Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Oven-Friend Chicken + a Homecoming

Thomas and I spent Valentine's-eve in transit from Minneapolis to South Bend ... It was a rather strange day to choose to travel, and I feel like I should have put a bit more thought into our schedule ... The only factor I considered was, "Excellent .. a flight that leaves at 7:40 p.m. is likely to knock T into his bedtime sleep and he'll be calm-cool-collected the entire flight ..."  I failed to consider that my family would like to have a relaxing, romantic (?) evening with their loved ones rather than spend rush hour in traffic down to the airport and back ..!! Hahah

So T and I spent the afternoon at the office.  It really was a great afternoon, and put into perspective what it may be like to take Gisela up on her offer to become her business partner.  Throughout the afternoon Thomas enjoyed playing with the balloons that the gorilla delivered to the office (video to come once my little FLIP is delivered to Indiana ... I left it at the office, woops!), scooting backward on the slick wood floor, and playing with Amma.  He even enjoyed a nap in his chair-crib .. imagine 2 plush, fluffy chairs smooshed together so the arms are touching like this [ | ] .. sleeping for about an hour.  We had lunch together, Gisela, Mom n Dad explained the remaining updates to the office space ... it will be gorgeous following the renovations!!  I joked about working at a mobile unit - receiving my "training" while poking around on the ipad ... hahah =)

Mom dropped us off at the airport around 4:30, which was a relief because for some reason security was all backed up.  I always feel a bit awkward because T is very social - smiling at strangers and opening an avenue of conversation up with someone you may not be interested in conversing with - so I turned it into a friendly little game, giving random names and ages to him when people asked ... =P Jack, Matthew, Paul, Robert ... 6, 9, 7 months old ... really? stranger in an airport? you expect me to be honest with you? =P

We were able to board the plan on time this time (we were about 40 minutes late on our flight into Minneapolis) ... and thanks to the woman who was working at the Delta desk, we were moved from our seat in row 9 to row 2 ... a plus because there was no one next to us ..!!  T is getting so big that he is all arms and legs ... once he zonked out on the plane there was no worry about his legs dangling into someone elses' lap =P

Ryan picked us up at the airport shortly after our flight landed.  For whatever reason, we wound up climbing down the stairs of the airplane into the cold, dark night .. onto the slick tarmac .. rather than zipping down the little airplane tunnel .. the flight attendant was nice enough to offer to help me tuck sleeping Thomas into our Ring Sling and carry our bag down the steps (which I did myself, graciously declining her offer - it's amazing what you can do with a sleeping baby in tow =P hehe) .. it was so nice!

Once we got home, T and I shared our chocolate stash with Ryan - two Chocolove bars (almonds and sea salt and cherry-chili-chocolate, as well as an assortment of spectacular truffles from Mom n Dad courtesy of Daniella's in Forest Lake ... thank heavens security didn't confiscate our chocolate!!) - and Ryan gave us our Valentine's gifts ..!! A beautiful potted Gerbera daisy for me, and a little V-day girlfriend for Thomas - in Sophie the Giraffe form!  Needless to say, it was a late night, resulting in a very sleepy baby and mommy.  The best gifts from Ryan? A clean home (can you say clean kitchen? bathtub? sheets? ahhh luxury) and a sleep-in morning!!  Ohh, yeah, and all the hugs and snuggles I could stand =)  It is so nice to be in our space, together as a family .. little trips like this remind us that home isn't so far away from South Bend ... ohh, yeah, and that this could be our last trip to MN ..!! Hahah

I wanted to share our recipe for dinner tonight - Ryan was craving fried chicken ... like ... real fried chicken!! Given that today was Day 1 back on track with my diet, we settled on oven-friend chicken.  A trip to the grocery store granted most of my chicken-dreams-come-true, as thighs and drummies were on sale for $.99/pound - score! All the chicken we need for dinners this week, plus 5 additional meals (not counting leftovers, sweet!) for $8 ..!!

Here is how we made our oven-fried chicken -

Complex Oven Fried Chicken -
The Dredge
Add some flour (about 1/3 c.) to a dish ... combine your herbs and spices here, as well - salt, pepper, 1/2 t. cayenne, 1/4 t. garlic powder - and set it aside.
The Moisture
Your choice - butter, 2 eggs, whipped, buttermilk - set it aside in a separate bowl. We used eggs. My grandfather's recipe uses butter. Buttermilk? Ryan said it was overrated =P hahah
The Crunch
Your choice here, as well ... You could use crushed up cornflakes, saltine crackers, Italian, plain or panko bread crumbs ... we used panko breadcrumbs (about 1 c.), 2T. cornmeal, salt, pepper and parsley.  You could repeat your herbs/spices from the dredge here, as well, to ensure a pop of flavour.

Set your chicken pieces aside so they are easily accessible.  If you have a cookie sheet with 4 sides (ours don't .. boo .. so we use a 9x13" pan so the juices don't leak all over the oven ...) line it with foil to capture the ooey gooey juices making clean up all that much easier.  Place a wire rack above your 4-sided baking container.  Preheat the oven to 425* F.

Dredge / Moisture / Crunch
Take your chicken and roll it into the dredge. This will ensure that your egg and crunch will stick super-well. Dredge > Moisture-dip > Crunch ..!  Place your chicken onto a slightly greasy wire rack.  Pack the crunch onto your chicken if desired.  At this point, with all your juice chicken on the rack, Grandpa would drizzle the remaining butter moisture onto the chicken.  I asked Ryan if he'd like me to drizzle some olive oil onto our chicken .. he said not necessary .. so I drizzled half our chicken with it and left half alone.  Once it came out of the oven, you couldn't tell which were O.oil dripped and which weren't ... so this step is totally up to you!

Bake It Up
Bake your chicken about 35-45 minutes ... It was so juicy, so flavourful ... I used a bit less than 1/2 t. cayenne and I wish I had used it all if not a bit more of it and the garlic powder - the flavour disappeared a bit.  It satisfied Ryan's craving for greasy friend chicken, as well!

Give it a go, see what you think, let me know if you try it, if you like it! I am pleased to say that this recipe is all my own, different enough from what I've read and what I've tried .. and fabulous all the same! So exciting!

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