Yum, It’s Fried Chicken Day!

There is a lot of bantering that abound regarding the roots of Southern Fried Chicken. One thing that most agree upon is that frying chicken is Scottish, dating back long before the Highland Clearance of the 1700s. Highland Clearance is exactly what it sounds like – a mass eviction and relocation to the 13 colonies. Most of the Scots and the Irish settled in South Carolina and Virginia. Some came as indentured workers, others as Plantation owners.

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Corn Flake Crunchy Oven Fried Chicken

So, how is your July thus far? Too early to tell? Yeah, I hear you. July is a special time of the year for us. Kiddo gets another year older every July. And we do something special together as a family every July. Last year, it was 8 days in our nation’s first National Park, Yellowstone. This year we are Oregon-Washington bound.  Kiddo has always been interested in earth sciences, so we plan to spend two days exploring Mount Saint Helen. I am so excited about this trip. My sister and her husband live in eastern Oregon. We are meeting on the coast for a little sisterly R and R. I cannot tell you how excited I am!

Continue reading “Corn Flake Crunchy Oven Fried Chicken”

Catalina Chicken and Sunny California

When I first saw the title of this recipe, I didn’t think Catalina, as in the dressing but rather of Catalina Island. Years ago, Hubby and I spent a Mother’s Day get away on this beautiful island. It is said that visiting Catalina is a lot like visiting the Mediterranean, in that the climate and atmosphere are similar.

We loved the island despite the fact that it rained nearly every day. The one day with sunshine was awesome, with an early morning horseback ride and strolls through the streets of Avalon.

Early that morning we walked from our hotel to the horse stables. As we made our way through the sleepy streets, we saw a man standing alone on the street corner. He was looking out at the bay, and seemed deep in thought. His eyes were an amazing blue, like windows into what seemed to be a very old soul. As we approached, he smiled and we exchanged the pleasantries of strangers crossing paths. As we turned the corner, I glanced back for one last look. His stare had returned to the sea. There was a sadness about him that made my heart ache. I whispered to Hubby who I thought the man looked like. Hubby said he agreed it did look like him, but really? No way.

robin dead poet2
I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.

The next morning, the Today show was setting up for an interview. Robin Williams was promoting his newly released movie “The Dead Poet Society.” Our encounter with a sad stranger on the street the day before had been with Robin Williams.

Hubby and I had promised to return to Catalina one day. It’s been 30 years, and we have yet to visit the island again. If we do, it will be in the off-season, when the island is quiet. For it is in the quiet moments that we can truly connect to our inner selves.

Catalina Chicken
1 envelope Dry Onion Soup Mix
12 oz Jalapeno Pepper Jelly
1 Cup Catalina Salad Dressing
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
Black pepper to taste
1 Package Picnic Chicken (4 thighs, 4 legs) skin on

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry soup, jelly and Catalina Dressing. Whip with a wooden spoon to blend well.

Season with onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper. Stir to blend and distribute seasoning throughout.

Place chicken pieces into the bowl, making sure all the pieces are well coated.

Cover and refrigerate chicken for several hours to soak in the flavoring. The longer the better.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.

Arrange the chicken pieces on the prepared pan. Cove tightly with foil. Bake 30 minutes undisturbed.

Remove chicken from the oven, reduce temperature to 325 degrees.

Remove foil covering, return chicken to the oven and continue to bake for another 25 minutes or until cooked through, checking after 20 minutes. Serve chicken over a bed of steamed rice.

Original Recipe: Myra Byanka at Cook Eat Share

catalina oven baked chicken

Spice-Rubbed Grilled Chicken with a Smokey Orange Sauce 

Now that the summer sizzle has arrived in full-force, we’ll be cooking outdoors whenever possible – even if that means a lot of burgers and dogs for quick, after work suppers.  And let’s not forget the awesome Street Fair Sausage – one of the biggest reasons we go to all these little fairs in the first place. Street Fair Sausage is a post and a story for another day. Whenever possible, we will be doing our weekend cooking outdoors as well. I’m looking forward to some childhood treasures such as my Dad’s awesome Kabobs or Mom’s Filipino Barbecue, but then those too a subject for another day. Right now I want to chat up a “new” family favorite . . .

