Monday, April 22, 2013

Corn Flake Crusted Chicken

As has been noted here previously, the Brave Astronaut clan is fond of the "breakfast for dinner" option - we have pancakes or french toast at least several times a month, if not once a week.  I spotted this recipe, which is filed under "breakfast for dinner."  A while back, Mrs. BA returned home with the boys from a trip to Target - where they had acquired a box of good, old, regular Kellogg's Corn Flakes.  The boys desperately wanted them.  Hey, better than Fruit Loops.

So now there are corn flakes in the house.  And chicken breasts.  A dinner problem, solved.  Recipe from Epicurious.

Cornflake-Crusted Chicken Tenders
Epicurious | February 2013
by Lindsay Landis & Taylor Hackbarth

The beloved breakfast cereal gives this kids' menu staple a bit of a makeover and takes it to new, crunchy, flavorful heights.
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

For Chicken
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 4 cups cornflakes, finely crushed (about 1 cup crushed) 
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill 
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken tenders (about 20 tenders) 

For Dipping
  • 1/2 cup store-bought ranch dressing
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a heatproof wire baking rack on top; spray rack lightly with cooking spray. 
  2. In a small bowl or shallow dish, season flour with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; whisk eggs in another shallow dish. In a third shallow dish, mix cornflakes with parsley, garlic, dill, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. 
  3. Dredge chicken in flour to coat, shaking off excess. Dip into egg and then into cornflake mixture, making sure entire surface is coated. Arrange on prepared baking rack. 
  4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through, flipping once during cooking. Serve with Buttermilk Ranch Sauce for dipping. 

A Frugal Trick: if you can't find or don't want to spend the extra money on chicken tenders, simply place a whole chicken breast between two layers of plastic wrap, pound it to an even 1/2-inch thickness, and slice it into strips.

Source Information From Breakfast for Dinner: Recipes for Frittata Florentine, Huevos Rancheros, Sunny-Side-Up Burgers, and More! by Lindsay Landis & Taylor Hackbarth, © 2013 Quirk Books Read

Monday, April 15, 2013

March Madness Bakeoff - Round 2

As noted here last week, Mrs. BA competed in a bakeoff at work and while last year she made it to the finals, this year she won her cookie round, she was defeated in the "breakfast breads" category.  I don't understand how, though.  At my urging, she made homemade pop-tarts.  I mean, really.  Homemade Pop-Tarts?

Tasty Toaster Tarts
(from King Arthur Flour)

Who doesn’t love that classic cereal-aisle favorite, the toaster tart? This is our take on that legendary breakfast pastry, inspired by chef-owner Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery in Boston. Step-by-step photos illustrating how to make these toaster tarts are available at Bakers’ Banter, our King Arthur blog. 

  • 2 cups (8 ½ ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup (2 quarter-pound sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk

Cinnamon Filling
  • 1/2 cup (3 ¾ ounces) brown sugar 
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste 
  • 4 teaspoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour 
  • 1 large egg, to brush on pastry before filling 
Make the dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter until the mixture holds together when you squeeze it, with pecan-sized lumps of butter still visible. Mix the egg and milk, and add it to the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive.

Divide the dough in half; each half will weigh about 10 ounces (about 280g). Shape each half into a rough 3" x 5" rectangle, smoothing the edges. Roll out immediately; or wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Make the filling: Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and flour.

Assemble the tarts: If the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8" thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9" x 12". Laying a 9" x 13" pan atop the dough will give you an idea if you’ve rolled it large enough. Trim off the edges; place the scraps on a baking sheet, and set them aside, along with the 9" x 12" rectangle of dough.

Roll the second piece of dough just as you did the first. Press the edge of a ruler into the dough you’ve just rolled, to gently score it in thirds lengthwise and widthwise; you’ll see nine 3" x 4" rectangles.

Beat the egg, and brush it over the entire surface of the dough. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each marked rectangle. Place the second sheet of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around each pocket of jam, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Cut the dough evenly in between the filling mounds to make nine tarts. Press the cut edges with your fingers to seal, then press with a fork, to seal again.

Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.

Sprinkle the dough trimmings with cinnamon-sugar; these have nothing to do with your toaster pastries, but it’s a shame to discard them, and they make a wonderful snack. While the tarts are chilling, bake these trimmings for 13 to 15 minutes, till they’re golden brown.

