Saturday, February 22, 2014

Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken

Oven-fried chicken can be a great alternative to pan or deep frying. It uses less fat and the results are just as crispy and juicy. The crunch in this recipe comes from the panko breading and the walnuts while the rosemary and Italian cheese add depth and flavor. Not to mention, baking at a high temperature makes this meal ready in a flash.

This recipe is courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine and modified by McCracken Egg.

6 - 8 servings

2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
6 - 8 (6 ounce) boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup Italian blend shredded cheese (I used a blend of Parmesan, Asiago, Fontina, and Provolone)
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine buttermilk and mustard in a shallow dish and whisk until combined.

Add chicken breasts to the buttermilk mixture, turning to coat, and covering them as much as possible.

Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat and add panko to the pan.

Cook panko for approximately 5 minutes, or until golden brown.

Combine panko, walnuts, cheese, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish and mix until combined.

Arrange a wire rack on a large baking sheet and coat well with cooking spray.

Remove the chicken breasts, one at a time, and dredge in the breading until lightly and evenly coated.

Arrange the chicken breasts on the wire rack and coat them with cooking spray.

Bake for approximately 15 - 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Give the chicken as much time as possible in the buttermilk while you work. It helps to make it more tender and juicy.

Sometimes, it is cheaper to by walnut halves and pieces. If this is the case, just put them in a plastic bag and seal it. Use a meat tenderizer to gently crush them and then use for the breading.

Try lining your baking sheet with tin foil first. It makes clean up much easier.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Herb Roasted Salmon

I came up with this recipe because I had thawed some salmon but was out of some of my
ingredients that I would normally use. Then I discovered that I had some hollandaise that I purchased from Trader Joe's for just such a lazy occasion. So I decided that I had not had salmon with hollandaise in a while and I wanted seasonings that would compliment the hollandaise sauce. This was the result and it is delicious!

This is an original McCracken Egg recipe.

4 - 6 servings

1 1/2 - 2 pound boneless, skinless salmon fillet
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes
Hollandaise for serving, optional

Preheat the oven to a low broil.

Make sure that the salmon is clean and pat dry with a paper towel.

Place on a cookie sheet lined with tin foil and lightly greased with non-stick cooking spray, vein side down.

Add the remaining ingredients, through the parsley flakes, in a small bowl and mix until combined.

Using a pastry or barbeque brush, spread the olive oil mixture evenly over the top of the salmon.

Broil on low for 8 - 12 minutes.

Turn the oven to a high broil and cook for another 5 - 8 minutes, or until cooked through.

Carefully remove from the oven and serve warm with hollandaise sauce.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

I love any kind of potatoes as a side. But sometimes mashed potatoes, or even baked potatoes, just seems like to much effort. So when I need an easy and quick potato fix, this is the recipe I think of. Fingerling potatoes have a great flavor and cook much faster. They are also perfect for roasting because the outsides get perfectly crisp while the insides are nice and soft.

This is an original McCracken Egg recipe.

About 6

1 pound fingerling potatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes

Preheat the oven to a low broil.

Wash and dry the potatoes.

Using a cutting board and chef's knife, slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and quarter if necessary.

Put the potatoes in a medium mixing bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients to the potatoes and toss and/or stir until all of the potatoes are evenly coated.

Place the potatoes, in a single layer, on a lightly greased baking sheet and broil on low for about 10 minutes.

Turn the potatoes and continue to broil on low for another 10 minutes.

Turn the potatoes once more and turn the broiler up to high for an additional 8 - 10 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through and the skin is slightly crisp.

Carefully remove from the oven and serve.

Beef Enchiladas

One of my brother's favorite dishes is my Mom's enchiladas. I have to admit that I am pretty fond of them too. However, I just had to change them up to make them the perfect dish for my family. Sorry Mom, yours are still great! While it may take a few pots and pans to get this dish going, it is pretty simple and fairly quick to prepare. Not to mention, it is great for leftovers.

This recipe was inspired by my Mom's Beef Enchilada's.

8 - 10 Enchiladas

Taco Seasoning (or 1 store bought packet), divided
2 - 15 ounce cans tomato sauce
1 - 15 ounce can refried beans, fat free if possible
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/4 cup water
12 ounces shredded Mexican blend cheese
8 - 10 flour tortillas
Sour cream for serving, optional

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Begin heating tomato sauce and 1 tablespoon of the taco seasoning in a large skillet over low heat.

Refried Beans:
Meanwhile, begin heating refried beans in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until warm.

Add 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce and 2 teaspoons of the taco seasoning.

Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, brown beef in a large skillet until cooked through.

Drain the beef and then add back to pan.

Add remaining taco seasoning, about 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon, and 1/4 cup water.

