Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Table Talk: Buffalo Chicken (Sticky Finger) Salad

I'm not a huge buffalo wing fan.  Mainly because I'm the biggest sissy ever when it comes to spicy food.  Ever.  There might be something wrong with my taste buds, I don't know.  I knew right off the bat that I wouldn't be making this full-spicy, since I have issues.  When I read through the recipe, and it said to use specifically-'Frank's Hot Sauce'- it reminded me of THIS recipe for Winger's Sticky Fingers that I've been wanting to try.  I thought it might be a nice compromise for my sticky situation.  (See what I did there?  Yeah, I'm also a dork.)

It was perfect for my family and me.  Tyler normally likes buffalo wings but the kids weren't going to eat something too hot and this seemed to be a perfect balance to please everyone.  It had a little bit of heat and just enough for me.  The dressing and the veggies toned it down a bit in the salad and made it perfect.

Here's what I did:
I used chicken tenderloins and cut them in half lengthwise. 
 Michelle mentioned in her post that the cornmeal mixture kind of fell off the chicken after cooking so I decided to experiment and see if I left the chicken in the cornmeal for a while, if it would stay on the chicken better.  I prepared the chicken first and left it coated in the bag for probably 20 minutes, while I got everything else ready for the salad.
 For the sauce- 1/3 cup Frank's Wing Sauce, 1/4 cup water and 1 cup brown sugar (the original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups but I didn't think the extra half cup was needed and I was right-it does happen sometimes.)  Mix all together in a sauce pan and bring to boil.  Boil 1 minute and then remove from heat and set aside.  {Next time I would half this mixture, I had quite a bit left over but I've heard it's good mixed with Ranch.  If I do leave these proportions, I would reserve half to mix with Ranch and dump half over the chicken}

Once everything else was ready, and the chicken had become one with the coating, I tested my theory and cooked the chicken.  I used a bit more oil than the recipe stated, maybe 2 T altogether, but probably because I had more coated surface with my smaller pieces of chicken.
 Once the chicken is browned and cooked almost through, add the sauce and stir and turn to coat the chicken.
 I would have liked blue cheese dressing but I know my family would have not appreciated it (mainly Tyler) so I whipped up a simple, light Ranch dressing to go with it. {1/2 cup light sour cream, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, juice 1/2 lime, 3 T cilantro-combine in food processor or blender, add water to thin to desired consistency}  More kid friendly, ya know.  To make myself feel more adult-ish, I added some goat cheese to my salad.  It was a good call.
 I'm happy to report that the coating stayed on the chicken.  I decided I really liked this method of cooking the chicken and pouring the sauce over it.  I will be doing that everyday in the future.
If you'd like to try the recipe, you can visit Michelle's blog for the recipe, she was our host for the week.  Thanks for picking such a fun recipe Michelle!

Sauce:  Adapted from Six Sisters' Stuff
Dressing:  Girlplusfood Original

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Table Talk: Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies

Valerie was missing Bake 52 so she decided to pick a dessert this week.  I'm always on board with those kinds of ideas.  But then I remembered that this would be a healthier version of a dessert.  I'm fine with having fruit for dessert or something light but I'm not always a fan of turning a classic dessert into a healthier version.  I figure if you're going to eat a chocolate chip cookie, then just eat a chocolate chip cookie, don't be a pansy about it.  I expected to open the cookbook and find some weird substitutions in the recipe.  At least some applesauce or pureed prunes for the fat in the cookies.  Nope.  What I found was a pretty normal cookie recipe.  It left me wondering if these were in fact healthier?  At some point I'm going to have to do a comparison with my regular chocolate chip cookie recipe and see what the real difference is.  The book does a comparison but I'm not really sure what they were comparing this recipe to.

According to the book, the reduced the amount of butter and made up for it with the addition of some brown butter.  I don't have any pans that aren't non-stick so I just used my microwave and a glass bowl.  This was after I added the regular butter to stir it in.
 It seemed like my dough was a little less stiff than the dough in the photos.  I used my scale to measure the flour in hopes that it would be spot on but ?
 As a result of the looser dough, my cookies were a little more flat than the picture in the book.  They were still pretty good.  
They had a slight crunch on the edges while the center was softer and moist.  The next day, the cookie texture was slightly different, more of a chewy/soft combo but they were still really good. I didn't expect them to dethrone my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and they didn't, but no one was complaining.  We all really liked them.  And you can never have too many good cookie recipes.

If you'd like to try the recipe, you can visit the blog of our hostess for the week, Valerie.
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