Oven Fried Chicken

Oven Fried Chicken

Sundays were the days of long cooking roasts or fried chicken. Thankfully, there are quite a few methods out there for making oven fried chicken that is moist and tender yet gives you that great crunchy bite that we love.

One version:

And another version:

How to Make It Successfully

When you fry properly, the temperature is high enough such that the water in the meat is pushing out so no oil can actually get in. That leaves you with a crisp piece of chicken.

It's not always easy to fry properly. The difficulty lies in the inability to maintain a consistent temperature. When you put in the meat, the temperature drops.  Then you have to monitor it for when it gets close to 375 so you can turn it down. It's a lot of work.

It is easier to use the consistent temperature of the oven. The difficulty is in getting a good crust.

So here's some quick tips on oven frying chicken to make it better:

  1. Bake similar pieces together. Unlike a pan where you can pull a piece out when it's done, you can't be constantly checking the oven. So make it easier on yourself and cook similar pieces together.
  2. Use a double coating and season well.  Season the meat, dip it in flour, dip it in egg and then dip it again in flour. Then let it rest for at least fifteen minutes before baking.
  3. If you have the time, brine the chicken first. I'll often leave it overnight in a seasoned buttermilk bath to tenderize it instead.
  4. After baking, let the chicken cool on a rack. I use a cookie rack in a sheet pan to capture any drips. It allows the crust to stay crispy all around

Make It A Meal

Myself, I love coleslaw and corn on the cob with my fried chicken. I used to always make potato salad, but have cut that back a bit. It's also great with ranch beans or baked beans (watch the sugar if you buy a can…or make them yourself) and greens like chard or collard.

What do you like with your fried chicken?

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

Kitchen Counter Cooking School Review

Kitchen Counter Cooking School Review

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School was a fun read, and I learned a lot even after cooking well for decades. It finally gave me the courage I needed to butcher a whole chicken.

The Pros

Reading this book will increase your confidence in your cooking abilities. It's fun to learn how Kathleen Flynn decided to set up a cooking school to teach nine volunteers for a year in her life. She did a lot of interviews and took a ton of notes with the intention of writing the Kitchen Counter Cooking School book.  And I'm so glad she did.

She uses her culinary background to really educate the reader about ingredients and how to cook well.

I also enjoyed meeting the volunteers and empathizing with their lifestyles. I too used to waste a lot of food that I'd buy and forget until it was mush in the back of the vegetable keeper. Or I'd get something in the CSA box and have no idea what to do with it.

This book definitely helped me become more fearless.  Since I'm writing this, I pulled it out and am going to read it again.

The Cons

There are no pictures and no illustrations. And there are only 23 recipes.  Thankfully there is an index in the back.  The recipes are all basic and you can expand upon them. For example, the DIY Vinaigrette gives you her basic formula for a successful salad dressing.

(You can also use vinaigrette to marinate chicken, just FYI)

So I would recommend the Kitchen Counter Cooking School no matter what your level. I guarantee you will learn something, and build up a deeper appreciation of the ingredients while you're cooking.

Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook Review

Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook Review

The Better Homes and Gardens cookbook was the first cookbook I ever bought myself back in 1988.

It's one of the best cookbooks I've ever owned, and I still go back to use it to this day. I don't make French toast very often, but their recipe produces one of the best.

The Pros

The directions are clear and easy to follow.

The cookbook really does cover everything from substitutions to general guidelines. The recipes always turn out. I don't always like them and that's where creativity comes in as you learn what you enjoy.

There are nutritional analysis so you can make adjustments as needed for your diet

I also love reading the recipes for ideas.

I also appreciate being able to write down ideas and recipes on the paper.

Also, I like that it's a three ring binder and lays flat on the counter. I can take a page out, photocopy it and not worry about splashing gunk on it. You should have seen me the other night making a Bernaise from scratch. Awkward.

The Cons

Well, it is a little dated. Like my microwave time estimates are for the underpowered microwaves of the 70's and 80's. The newest version will have more updated information. I just have never had any need to buy a new version since I have everything that I need in this one.

And who knows when you need a good recipe for turkey tetrizini, am I right?

I probably haven't made over half of the recipes. However, it gave me a great education in cooking. Plus it boosted my confidence when I was successful.

So I'd highly recommend it if you're starting out.

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Kale and Mushroom Frittata

Kale and Mushroom Frittata

Kale and mushroom frittata is a great way to use up some leftovers. And it's a very cost effective meal. Plus you can make this as intricate as you like.