Stir well until evenly combined.

Dip one side of the tortilla in the tomato sauce to coat.

Place sauce side up on a cutting board or on the counter.

Add some of the bean mixture, about 1/8 cup.

Add some of the beef, about a scant 1/4 cup.

Add some of the shredded cheese, about 1 - 2 tablespoons.

Roll the tortilla burrito style, but leaving the ends open.

Carefully place in a 3 - 4 quart glass baking dish that has been greased lightly.

Repeat the process until the baking dish is full or you run out of tortillas. Note that they should fit in the dish so that they are touching without gaps, but not so tightly that they are squished together.

Top the enchiladas with the remaining tomato sauce evenly.

Top with the remaining shredded cheese evenly.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serve with sour cream.

Heat everything at once. It makes the process go faster.

When your ingredients are ready, set them up in an assembly line so that it is easier to get to them while preparing the tortillas.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Taco Seasoning

It may be easier to pick up a packet of taco seasoning from the store, but it is also loaded with sodium and, in a lot of cases, unnecessary preservatives. Instead, make your own using this simple recipe. You can also double, triple, or even quadruple the amount so that you can always have your taco seasoning on hand.

This is an original McCracken Egg recipe.

About 3 tablespoons

2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Buttermilk Biscuits

One of my favorite things is warm buttermilk biscuits. As easy as it is to pull them out of a can, nothing is better than fresh, homemade biscuits. This recipe is quick and easy and is perfect with sausage gravy or just plain jam.

The original recipe was courtesy of Cooking Light and modified by McCracken Egg.

About 8 large biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup low fat buttermilk
3 tablespoons honey

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Cut in butter using a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

In a small bowl, whisk together the butter milk and honey and add the mixture to the flour.

Stir just until moist and evenly combined, but do not over mix.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and, with lightly floured hands, knead the dough about four times.

Roll the dough into a rectangle of about 1/2 inch thickness and lightly dust with flour.

Fold the dough into thirds, as if you were folding a letter for an envelope, and then thirds again so
that it makes a square.

Repeat the process and then roll the dough out to about 3/4 inch thickness.

Cut with a 3-inch biscuit cutter and place on a greased baking sheet and repeat until dough is used up.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden.

Remove immediately and place on a wire rack.

Serve warm.

Make sure your biscuit cutter is sharp. A dull edge seals the sides of the biscuit and will not allow it to rise.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Lily's Spaghetti and Meatballs

With a little adult supervision, kids can enjoy cooking too! My daughter really loved making the sauce and meatballs for this recipe and everything turned out delicious. Be sure to let them take control and add the ingredients themselves. It will help them learn about measurements and they will feel very special for helping contribute.

The original recipe was courtesy of Williams Sonoma's Fun Food recipe book and modified by McCracken Egg.

Servings: About 6

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic, about 1 clove
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cans (15 ounces each) tomato sauce
4 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
3 1/2 teaspoons oregano, divided
1 pound ground beef
1 large egg
6 saltine crackers, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
16 ounces dry spaghetti
Shaved Parmesan cheese for serving, optional
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. (Let the child stir the garlic so they can smell how fragrant it becomes while cooking.)
Add the tomato sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and 2 teaspoons of oregano. Bring the sauce to a simmer. (Be sure the child sees the small bubbles that form to make the sauce simmer.)
Reduce the heat to low and partially cover the skillet with a lid. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the sauce is simmering; thoroughly combine the ground beef, egg, crushed saltines, 1 teaspoon of salt, the remaining oregano, and ground pepper in a small mixing bowl with your hands or a mixing spoon. (This is also another great step for the child to do. They can wear food gloves that may be a little big or not. Either way, they will enjoy getting their hands "dirty" to mix the meatballs.)
Using you hands, collect a rounded tablespoon of the meatball mixture and roll it between your palms to create a meatball. Set aside on a plate and repeat the process until all of the meat has been formed. (Show the child how to do one and then let them do the rest unless they need help.)
Turn the heat up on the sauce to medium to medium high.
Using tongs, carefully add the meatballs to the sauce to cook. Cook for three minutes, turn, and repeat the process 3 or 4 times until the meatballs are cooked through. (Let the child remove a meatball and cut it in half to see what it looks like when it is cooked through.)
Remove the skillet from the heat and cover to keep warm.
While the meatballs are cooking, prepare the spaghetti by adding it to 3/4 pot of  boiling water with 2 teaspoons of salt and the remaining olive oil. Cook for about 10 minutes, or according to package directions.
Drain the pasta.
Serve pasta topped with sauce, meatballs, and cheese if desired.
Let the child do as much of this recipe as they can on their own. It is simple enough that they should only need minimal heat. Always help with the heated items including cooking and draining the pasta.