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  1. Thursday, October 16, 2014

    Fast and Easy Trick for Tender Chicken: Stick a Fork In It!

    One of the first things I learned in the kitchen in my early 20s was that it is really easy to cook tough, hard-to-chew chicken. The first time I baked a chicken recipe I was so disappointed with the outcome. The chicken was not tender and delicious at all and I hated that. I quickly mastered the art of pounding chicken, which always yielded tender, evenly-cooked chicken. I’ve used that technique for years and still love it.

    FAST and easy trick to truly tender chicken from @janemaynard

    BUT…my mother-in-law Pat shared another trick with me that is equally as magical and beyond easy. She got the tip from a kid in town who worked in a restaurant and it’s great! Just stab the you-know-what out of your uncooked chicken breasts with a fork on both sides. Like, lots and lots of stabbing. Like, you-really-need-to-vent-some-frustration-so-you-take-it-out-on-the-innocent-chicken lots of stabbing. You end up with tender chicken and a little mental therapy to boot!

    I like this method because it’s less messy. When you use a mallet, you need to get a cutting board dirty, there’s the yucky plastic wrap to contend with and, of course, the mallet also needs to be cleaned. With this method you just need a fork and you can stab the chicken right in the dish it will cook in. Easy peasy! This technique is also good for marinade…lots of little holes to soak it all up!

    Happy stabbing! (Chicken stabbing, people.)

  2. Tuesday, September 16, 2014

    Baked Stuffing-Coated Chicken: Only 3 Ingredients to Pure Deliciousness!

    My mother-in-law Pat claims she’s not a good cook, but I wholeheartedly beg to differ. Some of my very best cooking tricks, tips and recipes have come from her. And some of my favorite non-recipe “recipes” come from her. Pat has a knack for making easy-to-prep food taste really good.

    recipe for super easy and delicious baked stuffing-coated chicken, with only 3 ingredients, by @janemaynard

    Today I’m sharing one of those non-recipe recipes. It is seriously beyond easy with only 3 ingredients. The recipe is a little old school, i.e. there is canned cream-of-whatever soup involved. I rarely buy canned soups, but I certainly do for this chicken recipe! The chicken comes out so tender and juicy, and the stuffing cooks perfectly, soft and yummy where it touches the chicken with a nice crunch around the outside.

    recipe for super easy and delicious baked stuffing-coated chicken, with only 3 ingredients, by @janemaynard

    (>> Find out more…)

  3. Tuesday, March 4, 2014

    Malibu Melt Wraps

    Tacone is one of my favorite take-out food joints. They have great wraps and the best homemade potato chips EVER. Sadly, there are very few Tacone restaurants in the world and I hardly ever get my fix!

    malibu melt wrap from @janemaynard

    malibu melt wrap from @janemaynard
    While I know I’ll never be able to replicate their potato chips, I can copycat my favorite Tacone wraps. My most favorite was always the Malibu Melt. It’s simple but oh-so-delicious. And the homemade version is just as good as the restaurant. Bonus: this recipe is super quick and easy, which is always my favorite kind of recipe!

    malibu melt wrap from @janemaynard

    Happy wrapping!

    malibu melt wrap from @janemaynard

    Malibu Melt Wraps
    Prep time
    Total time
    Inspired by the restaurant Tacone, one of our favorites!
    • Flour tortillas
    • Cooked chicken breast, chopped, either grilled or breaded (I personally love the Bread Chicken Tenderloin Breasts from Trader Joe's in the freezer section)
    • Chopped tomatoes
    • Chopped romaine lettuce
    • Shredded mozzarella cheese
    • Avocado, cut into chunks
    • Honey mustard salad dressing (click here for a homemade recipe; I also love the Ken's Steakhouse honey mustard from the store)
    1. Lay out the flour tortilla and spread some honey mustard dressing down the center. Add the chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, and avocado. Top with another drizzle of honey mustard then wrap it all up like a burrito!

