maybe some more salsa?).  Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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