Crispy Chicken Bites

You know how sometimes in life you just happen upon something and it turns out to be so amazing you are STILL talking about it?  Like the “Cowie” that I bought for my niece when she was two.  Cowie is a stuffed Precious Moments cow that I bought on the clearance table outside of a Hallmark store. I know I didn’t pay over $5 for him (if even that), and I had no idea the impact Cowie was going to have on Alyssa.  Lys immediately started carting Cowie everywhere with her.  I can’t tell you how many times my sister had to turn the car around because Lys had forgotten Cowie somewhere.  How Cowie was in Lys’s backpack through each and everyday as she navigated elementary and junior high school.  Well, Lys is now in high school.  I don’t think Cowie is still tucked away in her backpack, and I know that’s because my sister cannot repair Cowie anymore.  He’s too thread bear and been repaired too many times before.  So, Cowie rests at home now, waiting for the moment Lys will get home and hold him in her hand again. This recipe, admittedly somewhat less dramatic, is like that amazing purchase you make and can’t get over.  When I found this recipe, I read it, I rolled it around in my mind.  Thinking of ways to make it mine. This dinner was THE dinner of the week, if not the month!

Ingredients:

For the Sauce:

3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbs soy sauce (I always opt for low sodium)
2 Tbs barbecue sauce (check out Sweet Baby Ray’s Original)
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water

For the Chicken:

1 lb boneless / skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup flour
3 eggs
1/2 cup panko
Oil for frying

Preparation:

To make the Sauce:

Add all sauce ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until sauce starts to thicken. Set aside until the chicken is done.

To make the Chicken:

Add flour to a gallon Ziploc bag.  In a small, shallow dish (I usually use a Tupperware type dish), whisk eggs together.  In a second gallon Ziploc bag, add the panko.  To bread chicken, first add several pieces to the flour.  Shake your money-maker for all it’s worth!  Then dip the chicken in whisked eggs.  Finally, add chicken to panko Ziploc bag and again, shake it.

Add oil to a large, nonstick frying pan. Heat to medium high. Cook chicken in batches for 6-8 minutes or until golden and crispy. Chicken should be cooked through.

To Assemble:

Add cooked chicken back to pan and pour sauce over, coating chicken thoroughly.  Serve over rice and enjoy!

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño
Chenin Blanc
Fume Blanc
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 4 small portions. For lunch tomorrow, double the chicken and adjust everything else

Total time:  About an hour and half

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*Derived from Nora Rušev

Caesar Salad & Pasta Primavera

I am so happy and beyond excited to be able to share my “Guest Blogger” with you today.  I’m going to have to do the typing for her because, well, she’s 5 1/2 and this would take all day.  My youngest foodie D wanted to take a cooking class that was being offered through her school, and I couldn’t think of any reason to say No.  I mean, my little angel girl loves cooking, like her mommy?!?!!  She has always been my little foodie, ready and willing to try anything.  She absolutely adores food and as soon as she finishes one meal, she is already thinking about the next.  On Sunday she was making cookies and I caught her talking lovingly to her dough.  Does it get any better?  I think it just might!  Yesterday was her first day of her cooking class and she came home buzzing with excitement from her class.  They got to eat their food in class, but she also brought a plate home to share with the family.  We all raised our hands in agreement that her food was “super yummy!”  I am pleased to share with you her results.

Caesar Salad

Ingredients:

3 medium heads romaine lettuce; chilled, dry, and crisp
1/3 cup garlic olive oil
2-3 Tbs wine vinegar
1 lemon – halved
2 One Minute coddled eggs
Salt to taste
Dash Worchester sauce
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese (can add more)
1 cup Caesar croutons

Preparation:

Bring a sauce pan of water to boil.  Gently add eggs and turn heat to low, set timer for 2 minutes.  Remove eggs with slotted spoon or wire mesh strainer.  Cool in cold water and set aside.

Into a chilled salad bowl, break romaine leaves into 2 inch widths.  Drizzle with garlic olive oil and vinegar.  Squeeze juice from lemon over the top.  Break coddled eggs over lettuce, toss many times to ensure everything is thoroughly mixed.  Season with salt, pepper, and Worchester sauce.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Toss six or seven times until dressing is well combined and every leaf is coated.  Add croutons.  Serve immediately.

Pasta Primavera

Ingredients:

1 lb Italian style spaghetti
1 cup thinly sliced zucchini
1 ½ cup snow peas (can use frozen)
1 cup baby peas (can use frozen)
6 asparagus sliced in 1″ pieces
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 (16 oz) can peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 Tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (can sub 1/8 cup if using dried)
2 tsp minced garlic
½ cup freshly grated parmesan
¹⁄³ cup butter
1 cup heavy cream (can sub low-fat milk)
¹⁄³ cup fresh, chopped basil

Preparation:

Cook pasta in large pot boiling water.

Briefly cook the green vegetables and mushrooms in water (or steam).  When crisp tender, refresh by running under cold water.  In large frying pan heated to medium, sauté tomatoes and parsley in olive oil.  Add all of the vegetables and simmer until heated through.

