Monthly Archives: August 2016

Say it With Steak – Pan Grilled Sirloin Steak with Ancho Chile-Coffee Rub

Finding different things to do with steak when you don’t have the option of grilling outside can be difficult sometimes. There is nothing quite like getting a steak nicely grilled, grill marks and all, and having the smell of the steak on your barbecue permeating the backyard. For those of us that do not have the grilling option, finding a good way to get flavor, grill marks and more out of a steak you make indoors is what you have to make the best of. For me, it usually means making use of a grill pan, finding a really good rub to put on the steak and doing some careful cooking to make sure the steak gets done correctly. There is nothing worse than overcooking a good piece of steak, considering how much they cost today. You can save a little bit if you can get yourself a nice sirloin steak, which I managed to do recently at our local farmers’ market. I got steak from Bishop Farms, a farm that promises no hormones, GMOs or antibiotics in the meat they sell. It was then a matter of finding a good way to cook it, so I decided to make use of part of this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for a grilled steak with ancho chile-coffee rubs and adapt for indoor use.

Pan Grilled Sirloin Steak with Ancho-Chile Coffee Rub

For the Steak:

2 teaspoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 ( 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pound) boneless sirloin steaks, about 1-inch thick

For the Spice Rub:

1 dried ancho chile. stemmed, seeded and flesh torn into 1/2-inch pieces
4 teaspoons cumin seeds
4 teaspoons coriander seeds
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground coffee
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
Vegetable oil spray
For the steak, combine the tomato paste, fish sauce, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels. With a sharp knife, cut 1/16-inch-deep slits on both sides of steaks, spaced about a ½ inch apart, in a crosshatch pattern. Rub the salt mixture evenly on both sides of the steaks. Place the steaks on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet; let the steaks stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
For the spice rub, toast the ancho chile, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, red pepper flakes, and peppercorns in a medium skillet set over medium-low heat, stirring the spices frequently, until they are just beginning to smoke, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the spices to a plate to cool for about 5 minutes. Grind the spices in  a spice grinder or in a mortar with pestle until they are coarsely ground. Transfer  the spices to  a bowl and stir in the sugar, coffee, and cocoa powder.
Sprinkle about half of the spice rub evenly over 1 side of  the steaks and press down to adhere until the spice rub is fully moistened. Lightly spray  the rubbed side of the steak with vegetable oil spray for about 3 seconds. Flip the steaks and repeat the process of sprinkling with the spice rub and coating with vegetable oil spray on the second side.
Heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Drop a few drops of water on the pan and if it sizzles loudly when it hits the pan, the pan should be hot enough for your steaks. Place the steaks in the hot pan and sear the steaks on one side for 5 minutes without moving the steaks. Flip the steaks and cook them on the other side for another five minutes without moving them for a doneness of medium-rare. If you prefer the steaks medium, add one to two minutes to your cooking time to desired doneness. Remove the steaks and allow them to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing them thinly against the grain and serving.
If you didn’t want to go through the effort of toasting the spices and then grinding them you could certainly use spices that are already ground, but the toasting does add a different flavor to the spice mixture and it works well. You get a much deeper flavor this way. I really liked having two different rubs on there as the combination of the tomato paste, fish sauce, salt, onion and garlic really adds something special to the steaks and then it gets topped off by the coffee and chile spice rub for a really good finish. Spraying the steaks with vegetable spray serves a couple of purposes as it will help you to keep the steaks from sticking to the pan but it also helps to bloom the spices a bit more so you don’t get a raw spice flavor. I think the rub will work well on any cut of steak you want to make, something expensive or inexpensive, and still give you great taste. I only made one large steak for the three of us for this meal but if you make the two steaks indoors you will need to cook them in batches so you can make sure you get a nice sear and don’t overcrowd the pan so the steaks steam. Of course, if you have a gas or charcoal grill you could always cook them outdoors and get great results as well. Any steak goes well with roasted potatoes and roasted vegetables, and I made some roasted broccoli and beets to go with the meal.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!
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Posted by on August 31, 2016 in Cooking, Dinner, Grilling, Herbs, Spices


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What Would the Colonel Think? Is This Really the KFC Fried Chicken Recipe?

