Sunday, September 30, 2012

Honey-Pecan Crusted Chicken

One of my favorite dishes to eat growing up was Fried Chicken. When I was a kid, my favorite piece of the chicken to eat was the leg. Now, my favorite piece to eat is the breast of the chicken. I've grown to favor white meat over dark meat. Lately, I've been wanting to make fried chicken. But, since it's so bad for you, unfortunately, I went looking for a healthier version. Enter the Cooking Light cookbook. Cooking Light offers several different versions of Fried Chicken, but the one that appealed to me the most was this Honey-Pecan Crusted Chicken. I have to say I was very impressed with this recipe. I thought it was very flavorful and I enjoyed the crusty outer layer. Give it a try and I think you will like it, too. Enjoy!

1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 (6 oz) skinned chicken breast halves (I just used 2 chicken breasts)
8 (4 oz) chicken drumsticks, skinned
1/4 c honey
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 1/4 tsp cups finely crushed cornflakes (I used frosted flakes)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
Cooking Spray

First get your oven ready by pre-heating it to 400 degrees. Next, take out your chicken and evenly spread salt and pepper over each piece. Take out a small bowl and combine the honey, mustard, paprika, and garlic powder. Then, in a shallow dish combine the crushed cornflakes and chopped pecans. Brush both sides of the chicken with the honey mixture, and then dredge it in the cornflake mixture.

Place chicken on a large baking sheet that is coated with cooking spray. Then, lightly coat your chicken with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until done.

Calories: 336
Fat: 10 g
Protein: 36.5g
Carb: 23.5g
Fiber: .7g
Chol: 109 mg
Iron: 2.6 mg
Sodium: 482 mg
Calc: 22 mg

Monday, September 10, 2012

Spicy Rice Noodles with Crispy Pork

I’ve been out of town for quite some time (hence the lack of posts recently) and so my home cooking opportunities have been few and far between. But I have been able to come home every other weekend and usually try to make something that will yield some leftovers for my poor husband to eat while I’m gone. I thought this spicy Thai dish would be a good one. And it turned out to not only be good the day we made it, but the reports from my husband were that it was also good a few days later. The original recipe, which I found on The Kitchn, called for glass noodles but we were unable to find them and substituted rice noodles, which turned out quite tasty!

1 pound ground pork
1 package rice noodles
3 green onions, sliced into thin rounds
Handful roughly chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
3 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice (from 1 lime)

Optional (we omitted since Steve doesn’t like peanuts)
2 tablespoons peanuts, roughly chopped
Extra chopped peanuts for garnishing

Heat a teaspoon of canola or vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat, and then add the pork. Cook for 5 minutes and try to break up the pork as much as you can to get tiny crumbles. Ours was still probably a bit too big. Then cook for another 3-5 minutes while stirring infrequently to get a nice golden crispy crust on the pork. Set aside on a paper towel.

While you’re cooking the pork, put the rice noodles in a bowl of hot water to soften up. Read the instructions on the box and follow them but this should take just 5-10 minutes. Then you’ll want to use kitchen shears to cut them into smaller more manageable noodles. Bring water to boil and finish cooking (according to package instructions) before draining and pouring them into a large bowl.

Stir together the pork and noodles plus green onions, cilantro, red pepper flakes and the optional peanuts. In a smaller dish combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice. The original recipe called for more lime juice, but I ran out and was actually ok with the final mix. But taste it and adjust if you want. Pour the sauce into the bowl with everything else and gently toss to combine. The noodles are subject to pack mentality and want to stay together and reject everything else, but try your best to combine them. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or so and then retoss and serve! It is a nice summery dish, light and cool but with a good Thai heat.

Baked Eggs in Portobello Caps

Man, this looks good, doesn’t it? The Portobello cap is just a perfect place for an egg to rest, and it looks so happy and delicious sitting in there. Well… sadly this is one situation where eating with your eyes doesn’t match up to eating with your mouth. We ended up overcooking the egg a bit (I think the temperature she called for was off), but the real flaw in this meal is the total lack of flavor. I found the recipe on Fuss Free Cooking, and I guess I’ll just chalk it up to a taste buds difference since she calls this her favorite breakfast recipe.

So why am I even posting it? Well, two reasons. One is that the spirit of this site is to post failures along with successes in the interest of learning to be better cooks. But two is that I think this could be saved. So I’ll post the original recipe below, followed by some tips that might make it move from the “looks delicious” category into the “tastes delicious” one.

2 Portobello Mushrooms
2 Eggs
2 small stalks of thyme
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil

Here are the original instructions: gently clean the mushrooms and remove the stalks, making sure not to tear the sides of the mushroom (or your egg will just run out). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the mushrooms there. Preheat the oven to 300 (this seems really low to me). Drizzle olive oil over the mushrooms and season with salt, pepper and thyme leaves before carefully cracking your eggs into the caps. It’s easiest if you crack them into a small dish and then transfer them from the dish to the caps. Then cook for 15-20 minutes.

Here’s what I would do to make them better. Season the mushroom caps but also season the eggs with salt and pepper. You could put thyme on the eggs as well, I didn’t even taste it. If there’s room in the cap a tablespoon of cream wouldn’t hurt, and maybe even some parmesan on top for more flavor. I’d also start with the oven at 350 and cook for 15 minutes. I can’t say I’m going to try this again, but if you do and find that it’s better with these adjustments, let me know!