Monday, August 20, 2012

Baked Fried Chicken w/ gravy

OMG... you're not going to believe how simple this is to make and how DELICIOUS it is!  I paired this with mashed potatoes and my sweet coleslaw. Tasted like we were eating at KFC!  Enjoy!
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 to 2 cups milk (I used whole)
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. Lawry's Seasoning Salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 stick of butter (cut into pieces)
1/2 can chicken broth
3 tbsp. corn starch

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut your chicken breasts into tenders.  How I do this is I first cut them lengthwise, top to bottom in half.  Then I take each half, place it on it's side, cut side down, and then cut it in half, top to bottom lengthwise again. Place the cut chicken breasts in a bowl and cover completely with milk and let sit for about 30 minutes.  When you're done doing that, take the chicken out of the milk bath (shake off any excess) and put on a plate.  Place butter in a 9x13 baking dish and place into oven.  Let bake until all butter is melted, remove the dish and make sure the entire bottom is coated with butter then set aside.  In a large Ziploc bag add the flour and spices.  Place 1 or 2 chicken tenders in the bag, seal it then shake the bag to coat the chicken evenly.  Remove the chicken and then place in a single layer in the buttered 9x13 baking dish.  Place the dish back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes then turn each piece of chicken over then cook for another 15-20 minutes until chicken is thoroughly cooked.  Remove dish from oven and place chicken onto a plate and cover to keep warm (Make sure to use a clean plate to not cross contaminate!).  I turned off my oven and then placed the whole plate inside to keep the chicken warm while I was making the gravy.  If you decide not to make the gravy then you're ready to eat, otherwise please see below!

Chicken Gravy:
While the baking dish is still piping hot, take about a half can of chicken broth and pour the broth into the pan. Take a spoon or spatula and scrape the bottom of the pan getting all the drippings loose.  Pour the chicken broth mixture into a sauce pan and place on stove over medium high heat.  You want the mixture to come to a little bit of a boil but you don't want to scorch it.  While that is heating up, in a small measuring cup add 1/3 cup of COLD water.  To that, add 3 tbsp. of cornstarch and mix really well until completely liquid.  While chicken broth mixture is slowly bubbling add cornstarch mixture slowly while whisking the chicken mixture.  This is what is going to thicken up your gravy.  Now you're going to need to add some seasoning so shake in some salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Reduce heat and let the gravy simmer for a minute or so.  If the gravy isn't as thick as you'd like it you can repeat the cornstarch step again but keep in mind that when you add more cornstarch it really alters the flavor of the gravy and makes it get a jelly like consistency.  Serve gravy over mashed potatoes with the chicken.

Sweet Coleslaw

I love Machine Shed's coleslaw and have never been able to duplicate it but this is pretty darn close!  Full disclosure- this a VERY SWEET coleslaw so if you're more into tangy and sour coleslaw then you're going to hate this!  For those of you that love sweet coleslaw- enjoy!

1 bag of coleslaw mix (just the cabbage, no sauce)
1 cup Mayo
3 tbsp. coconut oil (melted)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. poppy seeds
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Whisk together Mayo, oil, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice and spices in a large bowl until blended completely.  Add the coleslaw mix right on top of the sauce mixture and with a spoon gently mix the ingredients together (you could also put a lid on the bowl and toss it to mix it together).  It's okay if the coleslaw looks a little dry, once the sauce starts soaking in, the cabbage will shrink.  You're going to need to let it refrigerate for at least a couple hours before serving.  Stir again before serving. 

Banana bars w/ cream cheese frosting

I had some bananas on my counter that were so ripe they were black and starting to shrivel a little bit so I thought it'd be a good time to try to a new banana bar recipe.  I found a couple online and this is the recipe I came up with. Enjoy!

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup plain low fat yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup flaxseed meal (totally optional but a great way to get some fiber in there!)
3 REALLY ripe bananas, smooshed

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In your mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar and mix until completely incorporated.  Next you're going to add your eggs one at a time, making sure the first one is mixed well before adding the second one. Now you're going to add your yogurt and vanilla.  Mix well, then add the dry ingredients slowly as the mixer continues to mix.  Lastly, add your ripe (I'm talking RIPE!) smooshed and smashed bananas to the mix.  Let the batter mix together for about a couple minutes to make sure it's all combined.  Spray your pan with cooking spray before pouring in batter. When I make these I use my jelly roll pan that is 17x12 but you could use a 9x13 pan if you don't have a jelly roll pan.  Pour the batter into the pan and then place in oven.  If you're using a jelly roll pan 25 minutes should be plenty of time, but start checking it with a toothpick at about 20 minutes in case your oven cooks fast.  For a 9x13 pan you're probably going to need at least 30 minutes.  When the toothpick come out clean the bars are done! Remove from oven then place on a cooling rack away from the oven (don't want them to keep cooking!) and let cool completely before topping with frosting.

Cream cheese frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together cream cheese and butter.  Add the vanilla and when it's completely incorporated then add the powdered sugar a 1/2 cup at a time.  Mix completely until frosting is smooth.  When bars are completely cooled, spoon frosting on top of bars and level out and smooth with a spatula or knife.  I would definitely recommend refrigerating the bars otherwise the cream cheese just gets really gooey. Cut into squares and serve!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sweet 'n' Sour Meatloaf

Most people don't like meatloaf, until they try this recipe!  This is a recipe that my mom made for us when we were kids and through the years I've made it so many times I don't even have to look at the recipe.  The sweetness from the brown sugar and the sour of the vinegar just gives the topping a great taste and really finish off the meatloaf.  Enjoy!

2 lbs. ground beef
1 cup plain bread crumbs
2 eggs
15 oz. can tomato sauce (divided in half)
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. yellow mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine beef, bread crumbs, eggs and half a can of tomato sauce in large bowl.  Season with salt, pepper, minced garlic, minced onion, garlic powder and oregano (7-8 shakes of each).  Mix well with hands or you can put it into a mixer if handling raw meat freaks you out.  Put into either a large loaf pan or I use a glass 8x11 baking dish.  Push meat mixture into the dish until it's level.  Put in your 350 degree oven and let it cook for about 45 minutes.  When you get down to the last 5 minutes, put the other half of the tomato sauce, the sugars, vinegar and mustard into a small saucepan and heat until mixture comes to a bubble.  Immediately remove from stove and your meatloaf should be done now.  Take the meatloaf out of the oven and take a fork and poke several holes all throughout the meatloaf.  Next, pour the tomato sauce mixture all over the top of the meatloaf.  Place meatloaf back into the over for another 10 minutes.  Let stand for at least 5 minutes after done baking, it'll stay together better when you cut it.  Cut into slices (or squares) and spoon sauce from the pan over the top.