Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Homemade Chicken Fingers

When boneless skinless chicken breasts are on sale for $1.99 a pound, I stock up. I'll put a couple of packs in the fridge and a couple in the freezer.
I am always huntin' for a new recipe that calls for boneless skinless chicken breasts. A couple of months ago..I came across this MASTERPIECE.

This recipe is from Pioneer Woman. (Ree Drummond) If y'all have never been to her blog/web site, you need to check it out. She has such a fun sense of humor and has a talent for putting her words on paper. She can cook, too!!!!

Thanks Pioneer Woman....Homemade Chicken Fingers

I use my cast iron skillet to fry these fingers. Pour approximately 1 inch of oil into pan. Turn heat to med or med-high. Make sure that oil is hot before you put your chicken in the skillet. To test it, flick a little flour in your skillet and it will sizzle when ready. Be careful. This is hot grease!

Take 3 big chicken breasts. (or you can use chicken tenders) Cover the chicken breasts in saran wrap and use a mallet to thin them out.

Cut your chicken into strips that resemble chicken fingers.

Marinate chicken strips in buttermilk for about 20 minutes. Buttermilk should cover chicken pieces. **TIP**If you dont' have buttermilk, you can use milk and 1 tblsp lemon juice. Let it sit for several minutes. It will thicken up. It works beautifully.

Measure out your flour and put it into a seperate bowl. Add seasoning. I use Lawry's salt. You can use all purpose flour. This time, I used Self Rising and White Whole Wheat.

Pour about 1/2 c buttermilk into flour mixture and stir until flour is incorporated and clumpy.

Take your strips out of the buttermilk and dredge in flour mixture. It will make a mess of your fingers...if your fingers are not a mess...you have not done this step correctly. smile.

Put your floured chicken fingers on a seperate plate so, you are ready to add them to your skillet when needed.

Start adding your chicken fingers to your skillet. (make sure oil is hot enough) It is important not to overcrowd your skillet. Just fry the chicken in batches. I keep my heat on medium while frying.

Keep an eye on your chicken and flip it when it starts to get golden brown. I can't give you a specific time because every chicken fingers will be a different size, thickness and shape. When it turns golden..flip it. Fry the other side...when both sides are a golden brown, they should be done. Make sure you check the temperature of your chicken with a cooking thermometer. It should reach 160 degrees for chicken.

Once chicken is done, take the chicken out the skillet, transfer it to a plate that is covered with paper towels, this will help absorb the excess grease. I sometimes add some extra Lawry's, if needed. (I sample them!)

Homemade Chicken Strips
Recipe courtesy of Pioneer Woman

1 package Chicken Breasts, cut into strips
1-½ cup Flour (I use Self Rising and Whole Wheat White)
2 teaspoons (to 3 Teaspoons) Lawry's Seasoning Salt (or spices of your choosing)
Vegetable Oil

Start by rinsing and drying your chicken strips. Next, in a bowl submerge the chicken strips in buttermilk for 15 to 20 minutes (or longer if you’d like).

In another bowl combine about 1 ½ cups flour and 2 to 3 teaspoons of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt (or other seasonings if you prefer). Mix this together well. Next, add about ¼ to ½ cup of buttermilk into the flour mixture and stir lightly with a fork as you add it.

Heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-low to medium heat.

Remove a few of the buttermilk-soaked strips and place them in the flour mixture, turning them over to coat them thoroughly. Place them on a plate. Continue coating chicken strips until they are all ready to cook.

When the oil is sufficiently heated, begin cooking the strips a few at a time. When golden and crispy, remove them to a paper towel-lined plate.

**My children LOVE them some Pioneer Woman chicken fingers!**
My oldest son told me "Momma, you need to make these every week."
My youngest son said "Momma, these are the best chicken fingers I have ever had."
My daughter ate 3!!

P.W.'s dishes.....Kristi

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hershey's Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I asked my husband what dessert he would like me to make for Memorial Day weekend. I was thinking he was gonna say..Banana Pudding or Peanut Butter Pie. No ma'am..he didn't.

He said "Chocolate Chip Cookies."

It was actually perfect timing. (That's how the Lord works, his timing is perfect.) I recently had checked out a book from the library entitled "Best-Loved Cookies" and remembered a chocolate chip cookie recipe that I wanted to try. Thank you Lord!

Do you have a favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe?

Over the years, I have spent many hours in the kitchen trying to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. How can a chocolate chip cookie recipe vary so much? They seem like a basic cookie...but, don't be fooled. They can be a very complex little cookie. he he he

Some chocolate chip cookie recipes call for shortening, some for butter, some for a combination of both. There are also major differences in the ratio of brown sugar vs. granulated sugar. How about the morsels you use; Hershey, Nestle, semi-sweet, milk chocolate, or even chunks?

So, with all this being said... I found an interesting ingredient in this particular recipe..."corn syrup." This is different. Different can be good!!!

Let's just say...I wasn't disappointed!

Start by softening 2 sticks of butter. (do not use margarine) Make sure you don't melt the butter, just gently soften it. I use my finger to check the butter. If I can put a small indention in the butter..then, it is good to go.

Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.

Add corn syrup, egg and vanilla; beat well.

In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt.

Gradually add to the butter mixture. Beating until well blended.

Stir in chocolate chips. This time, I used semi-sweet. I prefer milk chocolate morsels.

Making sure the morsels are distributed throughout.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. I use my little scooper and you know I always use parchment paper for baking. (quick and easy clean up means less dishes)

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown and almost set.

Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. (look at the right hand corner of the photo...gooey goodness) Keeping it real!

These were the BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies that I have ever eaten. They are soft and tender. They melt in your mouth. After trying MANY different chocolate chip cookie recipes over the years...I have found a keeper!!

My husband gave his approval too. When the first batch finished, he snatched them off the plate..still hot. He stood at the oven and ate 7 cookies.

Hershey's Soft and Chewy Cookies....Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c butter (no substitutes)
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/4 c light corn syrup
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 package (10 to 12 oz.)semi-sweet chocolate chips *

Preheat oven to 350.
Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add corn syrup, egg and vanilla; beat well.
In a medium size bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and almost set.
Cool slightly. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

*you can use any flavor baking chips*

Best-Loved dishes....Kristi

Friday, May 27, 2011

Strawberry Milkshakes

Summer is right around the corner. Oh, how I love summer! When I see strawberries...it reminds me of summer.

I recently bought some strawberries. I actually bought several pounds of strawberries. They were on sale for $.99 a pound. Around these parts, you had better stock up at $.99.

With an abundance of strawberries in my frig and the temperature on the rise..it is time for a refreshing treat!

Strawberry milkshakes...packed with fresh strawberries and full of flavor.

Start by rinsing your strawberries. I use my trusty old Tupperware strainer. (I love old Tupperware)

Remove the core from your strawberries.

(side note) I have a Pampered Chef gadget....I think everyone should own. It's called a "Corer and More". It removes stems, seeds, and cores from fruits and veggies. It makes melon balls too. It makes extracting the core from strawberries a cinch. It only takes seconds. I wish I had this gadget years ago.

Cut your strawberries in chunks. Put them in a small bowl. Sprinkle 3 tblsp of sugar over the strawberries.

Pour 1 tblsp of vanilla over the strawberries. Stir.

Let the strawberries rest for 20 minutes. (if you can wait that long)

Put your strawberries and its juice into your mixer.

Put approximately 4 cups of ice cream in your blender. (you can add more ice cream if you want your milkshake thick)

We make our milkshakes a little thinner so the kids can drink them through a straw.
Add 1/4 C to 1/2 C milk to blender. (Start with 1/4 C and add milk as needed)

Blend away!

A refreshing glass of summer's goodness...

My middle son asked.."Momma, can you make me another strawberry milkshake tomorrow?"

Strawberry Milkshakes:
Recipe from Kristi's Dishes

1/2 pound strawberries/ washed and hulled
3 heaping tblsp sugar
1 tblsp vanilla
4 C (or more) vanilla ice cream
1/4 C - 1/2 C milk

Wash strawberries and drain them accordingly. Hull strawberries and place them in a small bowl. Sprinkle sugar over strawberries. Add vanilla. Stir until combined.
Let strawberries rest for about 20 minutes.
Pour strawberries into a blender. Add ice cream and milk.
(Start off with 1/4 C milk first and if needed..add more.)

Summery dishes....Kristi

(recipe adapted from Emeril LaGasse)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Popcorn and a Movie

While sitting at the breakfast table this morning, I talked to the kids about our plans for the day... "Hey y'all, we have to run some errands today. ALOT of errands. It will be a long day for us. I know it is not fun for you. I know it is hard, to be on your best behavior for hours on end. But, let's embrace our time together and make this a memorable day!!"

My oldest son quickly replied, "Yes ma'am Momma, sounds good."

"Let's pretend we are at the movies today."

"Momma, how do we pretend we are at the movies?

With passion in my heart and excitement in my voice, I responded...

"We will sit in our air conditioned van,
watch a movie on our pull down DVD player,
eat brown bag popcorn, drink some juice,
and devour a BOX of "movie theater" candy...
while running the roads and getting all of our errands completed."

"Yes ma'am, Momma!"

Popcorn and Movie Day!!!!!

This popcorn recipe is quick, easy, and fun. Have the kids help you make it!!

Easy Brown Bag- microwave popcorn
Recipe by Kristi's Dishes

Popcorn Kernels / 3 caps full
Salted Butter/ melted
1 brown paper bag
(serves 1 person)

Unfold your brown paper bag. Use the cap of your popcorn jar to measure the kernels. Pour 3 caps of popcorn kernels into each bag.

Fold bag over and tape it closed.

Put in microwave for 2 minutes.

Open the bag, and pour the melted butter on top of the popcorn. We like a ton of butter!! Add your salt while the popcorn and butter are still warm. This way...your salt will adhere to the popcorn.

The popcorn is hot and ready! But, we a have a few extras...

