I may live in Canada but I'm an American girl through and through.
And that means I love me some Mickey D's.
Big Macs, Filets O' Fish, apple pies, vanilla shakes... and those fries. There are no words that can do those fries justice, only sounds. Sounds like mmmm, scarf, snarffle, yum, burp.
After particularly stressful days at work, I take my McDonald's to-go and enjoy it on the couch in my pjs. I guess I'd be more ashamed if it didn't taste so crazy good. But it does, damnit. It does.
I know it's wrong. It's just a lot of fat and salt with zero nutritional value. So I'm trying to be better and cook more dinners at home. Of course there's a certain comfort in breading and baking chicken breasts fresh from the grocer that I don't get from waiting in line at the drive-thru for McNuggets. It's not only healthier but a lot more filling.
I know I can't swear off Mickey D's forever - I have too many fond memories of Happy Meals from the Englewood Beach McDonald's to do that. But in the end wholesome, quality food trumps a questionable "Secret Sauce."
Sorry Ronald, but my arteries deserve a break today.
Parmesan Panko Chicken
Two all beef patties
on a sesame seed bun.
4 boneless skinless chicken fillets (about 1.5 - 2 pounds)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced or crushed in a garlic press
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the mayonnaise and garlic in a small bowl. Set aside.
Combine cheeses, spices, lemon zest and bread crumbs in a bowl, then mix so they're evenly distributed.
Using a rubber spatula, spread the mayonnaise over both sides of the chicken. Place each fillet in the bread crumb mixture and roll so both sides are evenly coated. Place on the baking sheet.
Cook until the outside is golden brown and the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees (15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillets).
Once out of the oven, finish with salt and pepper to taste.
It felt like autumn today. Okay, maybe not autumn autumn. But autumn-like.
The sun never came out and a cool breeze blew throughout the afternoon. Oddly enough, the leaves on the cherry tree in our backyard are beginning to turn yellow and fall.
Yes, the same cherry tree that just grew berries two weeks ago. I'm sad to say that it has suddenly died. The fruit shriveled up seemingly overnight. So much for my sangria.
The chilly weather inspired me to cook a belly-warming dinner. I got a good deal on chicken wings & drumsticks over the weekend and have been waiting for the right night to bust them out of the fridge.
The last time I tried to make my own wing sauce (sesame-soy glaze) I ended up in the emergency room. (Who ever heard of being allergic to sesame seeds? Not me!) So I decided to stick with something histamine-friendly and create a buffalo sauce that rivals Hubby's favorite wings from Domino's.
So with our chicken wings and a pepperoni pizza, we settled in for an evening of Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Netflix.
Just your typical chilly July evening in Ontario.
Homemade Buffalo Sauce
This is a base recipe for a mild sauce. For more heat add crushed red
pepper flakes that have been minced finely, one teaspoon at a time.
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup cayenne pepper hot sauce (Frank's Red Hot is my preferred brand but Tabasco or Texas Pete are good too)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Whisk together all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 3 minutes on medium heat.
Remove from heat and cover until ready to use. For chicken wings, place cooked chicken in a large bowl and pour the sauce over top. Toss until evenly coated and serve with ranch or bleu cheese dressing.
* This also makes a yummy pizza dipping sauce. And I like to brush it over corn on a cob. It's really good with so many things; don't be afraid to experiment!
"It tastes healthy," he said.
My heart sank. Healthy is just a euphemism for bland. Right?
"No, not bland. Healthy - like fresh. It's a good thing," he said.
Whew. It's easy for me to misunderstand and mistake healthy for a backhanded compliment, because, let's face it, oftentimes my cooking is on the buttery side. I like to keep things all-natural, but even so, pies generally don't land on any nutritionist's list of superfoods.
But after a week of seemingly endless take-out (Indian food one night, pizza the next, culminating in a feast of A&W burgers with onion rings) my body was craving something light and something green.
I cobbled together this casserole using basic ingredients that I already had on hand - chicken breast, fresh broccoli, frozen peas, and cream cheese. It hit the spot, tasting fresh & clean but still homey & incredibly filling.
After so many days of fatty, fried foods, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious healthy can be.
Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Casserole
This is something of a base recipe for chicken & veggie casseroles. If you're not a
broccoli or pea fan, you can substitute veggies you enjoy more, like corn, zucchini
or caramelized onions. Serve over rice or potatoes.
Yields: 4 servings
1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 4 good-sized fillets)
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon garlic salt
2 cups fresh broccoli
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup water
8-oz package cream cheese
1 & 1/4 cup whole milk (you can use a less fatty milk, however the sauce will be less creamy and more watery)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Stir the black pepper, paprika and garlic salt together in a small bowl. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with the spice mixture.
In a skillet or on the grill, cook the chicken until fully cooked through. (I used the grill and it produced incredibly flavorful & juicy chicken.) Allow to cool for a few moments, then dice into bite-sized pieces.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a saucepan, add the broccoli, peas and 1/2 cup water, then cover. Simmer for about 5 - 7. The broccoli should be softer but still have a slight crunch. Drain any excess water and place the vegetables in a 9x13 baking dish.
In a saucepan, heat the cream cheese, milk and parmesan cheese over medium-low heat, stirring until the mixture is melted and smooth.
Pour half of the sauce over the broccoli. Add the chicken to the baking dish and add the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle the top with the mozzarella cheese and panko crumbs.
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and the bread crumbs turn golden brown (you can also use the broiler for a couple of minutes to brown the top right before serving). Serve over rice or potatoes.
Welcome! I'm a pie-baking, dog-loving, antique-hunting patriot. I'm a fan of rustic home cooking, the Yankees and scenic drives through the mountains.