  4. Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    Easy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup (a.k.a. Homemade Ramen)

    Today I have a super fast and easy dinner recipe for you that is also delicious and healthy. That’s the best kind of recipe, right?

    easy asian chicken noodle soup aka homemade ramen | from @janemaynard at

    But first, a confession. I love ramen noodle packs. You know, the 89-cent packages of ramen noodles paired with the sodium-rich broth that is oh-so-good. But…but. The sodium. Ah, the sodium. I haven’t bought ramen in years and years because of that darn sodium. Happily, today’s recipe will let us have our ramen and eat it, too!

    easy asian chicken noodle soup aka homemade ramen | from @janemaynard at

    You will need to buy one of those cheap-o packages of ramen for this recipe, but you’re going to throw the flavor packet in the trash where it belongs. Instead, we’ll use healthy, natural ingredients and just a bit of salt to create a yummy meal that’s perfect for kids, adults and college-kids alike!

    This recipe is fast to prepare and should be eaten immediately, so plan accordingly!

    easy asian chicken noodle soup aka homemade ramen | from @janemaynard at

    Easy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup (a.k.a. Homemade Ramen)
    Cook time
    Total time
    Adapted from a recipe in America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Soup, Poultry
    Cuisine: Asian
    Serves: 4
    • ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
    • ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded*
    • 2 green onions, sliced thin with greens separated from whites
    • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1 garlic clove, minced (I use my garlic press)
    • 3½ cups low-sodium or sodium-free chicken broth
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus extra as needed (a commenter mentioned that soy sauce can be high in sodium, so if you really want to cut back, try using low-sodium soy sauce or reducing the amount used)
    • 1 3-ounce package ramen noodles, flavor packet discarded
    • 1½ cups shredded coleslaw mix (I used a coleslaw mix made only with green cabbage)
    • 1½ cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
    • ½ tablespoon sesame oil, plus extra as needed
    • salt and pepper
    1. Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped white green onions (reserving the greens for later), ginger and garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
    2. Stir in chicken broth and soy sauce and bring to a simmer (you’ll want to turn the heat up to get it boiling gently, then reduce the heat to medium or so to maintain the simmer).
    3. Stir in ramen noodles and coleslaw and cook for 4 minutes.
    4. Add chicken and spinach and cook for 1 minute.
    5. Stir in the rest of the green onions and sesame oil. Mix together, taste, then add salt, pepper, soy sauce and sesame oil to taste. Serve immediately.
    *Cook the chicken however is easiest for you – grill, sauté, boil, whatever!


  5. Wednesday, September 18, 2013

    Chimento Chicken, a.k.a. Chicken Croissants

    I have had a recipe for ‘chicken croissants’ archived on my site since the very beginning but have never actually written about it, which is a crying shame because it is delectable. Plus, it’s time I actually wrote the recipe out with solid directions rather than vague descriptions. So, today, chicken croissants!

    chicken croissants |

    First, a bit about the name of this recipe. Years ago our friends with the last name Chimento ate dinner at my parent’s house and raved over this recipe. From then on, our family fondly called this recipe “Chimento Chicken.” The original name is chicken croissants, which is a bit more descriptive. When I presented both names to my girls yesterday, they voted for Chimento Chicken. I must admit, it has a nice ring to it. Chimento Chicken it is!

    chicken croissants phyllo 1 |

    chicken croissants phyllo |

    chicken croissants phyllo |

    There are two ways to make Chimento Chicken: using phyllo dough or using quick crescent rolls. In terms of taste, using phyllo is heavenly and I much prefer it. Nate disagreed and said both phyllo and crescent rolls are equally as tasty, although he did admit the phyllo is a lot prettier. Despite Nate saying both versions are just as good, I just love the crispy, clean butter taste of the phyllo version. Crescent rolls are good, but, you know, they taste like crescent rolls and have just a bit more flavor. BUT, that all said, if you use crescent rolls, it is still mighty delicious! And crescent rolls are SUPER easy. I mean, there’s cream cheese no matter what dough you’re using so take your pick!

    chicken croissants crescents |

    chicken croissants crescents |

    Also, don’t be scared of trying the phyllo. I once made this recipe for 100 people and had 10 college-aged kids help me put the phyllo triangles together. If we could do it factory style in a terrible kitchen, you can tackle this!

    chicken croissants |

    Chimento Chicken, aka Chicken Croissants
    – 1/4 of a large onion, chopped (feel free to add more onion if you like more onion flavor)
    – 1 package fresh mushrooms, chopped
    – 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
    – 1 chicken breast, cooked and cut into pieces
    – 1/2 tsp. salt
    – 1/4 tsp. pepper
    – Pillsbury (or equivalent) refrigerated crescent rolls (2 packages of 8) OR Phyllo dough (in the freezer section at the store)
    – 6 tablespoons butter (only if using phyllo)
    – 1 cup chicken broth, cooled
    – 1 tablespoon butter
    – 1 tablespoon flour

    You can just use a boneless, skinless chicken breast. However, if you’re feeling resourceful: I like to buy a package of 2 chicken breast WITH bones and skin, cover breasts in a big pot with water, boil until cooked through, and then use one of the breasts plus 1 cup of the broth for this recipe and use the other chicken breast and the rest of the broth for chicken soup.

