Monday, March 21, 2016

Homemade Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard

Chicken Nuggets

My friend Cody and I were hanging out at his apartment one afternoon when we realized we needed lunch. Cody didn't have much in his fridge for lunch making but he had some chicken breasts and some bread crumbs, we also found some honey mustard dressing and a good collection of spices and decided to try our hand at making our own nuggets. I refined the recipe and wanted to share it with all of you. Enjoy!


2 chicken breasts
½ C of honey mustard dressing
1.25 C of unseasoned panko breadcrumbs
2 t of mustard powder
½ t of cayenne powder
¼ t of ground black pepper
Canola oil or other vegetable oil for frying


Trim the chicken breasts and cut into nugget sized portions, about thumb size. Place in a plastic bag and pour in the dressing, smush the dressing around and make sure that each piece is getting some coverage. Let that marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Now to get everything ready for the frying. In a bowl mix together the dredge of breadcrumbs, mustard powder, cayenne powder, and black pepper. Make sure to mix thoroughly for even chicken dredging. Then, in a heavy bottom skillet, pour ¼ inch to ½ inch of canola oil and bring to a temp of 350-375 degrees. Also, now would be a great time to set up a draining station, some paper towels on a baking sheet will do.

While the oil heats up, start dredging your marinated chicken pieces in the panko dredge. Make sure you get good, even coverage on each piece for even cooking and crunch. Let the dredge set for a minute on each piece before frying.

Fry in small batches, making sure to not crowd the pan. Fry on each side for about 1 minute or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove to the draining rig to remove excess oil and to let the breading set so it doesn't just come off in you hands as you eat.

Serve with some of the dressing (obviously not the stuff the chicken was marinating in) as a dipping sauce and enjoy! I like to serve mine with some baby carrots and cherry tomatoes to make a whole finger friendly meal.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

St. Patty's Day Shake

St. Patty's Shake

A few years ago I got to try a Guinness shake and I decided I was going to serve that at every St. Patrick's Day party I would ever have from then on. But, I decided I wanted to make them green so I took the opportunity to add a little more flavor, and a little more alcohol, by adding creme de menthe. Thus was born one of my favorite cocktails, a light green dessert, perfect for St Patrick's Day parties.


2 C of vanilla ice cream*
⅔ C of Irish stout
1.5 fluid oz of creme de menthe


Add all ice cream, Guinness, and creme de menthe into your blender, and blend until smooth. Pour into your favorite glass and enjoy with a Guinness.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

*You can use any vanilla ice cream you want, but I would suggest a premium vanilla because the higher fat content and higher density makes for a smoother, tastier shake.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Quinoa Salad with Candied Walnuts

Quinoa Salad

I love quinoa, as I'm sure you can tell if you are a regular reader of my blog. But, I have generally limited myself to serving it as a hot side. With spring upon us and unseasonably warm temperatures here on the east coast, I decided to branch out and try my hand at making a cold quinoa salad. Quinoa is a wonderful grain for making cold salads since, unlike many other starches, it doesn't get rock hard once it gets cold.


1 C dry quinoa
2 C water
salt to taste
¾ C dried cranberries


Cook your cup of quinoa in the water and salt to taste before refrigerating it to get to down to room temp or cooler. Gently stir in the cranberries and walnuts (which I made from my previous recipe, minus the sesame seeds) before drizzling on the basting oil and tossing to coat. Serve immediately for the best crunch on the candied walnuts.

*Basting oil is delicious herb infused oil that is great on everything from meat to pasta. If you live near a Wegmans you can easily pick some up there or you can follow their recipe, in the link provided, or make your own by combining some of your favorite fresh or dried herbs with a neutral flavored oil.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Southwestern Meatloaf with Southwest BBQ Sauce

A couple weeks ago I decided I wanted meatloaf cause I had some ground beef left in the fridge that needed to be used up. It was a fine meatloaf, but it was a bit bland and not very exciting. I thought about adding some regional flavors to it and settled on southwest style as I was in the mood for chili at the time. I was talking to a co-worker about trying to make a southwest style meatloaf, we bounced around some ideas, and I settled on combining American chili flavors with Mexican pico de gallo flavors to capture a more full range of southwest flavors, and it turned out delicious.

Like anything southwest style, it demanded a sauce so I doctored up my favorite bbq sauce to add a bit more flavor



1 t chili powder
½ t paprika
½ t cayenne powder
¼ t cinnamon
1 t cumin
¼ t garlic powder
½ t ground black pepper
½ red onion, diced
1 tomato, diced
¼ C packed chopped cilantro
1 C crushed tortilla chips
1 T Worchester sauce
1 egg, beaten
1 c milk
1.5 lb ground beef
¼ C BBQ sauce
2 T brown sugar or demerara sugar


1 C BBQ sauce
3 T of brown sugar or demerara sugar
½ t of cumin
½ t of chili powder


Preheat your oven to 375.

Combine the spices then add the produce and stir in the milk and eggs. Add the ground beef and gently work in the mixture. I recommend using your hands, but a spatula will do if you don't want ground beef and egg all over your fingers. Place in a greased loaf pan and use a spatula to smooth the top and work into the corners. Baste the top with the BBQ sauce and sprinkle with brown sugar or demerara sugar. Bake for 1 hr and then let rest for 15 minutes.

While the loaf is resting combine the 1 cup of BBQ sauce with the sugar and spices in a small sauce pan and stir over medium heat until smooth. Serve alongside the meatloaf.

One of the interesting things about this recipe is that, as long as you use a gluten free BBQ sauce, this is gluten free.