Friday, April 27, 2007

Chicken Nuggets and French Fries

When Myia was 2, she would go days without eating more then a few bites, but every time she went to Wendy's, she would devour the chicken nuggets and french fries. So I set out to find a recipe that I could make at home that we all would like. And I was successful. To this day, that is the only way she will eat chicken of any kind. But she does like my homemade almost as much as Wendy's-and it's so much healthier.

Chicken Nugget Ingredients:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 Tbls Dijon mustard
1 Tbls lemon juice
2 tsps olive oil
2 tsps honey
2 tsp minced garlic

3/4 cup breadcrumbs (see my recipe for wheat bread that makes great crumbs)
1/2 Tbls ground flax seed
1 1/2 Tbls cornmeal (optional)

Directions:

Mix mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, honey and garlic in a bowl. Cut up chicken in large chunks and put in bowl. Make sure they are all well coated. (You can make them ahead and store in the refrigerator at this point over night for a quick meal the next day)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Take one piece at a time and coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Spray with Pam for extra crispiness and bake for 25 minutes.


French Fries Ingredients:


Potatoes
Pam
Salt
Pepper
Garlic Powder

Optional:
shredded cheddar cheese
bacon bits
parmesan cheese

Directions:

Slice potatoes into thin strips
Spray Pam on cookie sheet and place potatoes on sheet, spray potatoes again.
Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic salt on potatoes

Cook for 30 minutes on 450-stir once.

If you want to make the 'souped up version', you can add the optional ingredients for the last 15 minutes of bake time.


Dry Seasoning Mixes

The store bought packages are expensive, a pain to find and full of sodium and preservatives. Here is what I have found and liked so far-and you can change them to suit your families tastes-hotter, more garlic, etc.

Taco Seasoning Mix

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dried onion flakes
  • 4 teaspoons dried minced garlic
  • 1 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons teaspoons salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine ingredients. Close lid securely, and shake well to mix contents. One half cup is equivalent to 1 (1.25 ounce) package of taco seasoning.

Perfect Pizza Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 6 ounces warm water
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
Dry ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder
  • 8 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a container. Cover and store.
  2. When you are ready to make the sauce, combine the tomato paste, water, honey, Parmesan and anchovy paste (I've never used it) and 1/4 cup of the dry ingredient mixture.
  3. Sauce should sit for 30 minutes to blend flavors; spread over pizza dough and prepare pizza as desired-good stuff!

Spaghetti Sauce Mix

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup dried minced onion
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons sweet pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 cup Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced garlic
  • ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine the first eight ingredients. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 1 year.

To prepare spaghetti sauce: In a skillet, brown beef; drain. Stir in 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce mix, water and tomato paste. Bring to a boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Yield: about 3 cups sauce per batch.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Everyday Wheat Bread

This is a recipe I've been using for awhile now. We love it. It's not 100% whole wheat like I wish, but we just are not up for that (yet). This, I think, is still a lot better then the 100% whole wheats out on the market that have 10 preservatives and additives in them.

You will need:
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbls butter
1 1/4 cup hot water (I mic it for 50 seconds)
1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup ground flax seed
2 cups wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/8 cup warm water
1 packet active dry yeast

I use my bread machine at first and then transfer it over and it's the perfect combination of convenience and yumminess.

I combine the first 4 ingredients in my bread machine and turn it on.
I combine the last two in a seperate bowl and let them sit for at least 5 minutes.
After the 'wet' ingredients are combined (as soon as the butter is melted), I add the wheat germ, flax seed and wheat flour and let it mix for about 5 minutes.
Then I add the yeast/water mixture and let it mix another 10 minutes or so.
Then I turn off the machine, add the all purpose flour and turn it to 'dough' setting and leave it alone until it beeps. Mine takes an hour and a half.
When it's done, I punch it down, spray a loaf pan, put it in there and shape it and spray the top with Pam, and let it rise another hour on the stove (until it doubles, sometimes more or less time).
I preheat the oven to 350 and bake it for 30-35 minutes. Let it cool for about 5 minutes in the pan and then take it out and let it finish cooling on a rack, so the crust does not get soggy.

Yummy....I just took one out of the oven, and it's half gone already! :)

p.s. don't throw uneaten end pieces or not so perfect breads away. I put them all in a baggie in the refrigerator, and when it's full, I cube them and bake them at 200 degrees for a couple of hours until they're dry (I cubed them and dried them for a few hours in my dehydrator and they turned out perfectly-I will do that from now on). Put them in a food chopper until they are crumbly. They make great breadcrumbs for homemade chicken nuggets.
Also, you can season them before you bake them and make croutons.