Put several drinks in a small cooler. Bringing a cooler is a money saver. You won't need to stop at the gas station to buy a 20 oz.

Don't forget the candy!

Praise the Lord for his gifts. Praise the Lord for days like this!!!

We had a GREAT day together! Praying that "Popcorn and a Movie" will be a blessing for your family too!

For my 3 children...dishes Kristi

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ham, Egg, and Cheese Cups

Ham, egg, and cheese cups are not the prettiest things to photograph..but, I will testify to their deliciousness.

This easy and healthy breakfast is a weekly staple at our house. It is slap full of protein....a great way to start off your morning. Pair it with some fresh fruit.. yes ma'am you have a superstar breakfast on your hands.

In a medium size bowl, add your eggs and seasoning. Whisk!! Whisk!!

Grease your muffin tin. Take 2 slices of ham and press it into the muffin cup. It will form into a pretty cup.

Pour the egg mixture into the pretty ham cups. I use a bowl that has a spout like, handle thingy. Whew, it is helpful.

Fill the ham cups about 3/4 full. If you have any left over egg mixture, after filling your ham cups, just go back and add a little more to each one.

Sprinkle your shredded, cheddar cheese over each cup. Y'all can use a little cheese or a bunch of cheese.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. Use your handy dandy "cake tester" and stick the middle of your egg cup. If your tester comes out clean, your egg cups are done. Remember..if you don't have a "cake tester", you can always use a fork.

You can keep the leftovers in a Ziploc baggie in the refrigerator.
To warm them up, take them out of the Ziploc baggie and pop them in the microwave. Even after reheating them...they are still moist.

This recipe is also freezer friendly. Put egg cups in a Ziploc baggie and store in the freezer. On those "fun" mornings when your running late, you no longer have to grab a pop-tart. You can pull an ham, egg, and cheese cup out of your freezer and pop it into the microwave. Microwave about 20 seconds. Check it. Microwave about 20 more. (Time will vary from microwave to microwave.)

Ham, Egg, and Cheese Cups
Recipe from Kristi's Dishes

10 eggs
24 pieces of thinly sliced ham (I use a 9 oz. tub)
1 -8oz. package of shredded cheddar cheese
Lawry's seasoning salt... to taste

Preheat oven to 375.
Crack all 10 eggs and put them in a medium size bowl. Add your seasoning salt.
Whisk! Whisk! Whisk!
Generously grease a muffin tin.
Take 2 slices of ham and put into each muffin cup.
Now, pour the egg mixture into the muffin tins. Fill them about 3/4 full.
Liberally sprinkle the shredded cheese over the egg mixture.
Bake about 15-20 minutes. You will see the egg... puff up just beautifully.

Breakfast dishes.....Kristi

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chicken Alfredo Casserole

This is my oldest son's favorite casserole. He asked me if I would consider putting it on the blog. He is my 8 year old blog critic. He gives me his honest opinion about my posts. Oh, how I love my son!!

Start with boiling your pasta according to the package directions.
While your pasta is cooking........

I work on my chicken. I use Ziploc Steamers. This method of cooking chicken is so easy and takes no time at all.

I put approximately 4-5 frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs in a bag. Put the bag into the microwave and cook for approximately 7 minutes. (follow the directions on the Ziploc wrapper) The chicken is so tender and moist.

When you pull the bag out of the microwave you will see a considerable amount of broth in the bottom of the baggie. Reserve this juice for later.

I gently pour the chicken broth into a measuring cup.

Shred chicken or cut chicken in chunks. We cut our chicken in chunks because we love a good hunk of meat.

In a medium size bowl, combine pasta, Alfredo sauce, chicken, chicken broth and Parmesan cheese. Mix well. (sometimes, I just use the same saucepan that I boil my noodles) Less Dishes...YES MA'AM!!!

Grease a 8x11 glass dish. Pour chicken mixture into dish. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on top.

Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes. Casserole will be bubbling throughout.

After baking for 30-35 minutes, you can put it under the broiler to brown the cheese. Keep a good eye on it. It will brown quickly.

It is hard to get good photographs of an all white casserole. I am still working on the lighting in my kitchen and praying about a new camera. Y'all please be praying for me too. (smile)

Chicken Alfredo Casserole
Recipe from Kristi's Dishes

2 cups dry pasta/ shells or elbow macaroni preferred
1 jar Alfredo sauce
1-2 C of cooked chicken/ shredded or chunked up **
1/2 C chicken broth
5 oz. shredded Parmesan cheese
2 C shredded mozzarella cheese (one 8 oz. bag)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare your pasta, according to package directions.
In medium bowl, combine pasta, Alfredo sauce, cooked chicken, chicken broth, shredded Parmesan cheese. Mix well.
Grease 8 x 11 baking dish.
Pour chicken mixture into baking dish.
Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top.
Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes. It will bubble throughout the casserole.
Put under your oven's broiler...don't take your eyes off it. The cheese will brown quickly.

**you can use any chicken of your choice: boiled chicken thighs or chicken breasts, rotisserie chicken or even canned chicken **

White dishes....Kristi