Remove the tarts form the fridge, and bake them for 25 to 35 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool on the pan.

Yield: 9 tarts.

Variation: Instead of brown sugar and cinnamon, fill the tarts with a tablespoonful of chocolate chips. Or with jam filling: 3/4 cup (8 ounces) raspberry jam 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water

To make the filling, mix the jam with the cornstarch/water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. Use to fill the pastry tarts.

Monday, April 8, 2013

March Madness Bakeoff - Round 1!

As you, my faithful readers may recall - Mrs. BA participated in a March Madness Bakeoff, last year at her job.  They held the contest again this year and Mrs. BA performed spectacularly again - though she only made it two rounds this year - both contributions were outstanding.

Embargoed for the month of March (by me, no one else), here is the first of the winning recipes - Round 1 was cookies.

Frosted Butterscotch Cookies
from Better Homes and Gardens
Makes: 60 servings
Yield: about 60 cookies
Prep 35 mins
Bake 375°F 10 mins per batch

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup shortening 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1 8 ounce carton dairy sour cream 
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts 
  • 1/2 cup butter (no substitutes) 
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar 
  • 5 teaspoons boiling water 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 
  • Chopped walnuts or walnut halves (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets. Set aside. 
  2. In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside. In large mixing bowl beat the brown sugar and shortening with an electric mixer on medium speed until well mixed. Add eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to beaten mixture, beating after each addition. Stir in the 2/3 cup nuts. 
  3. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. 
  4. To make frosting, in a medium saucepan heat and stir butter over medium-low heat until golden brown. (Do not scorch.) Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar, boiling water, and 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat until frosting is easy to spread. Immediately spread on cooled cookies. If frosting begins to set up, stir in a small amount of additional boiling water. If desired, top with additional chopped walnuts or walnut halves. Makes about 60 cookies. 
From the Test Kitchen
  • Up to 1 day ahead, prepare and bake cookies. Frost cooled cookies; let frosting set. Place cookies in an airtight container with waxed paper between layers; store at room temperature. 

Nutrition Facts (Frosted Butterscotch Cookies)
  • Servings Per Recipe 60, cal. (kcal) 105, Fat, total (g) 5, chol. (mg) 13, sat. fat (g) 2, carb. (g) 14, pro. (g) 1, sodium (mg) 63, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Monday, April 1, 2013

Special Shepherd's Pie

Mrs. BA is out tonight - she's delivering LBA and SoBA to my MIL for their "Spring Break."  They'll be back later this week.

The Brave Astronaut Clan had a lovely Easter Sunday yesterday - we had lamb, an outstanding potato gratin, grilled asparagus, and a great cake, prepared by Mrs. BA.  I tell you what, my wife can bake.

So with Mrs. BA out of the house, I headed home and made myself a little shepherd's pie for dinner tonight.
[Full Disclosure - I had every intention of making shepherd's pie - but my neighbors fed me instead.  And gave me beer.  And wine.  This after they loaned me their car for the day.  My neighbors rock, by the way!]

Not this one though -
"Sweet Shepherd's Pie"

But this one.

Easy Shepherd’s Pie
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground round beef 
  • 1 onion chopped 
  • 1-2 cups vegetables - chopped carrots, corn, peas 
  • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs potatoes (3 big ones) 
  • 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick) 
  • 1/2 cup beef broth 
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
  • Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice 

  1. Peel and quarter potatoes, boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes). 
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 a stick) in large frying pan. 
  3. Sauté onions in butter until tender over medium heat (10 mins). If you are adding vegetables, add them according to cooking time. Put any carrots in with the onions. Add corn or peas either at the end of the cooking of the onions, or after the meat has initially cooked. 
  4. Add ground beef and sauté until no longer pink. Add salt and pepper. Add Worcestershire sauce. Add half a cup of beef broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth as necessary to keep moist. 
  5. Mash potatoes in bowl with remainder of butter, season to taste. 
  6. Place beef and onions in baking dish. Distribute mashed potatoes on top. Rough up with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. You can use the fork to make some designs in the potatoes as well. 
  7. Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown (about 30 minutes). Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown. 
Yield: Serves four.
From Simple Recipes