What Would I Change

Honestly I'd probably add in more eggs to make it fluffier and I'd be serving two people. You'll need a very small pan if you follow the recipe exactly. It's meant to serve one.

And you know I'd ditch the kale. Although, I was in the cooking class at Sur La Table on Flavors of Tuscany. We put kale into the soup and it worked. So maybe I won't be so anti-kale in the future.

But what do I usually have in my fridge? Spinach and chard. So that would go in.

I'd also have fun with the cheese.  You could do Swiss or smoked Gouda.  I also almost always have shredded Mexican blend since I love my tacos.

You could also add in artichoke hearts and asparagus for a spring flavor. And broccoli if you have any leftover. Remember, if you make too much during the week, save it and do a catch all dinner or lunch once a week.

Zucchini and tomatoes will be in season before you know it. They're great in a frittata as well.

I'd also look into some fresh herbs like thyme, chives, tarragon, marjoram and oregano.

Make It A Meal

You don't need to add anything as this has it all with protein from the eggs and cheese and fiber from the vegetables. But if you're like me, you'll want to add in a crisp salad with a lemon and white wine vinaigrette dressing. Arugula (or Rocket if you're British) adds a lovely peppery flavor to everything.

Resources

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

 

Bacon Wrapped Avocado Egg

Bacon Wrapped Avocado Egg

When I first saw this video for a bacon wrapped avocado egg, I thought it was weird. But the more I think about it, the more I realize it could be a great Paleo breakfast. And since tomato season is coming up, it would be a nice low carb lunch with slices of tomatoes.

Watch the video and see what you think:

Avocado is a Good Fat

I'm always telling you to use avocados. They're a healthy fat and can be used in place of mayonnaise.  Some people think they don't like them.  (OK, they probably really don't. I still have some egg issues and probably couldn't make this for myself since I don't like runny eggs).

What Would I Change

A lot of the comments felt that the avocado they chose was underripe.  I don't agree. I think it was perfectly on the lighter edge of ripe and would be delicious.

Others found that you really needed to dry off the avocado really well to get the egg to sit in properly as well as get the bacon to wrap well.

I found PaleoHacks had their own version that seems to come out better than the Thrillist one. They used prosciutto so perhaps that cooked faster and more evenly than two rows of bacon.

Think you'll try it?

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Sheet Pan Salmon Fajitas

Sheet Pan Salmon Fajitas

Sheet pan salmon fajitas hits two of my favorite topics. It's a single pan dinner for easy clean up. And it's healthy yet satisfying.

What Would I Change

This dish is easy to prepare.  And I do confess to using McCormick seasonings. My daughter loves when I use the chicken fajita seasonings with shrimp. But it is just as easy to make your own.

But a simple fajita spice recipe is:

  1. ¼ cup Chili Powder.
  2. 2 tablespoons Sea Salt.
  3. 2 tablespoons Paprika.
  4. 1 tablespoon Onion Powder.
  5. 1 tablespoon Garlic Powder.
  6. 1 teaspoon Cayenne Powder (optional)
  7. 1 tablespoon Cumin Powder.

I am interested in trying this. It does seem like a long time to marinate the salmon. Usually you only marinate fish and seafood for fifteen minutes. Perhaps because this uses thick salmon steaks it can handle the longer time. Usually when you have seafood in lime juice for that long it turns into ceviche.

For the blog's sake, I'll give it a shot.  And I have a lot of oranges waiting to be squeezed. I don't have any limes but I do have Myer lemons.

What I like is you can adjust it based on portions. So if you only needed one or two salmon pieces, it's easy to scale.

Also, I always only use red, orange and yellow bell peppers. Green peppers aren't ripe yet, and I know it can cause digestion issues with some people. I used to eat green peppers all the time, but my husband had issues. Once I switched to red, the problems went away.

Make It A Meal

If you want to be low carb, you'll want to look into using lettuce leaves instead of tortillas. If you're going Paleo, you'll have to leave off the sour cream and cheese.

You will want beans and rice. You can make Spanish rice using cauliflower. I know some people prefer black beans thinking they're healthier. I'm no expert. But there are so many varieties of heirloom beans out there that you should try them all.  I love eye of the goat and mayocoba.

So see what you think. And let me know in the comments.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprouts Salad

I'm in love with Brussels sprouts salad. My biggest challenge is shredding them finely enough. However, this recipe has you roast the sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts before tossing with the salad dressing. So you don't have to shred them as fine as if it were a raw Brussels sprouts salad.