Okay, I know I just posted a fried chicken recipe recently on the blog, but when I saw the recent story about how the original “secret” recipe to KFC’s 11 herbs and spices may have been accidentally leaked to the public in an interview with the Colonel’s nephew, I figured I would check it out. Granted, I am not a big eater of KFC chicken myself. I have nothing against KFC; I just think there are better recipes out there for fried chicken to try. That being said, I wanted to check it out and see just how close it actually was to what you get at KFC. The spices all seemed like they would make up a good mix for the coating for the chicken and other than that the recipe that the Chicago Tribune tried to imitate KFC chicken seemed pretty basic, so I cut up a chicken and set to work on it.

Perhaps the KFC Fried Chicken Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 tablespoon salt

1/2 tablespoon dried thyme leaves

1/2 tablespoon dried basil leaves

1/3 tablespoon dried oregano leaves

1 tablespoon celery salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon dried mustard

4 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons garlic salt

1 tablespoon ground ginger

3 tablespoons ground white pepper

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg, beaten

1 chicken, cut up, the breast pieces cut in half for more even frying

Canola oil, for frying

Mix the flour in a bowl with all of the dried  herbs and spices; set aside the spice mixture.

Mix the buttermilk and egg together in a separate large bowl until they are combined. Soak the chicken in the buttermilk mixture at room temperature for about  20 to 30 minutes.

Remove the  chicken from the buttermilk, allowing any excess to drip off. Dip the chicken pieces in the herb-spice-flour mixture to coat all sides of the chicken pieces, shaking off any excess. Allow the chicken to sit on a rack set over a baking sheet for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat about 3 inches of the oil in a large Dutch oven or similar heavy cast iron pot with high sides over medium-high heat  until the oil registers 350 degrees on an instant-read thermometer or candy thermometer. When the correct temperature is reached, lower the heat to medium to maintain it at 350 degrees. Fry 3 or 4 pieces of the chicken at a time, being careful not to crowd the pot. Fry the chicken until it is medium golden brown, turning each piece once, about 15 to 18 minutes total. Transfer the chicken pieces to a baking sheet covered with paper towels. Allow the oil  in the pot to return to the right temperature before adding more chicken pieces. Repeat the process with the remaining chicken.

Okay, a couple of things about this recipe. First, as is indicated in the article, KFC adds MSG to their chicken to give it added flavor. If you want to add it, you can purchase it as Accent or other like brads in the store. Personally, I do not use MSG or have it in the house, so I left it out. The article indicates they only sprinkled a little on each piece before it was eaten and it seemed to help mimic the proper flavor, but I think it was fine without it. Secondly, KFC uses pressure frying to make their chicken so they can cook it faster. Whether or not this has an actual effect on the product that you eat versus what you can make at home I am not sure of, but for my purposes I just fried the pieces in my cast iron pan. Here’s what I think – it’s a good recipe, giving you nice, crunchy coating that has some good spice flavor. To me, it’s about as labor intensive as other fried chicken recipes I have made before. The spice mix tastes good, and there is a lot of paprika and white pepper in there and both come through in the taste. Is it KFC chicken? Both Sean and Michelle, who eat KFC chicken sometimes, said it was close but not exact, which is okay with me. I did like the spices, but I think I have had crunchier fried chicken. I am sure you could amp up the crunch by double dipping the chicken if you wanted to.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!



Posted by on August 29, 2016 in Dinner, Poultry, Uncategorized


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Keep it Easy -Simple Breaded Pork Cutlets and Plum Iced Tea

Even though it seems like summer is starting to wind down we are still getting warm and humid weather here. This means I may not have the energy to spend as much time in the kitchen as I might under other circumstances so I want to make dinner as easy as possible. Of course, it can get a little tiring to have boneless chicken, hamburgers or sandwiches for dinner all of the time, so you want to add a little something different to repertoire in the kitchen. So what about pork? I may not seem to give pork a lot of love in the recipes I make, but I really do like it. However, a lot of times when we think about pork we think about pulled pork or pork roasts that take a long time in the kitchen, something you don’t want right now. One of the great things about pork is that you can very often find good deals on it so you can get a variety of pork chops, a pork loin roast or even pork tenderloin for pretty good prices and they are much more versatile than you might think. Pork takes to sauces, herbs and breading very nicely and if you can get a boneless pork loin roast on sale you can cut your own boneless chops from it, as thick as you like, and have a quick and easy meal and then freeze the rest. That is what I did recently when I made this recipe from Pierre Franey from New York Times Cooking for some basic breaded pork cutlets.