    Sauté the onion in a bit of olive oil over medium heat for a few minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms and sauté until cooked through. Remove from heat.

    Mix together onions, mushrooms, cream cheese, chicken breast, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

    If using crescent rolls:

    • Lay out crescent roll triangles. Plop about 1/8 cup of filling onto the wide end (divide the filling evenly between the 16 rolls), then roll up the crescent roll starting at the wide end, sort of tucking the ends around the filling once it’s rolled up. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet in a 375 degree F oven until dark golden brown, 10-20 minutes.

    If using phyllo dough:

    • Defrost phyllo in fridge overnight or at room temperature for about 5 hours. Keep in packaging until ready to use.
    • Melt 6 T. butter and have it ready with a pastry brush.
    • Lay out a large piece of waxed paper or parchment paper on your counter.
    • Dampen a clean dish towel. Unwrap dough from packaging and unroll, setting to the side, placing damp towel on top.
    • Your phyllo will come in sheets  about 12″ x 16″. You will cut those sheets into 4″ x 16″ strips. You will need 20 of those strips total. Once cut, replace under damp towel. (Roll up and wrap in plastic wrap any remaining phyllo dough and keep refrigerated for up to 10 days.)
    • Remove one 4″ x 16″ sheet from the pile, re-cover pile with damp towel, place single sheet on waxed paper/parchment paper on the counter. Brush on butter, starting at one end, holding that end with one hand and brushing away from the hand holding the sheet down, covering entire sheet with a thin layer of butter. Add a second sheet and repeat process. The phyllo can break easily but don’t stress. It will all work out! Just be gentle but don’t be too stressed about it.
    • Place appx. 1/4 cup of the filling on one end, in a triangle shape. Fold like a flag from the stuffed end all the way down, ending with a triangle stuffed with filling. This website has an excellent set of photos to illustrate the stuffing and folding process. Click here to see! Repeat to make 10 stuffed triangles.
    • Place triangles on a Silpat- or parchment paper-lined cooke sheet. Brush tops with butter.
    • Bake in a 350 F oven until dark golden, about 20 minutes or so.

    chicken croissants prepped phyllo |
    To make the gravy:

    • Melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon floor and whisk well. Let cook for about 5-10 minutes, whisking fairly regularly. Add cold chicken broth to roux and bring to a simmer. Simmer about 5 minutes, remove from heat. Gravy will thicken a bit as it cools.

    Makes 16 stuffed crescent rolls or 10  stuffed phyllo triangles. Serve with gravy.

    chicken croissants |

  6. Thursday, August 15, 2013

    Maple Balsamic Chicken (You need to make this recipe!)

    It’s been many years since I declared my undying love for real maple syrup, so I think we should revisit the topic! Before I met Nate, I had only ever eaten fake maple syrup – you know, of the Log Cabin and Aunt Jemima variety. Then I married a boy from New Hampshire and everything changed.

    maple balsamic chicken |

    Truly, I haven’t bought a bottle of the fake stuff since we got married. Even in the early years when we had negative money in the bank account, we still found a way to get our hands on pure maple syrup. Good chocolate and good maple syrup are top priorities in my kitchen!

    maple balsamic chicken |

    Anna and Cate’s former preschool teacher Miss Ferneyn once gave me a photocopy of a maple balsamic chicken recipe she found in a cookbook or magazine. (Miss Ferneyn and Miss Erika were always giving me great recipes and they have made appearances on the blog before. I sure miss those ladies, and not just for their good food!) I made the recipe and it was AMAZING. And then I lost the photocopied page and haven’t been able to find it no matter how hard I look.  I pestered Miss Ferneyn a few times and she can’t find the recipe either! I finally bit the bullet and tried to figure out the recipe on my own. and we had success! Welcome back to my life, beautiful recipe.

    maple balsamic chicken |

    I made this chicken for my family in New Jersey and everyone raved. My sister-in-law has already made it for guests. It’s really really really really really good. Are you convinced yet?

