Chicken Fried Chicken

Chicken Fried Chicken

Even though I like to cook and bake, and mostly figure out what we’re having for dinner without asking the family, there are days where input is required. This was one of those days and after mulling it over a while, Chris suggested chicken fried chicken with gravy and mashed potatoes. Since this is not in my repertoire, (I think gravy is gross!) I resorted to a good ol’ fashioned Google search and they all gave me Chicken Fried Steak recipes, but when I landed on the Pioneer Woman’s recipe, I figured I’d simply replace the steak with chicken and it did not disappoint.  The seasoning of the chicken was perfect!

Ingredients:

for the chicken:

  • 6 chicken breasts, pounded thin
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps. seasoned salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. butter

for the gravy:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Preparation:

for the chicken:

On a large baking sheet, pound down the chicken breasts so that they are thin. Season both sides of the chicken with kosher salt and black pepper. Place the eggs in a bowl and lightly beat; stir in the milk. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, seasoned salt, black pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper.

With each seasoned chicken breast, place in flour mixture; turn to coat. Place the chicken into the milk/ egg mixture, turning to coat, and return it back to the flour mixture, coating both sides. Place the breaded chicken on a clean plate and repeat with remaining chicken.

In a large cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the butter. Drop in a few sprinkles of flour to make sure it’s sufficiently hot. When the butter sizzles immediately, you know it’s ready. (If it browns rights away, it’s too hot.) Cook the chicken 2 -3 pieces at a time, until the edges start to turn golden brown, about 3 -4 minutes on each side, cut into the center to ensure the chicken has cooked all the way through. Remove the cooked chicken to a baking sheet and cover with foil to keep warm or turn on the oven to its lowest setting and keep in there while you cook the remaining chicken.

After all the meat is fried, pour off the grease into a heatproof bowl. Without cleaning the skillet, return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add 1/4 cup of grease back to the skillet and allow it to heat up.

for the gravy: 

When the grease is hot, sprinkle the flour evenly over the grease. Using a whisk, mix the flour with the grease, creating a golden-brown paste. Add more flour if it looks overly greasy; add a little more grease if it becomes too pasty/ clumpy. Keep cooking until the roux reaches a deep golden color.

Pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Add the seasoned salt and black pepper to taste and cook, whisking until the gravy is smooth and thick, about 5 – 10 minutes. Be prepared to add more milk if it becomes overly thick.

Serve the chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, if you’re into that kind of thing! 😉

Source: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/chicken-fried-steak-with-gravy-recipe-1925056

 

 

Posted in Chicken, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Fall-Off-The-Bone Baby Back Ribs

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Oh, boy, do I have a treat for you! These baby back ribs were incredibly easy to prepare and so.dang.delicious. And, yes, the meat quite literally fell off the bones – no lie! A little bit of prep, throw them in the oven, go about your day and come back ’round for dinner and you are good to go.

Ingredients:

  • 2 racks baby back ribs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Paprika
  • Barbeque sauce
  • 4 onions, peeled, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 tsps. Liquid Smoke
  • 1 1/2 bottles Wood Chuck Cider, or other hard cider (beer or water will do, too)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Season both sides of the ribs liberally with salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika; set aside.

Peel and slice the onions and arrange in a large roasting pan (I actually used a large deep rimmed baking sheet which had enough room for both racks). Pour in your hard cider, beer, or water so that it covers the bottom of the pan. Add in the liquid smoke.

Place the racks of ribs on top of the onion slices. Cover tightly with 2 layers of aluminum foil. Bake for 3 1/2 – 4 hours (mine were done at 3 1/2, but each oven is different). Remove from oven and uncover. Transfer the ribs to the first layer of aluminum foil – this is where you will see the meat fall off the bones – and drain the juices. Baste ribs with barbeque sauce & return to oven, uncovered, and back for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving and then stand back and prepare to hear the oohs and ahhs of your family.

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Recipe from:  http://www.southyourmouth.com/2014/08/fall-off-bone-baby-back-ribs.html

 

 

 

Posted in Pork, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Katsudon – Pork Cutlet Bowl with Rice

pork cutlet bowl

Well, folks, this is a first. Never have I ever, knowingly anyway, eaten something that was researched and made because it was seen and talked about on a cartoon. Yes, you read that right. A cartoon. I’ve mentioned before that out of my daughters, it’s my youngest that likes to cook and bake. About six months ago, after watching a Japanese anime series, Yuri On Ice, in which the main character would celebrate his ice skating performances by eating Katsudon, pork cutlet bowl, she decided it sounded so good so she researched it, selected this recipe, made it and served it to us and we all enjoyed it. She’s since made it several more times.

pork

Ingredients:

  • 4 thin boneless pork chops
  • S&P
  • all-purpose flour
  • egg wash, 1 egg + 2 tablespoons water, beaten well
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Oil for frying
  • 1/2 onion, cut into quarters
  • 4 eggs, beaten very slightly
  • Cooked Jasmine rice
  • 6 tbsp. Soba sauce or create your own

for Soba Sauce:

  • 4 tbsp. sugar
  • 8 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp. mirin
  • 1 cup of water

Preparation:

Rinse and pat the pork until dry; season with salt & pepper. In 3 bowls, add flour to one, beaten eggs to another, and breadcrumbs to the last one.

