Best Chicken Recipe… in a while

So I am really in love with SmittenKitchen. She does a great job photographing her food and coming up with fantastic recipes.

While I was looking around on there one time I notice she had a recipe on there that she had adapted from America’s Test Kitchen. For some reason this piqued my interest, so the following day I had a few extra bills in my pocket waiting to be spent and I took my son and we went to Barnes and Nobel.

The first magazine I saw, low and behold…… America’s Test Kitchen! It was the The Best of America’s Test Kitchen: Best Recipes and Reviews 2012. I was estatic. I snatched it up right away.

I have it flagged with so many colorful post-its – its bordering on ridiculous.

The first recipe I made was the “Crunchy Buttermilk Baked Chicken”. It was delicious. My son loved it! We used boneless, skinless chicken strips rather than the bone in legs and breasts. Sometimes you just have make what the kid will eat!

This recipe is not my own. It is too good not to share! I know that you have to be a member to get access online and many may not run out and purchase a magazine each month, they are pricy.

Here  is the recipe:

2 cups of buttermilk

1/4 cup of sour cream

1 (1 ounce) packet of ranch seasoning mix

1 tablespoon of salt

3 pounds of bone-in chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, and drumsticks, or mix, breasts cut in half) skin removed, trimmed

5 slices of hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces (we used panko and flavored bread crumbs that we had in the cabinet)

Vegetable oil spray

Instructions:

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest and middle positions and heat oven to 450 degreees.  Whisk buttermilk, sour cream, 2 T of ranch seasoning, and salt together in a large bowl until the salt dissolves. Add chicken, toss, refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour, covered.

2. Get the bread crumbs ready. Either pulse them in the food processor until finely ground or like me, open the box and package they come in ;). If you are using your own bread bake the crumbs on a baking sheet on the middle rack, stirring occasionally, until light golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a shallow bowl.

3. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with vegetable oil spray. Remove chicken from brine, allowing excess to drip back into bowl, and dredge in bread crumbs, pressing to adhere. Transer to prepared baking sheet and spray lightly with vegetable oil spary. Discard the brine.

4. Bake on lowest rack until bottom of chicken is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Move baking sheet to middle rack adn reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake until chicken is golden brown and breasts register 160 degrees and legs/thighs register 175 degrees, 20-25 minutes. Serve.

photo from grandmaskitchen.com

You cannot go wrong with this simple meal. It was very good! The chicken was very moist.

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Pass (on) the Salt, Please

English: Spices in Mapusa Market, Goa, India.

Image via Wikipedia

I was looking through the February edition of InStyle magazine the other night and read a great article about cooking and spicing things up. I didn’t realize that these articles were in there from time to time. I mostly look at it for the fashion and to get outfit ideas.

The article discussed the seven essential spices to have in order to add some pizzaz to your meals.

The seven are:

1. CORRIANDER – grind and use to give a floral flavor to marinades. It goes really well with citrus.

2. CINNAMON – This adds a “bittersweetness” to savory stews.

3. NUTMEG – this spice is at its best when it is grated. It complements sweet potato dishes and quiches.

4. CUMIN – This spice is definitely something to add to your chili and Mexican dishes.

5. PAPRIKA – This spice will add depth to many poultry and tomato dishes.

6. FENNEL – This spice goes well with fish, it has a slight hint of licorice.

7. CHILI POWDER – This spice will turn up the volume on many dishes that vegetarian or have meat. Use just a pinch.

The article also provided some great spice combinations worth trying in a recipe or two:

2 Parts TUMERIC+ 2 parts CUMIN + 1 part BLACK PEPPER – this combination is great for soup stocks, as a rub on chicken or toss with winter vegetables such as acorn squash and sweet potatoes along with olive oil and salt (then roast)

            

4 parts CUMIN + 2 parts GROUND CORRIANDER + 1 part GROUND CARDAMOM – the “three C’s” as the South calls it. Use in chili as the main spice blend and on braised short ribs or roasted mushrooms.

        

3 parts SUMAC + 1 part DRIED MINT +1 part DRIED ORANGE ZEST = This is thought of as a finishing spice. It will kill all flavor. Mix it into greek yogurt and it becomes the ultimate dip for vegetable trays, a healthy substitute for mayo and a great complement to a braised lamb.

         

Another great tip – Reach for the white peper instead of the black. It is lighter and more delicate than the heat of the black pepper. It is great in everything.

Lastly, what is the difference between SPICE and HERB:

“The classic or old school definitions, spices are derived from bark, buds, fruit, roots, seeds, and stems while herbs come from plant leaves. Today’s experts are less rigid. The consensus is that if its’a dried plant product that seasons and enhances the flavor or your dish, then it is considered a spice. Whe the prossay “herbs,” they are generally talking about the fresh version of the plant.”

Instyle Magazine,  February 2012, Entertaining Section

Baby It’s Cold Out – Time for Soup

So I plan my meals one week at a time. I scour the local paper, Real Simple, my 3 ring binder busting at the seams, online, etc. to find meals for a picky 4 year old and a husband who lives on Raisin Bran, Doritos, and sandwiches. That can be tough for me, as I really enjoy cooking.

Today is Beef Stew (which will go over egg noodles once it is done) in the slow cooker. As I am getting all my ingredients out I had to get the crock pot out and take the latest meal I made in it out (Lasagna on Wednesday).

Slow Cooker linersI was so happy that I used a liner! It saved a messy clean up and I get to put the next meal in. Worth getting every time!

The recipe is as follows:

3# of boneless beef chuck cut into 1.5″ pieces. (This time I bought stew meat.)

3 Tbsp of flour

1 tsp of salt (I like Kosher salt for cooking and seasoning)

1/2 tsp of pepper

3 Tbsp of Canola oil

3 cups of beef broth

2 onions, halved and sliced thin

2 garlic cloves, crushed

3 Carrots sliced (I had a bag of shredded carrots, so I used that, my 4 year old may eat them if they are cut up smaller)

3/4 tsp dried thyme

1 package of egg noodles cooked (I used whole wheat, since I had them)

1/4 cup of parsley for garnish

Instructions:

1. Combine beef, flour, salt, and pepper to dredge the meat.

2. In a large skillet, over medium heat, brown the meat in small increments and put on a plate.

3. Pour broth into same skillet and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

4. In a slow cooker, large enough to hold it all, combine onions, garlic, carrots, beef, broth and thyme. Cover and cook for 8 hours. Remember not to lift the lid as heat gets out and extends the cooking time. Don’t forget to use a liner and be gentle when initially mixing the ingredients – you don’t want to rip it!

5. Skim off any fat from the liquid in the slow cooker. Serve over the noodles and garnish with parsley.

Enjoy!