Monday, February 28, 2011

Passion!

It has been brought to my attention today that I need to reiterate the purpose behind this blog every once in a while so that new and old followers alike can understand the reason why I'm taking the time to do this blog. That reason can be summed up in ONE word... PASSION! Passion for many things! Passion for food. Passion for variety. Passion for the excitement of new recipes. Passion to share those recipes with others. Last and MOST important to me, PASSION for the family table! I don't claim to be a 5 star chef. I have NO training in traditional culinary skills. I attended a culinary school but only under a baking and pastry art curriculum. I am NOT a food photographer. I try to make food look the best I can with the skills and tools I have. I am NOT a nutritionist. I do however, have basic skills for putting a meal on my family's table. I do have a desire to encourage others to pick up a pot or pan and try their hand at developing their own skills. I believe America has become a country of quick fixes. Don't get me wrong, life is busy and you need to do what you need to do in this world to survive. I just want to give people the access to approachable recipes in hopes that one less family will go through the drive thru tonight. One less family will reach for the processed chicken nuggets in their freezer. I'm not saying that I don't do this. I'm a busy wife and an even busier mother and I work full time to pay bills and it's okay to go to the quick fix. I just want people to realize that you don't have to do this EVERY night. You CAN throw together quick, easy recipes with good wholesome food and sit around a table as a family and enjoy each others' company. I believe that the message sent to your family when you take the time to find a recipe, shop for the ingredients, and put the meal together is more powerful than most realize! It can really show someone you love that you truly care. Care about their health, wants and needs. So as a wife and mother, I hope you take from this website what YOU want or need. Whether that be a recipe to add to your repertoire or the encouragement to try cooking for the first time. Get in the kitchen, take your kids and family members with you. Make a game of mixing ingredients. Let them help! Teach them counting and measuring and the importance of food to our lives!

That being said, I've posted below an easy recipe for homemade chicken fingers. These were a big hit with my family. What kid doesn't like chicken fingers? But not only that, my husband and I agreed that the breading had a very similar texture to that of chicken fingers you would get in the freezer section in your local grocery store. This would make them even more appealing to kids. Now, I'm not saying they were as easy as pulling out of a bag, but they did throw together in mere minutes. Also, I'm not implying that this was the healthiest choice of foods but, in comparison to the processed frozen ones full of preservatives and the deep fried ones from the fast food joint, these were a much healthier baked version made with REAL, unprocessed chicken. Therefore, this is a perfect example of a meal that would be pleasing to kids and easy to make. I'd also, in the future, like to try making them ahead and freezing them, unbaked, and see how they would turn out as a prep ahead meal. An extra bonus, its easy clean up since you toss them in a resealable bag and line the cooking sheet with foil. What more could you want?

Ultimate Chicken Fingers
From the Bisquick® Box

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 1 lb.), cut crosswise into 1/2" strips (or 1 lb. fresh chicken tenders, raw rib meat)
2/3 c. Original Bisquick® mix
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt or garlic salt (I used a mix of salt and garlic powder)
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

Heat oven to 450F. Line cookie sheet with foil; spray with cooking spray. In 1 gallon resealable bag, mix Bisquick® mix, cheese, salt and paprika.

Dip half the chicken strips into egg; place in bag. Seal bag; shake to coat. Place chicken on cookie sheet. Repeat to use up remaining chicken. Drizzle butter over chicken.

Bake 12-14 min., turning halfway through bake time with pancake turner, until no longer pink in center.

Serves 4.

Enjoy!