Grandma’s Sprinkle Chicken

This may go down in history as my favorite recipe of all time. It’s a recipe for baked, crunchy chicken that, in my opinion, cannot be beat by any “deep fried anything” out there. When this chicken is served at a family event, you better have quick fingers, because it is literally gone as fast as it is served.

I don’t know where this recipe came from. Perhaps you’ll find it on the side of a box somewhere. To me, however, this recipe is as old as I am. My grandmother used to make it for us kids when we would go over to her house for Shabbat dinner.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Raw chicken, unbreaded. You can use any chicken. My mom likes to use tenders or wings. My grandmother used to make larger pieces (whole breasts, thighs, drumsticks). Just use whatever you’re comfortable using. For this demo, we used 12 winglets, but we had extra breading left over.
  • 3 tablespoons of mayo
  • 1/4 cup of seasoned Italian breadcumbs
  • 1 cup of cornflake crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • (optional) a very small sprinkle of oregano
  • (optional) a pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

photo 2

If you are using frozen chicken, make sure it is fully thawed. I prefer using fresh chicken.

photo 1

Add the mayonnaise into a large bowl. Then add the chicken. Make sure they are fully coated in the mayonnaise. (Note: If you are using larger pieces, you can coat them one at a time and take them out of the bowl).

photo 4

Put that to the side and grab a second bowl. Add all the dry ingredients to the new bowl.

photo 5

Now you should have your wet, coated chicken and your dry coating. Coat the chicken in the dry coating.

photo 1 (2)

photo 2 (2)

After you coat each piece, place on a rack inside a cookie sheet. This will ensure that the bottom gets nice and crispy.

photo 3 (2)

Put into the oven for 40 minutes or until the chicken is brown and crispy and cooked through. Remember, chicken can be dangerous if eaten raw or undercooked, so don’t be afraid to cut into one of the larger pieces to make sure it’s not pick inside.

And there you have it, crispy, crunchy sprinkle chicken that you and your family will grab up like it’s going out of style!

photo 4 (2)

Hearty granola muffins (my first and last granola recipe)

I respect people who eat healthy. I really do. We just don’t subscribe to the same existential philosophy.

After looking death in the eye one too many times, I have come to the conclusion that when it comes to food, sex, and travel, you can’t pull your punches. Life is too short not to take a bite out of that brownie that you crave every day on your way to work. It’s too short not to go bungee jumping or ostrich racing or to try the local food trucks in your area.

Right now, I’m overweight because of the medications I am on. Up until I was put on these medications, I always ate what I wanted and maintained a healthy weight using portion control. If you love butter, eat butter. Just don’t eat a stick of butter in one meal.

So, with that introduction, I’m going to say this. You’re not going to see a lot of healthy eating recipes on my blog. This blog isn’t here to teach you how to count calories. When I post recipes on this blog, I post them because they’re the kind of food that I would give to the people I love on a special occasion. It’s love food. 

That said, today I have a granola muffin recipe that is going to blow your mind. It is totally healthy, chock-full of protein, and tastes amazing. One muffin is filling enough to carry you from breakfast to lunch. It also not too sweet, for those of you out there who hate muffins that taste like cupcakes.

I was inspired by, what I think is the best granola, nay, best cereal in the entire world! It’s Trader Joe’s Organic Granny’s Apple Granola Cereal. You can get it in any Trader Joe’s. I’ve been eating this stuff since I first left college and got my own place and needed a cheap source of protein. It’s filled with nuts, dried apples, raisins, plus all the typical granola stuff. It’s sweet and tart and delicious. It looks like this:

I've tried many cereals and none compare

I’ve tried many cereals and none compare

I was munching on it today and I had the crazy idea that I needed to bake with it. Just the thought of having my favorite cereal baked into a little package that I could take on-the-go made me giddy.

