Down On the Ranch Supper

In 1954 at a dude ranch outside Santa Barbara, California Ranch Dressing was born. By 1992, Ranch Dressing outsold all other dressings, including Italian. Yet if you aren’t from America or Canada, Ranch Dressing just might be unknown to you.

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On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

My true love gave to me Twelve Drummers Drumming. We have reached the Twelfth Nigh of the Christmas Season. Tomorrow is the Epiphany of Our Lord, also knows as The Feast of Three Kings. In some parts of the world, children will fill there shoes with straw or hay and put the shoes outside in the hopes that the Magi take the straw for their camels and leave gifts for the children tucked inside the shoes. There was a time when giving gifts were not a part of the Christmas celebration. When you think about it, it makes sense since the gifts to the Christ Child came with the visit of the Magi.

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Care to Guess What Day It Is?

Yep, it’s National Chicken Boy Day. I gotta tell you, I never had the opportunity to eat at his restaurant. In all my travels to Southern California, I’ve never seen the giant Chicken Boy and until recently, had never even known of him. But now that I know he exists, I find Chicken Boy strangely fascinating.

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Sheet Pan Fried Chicken with Biscuits

Who doesn’t like Chicken and Biscuits? Talk about homey-comfort food! While we didn’t always have mashed potatoes with our fried chicken, you can bet there were biscuits on the table. But then, my Pops made the best biscuits on the planet, hands down.

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Great Men Believe in the Power of Dreams

Today America celebrates MLK Day. Dr. King was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. Like so many National Holidays, his birthday is celebrated on a Monday, rather than his actual birthday, creating that beloved Three-Day Weekend. While some folks have the day off, the rest are working in the retail and service industries. After all, MLK Day is a good excuse to buy a new mattress or dining room set. And all that shopping works up an appetite.

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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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Taco Baked “Fried” Chicken

Growing up, Fried Chicken – as in real fried chicken – was a stable in our house, especially on Sundays during the summer. Dad cut up the chicken, dredged it in flour and usually fried it in two big, black cast iron skillets filled with melted shortening. I can see him now in my mind’s eye, a kitchen towel draped over one shoulder.

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Southern “Fried” Oven Chicken – No Lie!!

Like most of us, I’ve got my collection of oven “fried” chicken. These are good recipes, but they all seem to fall just a little short of that true “fried” chicken texture. One morning, while I was making my spice rubbed picnic chicken, (Let’s Pack a Picnic!) it occurred to me that the problem with oven fried chicken was the pan. All my recipes had the same flaw in common. The chicken was placed directly on a rimmed baking sheet and placed in the oven to “fry”. In  reality, the chicken pieces are “baking” on the sheet and not frying. Sure, we’ve dipped them in batter, rolled them in everything from crushed cereal to panko bread crumbs, but in the end, they sit directly on the baking pan and bake. To compensate for this, most recipes have you put a little oil or butter into the baking pan. While the amount of oil isn’t nearly a skillet-full, it’s still some oil, right? The picnic chicken just might hold the key.

A few weeks later, I took my favorite Oven “Fried” Chicken, and made a few little changes to the recipe. I used the recipe for Oven “Fried” Chicken and combined it with the cooking instructions for Spice Rubbed Picnic Chicken. Wow! Problem solved. The chicken is baked at a higher temperature, on racks rather than on a pan, allowing the hot air to circulate the chicken and give it a “fried” finish. The chicken is moist on the inside, with that “crisp” fried skin on the outside. Yum!

You can use the recipe that follows, or your own, which ever you prefer. This should work with any oven fried chicken recipe. And what would fried chicken be without some creamy chicken gravy? I’ve included a recipe for that, too. Hope you enjoy!

Southern “Fried” Oven Chicken
1 whole chicken, 1 to 2 ½ lbs, cut into 8 pieces
Bath (water enough to cover chicken, seasoned with seasoning salt to taste)
2 eggs, well beaten
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon Garlic Salt
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1 Tablespoon Sugar
2 Tablespoons Oregano
1 Teaspoon Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Thyme
1 Teaspoon Basil
1 Tablespoon Paprika
1/4 Teaspoon Celery Salt
1 Tablespoon Salt

Cut up chicken and place in a container of water seasoned with seasoning salt. Let chicken soak over night in salted water in refrigerator. Drain chicken and pat dry.

Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 475-degrees.

Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil and top with wire racks.

In a shallow bowl, lightly beat egg with milk. In a separate shallow bowl, combine flour, seasonings. Dip dark pieces in egg mixture to coat lightly, allowing excess egg to drip off. Dredge chicken in seasoned flour.

Place dark meat skin-side up on prepared wire racks and place in oven on upper rack.

Roast dark meat for 15 minutes. While dark meat is roasting, dip white meat in egg mixture to coat lightly, allowing excess egg to drip off. Dredge chicken in seasoned flour.

Place white meat skin-side up on prepared rack. Transfer dark meat to lower oven rack, place white meat on upper oven rack.

Roast chicken in oven until brown and crisp, about 30-40 minutes; switching and rotating baking sheets halfway through the roasting process.

Once chicken is “fried”, turn oven off but do not remove chicken from oven. Make gravy.

NOTES: A little Hickory Liquid smoke can be added to the brine water for a smokey flavor that will penetrate deep into the meat. For added “crunch”, reduce the flour to 1 cup and add panko bread crumbs or crushed corn flakes.

Chicken Stock Gravy
1 Cup Chicken Stock
3 Tablespoons Butter, divided
2 Tablespoons flour
Salt & Pepper to taste

Pour chicken stock into a saucepan, bring to a gentle boil.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saute pan. Blend with flour to create a paste. Continue to cook until just golden.

Add flour mixture to chicken stock. Stirring constantly, cook to desired consistency.

Remove from heat, add remaining tablespoon butter. Blend until smooth. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Transfer to bowl with ladle or gravy boat for serving.

Serving Suggestions: Mashed potatoes, corn and biscuits.

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