Mrs J was calling for mac and cheese today to go with the chicken thighs she brought up from the basement freezer. I looked around and settled for a recipe Google served up that looked nice. I have to mention that the roasting head of garlic really smelled good this morning as I was gathering all the ingredients.
Toasting the panko with butter was a nice touch but I nearly let it get away from me. Only a few of the crumbs turned black before I removed the sauce pan from the burner – the toasting was quick once the pan reached temperature. Don’t forget to reserve some of the pasta water, it sure did look soupy going into the casserole but it needed every drop.The recipe mentioned ramekins and I remembered to fill these two. I set all the dishes on a baking tray, the big casserole (13″x9″) didn’t bubble over but these little fellows did.
Per TaMara’s suggestion, I used panko for the breading this time. Most excellent advice! We’ve used this recipe before and I think it’s the best of those I have done myself. The pancake batter recipe rings are an easier preparation but the extra step of breading the battered rings is worth it.The shrimp were good but they were frozen and ready to fry so I won’t claim much credit. I did goose the heat in my cocktail sauce with some sambal oelek but it was otherwise the standard preparation made with ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice and Worcestershire.
Just a quick slide show. Questions? I’ll answer in comments. Merry Xmas and Ho Ho Ho!
Last night it just had to be fried chicken. Three problems with that craving. One – I’m very temped to buy somebody else’s fried chicken. Two – I hate deep frying anything. I loved fried food, don’t get me wrong, but I hate the mess. So I usually do the Oven Fried chicken. Which brings us to problem three last night – not enough time for oven fried chicken.
There was a lot going on and I didn’t have the time to bake chicken, especially since I hadn’t taken any chicken out to thaw, so I had to come up with something that would be quick and easy.
My solution was to take 4 small boneless chicken breasts, quick thaw them in cold water, pound them flat (I wrap them in plastic first). I dipped them in an egg wash (2 eggs with just a bit of water, salt and pepper) and then dipped them in my seasoned panko breading – I used basil, oregano, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and garlic. Heavy on the pepper. But wait, it wasn’t real panko.
Lfern had mentioned she missed panko breading and I had a thought in my head that crushed rice chex would make a good substitute. I ran them through my mini-food processor until I had 2 cups of course ground chex. I thought the texture was very close to panko and took spicing well. It fried up with a satisfying crispness, very much like deep fried chicken.
Since the breasts were so thin, I only needed 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter (butter gives them a rich flavor, olive oil keeps butter from burning). I quickly browned the breasts in the hot oil, reduced the heat and let them cook for 15 minutes turning several times, so as not to burn. I made a real nice chicken gravy with the pan drippings – I have been thrilled with how nice gravy turns out in a cast-iron skillet. Served with mashed potatoes and garden salad that had just about a bit of everything it.
It all looked good and I was going to take pictures but haven’t recharged the batteries since I got home. Yes, yes, I am as disappointed as you are. Maybe JeffW will come up with some fried chicken for us this week to make up for my lack.
I’ve never done stuffed mushrooms before today. Don’t really remember ever eating any. I bought a fair sized box of mushrooms yesterday and rather than see them slowly turn brown I decided to try stuffing/baking them. I looked at several recipes and got a fair idea of stuffing ingredients from this site. At another site there were some good tips on process.
None of the recipes I looked at had meat in the ingredient list. Mine has some Italian sausage. I sautéed three links sans skins, crumbled into a skillet. When those were browned I drained them well, and squeezed out more grease with a wad of paper towels. Most everything was done in the food processor: The stems were minced along with a cup of dried tomatoes, a couple of cloves of garlic, and half an onion. I added the sausage, about a cup of panko (bread crumbs), an egg, and a half cup or so of parmesan and gave all the stuffing ingredients a good spin to mix and chop them finely. Added a glug or two of red wine to the mix in a bowl when it all was chopped/mixed/ready.
One of the recipes linked above mentioned pre baking the caps to lose some of the water, and I did so at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. I drained the liquids and them flipped the caps and stuffed them, and gave them 15 minutes in the oven. Took them out long enough at the end to add some grated romano cheese, then back in just long enough to melt the cheese.
One of the drawbacks to “winging it” on a recipe is having a mismatch of quantities. I ended up with more stuffing than I had mushrooms. Oh well-it gave me a chance to see if they would make decent meatballs. Alas, they were lacking in the “meat” part of “meatballs”. LOL-they didn’t taste bad. I may try them in a sammich later.