Breaded Pork Cutlets

8 boneless pork loin slices, about 3 ounces each, trimmed of excess fat

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried, or other herbs of your choice

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 egg, beaten

4 tablespoons water

2 cups fresh bread crumbs

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 lemon wedges

Place the pork slices between sheets of plastic wrap on a flat surface. With a meat pounder or a mallet, pound them to flatten the pork slices without breaking the meat. The meat should be about 1/4-inch thick when you are done.

Combine the cumin, rosemary (or other herbs), salt and pepper in a small bowl. Blend the spices well. Season the pork cutlets on both sides with the spice mixture.

Beat the egg together with the water and place the egg mixture in a large flat dish. Coat the cutlets with the egg mixture, allow any excess to drip off and then dip the pork cutlets into the bread crumbs.

Place the pork cutlets on a flat surface and tap lightly with the flat side of a heavy knife to help the bread crumbs adhere well to each cutlet.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet and cook the pork cutlets over medium heat, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side until the cutlets are golden brown and cooked through. Serve the cutlets with the lemon wedges.

It’s a pretty basic recipe that you may not need to think much about. The great thing is that you can use things you always have on hand to make a quick dinner. I opted not to use rosemary since we’re not big fans of it in our house and went with thyme instead, but you can use any of your favorite fresh herbs and I think it will turn out well. I made this with a simple side dish of rice and some broccoli and we had a meal in under 30 minutes.

Since the weather has been so warm, what better thing to have with your meal than a nice refreshing beverage the whole family can enjoy? We’re big iced tea drinkers around here and I usually just make some standard iced tea using tea bags and water, but since we have also had some great summer fruit around here lately, I decided to make use of that as well and incorporate it into the tea. I used this recipe from Bon Appetit for an easy plum tea that was delicious.

Plum Iced Tea

8 black tea bags

3 large sprigs lemon verbena or mint, plus more for serving

1 cup sugar

4 large red plums, cut into thin wedges

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Combine the tea bags, 3 lemon verbena sprigs or mint sprigs and 8 cups of cold water in a large pitcher. Cover the pitcher and chill it for at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours.


Meanwhile, bring the sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the plums and reduce the heat; simmer the mixture for about 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the plums steep for 30 minutes. Strain the plum syrup into a small bowl and stir in the lemon juice. Cover and chill the plum syrup until it is cold, at least 30 minutes.


Remove the tea bags and lemon verbena sprigs or mint sprigs from the tea pitcher and stir in ¾ of a cup of the plum syrup and 4 cups of ice. Serve the tea in ice-filled glasses garnished with more lemon verbena or mint.
The taste of the tea was great and something a little different if you are accustomed to just having your standard iced tea or even make peach iced tea. The syrup was perfect and I used mint because finding lemon verbena around here would be next to impossible. It was a very refreshing drink that is great for the summer.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on August 27, 2016 in Beverages, Cooking, Dinner, Fruit, Pork, Uncategorized


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Honey I Changed the Wings – Try Honey Ginger Chicken Wings!

I am a lover of chicken wings. While I do not eat the killer hot wings that use the spiciest sauces imaginable so all you feel is burning in your mouth, I do like a little bit of heat on them to go along with a really nice crunch. I often order wings from the local places around here or make my own and while Michelle will eat wings with a little bit of heat, Sean tends to turn them down. This means when I make wings at home I have to come up with alternatives to Buffalo wings and the classic sauce. I have tried a few different kinds, including the honey mustard wings recipe I posted here not that long ago, but when I saw a sale on chicken wings at the local grocery store not that long ago I thought I would try something different one night for dinner while Michelle was away. I came across this recipe from the Cooking Channel (it’s actually a Tiffani Thiessen recipe) for honey-ginger chicken wings that you bake in the oven so you can avoid all of the frying and make something a little better that still tastes great.

