Pretzel Chicken: Weeknight Keeper

May 16th, 2011 · 45 Comments · Chicken and Turkey, Dinner, Picky Eating, Quick

I’m guessing most of you out there don’t regularly get emails from friends with the subject line: “Pretzel Chicken.” And I’m also guessing that if you did, your heart wouldn’t jump when it showed up in your inbox. But that was the somewhat sad state of affairs last week when my friend Jodi sent me the email, saying she was going to debut the dish for Shabbat dinner, a ritual with her husband and six-year-old daughter that she is trying to make more regular. The launch of the ritual, of course, warmed my heart, but what really grabbed me was the recipe. It was the famous City Bakery pretzel chicken that I have been lunching on for the past five years. It’s all mustardy and zesty and dredged in crushed sourdough pretzels — I don’t think I’ve ever taken a bite of it without announcing to whatever poor soul is sitting across from me I must replicate this at home. The kids will freak! (more…)

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Shake ‘n Bake, New ‘n Improved

March 28th, 2011 · 27 Comments · Chicken and Turkey, Dinner, Posts by Andy

Last week, Jenny went away for three days to work on her book. I don’t know if anyone else out there finds this to be true, but we have this theory about parenting being easier — not better, mind you, just easier — when the spouse is away. The chain of command is clearer. Movements are more efficient. Decisions are more decisive. With no safety net, I feel like we tend to be a little better about being doers, about making the bed in the morning and mustering the energy to move that dirty juice glass the three feet from the sink into the dishwasher, about not standing around in the kitchen, checking email again and being generally suspended in that maddening state of inertia that sets in when you’re trying to decide what to do and who’s going to go upstairs and get the sweater down from Abby’s closet and who’s going to make sure Phoebe’s teeth are brushed properly, since the dentist put a watch on one of her molars last time we were there and, wait, did we pack any snacks yet?

So I had a big weekend planned. We would be a perpetual motion machine! Saturday morning, we went hiking up at Bear Mountain. We had lunch — burgers with jalapenos and sharp local cheddar, a black-and-white milkshake, and hand-cut fries — at the outrageously tasty Woody’s All-Natural in Cornwall, New York, which, if you live within 100 miles of the place, I implore you to try, for real. We made nine jars of pickles. We played home run derby on the patio. And when it came to dinner, I saw this as an opportunity to do something different and fun, to branch out with a hanger steak or a rack of ribs or one of those silvery whole branzinos I’d been eyeing at the fish market. The best part was, after a death march of a winter, we could even cook outside. The weather was just beginning to turn — a cruel tease, as it turns out — and the grill was on the patio, cleared of snow, practically begging to be fired up. Afterwards, we’d call Jenny and surprise her with our enterprising dinner adventures. There’s nothing she likes more than when we go and expand the family repertoire.

It was late afternoon when we finally got around to planning the menu. I quick-polled the kids to see what they were up for.

They were up for chicken. Chicken, chicken, and more chicken. Chinese chicken, they said. Adam’s crispy chicken. Barbecue chickenDrumsticks! Chicken! (more…)

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Buttermilk “Fried” Chicken

April 6th, 2010 · 4 Comments · Chicken and Turkey, Dinner

It’s freaking hard to work a full day, then put a family dinner on the table that you feel good about. But as I’ve mentioned before, sometimes the hardest part is just getting the ball rolling. I’m a big believer in my Dinner-in-the-Morning strategy, which basically just means that I take three or four minutes before I head off to work to complete one simple dinner prep task. It can be as simple as transferring chicken from the freezer to the fridge so it will thaw by 6:00. It can be chopping an onion or setting out the spices I need. Or, it could be throwing some chicken pieces into a ziploc filled with buttermilk and a few crushed garlic cloves, which I did one morning last week. The way I see it, not only is the act of marinating making my oven-fried chicken tender and flavorful, it’s also effectively signing a contract with my post-work self: I’m committing to this, says the contract, there’s no excuse not to close the deal later.

Buttermilk Oven-Fried Chicken

4 cups or so buttermilk (the skinny container)
4 garlic cloves, halved
6-8 chicken drumsticks, skin on
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups plain Kelloggs Corn Flake Crumbs
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne if you think you can get away with it
salt
a few grinds of black pepper

Before you go to work: In large ziploc, combine buttermilk and garlic. Add chicken pieces. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.

When you walk in the door: Preheat oven to 400°F. Line large shallow baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking oil. In large bowl, combine corn flake crumbs, herbs, salt, and pepper.

Drain chicken and discard buttermilk. Dredge chicken in bread crumbs until well coated, then place, skin side up, on baking sheet. Spray pieces lightly with cooking oil. Bake until golden and cooked through, 35 to 45 minutes.

 

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