Using a deep skillet, warm oil to medium high heat. While the oil is warming, coat each pork chop with flour, shaking off excess, coat with egg, and press into breadcrumbs. Add each pork cutlet into the oil and fry until golden brown, turning to brown on each side. Cut into the center to ensure it is thoroughly cooked. When done, remove and rest pork on cooling rack for 5 minutes, then cut into slices.

In a small bowl, add the soba sauce, or whisk together the mixture of sugar, soy sauce, mirin, and 1 cup of water. Remove any excess oil in the pan used for frying the pork, add some sauce, enough to layer the skillet and cook the onion over medium heat until tender. Return the sliced pork pieces to the skillet, and pour some more sauce over the top and allow to cook for a few minutes more. Pour the lightly beaten eggs over the top, cover with a lid and cook until eggs are cooked to your preference whether that be half or mostly cooked. Serve in bowls atop rice; garnish with green onions, if desired.

Source: http://www.goboroot.com/katsudon-pork-cutlet-bowl-with-rice/

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Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies

A low carb, high fat diet doesn’t have to be void of desserts, there’s just a different cast of characters ingredient-wise. The family gave a two thumbs up on these cookies and I’ve since made them a few times. I’ve learned a few things along the way: first and foremost, you can make these cookies as big as you want, but unlike standard chocolate chip cookies, you cannot eat them straight out of the oven, or even slightly cooled because they will literally fall apart in your hands. It seems that when baking with almond flour, the trick is to let it cool completely. When it comes to freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, I don’t know many people who have that kind of patience, least of all me. So, the first time I made these, I made 6 big cookies right off the bat and learned the hard way. With the remaining dough, I used my small cookie dough scoop and these held up much better in terms of consuming while still warm. What I also discovered is that these cookies do just fine hanging out on the kitchen counter because after I made a batch, let them cool completely, and stored them in an air tight container, the result the following day was a damp-like cookie.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 8 tbsp. salted butter
  • 3/4 cup Erythritol
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum
  • 3/4 cup sugar free chocolate chips

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 355 degrees. Heat the butter for 30 seconds in the microwave and transfer to a mixing bowl and beat in the Erythritol. Add the vanilla and egg and mix on low for 15 seconds exactly.

Add the almond flour, xantham gum, baking soda and salt. Mix until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Roll the dough into balls, big or small, and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Transfer to a baking sheet and allow to cool completely.

Source: https://www.fatforweightloss.com.au/recipe/keto-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Notes:

*I use a silicone baking mat, but the original recipe doesn’t request it so I don’t think the cookies stick to the baking sheet.

*I never buy salted butter; therefore, never use it, even when listed on ingredients. The added salt suffices.

*I used 1/2 cup Erythritol and 1/4 cup Truvia brown sugar blend

*The above pictures doesn’t have sugar free chocolate chips in it, but because I had Ghirardelli 60% Cacao bittersweet baking chips, that is what I used.

 

 

Posted in Cookies, Keto | 2 Comments

Goulash

Goulash

There’s something to be said about the types of food we eat given the weather outside. I’ve always been one who appreciates all four seasons; in part, because different food appeals to me at different times of the year. Take Goulash, for instance. I suppose you could make it in the summertime; it would still taste as good, but I imagine you’d be left feeling heavy & hot. Whereas in the wintertime, it’s warming, nourishing, and full on comfort food.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 15oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2 15oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tbsps. Italian seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • freshly ground S&P, to taste
  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

Preparation:

In a Dutch oven, cook & crumble ground beef over medium-high heat until browned. Drain the grease. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add the water, tomato sauce, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, garlic powder, and S&P; stir well & allow to cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the elbow macaroni, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaves and allow mixture to rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

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Pumpkin Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting

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I know, I know. All things pumpkin were a few months back, and that’s when I made these, but maybe, just maybe you’re interested in a little something sweet to offset the New Year’s Resolution of more kale and greens. These cookies are so soft they’re almost like little sweet pumpkin pillows.

