Monday, February 2, 2009

Oven-Fried Chicken FIngers and Garlic Fries

Why does it take three-and-a-half times longer to decorate a Christmas tree than it takes to un-decorate it? Just wondering… and yes, I just took down The Tree. I know people who cannot wait to get theirs unornamented and tossed out to the curb (or up to the attic, as in our “artificial” case), sometimes the day after Christmas, sometimes just after New Year’s Day. I just can’t see it. I enjoy having it decorating the living room. I packed up our collection of Santas a couple of weeks ago, and also nutcrackers and smoking men and other things that are used to decorate various rooms. Then the garlands and wreaths came down and were packed away. But the tree… although the ornaments were taken off of a week ago, I just like having it around. It’s large, 9’ tall and 7’ diameter at the base. I wind the white lights over each branch, from tip to trunk (again, it takes way longer to do this than to un-do this!). It’s a very dominant presence in the room, grand and sparkly; and during those awful January nights, when it was bitter cold and sleet blew against the windows, it was so comforting to turn on the tree, light a candle or two, and curl up with a book.

No more. And now that stupid groundhog has predicted another 6 weeks of winter. He always predicts more winter. Those tuxedoed guys in Punxsutawney pull that fat rodent from his burrow just before dawn, with camera lights flashing and street lamps glowing, of course he sees his shadow! Geez. Let him emerge as he normally would. There is no sun. There’s hardly ever any sun in western Pennsylvania this time of year. He wouldn’t see his shadow and spring would be early. It would be so easy…

And, if we didn’t need more excitement, yesterday was the Super Bowl. I try to avoid the local television newscasts, preferring the local PBS stations, but some times I can’t avoid it. As the Super Bowl got closer, the news stories were mostly Steeler-related and many bordered on the ridiculous. A man whose house is a Steeler shrine and has the team tattooed on his expansive back. People in the local grocery stores, women wearing black & gold feathered boas, men with their Steeler shirts, and children dressed up in all kinds of Steeler-related clothing. A feature on what a certain Steeler eats during an average day. And, of course, the anchors are wearing any combination of Steeler colors for every newscast, every day. Do other towns with pro football teams act this way? Perhaps it is because I am no fan of football that it annoys me.

I am thankful, however, that my husband is not compelled to sport tattoos to show his devotion to the his team. He wears a logo sweatshirt. Period.

Jack and Spooky watched the game (and the hundred hours of pregame coverage) together. I quite happily did my own thing. :)

I was, however, requested to make the same meals which I made when the Steelers won the playoff game two weeks ago (these games, and their pregame coverage, covered both lunch and dinner!). I have to admit, that part I enjoyed.

Lunch was Jack’s manly version of a perfect meal—meat, potatoes, not a veggie to be found.

The chicken fingers were marinated in buttermilk for a little bit to make them very moist and tender, then rolled in a panko/ breadcrumb/ herb mix and baked until crispy. These were served with honey-mustard (I mixed equal parts of Gulden’s spicy brown mustard and honey, using what was leftover as a base for a salad dressing) and jalapeno mustard (purchased).

The fries were spectacular. They are a Cooking Light recipe and actually are a bit on the greasy side for me. Jack, however, couldn’t stop raving. It’s a simple recipe, cut potatoes are tossed with canola oil and salt and baked then, just before serving, they are tossed with melted butter, garlic, parsley, and Parmesan. I decreased the butter by 1/3, but am thinking about going further, to ½,next time. I may find, though, that the butter is necessary to help the other ingredients “stick” to the fries.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Oven-Fried Chicken Fingers

Recipe By: Vicci
Servings : 2

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------

10 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/3 cup panko
3 tablespoons Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme -- crumbled
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment.

Slice chicken across the grain into 1/4" wide strips. Place in a shallow dish and pour buttermilk over. Toss to coat, and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.

In a shallow bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Drain the chicken in a colander and place 1/4 of the slices at a time in the panko mixture. Toss until coated and place on prepared baking sheet in a single later. Repeat with remaining chicken. Spray the top of the chicken pieces with cooking spray.

Bake for 6 minutes, turn the pieces over, spray the top with cooking spray, and return to the oven for an additional 6 minutes (or until crispy on top). Serve immediately.

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Per serving: 250 Calories (kcal); 3g Total Fat (1g saturated); (10% calories from fat); 37g Protein; 17g Carbohydrate; 83mg Cholesterol; 451mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 4 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 0 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

The garlic fries were rated 5 of 5 stars by 44 Cooking Light readers-- not bad! I was planning to post the recipe here, but the laptop is giving me a hard time today.

And, for dinner, Thai Veggie Pizza (you knew that he’d have to get his vegetable quota in for the day somehow). I will dig around for the recipe and post it soon.


Anonymous said...

I'm all for rooting for the Steelers, but having the city council ceremonially re-name the city to "Sixburgh" is downright embarrassing.

I did, however, purchased some black-and-gold-adorned chocolate-covered pretzels. :-)


Vicci said...

Jenni, so do you like the "Stairway to Seven" slogan??? :) I think that the person who hand-lettered that on a sign for the parade should have copyrighted it first...

Okay, where'd you get those pretzels?????

Laura said...

Yes other towns behave that way. And, much as you must know from Jack, please do not judge all of us football fans on the basis of the loons who make the news. :) I grew up a diehard Cleveland fan but after the team got yanked to Baltimore I became more of a college football fan. I am also quite superstitious and totally approve of your re-creation of the winning meal. Looks like it worked! ;)

Jenni said...

I got the pretzels at chocolate heaven, aka Mon Aimee, in the strip. :-) they were expensive but oh-so-cute!