Add cooked pasta, cheese, cream, butter, and basil.  Toss to coat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot, with chilled Caesar salad.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Fume Blanc
Grüner Veltliner
Muscadet
Sauvignon Blanc

Both recipes serve 6

Caesar Salad & Pasta Primavera

Caesar Salad & Pasta Primavera


Honey Walnut Prawns

I love Honey Walnut Prawns. I love them so much I even remember the first time I put one of the tasty morsels in my mouth, “Where have you been my whole life? Why have I not experienced you until now, my sweet little prawn?” Adding to the  mix, we are one prawn loving family. The only caveat is that some restaurants use too much mayonnaise. Maybe it’s because mayonnaise is relatively cheep. Maybe it’s because the chef of that particular establishment really likes mayonnaise. If I can taste the mayonnaise and have a conscience understanding that my prawn is dripping with it, I’m not likely to eat it. I can handle mayonnaise if I don’t put too much thought into it. This recipe does the Honey Walnut Prawn justice and makes me want to eat in more often!

Ingredients:

1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup walnut halves (I, as always, used what I had on hand which was walnut pieces. Daniela gave them a hearty thumbs up after they had cooled)
1 ½ tsp honey
1 ½ tsp condensed milk (personally, I think this is the secret ingredient. SSSHHHHHhhhhhhh)
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 egg beaten
1/2 cup cornstarch

Preparation:

Heat 1/2 cup water in small saucepan and bring to boil. Add sugar and stir constantly, until golden and thickened. Add walnuts and gently toss to combine. Transfer to parchment paper lined flat surface to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, honey, and condensed milk. Set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Season shrimp with salt and pepper to taste.  Dip shrimp into egg mixture, being sure each prawn is well-coated. With cornstarch in a ziplock bag, add shrimp and gently shake to coat.

Add 8-10 shrimp to the heated skillet at a time. Fry until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to paper towel lined plate.

When all shrimp are cooked, combine shrimp and honey mixture. Gently stir to coat completely. Serve immediately over steamed rice and topped with walnuts.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Blanc de Blanc
Chardonnay
Fume Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc
Viognier

Serves 4 (small portions)

Total time: 30 minutes

Honey Walnut Prawns

Honey Walnut Prawns

*Derived from Damn Delicious

Quick Chicken Pasta Dinner

I like to keep things around that I’m going to use a lot of.  I don’t want to, nor do I have the time to, run to the store before making dinner, lunch, or really, any meal.  Some people love going to the store before each meal.  I have a good friend that won’t plan the meals ahead because she doesn’t know what she’ll want for dinner on, say, Thursday.  I’m just the opposite.  I thrive on order.  Schedules are bliss to me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love spontaneity, but a last-minute trip wine tasting, not to Safeway.  So, I purchased a ginormous bag of Tyson Grilled and Ready, Frozen Grilled Chicken Breast Strips.  It’s great for last-minute enchiladas, pastas, taquitos, etc.  The problem came about, well, I don’t actually know how I got myself into this mess of chicken.  I think we were getting close to the end of the first bag, so our next trip to Sam’s Club, I grabbed another.  And on our next trip, yet another.  Even though we hadn’t 1) finished the first bag or 2) even opened the second bag.  For some reason I was all frenzied that we were going to somehow run out of the grilled chicken that I, quite frankly, kept forgetting I had so didn’t use it as much as I thought. This meal was planned several days ago (Sunday, to be exact) with that exact chicken in mind.  Because I know you are wondering, this pasta was made with the final portion of the first bag.  Yes, I still have TWO bags in the freezer.  Chicken anyone?? 

Ingredients:

1 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups marinara sauce
2 cups water
1 pckg (9 oz) refrigerated fettuccine
1 bag (12 oz) frozen cut green beans, thawed.  You could really sub any vegetable here.  I’d love to try zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms.
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

in large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic; cooking about 30 seconds, until softened.  Stir in marinara sauce and water.  Cover, heat to boiling.  Add fettuccine, green beans; stir to separate fettuccine.  Return to boiling, cover and boil 3 to 5 minutes, or until beans are tender.

Stir in chicken, Cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is heated.

Remove from heat.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Cover; let stand for about 2 minutes to melt cheese.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Fume Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc
Chinon, Loire
Cabernet Franc
Loire Valley, Red

Serves 6
Prep time: 20 Min; Total time: 25 min

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*Derived from Pillsbury

Crispy Cod and Roasted Tomatoes

I’m a kitchen gadget girl. “Ooh, does the belong in the kitchen? I MUST have it! What? It was part of some magazine survey of the 10 useless kitchen gadgets? Clearly whoever wrote that article has no idea what they are talking about because THIS I will use!” Says me, all the time. Unfortunately for me, this is the one gadget I could really use, but don’t have. A fish spatula. Even to me that sounds a little crazy. “A fish needs its own spatula? Really, because I’ve got this red one. No? How about the green one? Really? Ok, no one turns down the purple. I mean, come on, it’s purple , no one turns down the purple. You are turning down the purple. Well, I’ve two black and a silver left.” And they won’t work as well on delicate fish like a fish spatula will. I think I need to buy one . . . What are you doing this weekend??

Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients:

2 Tbs capers
1 Tbs olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced basil (best way to slice basil: roll each leaf into a thin tube and slice)
1 cup panko
1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
4 (6 oz) Alaskan cod
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbs olive oil, divided (with a small amount extra for brushing on fish)

Preparation:

Roasted Tomatoes: Preheat oven to 400°.  Combine first 3 ingredients in a large ovenproof skillet; toss to coat.  Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Bake at 400º for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven; top with basil.

Cod: Combine panko, parsley, and thyme in a large zip-lock bag.  Lightly brush cod with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Gently toss cod in zip-lock bag to coat.  Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add to fillets to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degrees of doneness.  Repeat procedure with remaining oil and fillets.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Fume Blanc
Pinot Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc
Voignier

Serves 4 large portions
Total time: 40 minutes

Cod

*Derived from Cooking Light 

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