Chicken Fingers with Apricot Sauce

Quick Post: These are really so good and the sweet and salty sauce takes them over the top! They’re on the menu for tonight and I searched my blog to get the recipe again and discovered that it was never posted! I can’t believe I forgot to post this recipe three months ago when I first made it…better late than never! 😉

Chicken Fingers with Apricot Sauce – adapted from Folkmann.ca
For the chicken:
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups panko
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a splash of water
  • 1 cup of cornstarch
  • Oil for frying  (*I use a combination of peanut oil and canola oil*)
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges

For the sauce:

  • cup apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ketchup
  • Freshly squeezed juice from half a lemon
Directions – 

1. Set a rack on a baking sheet, put it in the oven, and preheat to 200F. Cut each chicken breast into 4 thick even pieces. To set up your dredging station: Put corn starch in one baking dish, and the eggs in another dish next to it. Finally, toss the panko, lemon zest in another dish.

2. Heat about 1/4 – 1/2 inch of oil in a large heavy skillet over a medium-high heat. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper to taste, and then coat lightly in the cornstarch. Next, dip in eggs and then press into the panko mixture to coat evenly. Shake off any excess and place on a plate while you finish the other pieces. Carefully place the chicken in the hot oil, taking care not to crowd the pan. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a constant sizzle. Fry the chicken a few pieces at a time, turning once until evenly brown. About 5 minutes total. Keep cooked fingers in the oven on the rack. Repeat with the rest of the chicken breasts. Serve with lemon and dipping sauce.

Apricot sauce –
Combine the preserves, soy sauce and ketchup in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture until the preserves have melted. Stir in the lemon juice and cool before serving.

Baked Zucchini Fries and Ranch Dressing

This recipe is floating around Pintrest lately. I knew I would have to follow my sister’s lead and serve these alongside hamburgers. These were really tasty and a healthier alternative to fries, and if you haven’t made homemade ranch before, you really should!  It’s fresh, creamy, flavorful, and what makes it even better is that it’s cheap to make and full of ingredients that you can pronounce. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

P.S. I reheated the leftover “fries” in the oven at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes, and they were just as crispy! 🙂

Baked Zucchini Fries – adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

  • 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (*I forgot to add this, but it would have been a nice addition*)
  • 1 lb zucchini, cut into 4-5-inch sticks

Directions –

  1. Preheat oven to 425 and place a cooling rack in your baking sheet.
  2. Place flour in a large zipper bag.
  3. Whisk eggs with 2 Tbsp water and place in a shallow dish.
  4. Place Panko, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in a shallow dish and mix to combine.
  5. Place zucchini in the bag with the flour and shake until well coated. Dip the zucchini into the egg and then into the panko, turning to coat well.
  6. Place breaded zucchini on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake 18-20 minutes, until golden brown.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing – adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried chives
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

Directions –

  1. Place all ingredients with 1/4 cup of buttermilk in a blender.
  2. Blend for 10 seconds. Check consistency and blend in additional buttermilk if desired. Less buttermilk for dipping, more for dressing.
  3. Store in an air-tight jar in the fridge for a week or more.

Pulled Pork Mac n’ Cheese

Why not, right? My husband thought this was too weird to work at first, but I  immediately knew this was destined for our dinner table. I love macaroni and cheese (proof here, here, here, here, here and some here), and I’m always on the lookout for new faves. He’s a little more apprehensive, but in the end is satisfied with the meal. I used this recipe for inspiration, a different one for the pork and this mac n’ cheese sauce. The Pioneer Woman knows her mac and cheese and I have made it several times with different cheese blends.

Verdict: This was amazing – really a pleasant surprise and I will definitely make this again. Even the pickiest kid I know (my girl) ate this up!  Make sure you use a great quality barbecue sauce ( I use this brand) or make your own. The pork is easy to prepare in the crock pot and compliments the mac and cheese really well, and I loved the smokiness that the sauce added to it. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pulled Pork – adapted from The Redhead’s Adventures

  • 1 pork shoulder
  • 1/2 TBSP Kosher salt per pound of meat
  • 1 TBSP Brown sugar per pound of meat
  • ground black pepper to taste
Directions:

Prepare the night before: Season pork shoulder, wrap and place in the refrigerator

To cook: Unwrap pork shoulder and place in a crock pot. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Macaroni and Cheese – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 1 pound Cavatappi pasta
  • 1 whole Egg Beaten
  • 1/2 stick  butter (1/4 cup)
  • ¼ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2-½ cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 8 oz. Emmental cheese, shredded
  • 8 0z. sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 oz. Asiago cheese, shredded
  • ½ teaspoons Salt, More To Taste
  • ½ teaspoons Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/3 cup (or more to cover the mac n’ cheese) Panko bread crumbs
  • Optional Spices: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups finely chopped pulled pork
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (optional)

Directions:

Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.