Today it’s all about grilled chicken and smokey goodness. This Spice-Rubbed Grilled Chicken with a Smokey Orange Sauce was first published in Taste of Home back in 1993. It is an award-winning recipe. While I did not mess with the ingredients; I have modified the rubbing instructions to take full advantage of the flavors, giving the meat a more thorough saturation.

When it came time to grill the chicken, Hubby tossed the instructions right out the window. The instructions said to grill the chicken uncovered for 20 minutes, turn, baste and grill 30 minutes longer. He shook his head and I could tell his gut told him differently. I’ve always been a firm believer in following your instincts. So I let Hubby do his thing. His technique rendered a piece of chicken that was moist and rosy with deep smokey goodness right down to the bone.

Overall the spice rub did not make the chicken spicy as in “hot” – it’s spicy as in a lot of flavorful. Some of the best chicken I’ve ever tasted. Just be sure to have plenty of big napkins – it’s messy. Good and messy – just the way barbecue should be!

Spice-Rubbed Grilled Chicken with a Smokey Orange Sauce 
Ingredients – Chicken
1 Package Chicken Legs (6 Legs)
1 Package Chicken Thighs (6 Thighs)

Rinse chicken well and pat dry. Set chicken aside on a wire rack to “air dry” while the rub is made.

Rub the chicken with the rub both under and over the skin. Allow the rub to really flavor the meat of the chicken.

Gently pull skin back on legs and work rub directly onto meat. Pull skin back over legs, rub skin.

Turn thighs skin-side-down. Work rub directly onto meat. Lift skin, continue to work rub onto meat, then rub into skin.

Ingredients – The Rub
2 tablespoons onion powder
4 teaspoons salt or salt substitute
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoons pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Pinch cayenne pepper

In a small bowl, mix spice rub ingredients; reserve 1 tablespoon spice rub for sauce.

Place the rubbed chicken back onto the rack and let rest, soaking in the rub. While the chicken is resting, prep the grill.

Once the coals are heating in the chimney, make the Smokey Orange Sauce. (Recipe follows).

Ingredients – The Smokey Orange Sauce
2 cups ketchup
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
2 tablespoons thawed orange juice concentrate
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the sauce. Stir in the reserved spice rub; taste and adjust as needed.

Set sauce aside until ready to baste.

To Grill the Chicken: Grill chicken skin-side-down both covered and uncovered over medium heat in intervals of 5 minutes for a combined cooking time of about 20 minutes. This allows smoke to build up in the grill while keeping fire flare-ups under control. After chicken has been grilling about 20 minutes, turn chicken; baste with sauce. Continue to grill chicken both covered and uncovered for about 30 minutes longer, basting frequently with the sauce. Grill chicken until the juices run clear when pierced.

Turn chicken, baste underside grill for about 10 minutes more. Remove chicken from grill. Transfer chicken to serving platter, tent and let rest about 5 minutes for juices to settle.

Serve and enjoy. This dish goes well with corn on the cob and wedged potatoes.

Note from Hubby: Grill times may vary depending upon grill temperature. Keep an eye on the chicken and adjust accordingly. 


Smoked Paprika Chicken – Dark Meat Chicken At It’s Best!

