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Friday, September 30, 2011

Introducing the Fall Comfort Food Series

After one of my few readers recently consulted me for some comfort food recipes, I decided to begin the Fall Comfort Food Series.  Each week from now until the week before Thanksgiving I will share one of my favorite comfort food recipes with you.  The last entry in the series will include a step-by-step guide to a delicious Thanksgiving dinner. 

DISCLAIMER:  The foods in my Fall Comfort Food Series will in no way, shape, or form be consider or classified as healthy, “skinny”, heart-healthy, or calorie reduced.  Comfort foods are stick-to-your-ribs foods meant to warm your soul, not loosen your waistband.  If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to these foods, look somewhere else.  These recipes are full fat and full flavor, not meant to be eaten on a daily basis, but to be enjoyed every so often when the occasion calls for celebration.  If you think I’m in the wrong by cooking these recipes as my family has for generations, go eat another salad. 

Recipes featured in the Fall Comfort Food Series will include but aren’t necessarily limited to:

-My Famous Baked Chicken
-Momma’s Torcher Texas Chili
-Blue Plate Special Meatloaf
-Pumpkin Parmesan Ravioli
-Macaroni & Cheese, Katie’s Way
-Poor Man’s Supper
-The Last Roast Recipe You Will Ever Want
-Not the Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving Dinner

Don’t see a recipe for a comfort food you’re craving??  Don’t fret my pet.  Just shoot me an email ( and I will promise to make your request a blog posting!

Now, without further ado, I present to you my recipe for My Famous Baked Chicken.

I know, most of you are thinking that any fool can bake chicken.  It is true.  Put chicken breasts in ovenproof dish and bake until finished.  But making a moist, delicious, craveable piece of chicken isn’t always as easy as it would appear.  What’s the secret?  Fat, my friends.  Fat is always the answer to this question.

Any of my closest friends can attest to my ability to bake chicken breasts.  One of my closest, dearest, and oldest friends had the pleasure of enjoying this delicious dish after a long night of revelry in suburban DC when we decided to cook a feast.  At 4am. In our bras.  Alas, I have lost the valuable photo of us tableside in bras and jeans with juicy chicken breasts on our forks.  But the recipe remains, and is an old standby when I’m feeling lazy in the kitchen.  Its simplicity is what makes it so good.  You can serve any side along this dish, but I tend to like it with baked or mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli or carrots.  You’re the master of your kitchen; serve with it whatever you like!!!

My Famous Baked Chicken
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 eggs
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup of buttery crackers (my favorite brand is Town House, but Club and Ritz work well too), crushed
1 teaspoon dried parsley
4 tablespoons butter

Adjust the oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°

Place 1 cup (about 1 sleeve) of buttery crackers in zipper bag and crush into small pieces (doesn't have to be a dust, just small enough to adhere to chicken).  Pour crushed crackers into a pie plate or shallow dish and mix with salt, pepper, and parsley.  Whisk eggs and place in 2nd pie plate or shallow dish.  Put flour in a third pie plate or shallow dish. 

Heat vegetable oil in ovenproof 12” skillet (if you don’t have an ovenproof skillet, you can transfer to ovenproof baking dish after you brown your chicken) over medium-high heat until shimmering.

Salt and pepper both sides of chicken breasts.  Dredge chicken through flour, then eggs, then cracker mixture, patting mixture onto breasts.  Place chicken breasts in skillet and brown on first side, 5-8 minutes.  Using tongs, turn breasts and brown on second side, 4-6 minutes. 

Top each breast with 1 tablespoon butter.  Transfer skillet to oven (or chicken to greased ovenproof baking dish) and bake until chicken is cooked thoroughly, 25-30 minutes.  

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