Honey Ginger Chicken Wings

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup lime juice plus 1 tablespoon grated lime zest, plus more zest, for garnish

1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce

3 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 scallions, thinly sliced (about 3 tablespoons)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

16 chicken wings (about 4 pounds), tips removed, drumettes and flats separated

In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, lime juice and zest,tamari or soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, scallions, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Reserve 3/4 of a  cup of the marinade for later use. Pour the remaining marinade into a 2-gallon zip-top bag. Add the chicken wings and seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible; massage the bag to distribute the marinade over all of the chicken wings. Marinate, refrigerated, for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight.

Remove the chicken wings from the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and place a rack inside the baking sheet.

Put the wings skin-side down on the rack in the baking sheet and spoon half of the marinade from the bag over the wings. Cook the wings for 20 minutes, then flip the wings, baste the wings with the remaining marinade from the bag, rotate the pan and cook until the honey has caramelized and the skin on the wings is a dark amber, about an additional 20 to 25 minutes.

Pour the reserved 3/4 cup of marinade into a small saucepan and bring  it to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook the marinade until the liquid is thick and syrupy and turns into a glaze, about 4 to 5 minutes. Coat the wings with the thickened marinade. Transfer the wings to a serving platter and garnish them with lime zest.

It is a little bit of work to get the wings done but it is worth the effort you put into it. The marinade tastes great and you get excellent flavor from the honey, soy and ginger. The sesame oil has a very distinct taste as well so if you are not a fan of sesame oil you might want to cut the amount back or eliminate it altogether. To me, 3 tablespoons of sesame oil was a lot to add and I only put one in because I thought it would overwhelm the taste of the wings. For me, they came out perfectly. Sean really loved the wings and they came out with crisp skin (not as crisp as when you fry them of course) and good flavor. They can be great to have as an appetizer for any type of get together or as the main dish. I served them with some yellow rice and zucchini and it was a nice meal.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on August 25, 2016 in Appetizers, Cooking, Dinner, Poultry, Sauce, Snacks


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Yes We Have Some Bananas – We Have Banana Fritters Today

One of the fruits we regularly go through, no matter what time of year it may be, is bananas. Michelle eats a banana every morning as part of her routine I have one also on most days. But even as fast we can go through them, there is always a time where it seems you end up with a couple of bananas that enter that stage where they are a bit overripe and not ideal for just picking up and eating. Instead of just tossing them in the garbage, take them, peel them and then freeze them in a zip-lock bag and then you will have them to use for all kinds of great things, like smoothies, ice cream, banana pudding for banana cream pie or for this recipe I just came across from Marcus Samuelsson for banana fritters. They are easy to make, only use a few ingredients you probably have on hand and are a great snack.

Banana Fritters

2 ripe bananas, mashed

2 eggs

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 tablespoon ground pumpkin pie spice mix(allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Vegetable oil, for frying

Cinnamon sugar, for dusting

In a medium bowl combine the bananas, eggs, water, melted butter, and the spice mix until the ingredients are well combined.

Add the all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt and granulated sugar to the mashed banana mixture and stir everything together until all of the ingredients are well combined.

In a heavy bottomed pan or Dutch oven pour about one inch of vegetable oil and heat the oil over medium heat until it registers 375 degrees on a candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer.

Drop spoonfuls of the fritter batter into the hot oil and allow it to cook, flipping once, until the fritters are golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Cook them in batches so you do not overcrowd the pan.

Drain  the fritters on paper towels and repeat the process with the remaining batter. Sprinkle the fritters with cinnamon sugar before serving, if desired.

These are really easy to make and taste great while they are still warm. I dusted mine with confectioner’s sugar instead of using cinnamon sugar, but I think either would taste great. I did not have pumpkin pie spice mix so I just used a teaspoon each of ground allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon mixed together to get the same flavor mix and it was fine. Sean and I enjoyed these as dessert with dinner one night and they are great with a cup of coffee in the morning. Mine came out a little darker than I would have liked but the oil was a bit too hot I believe and I did not watch it as closely as I should have, but they still were very good. You can easily warm them up again in a warm oven for a few minutes if you want to get the warm flavor again. This was a great use for those leftover bananas and I think the same recipe would work well with all kinds of different fruits, though you might want to change-up the spice mix or eliminate it to get the right flavor.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on August 24, 2016 in Breakfast, Dessert, Fruit, Snacks


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Feeling Fishy – Try These Classic Fish and Chips