When I get excited about anything, I must try it. It is just the way I am. So, I set out to find a simple way to integrate my favorite granola into a baking recipe. I decided to go with muffins and I settled on this recipe. What I like about the recipe is that the ratio of granola to everything else is very high. I wanted my granola to be the star. The first thing the recipe says is this:

“When you mix together the dry ingredients for these muffins you might think the recipe is a mistake. There is more granola than flour and it looks like the whole mixture might not hold together.

Trust me this is right.”

So I trusted the recipe and mixed all the dry ingredients together.

1 1/2 cups granola
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

What I got was a bowl full of granola that looked like it was dusted with flour:

Say wha?

Say wha?

Interesting.

Then I moved on and mixed the wet ingredients together in another bowl. The original recipe reads as follows:

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

I decided to change it up a bit. All I had in the refrigerator was skim milk and nonfat yogurt, so I knew I would need a little bit more oil. I softened 2 tablespoons of butter and added it. This is because the recipe calls for whole milk and whole fat yogurt so it probably needs some oil or fat.

photo 3

I mixed together the wet and dry ingredients until the consistency looked like wet oatmeal of some sort.

photo 4

Then, I spooned the batter out into a muffin pan with paper cups in it. You can actually use a muffin pan without the paper cups, just make sure you butter or grease the pan before you spoon in the batter. This recipe is not a high yield recipe. The original recipe only yielded 10 muffins. I was only able to get 8 muffins from my batter. Also, make sure you fill up the cups fairly high. Because there is so much granola weighing down the batter, the muffins won’t “puff” as much (don’t worry, they’ll still be nice and light, though).

photo (8)

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-22 minutes until a tester comes out clean. They should look like this (just slightly golden on top):

photo 5

At any point in the baking, feel free to throw 1/2 cup of your favorite berries or fruit in. Just make sure they’re washed and well drained. Blueberries would work great. I didn’t do that for mine because my granola already has apple and raisin in it.

Ta da!

Ta da!

And there you have it! The perfect, not-too-sweet, fairly healthy, chock-full-of-protein breakfast muffin that should keep you until lunch…and if it doesn’t, you don’t have to feel guilty about having seconds!

Slammin’ Stuffing Roll-Ups

I figured it’s high time I learned how to cook. I mean, I already bake, my mother was a professional cook for a good portion of her adult life, I already spend way too much of my time watching competitive cooking shows on the Food Network, and seeing as I am disabled and don’t have a job right now, I have a lot of time on my hands to learn this valuable life skill. So, when my mother came home from work and wanted to cook a fairly complicated dinner, I decided that I would look over her shoulder, take pictures, and pester her with way too many questions. I would like to think that I helped, but I think I slowed her up more than anything else.

So my mom had a nice packet of fresh, refrigerated chicken breasts (boneless) and a box of Stove Top Stuffing. My mom decided to make this meal, which she had first made when a friend had a famous writer coming over to her house and couldn’t afford to hire a caterer. I would have named this dish something witty having to do with writing, but seeing as how I got unbridled usage of a meat tenderizer during the making of this meal, I couldn’t name it anything else but “slammin'”!

photo 1

So there are really 3 components to this dish that all end up coming together and going into the oven in the end.

  • The stuffing: you can really choose to make this from scratch (or from any recipe, really), but my mother likes Stove Top because it’s so easy, it’s tasty and delicious, and, did I mention that it’s easy?
  • The chicken: You’re going to need boneless chicken breasts that are fresh or fully thawed. The chicken gets pounded, salted, dredged, pinned together, browned, and baked. Can you keep up with the steps? I’ll try to make it easy as possible.
  • The sauce: a delightful and easy to make sauce. A welcome relief from the intricate chicken dance

Ingredients:

  • 3 Large boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Stuffing. Stove Top or otherwise. If you use Stove Top, you’ll need: 1 packet of Stove Top Stuffing, 1-1/2 cups water and 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil (in addition to what you use for the stuffing)
  • 1 teaspoon of Emeril Essence (or your preferred spice mix)
  • Cayenne Pepper to taste (optional)
  • 1-1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup white wine

