Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Homemade Chicken Fingers with Ranch and Honey Mustard Dressing

Today we are talking chicken fingers. I love chicken fingers. As a matter of fact, when I was pregnant with my son, it was chicken fingers that I craved. I was waiting to crave watermelon or ice cream, but no, it was chicken fingers!! Crazy, huh?!! And the craving was not for just any chicken fingers, but bar chicken fingers. You know the kind served in bars. At the time, most bars in Las Vegas served some really good food. The wings were the popular item, but the fingers won me over. So, about 2 nights a week, my husband and I would go out in search of chicken fingers. So, here I am, 21 years later, still loving chicken fingers, and making them for dinner tonight.
I served them with the same ranch dressing we made last week, and some honey mustard sauce that is to die for. Both dressings need about 2 hours in the refrigerator before serving. To make the Ranch Dressing go to:http://thefreshmancook.blogspot.com/2011/05/red-white-blue-crudite-w-dried-herb.html

Chicken Fingers

1 cup Milk
2 Chicken Breasts(boneless & skinless)
1 Egg
20 Saltines
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
 1/2 teaspoon Dried Basil Leaves
1/4 teaspoon Paprika
Salt and Pepper
1 cup Flour (not pictured~late arrival!!)

Honey Mustard Dressing
(adapted from Escape from the Everyday Cookbook)

3/4 cup Sour Cream
1/3 cup Mayo
1/3 cup Dijon Mustard
1/3 cup Honey
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Put sour cream and mayo in bowl.
Add Dijon Mustard.
Whisk mustard into the sour cream and mayo mix.
Slowly pour in the honey and whisk .
Pour in the lemon juice and whisk all ingredients together.
Isn't it beautiful.!!
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

And Now for the Chicken Fingers:
Chop the saltines in a food processor, if you have one.
If you don't have one, put the saltines in a plastic zip lock bag.
Then smash them with a rolling pin until they are finely ground.
Put them to the side for now.
Start slicing your chicken. Make sure that you trim all the
fat off of it first. Cut in thin 1/4" wide slices. Cut along the
length of the chicken.
Let's make an egg wash!
Crack your egg into a bowl.
Add a little water, and then whisk the egg to loosen the
egg up and to incorporate the water into the egg.
Put the crushed saltines in a bowl, and add
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil,
and 1/4 teaspoon paprika.
Mix well.
Put your frying pan on medium heat and let it start to get hot.
While your pan is heating, set up an assembly
line to dunk and dredge your chicken.
Here is your line. I know it looks messy. But this is kind of
a messy job~but worth it.!!
First dunk your piece of chicken in the milk. Then
dredge through the flour. Next dip in the egg, and then
dredge this time through the saltines.
Dredging through the saltines.
Fry the fingers in the hot oil until they are golden
brown and cooked through. it will take 10-15 minutes.
When you remove them from the oil, drain them  
on a paper towel sitting on a plate.
Then transfer to a serving plate.
Enjoy my favorite craving!!

Thanks for joining me today. I hope you enjoy making these
chicken fingers and the dressing to dip them in. If you have any
questions about anything just ask it in the comments,
or you can email me at thefreshmancook@hotmail.com.
I check it through out the day, so I won't leave you hanging.

Tomorrow we are making Grandmas Potato Salad.
It really is grandmas. You will love it!

See you then!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Salad Bites on a Stick with a Creamy Parmesan Dressing

I have noticed that anything on a stick seems to be popular right now. And why not?! Everything on a stick is cuter, and more appetizing!! These salad bites on a stick that we are making today are great for a little change from a regular salad. They can be the greens for a family dinner, served at a party on a platter, or grace a buffet table. Their uses are limitless, and so are the combinations of  various items the salad bites can be made with. I went pretty basic on today's salad bites. I used cucumber, grape tomatoes, cheddar cheese, and romaine lettuce.
 Some other things I could have used are onions, carrots, celery, artichokes, bacon pieces, even salami if you want to give your salad bite an antipasto edge. There are so many more. Oh, how about cranberries, feta cheese, pecans,(if you can get them on the skewer) and spring mix. Yum!
I also made a dressing to put on the side. Creamy Parmesan! So, so good. Now, this dressing can be drizzled on the salad bites, or you could just put the creamy goodness on your plate along with a few salad bites, and then just dip your bites into it. That's how I did it.And it was gooood!
Salad Bites on a Stick

Romaine Lettuce
Grape Tomatoes
Cheddar Cheese (block form)
The first thing to do is to score the cucumber.
This gives the cuke a pretty look when you cut it.
Take a fork and run it down the length of the
cucumber. Then start over at the top again and 
continuing doing this until the entire cucumber is scored. 
You can't really mess it up. The deeper you dig the
prongs of the fork into the cuke, the more defined the
cut design will be. Next, just slice the cucumber into about 1/4" slices.
This is what they will look like when you are done. 
 Let's make our dressing now.  
Put 1 cup of sour cream, and 1 clove of chopped garlic
in your bowl.
 Add a 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese.
 Start mixing with a whisk and as you are doing so,
add your buttermilk a little at a time, while continually 
Cover it and refrigerate for a couple hours 
before serving.
Cut the cheese into small blocks. Cut your cucumbers in half.
Tear the lettuce pieces into small strips.
On your skewers, thread cheese, both cucumber halves, grape
tomatoes, and lettuce pieces. 
I fold the lettuce pieces, and then fold them again. 
Here is a blurry close up.(Sorry!)
Drizzled with dressing.
Thanks for joining me today.

Tomorrow we are making Chicken Fingers with
Homemade Honey Mustard & Ranch dressing.