Fish and chips is one of those meals that you probably have at certain restaurants or pubs but never really think about making yourself. The problem with fish and chips is that you may get some that taste really good when you are out and you feel like you can never duplicate that at home or that you get some that are really bad and it can turn you off from them altogether. Add on to the problems by knowing that make fish and chips can be a bit laborious and messy, leading to a big clean up and a whole lot of oil that you need to try to get rid of. We like fish and chips in our house but I do not make them often quite simply because it is a lot of work and a lot of cleanup, even if I use the deep fryer to make them. However, with Michelle away on business, Sean asking me about them and me finding some really nice looking cod on my visit to Hudson Valley Seafood, it all led up to me taking out the deep fryer and trying this Craig Claiborne recipe from the New York Times for fish and chips.

Classic Fish and Chips

For the Beer Batter:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon corn, peanut or vegetable oil

1 large egg, separated

¾ cup beer at room temperature

¼ cup warm water

Salt to taste, if desired

For the Chips:

12 to 16 Idaho potatoes, about 4 pounds

Fat or oil for deep-frying

For the Fish:

4 skinless, firm-fleshed white fish fillets (such as cod), about 1 1/2 pounds 

Tartar Sauce, for serving

Lemon wedges, for serving

Put the flour in a mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Put the oil and egg yolk in the well. Add the beer, stirring with a wire whisk. Stir in the warm water and the salt. Cover the bowl and let the batter stand for an hour or longer in a warm place.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into sticks that resemble french fries. Each stick should measure about half an inch thick, half an inch wide and two inches long. As the potatoes are cut, drop the sticks into cold running water. There should be about eight cups of potato sticks.

Meanwhile, cut the fish crosswise into pieces about five inches long and set them aside.

When you are ready to cook, drain the potatoes well and pat them dry.

Heat the oil to 325 degrees in a deep fryer; this heat is for preliminary cooking. Add the potato sticks and let them cook for about four minutes or slightly less. The sticks will not yet be browned and crisp. Lift them from the fat and drain them on paper towels.

Heat the oil to 375 degrees. Return the potatoes to the deep fryer and cook them until they are crisp and golden brown, about two to three minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oil and drain them on paper towels.

Beat the egg white until it is stiff and fold it into the batter.

Reduce the heat of the fat in the deep fryer to 360 degrees.

Dip one piece of fish fillet at a time in the batter, then drop it into the oil. Cook two or three pieces at a time but don’t crowd the cooker. Cook the fish until one batch is crisp and golden brown, about three minutes, then remove the pieces of fish and drain them on paper towels. Continue the cooking process until you have cooked all the fish and the pieces are done.

Serve the hot fish with the potatoes. In England, fish and chips are traditionally served with a bottle of vinegar – preferably malt vinegar – and salt to be sprinkled on both the fish and potatoes. You can also serve them with tartar sauce (homemade or store-bought) and lemon wedges, if desired.

I chose to try this recipe because it seemed to be the most basic to follow and looked like it would turn out good results. I cut the recipe in half since I was making this for just two of us and it was plenty of fish and chips for two. I used a basic lager for the beer but you could use any type of beer you want. Just remember certain flavors and stronger beers will leave a stronger taste to the batter so you want to consider what you are using. The chips came out perfectly, nicely browned with good flavor and bite to them. The fish was also great and Sean and I really liked the batter. It was perfectly crisp and had good flavor and he fish was cooked well, nice and moist and flavorful. I’m not going to lie – the clean up was a bit of a pain, but it was worth the effort to do this once in a while to make a really nice meal that you may not have that often.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on August 23, 2016 in Potatoes, Seafood


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Sometimes You Just Want a Sandwich – Chicken Sandwiches with Cabbage Slaw

For me, anytime can be just the right time to have a sandwich. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night snack – sandwiches can be versatile enough where you can make something for that time of day. This is particularly true in the summer months when it might be too hot to make a two-hour meal in the kitchen with the oven and stovetop going or just for any night of the week where you may not have a lot of effort to put into making a big meal for dinner. The boneless chicken breast, to me, is the ideal vehicle for a sandwich. On its own for dinner it does not carry much in the way of flavor and is easily dried out on the oven. However, mix it together with some nice spices, a bread coating and cook it just right and it can go well with any type of sandwich you can come up with. Sean had asked me to make chicken this week and I decided to go the easy route and make some chicken sandwiches using this recipe from Bon Appetit for chicken sandwiches with cabbage slaw.