Watch the video!

Some Cool Modifications

You could use butternut squash instead of sweet potatoes. You could also use parsnips since they are also naturally sweet. The recipe seems to make a ton of the salad.

So if you like the salad, make a big batch on Sunday and then set up a few Mason jars. Put the dressing in the bottom and the salad on top, and it's good to go for lunch time. Just shake up the jar and pour it out.

You could also toss in some roasted beets and cooked broccoli. If you like carrots, you could roast them along with the sweet potatoes. Or you could shred them and leave them raw for a crunchy counterpoint.

If you want something “meaty” flavored, add in some mushrooms.

This recipe lends itself to bean sprouts. You could add in tofu if you wanted more protein. Also, if you have leftover rice or couscous, you could blend that in.

 

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Lighten Up Tuna Noodle Casserole

Lighten Up Tuna Noodle Casserole

Tuna noodle casserole is one of those things you either love or hate. And if you love it, you think you can't have it because it's too fattening. Am I right? Yes, I love it too but rarely eat it. I found this video on how to make it lighter!

Watch and see –

I love Ellie Krieger and her philosophies of adding in more vegetables to lighten it up. She uses mushrooms to provide a meatier texture.

What Would I Change

You could substitute in spaghetti squash and broccoli slaw in place of the fettuccine noodles. You could also use cauliflower rice instead of pasta (or “pasta”) altogether.

There's also the shiratake noodles made from the konjac yam. It will absorb the flavors well and blend right in. They are very low carb and low calorie.

I may add in snow peas and some diced carrots for color and texture.

This isn't a dish that lends itself well to being Paleo. But sometimes you need a comfort food.

Make It A Meal

Because of the peas and mushrooms, this is a meal in itself. But sometimes you want a counterpoint. So I'd make a salad because it's cool and you could use a nice vinaigrette dressing which balances out the creaminess of the tuna noodle casserole.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

Resources

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna with Spinach

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna with Spinach

I'm loving all these new bake in recipes like spaghetti squash lasagna with spinach.

Watch how easy it is:

 

You still need to cook the spaghetti squash beforehand. And then you assemble the layers before baking.

Time Saving Tips

If you want better results more easily, prepare the spinach filling and meat filling the night before and put it in the fridge. The flavors will develop and it will be a lot tastier.

Then before you leave, put the spaghetti squash into a slow cooker. It needs 4 to 6 hours on low. So if you're going to be gone all day, you may want to use a timer. 

If you have a pressure cooker, it will be done in less than 30 minutes.

You can also prepare the spaghetti squash the night before as well. Then the strands will be hanging out with the spinach filling and absorbing more delicious flavors. Just remember to save the shells to bake them the next day.

Also, Jimmy Dean has pre-cooked turkey sausage crumbles that are tasty. You can use them in place of cooking turkey to save time.

Other Ideas

I've seen other recipes for taco spaghetti squash. It also uses ground turkey.  So if you have any turkey or squash leftover, this is a good second meal to use with similar ingredients.

 

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Chicken Saltimbocca

Chicken Saltimbocca

This chicken saltimbocca is already been healthified by Giada.
Watch the video to see how quick and easy it is.

If you don't have thin chicken breasts, put one chicken breast between two pieces of waxed or parchment paper, and then go to town with a mallet.  You could use plastic wrap if that's what you have. You could even put the breast in a plastic zip top bag.

And yes there are special kitchen mallets for this. They tend to be broad and flat. The heads are usually at 2 inches by one inch. So if you don't have one, don't panic. You can take your aggression out using

  • Rolling Pin
  • Saucepan
  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Soup Can
  • Mortar
  • Water Bottle

The key is to flatten out the meat. You may end up needing fewer chicken breasts than you thought since they'll be so much larger.

You can read the full recipe at the Food Network.

Make It A Meal

This is a great dish to make with asparagus as it goes well with the lemon and Parmesan cheese flavors. If you're low carb or paleo, add in a salad so you get enough food to feel full.

You could also have some crusty bread with this if you are eating bread. Just watch the portions.

This would be a great dish to serve with pasta with a simple herb and butter sauce. If you're going primal, make some zucchini squash noodles or have some spaghetti squash.  You could make an alfredo sauce as well.  You won't need much sauce to feel satisfied. And a little bit of fat works well with helping you feel full and satisfied. Plus we need some fat to absorb all the nutrients in vegetables.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​