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A special birthday request

September 24, 2007

OK, so I’m about 2 weeks late with this post but better late than never! This year, Kyle requested chicken fried chicken with country gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, and corn – a truly starch-filled meal that rarely ever makes it to my weekly menus. I cringed when Kyle told me his veggie choice was corn (in addition to the potatoes and fried chicken) but I figured that it’s his birthday meal so what the heck. And to add something else to the inevitable post-dinner food coma (pre-birthday cake of course), I threw in some cheddar-bacon biscuits that I’ve been dying to make (see the next post for these).

Since investing in my 7 1/4″ round Le Creuset dutch oven, I’ve only used it a few times (and will use it more so during the fall and winter months) but after using it for frying chicken cutlets, I vowed to never use another pan or pot again for doing so – the deep sides and heat retention from the cast iron makes frying SO easy. I have add here that the queen of things fried, Paula Deen, was right again – peanut oil makes all the difference when frying foods…low smoke point so you can get the oil good and hot, and the flavor it adds is totally unlike olive oil. You just really have to be careful of food allergies when cooking with it – and thankfully, Kyle is NOT allergic to peanuts. And my last comment is on the panko…Panko: where have you been all my life?! Panko makes the perfect crunchy crust. I don’t think I’ll use it for everything that I fry (for instance, I feel that breadcrumbs would work better for chicken parm) but it really is such a great breading option to have in the kitchen to make some dishes a little extra special.

Overall, once I got passed the guilt of the high-fat, high-carb, low nutrition meal, I really enjoyed everything and Kyle “mmm’d” his way through dinner. The chicken was perfect, the gravy was peppery, the potatoes were garlicky, and the biscuits turned out beautifully. Thank goodness Kyle only has one birthday per year!!!

Chicken Fried Chicken

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken cutlets, pounded to about 1/2″ – 3/4″
  • peanut oil (enough for about 1/2″ inch in the bottom of the pan/pot)
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs plus a dash of water, beaten together
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat oil in a heavy skillet or dutch oven – something with deep sides is optimal – over medium to medium-high heat. You’ll know when the oil is ready when a tiny droplet of water sizzles when added to oil and the top of the oil is rippled.
  2. Put panko, flour, and egg mixture in 3 separate shallow bowls.
  3. Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Coat chicken in this order to achieve the perfect crunchy breading: flour, egg, flour, egg, panko. Gently press the panko onto chicken to assure the will stick.
  4. Carefully add chicken to oil – do not allow chicken to splash into oil. Cook until panko is nicely browned on both sides, flipping only once. Drain.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2

Country Gravy

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used skim)
  • salt to taste
  • lots of freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter then add flour, stirring to make a roux – add more or less flour to achieve desired consistency of the roux. Add salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Lower heat to medium-low and slowly stir in milk and work out any lumps. Stir constantly to while brining milk to a simmer and cook for 1 minute or until sauce thickens. Add more salt and pepper if necessary. If sauce becomes too thick, add more milk (a little at a time).

Prep time: 0 minutes

Cook time: 3-5 minutes

Serves: 2-4


Garlic Mashed Potatoes

  • 1 lb red-skin potatoes, quartered – Peeled or unpeeled is your preference. We like them unpeeled.
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/3 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a medium to large saucepot, cover potatoes with water, salt water, and bring to a rapid boil. Boil for 8-10 minutes. Check for doneness with a fork after 8 minutes.
  2. When finished, drain potatoes and return to pot. Smash potatoes with a potato masher until there are no more large chunks left.
  3. Add cheese, sour cream, chives, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Stir into potatoes. Add more sour cream if potatoes are too dense.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10-15 minutes
Serves: 3-4
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One Comment leave one →
  1. Amber permalink
    September 26, 2007 1:43 pm

    Nothing flavors like fat. šŸ˜‰ Looks wonderful. And happy belated birthday to Kyle.

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