Week of June 27, 2010
Crunchy Oven Fried Chicken
This is my favorite way to oven-fry chicken, fish, or vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini and eggplant.
If you are using chicken, try using chicken tenders, skinless drumsticks or skinless thighs. If using thighs, make sure to trim any visible fat with kitchen shears.
You will need: seasoned flour (2 combinations follow)
1. All-purpose flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and crushed dried marjoram
2. All-purpose flour, onion powder , garlic powder, poultry seasoning ,thyme
• Panko bread crumbs, pulsed fine in a food processor (can also add Parmesan)
• Low fat buttermilk
• Cooking oil spray or olive oil in a oil mister
• Release foil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Prepare a baking sheet by covering in release foil (the kind that is nonstick - there is a Kroger brand as well as a Reynolds brand - great stuff) Lightly spray with cooking oil spray or your olive oil mister.
Place flour in plastic bag. Place panko in a second plastic bag. Set out a flat bowl like a pasta bowl with buttermilk in it.
Rinse chicken in water and shake excess water off. Place in plastic bag with seasoned flour mixture. Shake until coated.
Working a few pieces at a time, remove from flour bag and place in buttermilk to coat. Let excess drip off and place in panko crumb bag. Shake until covered and place on prepared baking sheet. This is a little messy and you will have to stop every few minutes to rinse hands to repeat process.
When all pieces are breaded, spray lightly with cooking oil spray or olive oil. Bake in preheated oven turning once.
Cooking time will vary. Tenders will take about 10 to 15 minutes per side and drumsticks and thighs will take longer usually 20 to 25 minutes per side.
Brown quickly under broiler if crust does not brown to your liking.
COOKS NOTE: Great dip for zucchini and eggplant sticks using the above method: just mix some pizza tomato sauce (pre-made made by Ragu or Kroger private brand) with some parmesan/romano cheese.
Week of June 20, 2010
How to Grill Eggplant
1 large eggplant
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
1 pinch each thyme, basil, dill, and oregano
Salt and freshly grated black pepper
When grill is hot, slice eggplant about 1/2-inch thick. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with the oil and vinegar mixture.
Place eggplant on the hot preheated grill. Grill about 15 to 20 minutes, turning once.
Week of June 13, 2010
There is nothing better in the hot summertime than a cool salad along with your grilled entree. To keep it healthy (without preservative and loaded with fat) it is best to make your own dressing. This sun dried tomato dressing is one of my favorites with its summery taste of basil and tomato. Just doesn't get any better than that!
Sun Dried Tomato Dressing
Makes about 1 cup
1/2 cup tomato juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced basil leaves
2 tablespoons minced sun-dried tomatoes
Salt to taste
Put all ingredients in a shaker bottle, and shake well. Drizzle over salad.
Per Serving (2 tablespoons): 30 Calories; 3g Fat (73.2% calories from fat); trace Saturated Fat; trace Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 66mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.
of June 6, 2010
How to Wash and Dry Salad Greens
To make the best salads, one needs salad greens that are always dry and never bruised.
For tender greens like leaf lettuces or mesclun mixes, after washing by dunking in a bowl or sink of water, as many times as necessary to remove the dirt, then spin the greens a few times in the salad spinner - don't overload the spinner - and then lay out the greens in a single layer on a cotton towel. Roll up the greens very loosely - tight rolling or patting dry with a towel is what causes bruising - and lay the roll gently on a shelf in the fridge. Tender greens should be washed just before you use them - maybe an hour or two ahead, no more. No need for plastic wrap, the towel will absorb excess moisture. Just handle them gently throughout the process.
Sturdier greens like romaine can be washed, drained in a colander, and laid out in a single layer on a towel - cotton or a long length of paper towel - rolled loosely and stored in a plastic bag, loosely sealed. The towel absorbs the moisture, as long as the greens are washed at least an hour or more before you need them. It is usually best to wash in the morning for salad needed in the evening. Romaine washed and stored like this keep well in the refrigerator with no bruising.