Chicken Sandwiches with Cabbage Slaw

¼ red onion, thinly sliced

Kosher salt

¼ head of green or red cabbage, cored, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

4 tablespoons (or more) olive oil, divided

Freshly ground black pepper

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs

¼ cup cornstarch

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

cup mayonnaise

8 slices bread, toasted or sandwich rolls

Toss the red onion and a pinch of salt together in a small bowl to coat the onions. Let the onions sit for about 5 minutes to allow the onion to soften slightly. Rinse the onions under running water, then shake off the excess water. Place the onion in a medium bowl and add the cabbage, vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Toss the ingredients to combine them and season the slaw with salt and pepper.


Pound the chicken breasts or thighs with a meat mallet or a rolling pin between 2 pieces of plastic wrap until the chicken is about ¼” thick.


Place the cornstarch in a shallow bowl. Whisk the eggs, mustard, and cayenne pepper in another shallow bowl. Place the panko breadcrumbs in a third shallow bowl. Working with 2 pieces of chicken at a time, season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the cornstarch, shaking off any excess. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, letting any excess drip back into the bowl, then coat the chicken in panko, shaking off any excess.


Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Working in batches and adding more oil to the skillet between the batches if needed, cook the chicken until it is golden brown and cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to paper towels to drain.


Spread the mayonnaise over one side of the bread slices and build the sandwiches with the chicken cutlets and the slaw.
You can always get yourself a bag of coleslaw mix and use that instead of dealing with the cabbage and onions on your own if you are looking to save some time. I used chicken breasts because that is what we had, but thighs work well here too and may give you even more flavor and won’t take as long to cook through. The breasts tend to be a little thicker and bigger even after pounding them and you want to make sure they are cooked all the way through without burning the breadcrumb coating. It’s a pretty simple and basic recipe that you can then play with to make your own. You can add other toppings like bacon, avocado, pickles or really anything else that you might like. You can even spice up the coating some more if you like to have a spicier chicken sandwich by adding some Sriracha or hot sauce to the egg mixture for the coating. You end up with a nice, crunchy chicken sandwich that is great for lunch or dinner. I served the sandwiches with some waffle fries to round out an easy meal.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!
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Posted by on August 21, 2016 in Cooking, Dinner, Sandwiches, Uncategorized


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Bust Out the Bacon – Bacon Honey Bourbon Turkey Meatballs

Even though the weather is still pretty warm around here, I know that summer is starting to wind down, school will be starting up in a few weeks and before you know it the fall weather will be upon us again. Cooler weather means turning back to using the oven more for meals, but it also can mean things like parties on the weekends for football games and get-togethers and you may even start thinking about your holiday parties for the year. Whether you are looking for a new snack option to try out or want something a little different for dinner, meatballs can be the perfect option for you. Meatballs can be much more versatile than just the standard ones you might throw into some tomato sauce. You can make Swedish meatballs, sweet and sour meatballs or make meatballs using other proteins like pork, sausage, lamb or turkey. I came across this recipe on a blog called Gal on a Mission and the original recipe calls for using ground chicken, but I thought ground turkey would work out just as well and tweaked it a bit to make it my own.

Bacon Honey Bourbon Turkey Meatballs

For the Meatballs:

6 strips of bacon

8 ounces button mushrooms, washed and dried

16 ounces ground turkey

1 Italian sausage link (mild or hot), casing removed

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoons chili powder

3 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

3 fresh basil leaves, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

½ cup breadcrumbs

For the Honey Bourbon Barbecue Sauce:

½ cup water

1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce, homemade or store-bought

3 tablespoons bourbon

1 tablespoon honey

fresh chopped parsley, to garnish (optional)

For the meatballs, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray or grease a large skillet. Set the pan aside.


Pulse together the bacon and button mushrooms in the food processor until they are well blended. Place the mushroom and bacon mixture, the ground turkey and the Italian sausage, salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic, and breadcrumbs into a medium mixing bowl and mix until all of the ingredients are well combined. Scoop the meat mixture using a medium cookie scoop or roll the mixture by hand and place the meatballs onto the baking sheet or in the skillet. Repeat the process until all of the meat has been used.