    Maple Balsamic Chicken (You need to make this recipe!)
    From Jane Maynard, inspired by a recipe buried in my kitchen somewhere
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Poultry
    • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – cut into thirds width-wise, then halved height-wise
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • ½ cup real maple syrup
    • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
    • ½ cup flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt, divided in half
    • ½ teaspoon pepper
    • 5 ounces mushrooms, sliced
    • ¼ of an onion, chopped
    • 1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
    • olive oil
    1. Mix flour, ½ tsp salt and the pepper in a plastic bag. Pound chicken nice and flat then toss in the flour mixture.
    2. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in large pan over medium to medium-high heat. Brown chicken in oil then set aside on a plate.
    3. Put onions in the pan and sautée over medium heat until translucent, adding a bit of oil to the pan if needed. Add garlic and mushrooms, and cook until the mushrooms are cooked and liquid has evaporated. Add broth, syrup, vinegar, ½ tsp salt and browned chicken. Bring sauce to a simmer then reduce heat to medium-low, so sauce is still simmering. Cook about 10 minutes until chicken is fully cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste and serve with pasta or mashed potatoes.


    To see other yummy maple syrup recipes, visit the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers ‘Recipe of the Month’ Page. This post was not sponsored, but my recipe will be featured on their site. I’m happy I can help spread the maple syrup love!

  7. Thursday, May 30, 2013

    Summer Go-To Meal: Chicken Caesar Wraps

    I have a new favorite go-to meal that happens to be perfect for summer: Chicken Caesar Wraps!

    go-to meal chicken caesar wraps |

    They’re easy, the ingredient list is short and compiled of items I normally have on hand, and I’m always surprised at just how tasty they are!

    The other fun thing is you can make them super, duper easy or gourmet them up a bit, using more homemade ingredients. No matter how you make them, they are delicious!

    go-to meal chicken caesar wraps |

    I wasn’t really planning to do a post about chicken caesar wraps, but when we were eating them for dinner last night, Anna said, “Mom, you should take a picture of these for your blog!” She’s always looking out for the blog!

    Summer Go-To Meal: Chicken Caesar Wraps
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Poultry
    • Flour tortillas or other wrap that you like (I prefer uncooked tortillas that you cook on the stove, they are delicious and are nice and flexible, which is perfect for a wrap)
    • Cooked chicken breast (You could buy pre-cooked chicken or a rotisserie chicken to make it super simple. I like to grill boneless, skinless chicken breasts on my grill pan salt and pepper the chicken breasts, cook over medium heat until temperature reaches 160 degrees)
    • Romaine lettuce, chopped
    • Fresh Parmesan cheese, shaved or shredded
    • Croutons (You can make your own, but in this case I think the crunchy store-bought kind work nicely because they are so super crunchy, which gives good texture to the wrap.)
    • Caesar dressing (again, you can make your own, but I always have a bottle of Girard’s Caesar dressing in the fridge, so that’s what I use!)
    1. Lay out your tortilla/wrap, pile on all the other ingredients, fold like a burrito and eat!
    2. I like to spread some dressing on the tortilla before piling on the ingredients and then topping everything with more dressing before wrapping it all up!


  8. Friday, April 26, 2013

    White Chicken Chili

    Last week I decided to make white chicken chili for the first time, which involved using two ingredients I’ve never worked with before: hominy and poblano chili peppers.

    America's Test Kitchen White Chicken Chili Recipe

    Honestly, I was skeptical of the hominy. Like I said, I had never used it before and when I opened the can, the smell was reminiscent of corn nuts. I can’t stand the smell of corn nuts, by the way, so I was really hoping the soup would turn out! I am happy to report that the soup not only turned out but was very delicious and a big hit with every member of the family. In case you are wondering, it tasted nothing like corn nuts. PHEW! Nate came home from work, looked in the pot and declared that he was certain he was going to love this soup, even before he knew what it was. And he did!

    America's Test Kitchen White Chicken Chili

    I used the white chicken chili recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook. So far every recipe I’ve used from that book has been a winner. The recipes have all been delicious and quick! This chicken chili was no exception. This recipe was simple to prepare and was no problem to throw together on a busy weeknight. I will include my various notes on the recipe below!

