Monday, February 24, 2014

Chicken Sliders With Country Gravy

Chicken Sliders With Country Gravy
     I was watching TV this one weekend and got the bright idea to try to make some fried chicken sliders.  There are so many ways to fry up chicken.  I in fact have a multitude of different techniques. A southern tradition is to serve fried chicken with some wonderful country gravy.  I decided to take this dish and mix it up a bit and make it even better.  I thought why not make it into a slider and also make the country gravy even more delicious by utilizing some of that wonderful flavor enhancer; bacon.  This dish was simple in its make up but the steps it took to put it together as well as clean up afterwards was quite the task.  I found this dish just plain good.  Nothing too overpowering, spicy, or rich, just good old-fashioned flavors combined into a great one-handed meal.  Please enjoy my Chicken Sliders With Country Gravy.

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 tbs bacon grease
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1-cup milk
  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Slider buns
  • Crisco oil
  • Flour
  • Buttermilk
     I started out by frying up the bacon and setting aside to drain on a paper towel lined plate.  Once cooled I crumbled up the bacon to use as a topping.  In same pan I utilized what ended up being about 2 tbs bacon grease.  Whisked in 2 tbs of flour to make a rue.  Whisked in the cup of milk and complete the gravy. Stirred until thick and tasty. Salt and pepper if needed. 

     In a separate skillet melt some Crisco oil, enough to fry chicken in. Dredge each piece of chicken in some buttermilk and then in flour.  Shaking off the excess. Place each piece in the frying pan and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. 

     Now for the fun part, once all chicken is fried I browned each slider bun on a hot skillet.  Place a piece of chicken on the bottom bun, pour some gravy over top, sprinkle some bacon, and top with the other half of the bun.  Pig out! Serves anywhere between 2-etc. based on how much chicken you thaw out. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Steak Tacos

Steak Taco

     I had bought a very cheap Flank Steak, one of my favorite cuts of meat.  Why, you may ask? Well because a flank steak, or skirt steak, is so versatile.  It is affordable and can be cooked anyway and used for so many different things.  The problem with this cut of beef is that you have to cut it properly or it will turn out tough.  So since I had this cut of beef in my freezer I decided to come up with a great Steak Taco.  I racked my brain trying to figure out a way to cook this steak in order to make it good for tacos.  I thought why not rub it with some traditional taco seasoning flavors and maybe even add some cocoa to give a different flavor.  So here goes: Steak Tacos

  • Flank steak
  • 1.2 oz taco seasoning packet
  • 1tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 can diced tomatoes and chilies
  • Fresh corn tortillas
  • Mayo
  • Lime juice
  • Colby jack cheese

     Take the flank steak and rub it down on all sides with the taco seasoning, cocoa powder and chili powder.  Lay gentle on a hot grill or in the broiler.  Cook for about 15 minutes flipping halfway through.  (Cook the steak based on your preference. I like mine a bit rare).  Meanwhile in a skillet brown the corn tortillas in a little oil, fold, and sit aside on a paper towel.  In a small bowl mix in the mayo and lime juice.  Heat the tomatoes and chilies on the stove in a little saucepan. Slice the avocado. Once the steak is cooked to your liking. Slice at an angle in order to keep the flank steak tender. 

     Now take the mayo mixture and spread a bit on one tortilla. Lay down a slice or two of avocado, then some slices of steak. Top with a bit of the tomato mixture and sprinkle some cheese.  Enjoy the flavors as they combine into a nice hearty taco.  You would think that the spices from the steak and the heat from the chilies would be overpowering, however this dish was actually quite light and simple in its combination of flavors. Very delicious

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bachelor's Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese

     Everyone loves Mac & Cheese. What can you say about the most simplest and delicious easy side dish that is out there?  We all have our favorite, whether it is baked with a crunchy crust, cooked on the stove top and very creamy, or even the well known "blue box" store brought brand that seems to come with that mysterious orange powder, (I have to admit, I love that one).

     I have had a lot of trouble finding the best homemade Mac & Cheese.  I have tried making it by building the flavors with a homemade rue of flour, butter, and milk.  I have tried multiple types of cheeses to assist in building the flavors.  I have also tried the baked kind but have fell short of something that wasn't creamy or crunchy but a bland combination of a mixture of pasta and what was supposed to be cheese.  It was then that I found myself saying, "Shouldn’t this dish be as simple as its name implies? Why am I trying to make it so fancy? Stick to what I like and just keep it simple". 

     So here is the result.  The perfect quick Mac & Cheese that any person can whip up in a flash.  Perfect for the single guy who lives alone, doesn't want to clean, doesn't want the hassle of cooking a whole meal, especially if the sink is already piled high with pots and pans.  This two pot meal only has 3 steps and only takes about 15 minutes from start to finish.  The dish only requires 3 main ingredients: pasta, bacon, and cheese.  I used 3 kinds of cheese that I happened to have in my fridge.  Most single guys have at least 2 of these.  Every fridge contains American cheese singles, especially the bachelor who makes a lot of grilled cheeses.  And what guy doesn't love Pepper jack cheese.  Add in another small handful, some milk to make it creamy, and some crumbled bacon and "Ta Da!" there you have it, a quick, easy, and perfect Bachelor's Mac & Cheese. This quick recipe only makes enough for two decent sized servings.  But you can full around with it to make more.

  • 2 slices bacon
  • 2 cups rotini pasta
  • 1 oz Pepper Jack cheese
  • 3 slices American cheese
  • 1 small handful Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Salt/pepper

     In a skillet quickly cook your two slices of bacon until crisp.  Remove and drain on paper towel lined plate.  Crumble up once cooled.  In a small pot boil your pasta until cooked just perfectly.  Meanwhile cut up your cheeses if not already shredded.  Drain your pasta when done and in same pot toss in the cheeses and milk.  Gently mix up over low heat until the cheeses have melted and the pasta is now creamy.  Toss in your bacon and serve.  Nothing says “Bachelor” more than a small bowl of Mac & Cheese.  The perfect one bowl meal for that single guy in your life.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

An Asian Soup: Sausage, Kale, and Rice Noodle

Sausage, Kale, Rice Noodle Soup

     Took inspiration for this soup from the most recent Bon Appétit magazine I received.  I followed the recipe as close as I could but added and made some changes here and there.  This soup was quite interesting.  Its flavors were light, crisp, and refreshing, the only way I can express how it tasted.  Nothing too overpowering, not too hot, not too strong, just simple, light, and tasty.  One of the ingredients I didn't have in my cupboard nor was I able to find. I substitute a pinch of lemon pepper for the Szechuan Peppercorns because of the sort of similar light citrus flavor.  Sausage, Kale, and Rice Noodle Soup.

  • 1/2 lb ground sausage
  • 1/4 white onion diced
  • 2 tsp diced ginger
  • 2cloves diced garlic
  • 1 pinch lemon pepper
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 small bunch fresh kale
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 8 oz rice noodles

     In a small soup pot pour in a little bit of olive oil.  Brown the sausage.  Toss in the diced onion, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon pepper, cumin, and sauté until the onion is tender.  Next toss in the kale that has been chopped roughly and sauté until the kale becomes wilted.  Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.  Let cook for about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile cook the rice noodles as directed.  Stir in the soy and fish sauce and let simmer again for another 5-10 minutes.  Place some rice noodles into separate bowls.  Ladle the soup mixture over the rice noodles and serve.  This soup as mentioned was different.  It was fresh, crisp, and citrusy, with a slight kick.  It definitely warmed me up that cold winter night.  Serves 4-5.