Monday, June 11, 2012

Well it has been a while...

Things got busy with the last couple days of school last week.  Then on Friday, my first day of summer vacation I helped my mom bake and decorate cakes and cupcakes for my cousin's graduation party.  Today, my second day of summer vacay-I went downstairs to get some meat out of the freezer only to find that the freezer had lost it's power source-God only knows how long ago.  So with that being said, the meat had thawed out and was now starting to refreeze as the power source was restored yesterday.  There was blood everywhere in the freezer, and of course it had even leaked out onto the floor.  Needless to say it smelled terrible and I had quite the job ahead of me to get it cleaned up this morning.  But enough of my silly sob story!

So...last night I made the best meal of this experience yet!  I made Oven-Fried Chicken and Stuffed Macaroni and Cheese.  Dan and I both decided each recipe definitely deserved a 5 out of 5.  I would strongly recommend you all to make these.  My favorite was the chicken, it was incredibly flavorful and not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.  Dan's favorite was the mac and cheese.  

The chicken was super easy, however it did need to bake for 45-55 minutes, so that is something that would need to be planned for.  The mac and cheese had quite a few steps and overall was more time consuming, but still not bad.

Here are my before baking pictures:

and after:

Dan also made homemade beer bread which was awesome and super easy!  I didn't watch him, but it was under 5 minutes from the time he started measuring the ingredients to the time he was putting it into the oven.

Thus far, I haven't been posting the recipes, so if there has been a recipe you would like, please let me know and I will post it.  Below you will find the recipes from this delicious meal-including Dan's beer bread, which his grandpa taught him how to make :)  If you give any of the recipes a try, I'd love to hear what you thought about it as well!

Beer Bread:

3 cups self-rising flour
3 tablespoons sugar (Dan said he put extra in, but I'm not sure how much?)
1 can warm beer

Mix until it's sticky.  Grease bread pan and bake for 55 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Stuffed Macaroni and Cheese:

Prep: 25 min.     Bake 30 min.     Makes: 6 servings
2 cups dried macaroni (8oz.)
1 cup cottage cheese
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 Tbs. yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped onion (1 medium)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine cottage cheese, cream cheese, mustard, salt, and black pepper; mix well.  Stir in onion.  Stir in mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup of the cheddar cheese.  Gently stir in cooked macaroni.  Transfer mixture to a greased 2-qt. baking dish.
3. Bake, covered, for 20 minutes.  Uncover; sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cup cheddar cheese and the Parmesan cheese.  Bake, uncovered about 10 minutes or until cheese melts.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Oven-Fried Chicken:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. salt
2 Tbs. pepper
1 Tbs. dried thyme
1 Tbs. ground ginger
1 Tbs. ground mustard
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 eggs
1 broiler/fryer chicken (2 1/2-3 1/2 lbs.), cut up
Oil for frying

Combine the first nine ingredients; store in an airtight container.  In a shallow bowl, beat eggs and milk.  Place 3/4 cup coating mix in a large resealable plastic bag.  Store remaining mix in an airtight container for another use.  Dip chicken into egg mixture, then add to the bag, a few pieces at a time; shake to coat.
Heat 1/4 in. of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Brown chicken on all sides, transfer to an ungreased 15"x10: baking sheet.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 45-55 minutes or until juices run clear.

After just typing up the chicken recipe I realized something I did differently (or wrong...whichever way you want to look at it :) ).  I browned the chicken before I dipped it in the egg/breading mixture.  It still turned out great the way I did it, and I think it probably absorbed less oil the way I did.  However, if you follow the directions and fry it after you have the breading on, I'm sure the breading will be crunchier.  Our breading wasn't crunchy, but it tasted so good, I didn't even notice.  As my elementary Art teacher always said, it wasn't a mistake, it was a discovery!

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