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ok, your next step is to make the stuffing. Since we decided to go for Stove Top and the directions are really very self-explanatory.

photo 2

Then, take each chicken breast and butcher them into single pieces slightly smaller than the size of your palm. Note: Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw chicken.

photo 4

Place a piece of saran wrap under the chicken and another piece over the chicken. Then proceed to use the flat side of the meat tenderizer to pound the chicken until it is roughly twice the size or a quarter of an inch thick. Try not to mash or break it.

photo 1 (2)

They call me the tenderizer!

photo 2 (2)

What’s wrong there, baby, you’re looking a little flat.

As you finish flattening each piece of chicken, lightly sprinkle them with salt and put them aside. If you stack them on top of each other, make sure you separate them with saran wrap so they don’t stick to each other.

photo 3 (2)

When you are done pounding the chicken breasts, it’s time to stuff them. Have your stuffing handy as well as some wooden toothpicks. Note: these toothpicks stay in the breasts until they are done cooking. Make sure to remove them. It is probably a good idea to alert your guests that there might be toothpicks as well, just to be safe.

Spread flour over your work area so the meat doesn’t stick to your surface. Then, take a piece of chicken breast, spoon some stuffing into the middle, roll-up the chicken breast, and secure it closed with a toothpick.

photo 4 (2)

photo 5

photo 1 (3)

photo 2 (3)

The next thing my mom does is dredge the roll-ups (roll them in a flour mixture) and brown them in oil before baking them. Theoretically, you could just bake them at this point, but dredging and browning them gives them a nice firm, light crust. If you skip these steps, they’re going to have the consistency of boiled chicken and, under the heavy sauce that this recipe calls for, they’re just going to taste soggy.

The next step is to dredge the roll-ups. Mix together the dredge mixture in a shallow bowl.

Dredge Mixture:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Emeril Essence or your preferred spice mixture

Gently roll each of the roll-ups in the dredge mixture so the outside is covered with the mixture.

photo 3 (3)

Next, lightly brown the outside of the roll-ups. In a large, shallow pan, pour just enough vegetable oil for it to just barely cover the bottom. Make sure you are not frying the roll-ups (ie. they are not swimming in hot oil). Wait for the oil to get hot and gently put your roll-ups into the pan, spacing them at least 1″ apart.

photo 5 (2)

Before

photo 1 (4)

After

Don’t worry about cooking the chicken all the way through, you’re going to finish off the chicken in the oven. What you want here is a nice golden color. Once you see gold, take the chicken out of the pan, wipe off the excess oil on a paper towel, and place the roll-up in a baking dish. Do this for all your roll ups. Add any extra stuffing to the baking dish if you would like. You can also add raw spinach or green beans to the baking dish at this time.

photo 4 (4)

Before you put the chicken in the oven, it’s time to make the sauce. The sauce has 4 ingredients.

Chicken White-Wine Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 can Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 can Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1-1/4 cup milk (you can use skim milk if you want)
  • 1/4 cup white drinking wine

photo 4 (3)

My mother never uses cooking wine. She thinks it’s a waste of money. When my mom uses wine in her cooking, she’ll use a lower-end drinking wine. It has always worked for her.

Add both soups and the milk to a sauce pan. Wisk and put over a medium flame until it begins to simmer. Lower the heat and add the wine. Leave on the lower heat for a minute or two longer. Make sure the sauce is a consistent, creamy texture before taking it off the flame.

photo 3 (4)

Gently pour the sauce over the chicken in your baking dish.

photo 5 (3)

Cook for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until the chicken is fully cooked. Here’s what it looks like when it comes out of the oven:

photo 1 (5)

It makes a very pretty plate, especially if you serve it with some of the extra stuffing and something green on the side.

photo 2 (5)

So that’s my first cooked-and-blogged dinner. Bon Appetit!