Bake the meatballs for  about 20 to 25 minutes in the oven until they are golden brown.

For the honey bourbon barbecue sauce whisk together the water, barbecue sauce, bourbon, and honey in a large skillet. Simmer the skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes, add the cooked meatballs to the sauce, coat each meatball, and simmer the meatballs over low-to-medium heat for about 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

Garnish the meatballs with the fresh parsley, if desired,  and serve.

It’s a pretty simple recipe that combines some great ingredients so you end up with meatballs that have excellent flavor. The turkey, combined with the bacon and sausage, give great texture and taste to the meatballs and provide some of the added fat the meatballs need when you use turkey to boost the flavor. the mushrooms help to provide some extra texture, but if you’re not a mushroom fan, I think you could leave them out and the recipe would be fine.  I really liked the sauce for the meatballs. You get the sweetness of the honey with the hint of flavor from the bourbon and your barbecue sauce for a thick, rich sauce that everyone will love. I made the meatballs a little bigger since we were having these as a dinner, but if you make them smaller I think they are perfect to use for any type of party appetizer you might be looking for so you can offer something a little different this year. For dinner, I served them with some rice but they might go really nicely with some German potato salad or roasted potatoes.

That’s all I have for today.Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on August 19, 2016 in Appetizers, Dinner, Poultry, Sauce, Sausage, Turkey


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A Fitting Feast Anytime – Make Ahead Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is one of those things people love to eat but hate to make. Granted it is not the healthiest way to eat chicken but to me it has to be one of the tastiest. I may not make it very often because of all the oil it uses the big cleanup that typical follows making fried chicken, but if you can make the time to make a big batch of it (provided the weather is cool enough in your kitchen in the summer to do it), it can be great to have for outdoor parties, picnics or as your favorite meal. Fried chicken is one of those things that tastes great anytime you want it, whether it is for dinner that night, cold for lunch the next day, re-heated or even as a late night snack. I have tried a bunch of fried chicken recipes in the past but recently i have found myself returning to this one from Melissa Clark at New York Times Cooking for make ahead fried chicken. It seems to strike the perfect balance of spices, good coating and great taste.

Make Ahead Fried Chicken


1 quart buttermilk

2 torn bay leaves

2 thinly sliced shallots

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons hot sauce

1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

1 teaspoon dry mustard powder

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

1 tablespoon honey

12 drumsticks or a mix of chicken pieces, about 2½ to 3 pounds of chicken


4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cayenne

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon good chile power such as chipotle powder

Corn, grapeseed or vegetable oil, for frying

Make the marinade: Whisk together all the marinade ingredients, except the chicken, and place the marinade in a large bowl or plastic bag. Submerge the chicken in the marinade, cover the bowl or seal the bag, and let the chicken rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or, better, overnight.

Make the coating: In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cayenne pepper, salt and chile powder. Place a paper bag inside another paper bag (this is to prevent seepage, use large bags or several small ones) and transfer the flour mixture into it. This is so you can shake the chicken pieces. (You can also just mix the flour in a large bowl and dredge the chicken parts in it, or use a heavy-duty plastic zipper bag for shaking.)

Take a piece of chicken out of the marinade and place it in the bag with the flour mixture. Close the bag and shake it so the chicken is fully coated. (Or, if you are using a bowl, dredge the chicken in the flour mixture.) Remove the chicken piece and place it on a plate or sheet pan. Repeat the process with the remaining chicken pieces, one by one. Let the chicken rest for 30 minutes so it can come to room temperature. Reserve the coating mixture.

In a large Dutch oven or heavy cast iron skillet with a lid, heat the oil until it reaches 350 degrees on an instant-read thermometer or candy thermometer. Just before frying, shake the chicken pieces in the coating mixture once again, one by one.

Fry the chicken for about 6 to 8 minutes in a covered pan, then uncover the pot and flip the chicken with tongs. Continue frying the chicken for about another 6 to 8 minutes, or until the coating is dark golden brown and the juices run clear when the meat is pricked with a fork.

Place chicken on a wire rack set over a paper-towel-lined baking sheet to drain and cool. Serve the chicken within  8 hours, but it’s best to serve within 4 hours.

