Kiddo and I devoured this spicy chicken braid. It was as though we could not get enough. Hubby was a different story. He felt the bell peppers were too much. But then again, Kiddo and I like bell peppers, while Hubby is not a big fan. He thought instead of bell peppers, we could have used some of the garden peppers from the freezer.
If your family is anything like mine, now that nice weather is here, the weekends are crazy!! Things to do, places to go, sights to see. This coming weekend alone, we have a two-day Chocolate Festival, Jumping Frog Jubilee, two different Classic Car Shows, three antique street fairs and one of the largest farmer’s markets in the state. That’s a lot to pack in over a single weekend.
Today is one of those pack as much activities as possible into a single day. It’s Saturday – and as with all our Saturdays, that means a morning trip to the market to pickup all the makings for this week’s planned meals. Notice how I stress planned, because what I plan and what I make aren’t necessarily the same thing – life and all it brings often have a field day with well-laid plans.
Hubby suggested we go Antiquing – Kiddo and I have no objections. I adore serving pieces, especially crystals and sterling silver from bygone days. Some items are pricey, but if you take your time, you can find a few surprises that don’t break the bank. Besides, I don’t “collect” antiques, I use my finds. One of the best roasting pans I own we picked up at a street fair under the freeway. I loved that roaster, and still do. While I like Victorian pieces best for their elegance, from a practical gonna-cook-with-it standpoint; things made in the 1930s and 1940s are awesome. My soup tureens, footed cake platters and pastry forks are all treasured finds that have a useful purpose. A little over a year ago we moved into a “new” older home. I was thrilled to have duel ovens, but both are small and some of my favorite roasting pans and other bakeware are designed for a big oven. I’ve hung on to them if for no other reason than because they are antiques. Who knows, someday we might move again. These older roasting pans aren’t something I can just throw out. In the meantime, maybe I can find enamel cookware that will fit into my current ovens. Yeah, antiquing would be a great way to spend the better part of a day. It’s been a while since we took a road trip to Alameda.
And then there’s the usual weekend chores – all those things that are we put off until the end of the work week. Our place has a lot of trees. Great for shade in the summer. Beautiful colors in the fall, but there are leaves everywhere. Piles and piles of golden leaves.
On busy days like this, I still want to whip up something yummy for dinner. Something that either won’t take long to throw together once we return from our day’s adventure or something that can slow-cook without needing much attention while we’re gone.
It’s been a while since I last whipped up Chicken El Paso. These are yummy strips of chicken – great for “snacking” or serving as a meal. While this might not be your company is coming for dinner Chicken recipe, it’s great for a laid back, let’s put our feet up at the end of the day meal. These would also make a great addition to a finger-food buffet tables – the recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled if need be. And hey, Super Bowl is only a week away.
Chicken El Paso
1 cup dried Breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon New Mexican Chili Powder*
2 large skinless, boneless Chicken Breast halves cut into strips
¼ cup Buffalo Ranch Salad Dressing (more if necessary)*
1 Cup Spicy Salsa, if desired, for dip
1 bag Seasoned Potato Wedges or Steak Fries
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a shallow baking sheet with foil, spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside until ready to use.
Lay chicken on a cutting board, smooth side down, under side up. There will be a small “extra” flap of meat, trim this and set aside. Turn chicken over, smooth side up. Find the middle point to butterfly breast into two thinner breast pieces, thus creating four thin breasts from the two. Cut breast into strips, three or four per breast depending upon size. Set aside until ready to use.
On waxed paper, combine crumbs and chili powder.
In a bowl, pour out about 1/4 cup of dressing. Using a brush, paint a chicken strip, roll in chili-seasoned breadcrumbs and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the strips are arranged on the sheet.
Bake chicken strips for 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, turning once halfway through baking time. Remove from oven when baked through.
Serve with salsa as a dip (if desired) and Potato Wedges or Steak Fries.
* Note: For a less spicy, kid-friendly version, use a less-spicy chili powder or omit completely. Substitute regular Ranch Dressing for the Buffalo Ranch. I’ve made this with regular chili powder and Ranch Dressing, it is still delicious although be it milder.