Make Sundays Finger-Licking Good

What were Sundays like when you were growing up? For me, Sundays were family time. It was crazy in the house, getting everyone into their Sunday Best before heading out to church. Back then, the Mass was in Latin. The only English I can remember was “Though the Mass has ended, go in peace”. Yeah, I was ready to go.

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Hot Sauce Chicken with Spicy Gravy

Today is National Hot Chicken Day. I gotta tell you, this was not the original recipe chosen for today. I had wanted to share a recipe for Chicken-Fried-Chicken with a Creamy White Gravy. So why the change? Buttermilk isn’t something I keep in the fridge, it’s something I buy only when a recipe calls for it. And I didn’t have any at home. The thought of braving a trip to the market for one recipe just wasn’t cutting it.

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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!

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Fried Chicken with Creamy Gravy

Have you ever had a craving for something old? Something that once was a part of Americana – especially on Sundays in the summer? I can remember my mother frying up chicken in a big black skillet. The sounds of the skin sizzling in hot grease – the wonderful smells floating through the kitchen. I can see my parents so clearly in my mind’s eye – Dad swinging a meat cleaver, cutting up a big, plump broiler chicken for Mom to fry up. We always had our fried chicken with biscuits that Dad made from scratch and fresh corn that we picked that day from the small patch of corn growing out back.

I hadn’t made fried chicken in years. Oh sure, “oven-fried” is one thing, but it’s not the big-skillet-real-deal fried chicken of my simple country childhood. And I wanted some of that. I wanted the chicken I remember as a child, only this time without the bones. For one thing, Kiddo won’t eat chicken that is cooked with the bones. I guess that’s because he’s grown up eating the boneless, skinless variety of chicken that is “healthier”. With a good, double-coating of breading, you can almost achieve that outer “crunch” of the skin-on fried chicken. And that’s what we are really after – that bite into a crisp fried chicken with a tender, moist piece of meat. Yeah, that’s the good stuff!

Fried Chicken and Sunday Suppers go hand-in-hand all year round. Served up with some mashed potatoes and fresh-canned green beans. My oh my – my mouth is watering!

Fried Chicken with Creamy Gravy
Ingredients – Chicken
10 Boneless Chicken Thighs (or 5 boneless Breasts)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Cup Crushed Ritz Crackers (finely crushed)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
oil for Frying

Open thighs flat and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. (Note: If using breasts, cut in half width wise for faster cooking)

Combine cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, remaining salt and pepper in a pie pan. Whisk together 1 1/2 cups milk and eggs in another pie pan.

Dredge chicken in cracker crumb mixture; dip in milk mixture, and dredge in cracker mixture again. Place chicken pieced on a wire rack and let sit for the breading to adhere to the chicken.

Pour oil to a depth of 1/2 inch in a 12-inch cast iron skillet (do not use a nonstick skillet). Heat oil over medium high heat (more on the high side). Once the oil is hot, fry chicken, in batches, 10 minutes, adding oil as needed. (If chicken begins to burn, adjust temperature).

Turn and fry 4 to 5 more minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack over a cookie sheet. Keep chicken warm in a 225-degree oven.

Carefully drain the hot drippings, reserving cooked bits and 2 -3 tablespoons of the drippings in skillet.

Ingredients – Pan Gravy
1/3 cup flour
2 – 3 tablespoons pan drippings
3 cups milk
salt & pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon Chicken Bouillon Granules

Carefully drain the hot drippings, reserving cooked bits and 2 -3 tablespoons of the drippings in skillet. Add 1/3 cup flour to the skillet with the drippings. Cook over medium high heat.

Using a whisk mix the flour into the drippings until it starts to brown, creating a roux. If the roux looks to oily and runny you can add another tablespoon or so of flour and mix again. Whisk constantly until the paste becomes nice and brown.

Slowly add the milk whisking constantly and blending the liquid with the flour mixture until combined. Add seasoning.

Let the gravy come to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until the gravy thickens up. If the mixture thickens too much add more milk as needed until the gravy is the consistency that you want. This could end up being more than the required 3 cups.

Taste and generously season again with salt and pepper as needed.

Buttermilk Pan-Fried Baked Chicken with Pan Gravy

On a beautiful Sunday, I wanted to serve up a real Southern meal – perfectly fried chicken, a mountain of fluffy mashed potatoes smothered in down-home pan gravy, sweet corn on the cob and fresh from the oven buttermilk biscuits. This was a supper that would make my Okie ancestors proud!

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