In a small bowl, beat egg.

In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.

Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.

Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.

Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.

Add in cheese and stir to melt.

Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed! DO NOT UNDERSALT.

Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.

Toss the pulled pork with the barbecue sauce. Stir the pork and pasta into the cheese sauce.

Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, panko bread crumbs and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

Cheddar and Mozz Mac

Quick Post: This is his fave mac n’ cheese, but now with a new cheese combination. This was a last-minute dinner decision, so I used what I had on hand for this, and thankfully it worked out. I know that cheddar and mozzarella isn’t an “outside the box” kind of pairing, but for someone who rarely steps outside a recipe, it’s blog-worthy 😉 This blog is as much about archiving as it is sharing with all you lovely readers out there. I always like being able to read what changes I made in the past, improvements, tweaks, recommendations, good, bad and ugly rather than try to remember it all! 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chicken Parmesan

Quick Post: This recipe is a combination of a few different techniques and ingredients I pulled together from some simple chicken parm recipes. I liked the addition of Panko in this recipe verses the typical Italian breadcrumbs. I pulled the shallow fry method from the same recipe, but baked the chicken, sauce and cheese in the oven before serving like this one. Oh, and I used my favorite marinara sauce for this recipe. This was a tasty and filling meal – even my picky eater happily ate this. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chicken Parmesan – a Mom Makes Recipe

  • 4 chicken breast cutlets
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 2 TBSP water
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • oregano, salt, pepper to taste (for Panko)
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 batch of this marinara or at least 2 jars of your favorite store-bought sauce
  • 1 pound of thin spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions –

1. Preheat oven 400 degrees and put a large pot of water to boil.

2. Clean and dry your chicken well. Set up an assembly line for your breading – one shallow dish for your flour, one for your egg, and one shallow dish for the season Panko. Season your chicken with kosher salt and pepper then lightly coat with the flour, then dip in the egg mixture, then coat the chicken with the seasoned Panko – set aside.

3. Heat oil and butter in a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat until a pinch of the breadcrumb mixture sizzles immediately when added. Add the chicken breasts and fry without disturbing for 5 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown. Using tongs, turn the chicken breasts and fry another 4 to 5 minutes, or until just cooked through and golden brown.

4. Place the finished chicken in a 13×9 baking dish. Top the chicken with enough marinara sauce to cover the tops of each, then sprinkle the parm and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

5. While the chicken is in the oven, cook off your spaghetti noodles in rapidly boiling, liberally salted water – cook according to package directions. Drain pasta, spoon over some marinara and set alongside your yummy chicken parm! Enjoy!:)

Fish Tacos

Quick Post: I’m not the most confident when it comes to fish or frying, but I tackled both for tonight’s dinner. Frying makes me nervous because it is pretty dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Instead of deep frying, I only used about 1/3 of an inch of oil in my pan and flipped the fish halfway through the cooking time. Also, I recommend setting your oven to the lowest it will go – (mine was at 150) and placed the fish on a cooling rack on top of a sheet pan and let them hang out in the warm oven. Two pounds of fish is a lot to fry, and I couldn’t put more than 6 or 7 pieces in my pan at a time. These turned out to be really tasty and I would use this recipe again. We enjoyed these with my favorite Mexican “orange” rice and fresh pico de gallo. I would have liked to make the chile mayo because it would have added creaminess to go with the crunch of the fish, but I ran out of mayo the other day. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

The Ultimate Fish Tacos ingredients – adapted from Tyler Florence

  • 2 pounds mahi mahi (skinned, boned and cleaned) cut into 1-ounce strips
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Directions –

Prepare the fish. Cut the pieces of fish into 1-ounce strips. Set up a breading station of flour, lightly beaten eggs with water, and seasoned panko bread crumbs. Season all with salt and pepper. Dredge the pieces of fish in flour, egg then bread crumbs. Once all the fish is breaded deep-fry in small batches in (375 degrees F) oil. Drain on paper towels and season with salt. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Pico de Gallo ingredients – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 5 whole Plum (roma) Tomatoes
  • ½ whole Large (or 1 Small) Onion
  • 3 whole Jalapeno Peppers
  • Cilantro
  • Lime Juice
  • Salt To Taste

Direction –

Chop jalapenos, tomatoes and onions into a very small dice. (Leave seeds in your jalapenos for a hotter pico). Adjust amount of jalapenos to your preferred temperature. Next, chop up a nice-sized bunch of cilantro. Just remove and discard the long leafless stems before chopping. No need to remove the leaves from the stems completely. Place all of these ingredients together in a bowl and give it a good stir.

Squeeze the juice of half of one lime into the bowl. Add salt to taste and stir again.