We had a milestone birthday this week, and there was NO interest in a big party or celebration drawing attention to it. So a quiet dinner at home with the girls in his life was the request, along with my Pecan Chicken and an attempt to recreate a dessert from his childhood memories of the Cape May boardwalk.
First up, the Pecan Chicken. This recipe came to be as an assemblage of ideas from various recipes and hugely influenced by my mom's oven fried chicken that I grew up on. Super simple, tender, juicy, and a buttery crust that will have you chipping away at every morsel left in the pan so that you can devour it.
I don't really measure anything in it, the key is to keep the portions somewhat equal between the rice krispies, pecans, and baking mix.
For 4 chicken breasts, your will need about
1/2 cup Rice Krispie cereal
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/2 cup baking mix - I use Pamela's baking mix as it is gluten free, for those without that concern, use Bisquick
1/4 butter, melted
Lawry's Seasoned salt
Trim the chicken as desired. Okay, so I always thought that dipping the 'meat' in milk or egg was simply to help the coating stick, turns out that there is some science to it. If you let the meat-be it chicken or beef- soak in milk, half & half, or such, the lactic acid in the milk product begins to break down the tissue of the meat and causes it to be fork tender and juicy! This is the big secret to 'old school cafe' chicken fried steak and chicken fried chicken. For beef, I'd let it marinate for an hour or more, but for this recipe, I simply soak the chicken in milk or cream, whatever is handy, while I am assembling the coating mix.
First, put the rice krispie cereal in a baggie and crush by hand. It's kinda like bubble wrap therapy, with the reward of a delicious meal to follow. But don't go so far as to create dust, you want the cereal to still have some puffs left.
Add the finely chopped pecans and the baking mix to the cereal and mix. Dredge the chicken breasts in coating mix, it's fun to hear the snap, crackle, pop of the cereal as it encounters the moist chicken, and place in a butter baking dish. Pile the remaining coating mix atop the breasts. Season with the Lawry's seasoned salt and drizzle each breast with the melted butter, use it all. Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes, or until the coating is nicely browned and chicken is done.
We served it along with roasted asparagus spears and a broccoli salad. Yummy-licious!
For dessert, D. has often talked about an ice cream sandwich that he had as a kid. A hot Belgian waffle with a slice of Neapolitan ice cream, dusted with powdered sugar. He was so excited that he couldn't wait for the sugar dusting and gobbled it up. The girls were both converts, too, we have a new ice cream sandwich in the house.
Such an enjoyable evening, favorite recipes, new creations, and the best dinner company ever.