In recent weeks, I’ve been organizing and reorganizing my Yumprint recipe collection.  Originally my “cookbooks” within Yumprint were organized in categories such as a beef cookbook, a chicken, a pork and so forth. In other words, all my beef based recipes were lumped into one book aptly named Beef.  As the collection grew, finding something Italian or French within a sea of Beef or Chicken recipes became increasingly more difficult. While searching through recipes often brought inspiration, it was also a pain if I were looking for a particular type of cuisine in a hurry. Naturally, I went through all my various cookbooks and redefined the recipes (Yumprint sorts recipes in an alpha-numerical listing within each book). the only way that seemed to make sense – I read each recipe, then gave it a country of origin such as Chicken – Italian: Chicken Parmesan for example. This worked well for a while, but did not completely solve the hunt and peck grind. Sure, I could have simply typed Chicken Parmesan into the search parameters, but when you have thousands of recipes to search, it takes a minute. No, this simply would not do – more information was needed. What if I were standing in front of a freezer packed with chicken legs that I needed to use up but did not have clue one as to what I wanted to make with all those legs. Now the focus had shifted from just a country of origin to inspiration using a particular cut of meat. Problem solved. Everything was renamed yet again.  Chicken- French: Chicken Provencal  became Chicken, Legs – French: Chicken Provencal. Now all my recipes using breasts or legs or thighs are lumped into separate groups,  followed by country, followed by the actual name of a dish. As I plunged head-long into this process, I began to notice something that caused me to wonder. Chicken, Breast – American held far more recipes than Chicken, Thighs – American. Why was that? Do Americans eat more white meat than dark, thus explaining a broader assortment of recipes calling for breast? The answer? Yes, we do. Studies indicate that an average, meat-consuming American will eat approximately 60 pounds of chicken a year. (Obviously this study does not take into consideration chicken wings and Super Bowl Sunday). Of the chicken eaten, a whopping 80% of that is breast meat. Wow! The real kicker here is that most professional chefs would rather work with dark meat – thighs in particular. Dark meat is less dry that white meat, it has more depth of flavor and that slightly gamey wow factor. So what gives with the rest of us? There are all sorts of theories floating about, but the bottom line is we need to embrace the deliciousness of dark meat. I for one intend to do just that!

To begin with, isn’t the picture lovely? In all fairness, it’s not mind – the photo; like the recipe, is a William-Sonoma creation (http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/paprika-chicken.html). When I cooked for my guys, they were far to hungry to wait for the usual “photo” section – we cooked, we ate, we enjoyed. Boy, it was good!

This recipe is perfect for a delicious week-day meal. From start to finish, it took under an hour. Okay, so maybe it’s not speedy-quick, but it’s one of the tastiest chickens I’ve prepared in under an hour. I will admit, I did find that the cooking time was a little longer than the recipe called for, but then again I had fairly large thighs in the skillet, so it would make sense. Not only was the finished dish very tasty, it was juicy, too. Hubby and Kiddo have let me know this recipe is a real “keeper”. Now Hubby has always been a fan of dark meat, so it’s no surprise that he enjoyed it. However; Kiddo is funny when it comes to chicken – he rarely likes chicken on the bone, although I don’t have a clue as to why. And he prefers white meat over dark meat hands down. So for Kiddo to say he want this again, that’s two thumbs up. Yeah, it’s good!

As usual, I made a few changes to the original recipe. First off, as the photo shows, William-Sonoma uses legs and thighs in their recipe (3 each). I elected to go with just the thighs (7 – strange package) because it’s what I had in the freezer. As it turns out, the rub was perfect for the amount of chicken I had on hand. I did change the rub just a bit – using chopped roasted garlic rather than roasted garlic powder. (What can I say, I’m a huge fan of garlic!) The only other change I made was to lift the skin from the thigh (without removing it) and put some of the rub between the meat and the skin, thus increasing the wonderful flavor throughout the meat. Beyond that, no other changes or alternations were necessary.

Now that I’ve shared my tips and alterations, let’s get down to the real reason we’re here – to cook up a wonderful chicken recipe using dark meat that is fast and tasty.

Smoked Paprika Chicken
1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
1 teaspoon Chopped Roasted Garlic
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
6 Chicken Thighs, bone-in; Skin-on*
1 Tablespoon Cooking Oil

Note: I prefer thighs, but this recipe will work with all legs or a combination of legs and thighs.

In a small bowl, stir together the paprika, garlic powder, salt, cayenne and brown sugar. Set aside.

Gently lift skin from meat without removing the skin. Sprinkle a little rub under the skin, gently message into meat.  Rub remaining spice mixture evenly over the entire chicken pieces.

In a nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the chicken skin side up. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook about 15 minutes.  Turn chicken, cover and continue to cook until juices run clear, about 10 minutes longer.

Uncover the pan, increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the skin begins to crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.


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