The recipe indicates that you could leave the chicken at room temperature for 4 hours, and while you probably could I personally don’t feel right about and refrigerate it. I like cold fried chicken anyway so it’s fine with me and you don’t have to worry about any potential bacteria from leaving the food out too long. I made a mix of chicken pieces – wings, legs, thighs and breasts I had cut in half – and found that the timing worked out well, though I did make the chicken in batches and kept the finished pieces on the rack in a sheet pan in a warm 250 degree oven so that they kept warm. I also checked the temperature of the chicken along the way with my instant-read thermometer to make sure the pieces were at 165 degrees just to be safe. Keep a close eye on your oil and the temperature as you go along if you cook in batches to make sure it stays at the right temp so you can get an even crust on the chicken. The chicken was very flavorful and juicy thanks to the marinade and the double coating you put on the chicken really helps to give it a nice crunch. For the marinade I actually do not always use the Old Bay as Michelle finds it a bit overpowering, so I do occasionally leave it out and the chicken still tastes great. I still use other fried chicken recipes, but this is one that always seem to fall back on as a good go to recipe everyone likes. It tastes just as good the next day for lunch as it does the day you cook it.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!



Posted by on August 18, 2016 in Dinner, Leftovers, Lunch, Picnic Fare, Poultry


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Savoring Succulent Sauteed Sea Scallops Over Spaghetti Squash

As much as I love scallops, they are just not something we eat very often. Scallops tend to be very expensive in terms of the fish for sale today. For sea scallops in my area they are generally priced in the twenty dollars and up per pound range, and that may be for scallops that are not even that good. If I am going to spend that much money for scallops, I want to make sure they are of good quality. I always get dry scallops, meaning they are not scallops that have been soaked in a solution to help them look nice and white and to plump them up, making them have a lot of water. When you buy “wet” scallops, they release all of the solution and liquid when they cook, making it almost impossible to get a good sear on them and instead they steam in all that liquid, making them rubbery. It is worth the extra effort if you are going to get sea scallops to make sure you get dry scallops or scallops labeled chemical-free. In any case, I got my dry scallops from Hudson Valley Seafood and set about finding a new recipe to try. I had already picked up my vegetables at the farmer’s market as well and had a nice spaghetti squash I purchased, so this recipe from Martha Stewart came along at just the right time.

Sautéed Sea Scallops Over Spaghetti Squash

2 1-pound spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for baking pan

4 leeks, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced lengthwise

2 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

10 large sea scallops, muscles removed, sliced in half

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup dry white wine or water

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1 bunch fresh chives (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the spaghetti squash, cut-sides down, on an oiled baking pan. Cook the squash until it is easily pierced with the tip of a knife, about 45 minutes. Using a fork, separate the flesh into strands and transfer the squash  to a bowl; cover the bowl and set it aside.


Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan set over medium heat. Cook the leeks and shallots, stirring, until they are crisp, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the leeks and shallots to a plate and set it aside.


Place the flour in a small bowl and dredge the scallops in the flour. Return the saute pan to medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Cook half of the scallops until they are golden, about 3 minutes per side. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and set them aside on a separate plate. Repeat the process and cook the remaining scallops.


Increase the heat to medium high and add the white wine or 3/4 cup of water. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Slowly whisk in the butter until the sauce begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.


Divide the squash and the leek mixture among your dinner plates; top the vegetables with the scallops. Drizzle the scallops and vegetables with the sauce, and garnish with the chives, if desired, before serving.

While the squash takes some time to cook to get it tender enough, that is really the only long part of the recipe. I liked the recipe because it was basic and healthy, giving you a nice, light meal that is great for any day of the week. If you didn’t want the spaghetti squash or can’t find one, I think rice or noodles would substitute well in the recipe, but the squash seems perfect for this dish. Be careful not to overcook the scallops so they don’t get rubbery on you. Just that little bit of flour is really all they need to get some nice color to them so you can enjoy the sweetness of them. I did cut the recipe in half since I was making this for just Sean and myself since Michelle is away on business so we had just the right amount of scallops and a little bit of squash leftover to use for another meal.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!



Posted by on August 16, 2016 in Cooking, Dinner, Seafood


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