    White Chicken Chili
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Poultry
    • 1 15-ounce can white or yellow hominy (ATK recommends white because it has a deeper flavor)
    • 4 cups chicken broth
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed (Jane note: I used two chicken breasts)
    • Salt and Pepper
    • 3 poblano chili peppers (Jane note: I only used 1) – de-seed and core the pepper, then chop
    • 1 onion, chopped fine (Jane note: I only used ⅓ of a large yellow onion)
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced (Jane note: I used my garlic press)
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander (Jane note: I didn’t use coriander b/c I didn’t have it in the cupboard and didn’t feel like buying it)
    • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (Jane note: I used ¼ teaspoon of black pepper because I am out of cayenne, which makes me very sad – I need to rectify that!)
    • ½ cup tomatillo salsa or salsa verde
    • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro (Jane note: I bought flat leaf parsley instead of cilantro, which I didn’t discover until I took it out to start chopping. I was SO bummed because cilantro would taste wonderfully in this soup, but I just went with the parsley because that’s what I had. I am happy to report that the parsley was also very delicious! So, feel free to choose the herb you like better and go with it!)
    1. Process the hominy with 1 cup broth in blender of food processor until smooth.
    2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Pat chicken dry with paper towels, season with salt & pepper then brown chicken lightly on both sides, about 5 minutes. (If you don’t have a dutch oven, a large pot should work.) Transfer chicken to a plate. Add remaining oil, poblanos and onion to the pot and cook until onions and peppers are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, garlic, cumin, corinader (if using) and cayenne (or pepper) and cook about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in remaining 3 cups broth, deglazing the bottom of the pan. I used a flat whisk here and it worked very well, but a standard whisk will suffice.
    3. Stir in pureed hominy. Add chicken, along with any accumulated juices, and simmer gently over medium-low to medium heat until chicken registers 160 degrees, about 10 minutes. I highly recommend using an instant-read thermometer so that you don’t overcook the chicken – it will be super tender if you cook until 160 degrees. Remove chicken, shred then return to soup. Add salsa, cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 1 minute then serve!


  9. Tuesday, October 23, 2012

    Chicken Parmesan, a Pantry Go-To Classic

    I have two stories of Italians from New Jersey for you today, both of which culminate with a delicious, easy go-to recipe for you!

    When I was in high school, a native-New Jersey Italian from church taught all the teenagers how to make tomato sauce. It was fast, it was easy, it was fresh-tasting and delicious. And when Mike was teaching us how to make that sauce, I’m sure he thought we weren’t paying attention. But I was and the technique stuck with me from then on. He just simply sauteed garlic and onion in olive oil, added some canned tomatoes and tomato paste, a few spices and that was it!

    On to the second story of Italians from New Jersey. A few years later when I was in college, my friend Patti was talking to me one day about how her new roommate didn’t really know how to do anything, you know, like pay bills, do laundry, all that “adult” stuff. I’ll never forget the culminating comment, “She can’t even throw together a simple chicken parmesan!” Spoken like a true Italian from Jersey, no? Anyway, when she said that to me, I just nodded and said, “Yeah, that’s crazy!” but inside I was thinking,”Hmmmm, I wonder how you throw together a simple chicken parmesan?” Thanks to Patti, I figured it out and it became one of my classic go-to meals.

    Which brings us to the promise of this post…an easy, go-to recipe! This chicken parmesan recipe is a great one to have up your sleeve. Essentially all you need is a couple of eggs, some bread crumbs, frozen chicken, pasta, a few basic spices, parmesan cheese and Hunt’s tomato paste and petite-diced canned tomatoes. Yes, I’m working with Hunt’s. And, yes, I actually do always have Hunt’s petite diced tomatoes in my cupboard, even before I started working with them. I love the petite diced tomatoes. They are perfect for making sauce and the FlashSteam process makes the tomatoes taste flavorful and fresh. You would never guess my sauce is made from canned tomatoes!

    So, get your cupboards stocked up and “go to” this recipe next time you’re in a dinner bind!