Ingredients:

for the cookies:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 15oz can of pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

for the frosting:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 – 4 tbsps. milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, beat sugars, butter, and vanilla until well blended. Beat in pumpkin and eggs until well mixed. Add in the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt and blend together.

Drop by heaping tablespoons on ungreased cookie sheets. These don’t spread very much so it’s okay to place them closer together. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when touched in center. Transfer to cooling racks and allow to cool completely before frosting.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, stirring constantly until the butter turns a golden amber color. Be careful to not burn. In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and spice. Add the vanilla extract, 3 tbsps. of milk, and browned butter stirring to incorporate together. If needed, add another tbsp. of milk to reach desired consistency. Spread frosting on cookies and enjoy!

Posted in Cookies, Pumpkin, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Books of 2017 & My Top Three

I’ve always been an avid reader and ever since I decided to read a book a week back in 2014, I’ve kept a list of the books I’ve read for each year. For 2017, I mostly read what was available on Prime First or Prime Reading. It was easier, I was lazy, and mostly, I was not very intentional in my choices. Never mind the ever growing list of books I want to read or that have been recommended, and as a result, there were few books this past year that moved me. Also, I’ve learned that sometimes, for me, it’s best not to reread a book that I considered life altering in my younger years e.g., Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl, simply was more profound at the age of 20 than it was at 42.

  1. Three Wishes, Liane Moriarty
  2. The Special Power of Restoring Lost Things, Courtney Elizabeth Mauk
  3. The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland, Rebekah Crane
  4. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters In The End, Atul Gawande
  5. The Danish Girl, David Ebershoff
  6. Man’s Search For Meaning, Victor Frankl
  7. Sisters One, Two, Three, Nancy Star
  8. Never Again So Close, Claudia Serrano
  9. The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter, J.S. Drangsholt
  10. All The Lies We Tell, Megan Hart
  11. One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd, Jim Fergus
  12. One Last Thing Before I Go, Jonathan Tropper
  13. Mrs. Saint & the Defectives, Julie Lawson Trimmer
  14. Stillhouse Lake, Rachel Caine
  15. The First Word, Isley Robinson
  16. PS From France, Marc Levy
  17. The Dark Lure, Loreth Anne White
  18. What Remains True, Janis Thomas
  19. Milk And Honey, Rupi Kaur
  20. Coming Clean, Kimberly Rae Miller
  21. Love & Respect, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

As I review the list, it’s predominantly fiction, and as I select my top 3 as must reads, I’m not surprised to find, I consider non-fiction and memoirs more impressive to me.

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In late 2016, I began working in hospice and this book presented as a necessity to read. It’s a peculiar thing, the relationship we have with death and dying. People not in the field always seem so mortified when I tell them I love my job. They moan, “Ugh, I couldn’t imagine dealing with death every day.” They’re mostly surprised when I tell them I don’t deal with it every day and sometimes people who know their time is limited, live more than those living day by day.

“People with serious illness have priorities besides simply prolonging their lives. Surveys find that their top concerns include avoiding suffering, strengthening relationships with family and friends, being mentally aware, not being a burden on others, and achieving a sense that their life is complete.”

 

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I learned a long time ago, true life is much more fascinating than fiction and this memoir sheds light on growing up with parents who are hoarders. It’s surreal and eye opening.

“In my reading I found that many hoarders have similar stories to my dad. Maybe they weren’t the children of abusive alcoholics, but they were emotionally neglected at some point in their development. One of the more popular theories behind the triggers for hoarding indicates that people who are neglected emotionally as children learn to form attachments to objects instead of people. When they do connect with others, they then keep any object that reminds them of that person as a way of holding onto those attachments.”

 

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While I really value and enjoy my work in hospice, one of my other favorite positions I held was in a grant funded marriage education program in which I worked one on one with couples for a year who participated in a 12 week group education program. Couples learned communication and conflict resolution skills, as well as understanding  expectations and how each person shows and receives love. We revisited these topics in our visits together, allowing them the opportunity to put what they learned to practice, and review their couple specific marital inventory that highlighted their strengths and growth areas. This book touches on the differences men and women tend to have in showing and giving love.

“That a husband values respect more than love is very difficult for many women to grasp. God has made you to love, and you see life through pink lenses that are focused on love. You give love, you want love, and you may not quite understand why your husband does not operate the same way. When I say a husband values respect more than love, do I mean that your husband does not value love at all? Of course he values your love – more than words can describe – but he spells love R-E-S-P-E-C-T.”

Reading for 2018 is well under way. I’ve decided to put more thought and selection into my choices and no longer feel obligated to finish a book simply because I’ve started it. I’ve already abandoned two. Time is precious so I might as well spend it pursuing something worthwhile. Happy Reading!

 

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