I hope to see you then!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Roasted Roma Round Up with Balsamic Reduction

Today our appetizer is one that makes the best of the roma tomato. It is roasted, topped with melted cheese, and swirled with a little bit of balsamic reduction. It is delicious! It can be served at room temp, or warm from the oven. It is a great way to start off a meal, or the perfect appetizer for a party. It goes with chicken, beef, pork, or fish. It is really versatile!
3 Roma Tomatoes
Old Bay Seasoning
4 oz.  Mozarella (shredded)
2 oz. Cream Cheese
Pita Chips
2 cups Balsamic Vinegar
Place 2 cups of  Balsamic Vinegar on the stove.
Put on a low simmer.
Let the vinegar reduce to about 3/4 of it's original amount.
It will take between 1-1 1/2 hours.
It will get slightly thick, but it will get thicker
after you take it off the stove.
You don't have to stir it.
While Balsamic Vinegar is doing its thing, 
we will go ahead  and get everything else done.
Wash your tomatoes, and then cut 
both ends off of the tomatoes.
Discard ends.
Slice the tomatoes to about 1/4" thickness.
Place your tomatoes on a baking sheet, evenly spaced.
Sprinkle tomatoes with Old Bay seasoning.
Don't use a lot, unless you like it spicy hot!!
This is how much seasoning I used on each tomato.
Top each tomato with shredded mozzarella.
Checking in on the balsamic. It is looking pretty good.
It is getting thick, and is looking done.
Take it off of the heat, and let it cool a little.
Set your broiler on high.
Put your roasting pan under the broiler
and watch the cheese and the tomatoes 
carefully as they roast.
Aren't they pretty? All toasty and brown.
 Put a swipe of cream cheese on each pita chip. 
This will help hold the tomato on the chip, and add a little sweetness.
After the balsamic cools, pour it into a plastic bottle.
Put a tomato slice on each pita chip.
Drizzle a little balsamic reduction on each one.

Thanks for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed 
learning how to make a balsamic reduction and how to roast tomatoes.

Tomorrow we will be making a green garden salad on a stick 
accompanied by a Creamy Parmesan Dressing.

See you Tuesday!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

It's Grocery Time!!

I will make this quick today: I have a great menu for you this week. We are going to be learning a couple new things with this menu. We will be roasting tomatoes, making dressings, making a reduction, baking cupcakes, and frying the best homemade chicken fingers you have ever had! I promise! So lets get started. Here is your menu and grocery list:

Appetizer~Roasted Roma Round Up with Balsamic Reduction

Salad~Green Salad on a Stick

Entree~Homemade Chicken Fingers w/ Ranch and Honey Mustard

Side~Grandma's Potato Salad

Dessert~Alex's Nilla Wafer Cupcakes

Here's what you need:

Roma Tomatoes( 3)
Old Bay Seasoning
Pita Chips
Mozzarella  Cheese(Fresh-if possible)(8oz)
Cream Cheese(1)
Balsamic Vinegar(1 bottle)

Green Salad on a Stick
Romaine Lettuce
Grape Tomatoes
Block Cheddar Cheese(8 oz)
Sour Cream
Buttermilk(1/2 cup)
Garlic(1 clove)
Parmesan Cheese (finely grated)

Homemade Chicken Fingers
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast(1.5 lbs)
Garlic Powder
Dried Basil
Salt and Pepper
Sour Cream
Dijon Mustard
Lemon Juice
Buttermilk Powder
 Dried Parsley
 Dried Chives
 Dried Oregano
 Dried Tarragon
Garlic Salt
 Lemon Pepper

Grandma's Potato Salad
Idaho Potatoes(3 lbs)

Alex's Nilla Wafer Cupcakes
Baking Powder
Mini Vanilla Wafers

That is everything for the week. Stop by tomorrow and we will start with the Roasted Roma Roundup with a Balsamic reduction. Thanks for joining me. See you Monday!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

It's S'Mores Season!!

S'Mores are popping up every where! Have you noticed? I see them, beautiful and glossy on the cover of magazines while I am in line at the checkout. I saw them today at Sam's being given freely to whoever would take one! It's madness! Because who can resist their rich chocolatey goodness, their plump marshmallow, so soft and sweet, and the crisp crunch of the graham cracker struggling to hold it all together?
The answer~NOT ME!
And that is the problem!!! Ever since my girl scout days I have sucumbed freely to the addiction of the S'mores.
I can't help myself. I love them! So, what to do? I have decided to keep eating them until I get tired of them!
HA! Like that will ever happen!(But it was a good plan) I have decided it is a weakness I will have to deal with.
So today I dealt with my problem by making S'Mores Bars for our dessert this week! (Ididn't say I was good at dealing with this) I know you will enjoy these and they are easy to make.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Tasty Pasta Salad-This Weeks Side Dish!

This weeks side dish is one I have been making for years. I have used all types of pasta with it. As a matter of fact, the first time I was introduced to this salad it was made with spaghetti~and it was delicious! I originally made this salad with purchased Zesty Italian Dressing. But the sodium content of store bought dressing is just too high. So, I went searching for a Zesty Italian Dressing, and I found the recipe I used below. I think it is a wonderfully tasty recipe. I made a few changes to lower the sodium count. We also used this recipe earlier in the week as a  marinade for our Mini Caprese Skewers.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Steak Sandwich to end all Steak Sandwiches!

This steak sandwich we are making today is the best one you will ever have! Of course, it doesn't hurt that we are starting with the king of steaks, filet mignon. Add the perfect garnish, and an incredible semi homemade roll, and sandwich nirvana is upon you!! Let's get started~