Food and Garden Dailies started as a way to record my family's favorite recipes. It has come in handy many times when I'm asked for a recipe. I simply email a link to the blog! But I couldn't just stick to recipes. The kitchen is tied to the garden in so many ways...and so I let you into my ever changing garden as well.

If you're interested in my all-time favorite recipes, check out this post first: My Favorite Recipes

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Oven "Fried" Chicken (and Tofu)

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The tofu is the rectangle on the bottom right
This is another recipe I found on Pinterest.  It's been shared over and over with glowing reviews.  Why did it take me so long to try this?  Perhaps because I just assumed it would be a bland, run-of-the mill seasoning that tried to be crispy, but really couldn't get there.  Oh, my.  I was wrong. 

Mixed together, and prepared as follows, it made a zippy, crispy chicken coating. The flavor, and a little bit of spiciness, creeps up on you.  Not too spicy.  Just right.  But if you don't like anything spicy, I'd suggest halving the cayenne.  But our six year old guest devoured it, and asked me to make it the next time she visits.  Success!

I also baked some extra-firm tofu with this recipe for my vegetarian daughter who is hard to please.  When she learned I was (yet again...) trying to make one of my chicken recipes with tofu, she pretty much  told me I "didn't have to", claiming she only liked my pecan crusted tofu.   Well, I already had the tofu.  So I made it.  And she ate it!  A little of it (she's sick and not eating much of anything).  She asked me to make it again, as she thinks it'll be even better without a cold.  More success!!

Oven "Fried" Chicken (and Tofu)
(Food Network)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Set a rack on a jelly roll pan. Spray the rack generously with cooking spray.

Finely grind in a food processor:
     1 1/3 C Crispex cereal
     2 1/4 C melba toast (I used the entire 5.25 oz.  box) 
Transfer crumbs to a large bowl. Add, and mix thoroughly:
     1 TB canola oil
     2 tsp kosher salt
     1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or less if you don't like that much spice)
     1/2 tsp sweet paprika
     1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
In a medium shallow bowl, mix together:
     1/2 C light mayonnaise
     1 tsp Dijon mustard
Add chicken*  (or extra-firm tofu**) to mayonnaise mixture and turn to coat all the pieces evenly. Place the chicken into the breading bowl, evenly coating each piece.  Place coated pieces on the prepared rack. Spray the chicken pieces evenly with cooking spray, and bake until the coating crisps and browns and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the pieces registers 160 degrees F, 35 to 40 minutes.

Transfer to a platter and serve hot or at room temperature.
*(Food Network's note) We like to cook the chicken on the bone for a real moist and juicy chicken experience. If you can't find bone-in skinless chicken, simply pull off the skin before coating. Chicken breast halves can be quite large. To get a healthy 6 ounce portion, cut the breast pieces crosswise with a heavy knife into pieces about the same size as a chicken thigh.
*(My note) I used thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken breast, as that's what I had on hand.
**To prepare the tofu, cut it into 1" thick slices.  Place paper towels beneath and on top of the tofu slices.  Put a flat pan/cutting board on top of the paper towel, and place something heavy on top. This presses out the water of the tofu, and helps keep it from crumbling. 


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