Saturday, December 9, 2006

Kellie vs. the Chicken Episode II

OK. I decided to try a new recipe today. Actually I did exactly what I said I was NOT going to do and tried to three things at once. Unfortunately, it didn’t work as well as I had hoped it might.

I decided to try my friend Cara’s recipe for Chicken and Spaghetti. Sounded yummy, seemed simple enough. I’ve fried chicken once, thought not a complete success, I am willing to try it again. Maybe I should have waited a while longer. Didn't turn out quite as well as I had hoped. NOT because it wasn't a good recipe, but it's my lack of skills and my choice of side item. One problem was I think I probably wasn’t supposed to fry it quite so much. Again, with sketchy directions on the amount of olive oil to use, I decided to use the amount I had when I fried chicken the last time…enough to cover one side of the tenders. Well, these guys must have been smaller than the last batch or something. It looked like they were getting an olive oil bath. And they came out a tad over done and really oily. I had to drain them on a paper towel to get rid of some of the oiliness.

Now, because Mark is a vegetarian (fanatical about it, actually) I wanted to fix something that he could have with his spaghetti…of course it was only later that I got to thinking on it and realized you don’t really NEED anything with spaghetti other than maybe a salad and some garlic bread.

Anyhow, I come up with potatoes! As if we aren’t getting enough starch with the pasta, I added even more. It sounded good at the time… So the recipe I choose is called Unfried French Fries. Sounded good and similar to the roasted red potatoes Mom makes. I should have stuck with Mom’s recipe. Like the chicken, the potatoes were BATHED in olive oil. I used the amount called for in the recipe with only one potato less, so you’d think it wouldn’t be that different. My unfried taters weren’t crunchy at all, as the recipe promised. They were greasy and soft. The few that got "burnt" tasted allright and they might have been good without the olive oil soaked chicken, I don’t know. I just think I should have stuck with one thing.

Now Mark liked the meal. He liked the potatoes (even though he admitted to the greasiness when pressed---he wasn’t going to tell me but I kept after him till he did) and he enjoyed the spaghetti w/marinara sauce. When it came to the sauce, I went for the expensive stuff…Bertolli Marinara w/Burgundy Wine…thinking if it cost more and sounds exotic it must taste better. Nope. Should have stuck with the good old Ragu. I like a hearty sauce and this was way too sweet for me. But again, Mark really liked it so it wasn’t a complete loss.

My opinoin was the best part of the meal was the garlic bread (Pepperidge Farm) and the orange popsicle I afterwards to try and kill the taste of all that olive oil and sweet tomato sauce.

Cara’s recipe was easy and I’m sure when SHE makes it, it is quite tasty. Had I used a normal amount of olive oil and used a better sauce, I’m sure it would have been fine. My chicken cooking skills…or lack of…are the majority of the problem...just can’t seem to get it right. But hey, that is only the second time in my life I’ve tried to do anything to chicken other than slap in on the George Forman or Shake and Bake it. I will definitely try this one again. BUT not any time soon. I'm done with chicken for a while. The potatoes, I don’t know. The recipe called for butter OR oil. Maybe the butter would have been a better choice. Maybe if they were tossed in rather than drowning in it? Also, mine touched in the pan, but surely that didn't do them in. If anyone tries the unfried fries recipe, tell me what I did wrong.

Cara's Chicken and Spaghetti
chicken tenders (as many as you like)
garlic salt
bottled spaghetti sauce (Prego Zesty Garlic is my favorite)
Vermicelli (enough for the two of you)

Heat olive oil in skillet or frying pan to medium heat.
Put vermicelli on to cook.
Heat sauce in saucepan.
Sprinkle chicken with garlic salt to taste (I like mine pretty garlicy.)
Cook chicken in heated pan until juices no longer run pink (that's a
little trick to know if chicken is done. You could also get an
electronic food thermometer and when the chicken is heated to 180
degrees F, it's ready. I use the thermometer whenever I cook chicken on
the stove top, especially fried chicken. DON'T WANT NO SALMONILLA!)
Drain vermicelli.
On plate, place chicken on noodles, cover with sauce, and top with
mozzarella cheese if desired.

Unfried French Fries from Comfort Food by Rita M. Harris
"It is possible to make MARVELOUSLY crunchy potatoes without frying" yeah, right.
6 med. potatoes cut into 8 wedges
6 tbs. butter or oil
salt and pepper
grated parmesan cheese(optional)

Soak wedges in ice water for at least 15min. to remove starch and make finished product more crisp
Drain potatoes and remove as much water as possible by towel drying
Preheat oven to 425
Spread butter on bottom of pan. Add potatoes, making sure they do not touch each other. SPrinkle with salt, pepper, paprika. Bake 30min. Turn every 10min. to make sure they brown on all sides. Sprinkle wedges with the grated cheese and bake an additional 2-3min. Serve hot.

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