    Chicken Parmesan, a Pantry Go-To Classic
    From Jane Maynard, created after hearing Patti describe making chicken parm over the phone years ago
    Recipe type: Main Dish
    • 1 pound chicken tenders (if you use boneless, skinless breasts, be sure to pound them flat)
    • 1 cup plain bread crumbs
    • ½ cup fresh shredded parmesan
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
    • ⅛ teaspoon paprika
    • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
    • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
    • 2 eggs
    • slices of fresh mozzarella
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
    2. Whisk the eggs in a soup/cereal bowl. In another cereal/soup bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, paprika, oregano and basil. Dip each raw chicken tender in the egg to coat, then place in bread crumbs and coat well. Place on lined cookie sheet.
    3. Cook for about 15 minutes, until they are JUST cooked through. Top with mozzarella cheese sliced and cook until cheese is melted, about 2-3 more minutes.
    Note: I usually start cooking the sauce before I start prepping the chicken, so it can simmer while I make the pasta and chicken.

    Homemade Tomato Sauce
    From Jane Maynard, thanks to Mike’s inspiration even more years ago!
    Recipe type: Main Dish
    • 1 shallot or ½ onion, diced
    • 3-5 fresh garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a press
    • 2 cans Hunt’s petite diced tomatoes
    • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1 – 2 tablespoon sugar
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • ¾ teaspoon kosher or coarse salt
    • ½ teaspoon dried basil
    • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
    1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots/onions. Cook until soft, a few minutes. Add garlic and saute for about a minute. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to the point where the sauce still simmers (usually medium-low). Simmer for 15-20 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, you can smash the sauce up a bit with a ricer or pastry blender, to break up some of the tomatoes. I like my sauce chunky, so I just do this a little bit.
    2. Serve chicken with tomato sauce and cooked pasta.

  10. Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    Chicken Fried Steak

    Growing up, one of the dishes that I would always order if it was on a restaurant menu was Chicken Fried Steak. I loved the stuff.

    picture of chicken friend steak with gravy, mashed potatoes, and vegetables

    The last time I had chicken fried steak, however, was before Cate was born. It was at a restaurant in Orange County and it was only okay. So, I must admit, I have kind of shied away from the dish since that night.

    But a few weeks ago I got a hankering and decided to try my hand at making the stuff myself.

    top view of chicken fried steak on a plate with mashed potatoes and vegetables

    I followed Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe for cooking the steak and Ree Drummond’s recipe for making the gravy. The result? Chicken fried steak in all its rich, delicious glory. For REAL…the fried breading part on this steak was to die for. I’ve never had a desire to fry chicken at home, but after this I am seriously considering it!

    side view of chicken fried steak with gravy

    Also, I used a thermometer and followed the directions precisely. I love it when Cook’s Illustrated recipes have a temperature to work with, I feel like success is much more imminent that way. Another ALSO…Nate has an infrared thermometer (science nerd alert!) that worked PERFECTLY for this. The surface of the oil reads the correct temperature and it’s a super fast way to read the temp. Speed is good when you’re frying food.

    a thermometer

    Note: this is not a difficult recipe, but it is a bit labor intensive. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya. This might be a good recipe to tackle on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

    Chicken Fried Steak
    From Cook’s Illustrated
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Chicken
    • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
    • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 6 cube steaks, pounded to ⅓ inch thickness
    • cooking oil for frying (Jane note: I used canola oil)
    1. Getting the initial oil temperature to 375 degrees is key to the success of this recipe. An instant-read thermometer with a high upper range is perfect for checking the temperature; a clip-on candy/deep-fry thermometer is also fine. If your Dutch oven measures 11 inches across (as ours does), you will need to fry the steaks in two batches.
    2. For the steaks: Measure the flour, 5 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and cayenne into a large shallow dish. In a second large shallow dish, beat the egg, baking powder, and baking soda; stir in the buttermilk (the mixture will bubble and foam).
    3. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and sprinkle each side with salt and pepper to taste. Dip steaks into the flour, both sides, shaking off excess. Using tongs, dip the steaks into the egg mixture, turning to coat well and allowing the excess to drip off. Coat the steaks with flour again, shake off the excess, and place them on the wire rack.
    4. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, set a second wire rack over a second rimmed baking sheet, and place the sheet on the oven rack; heat the oven to 200 degrees. (Jane note: I DID set up this wire rack in the oven, however. I wouldn’t skip this step! You will be cooking the steaks in batches and you want the ones that are already cooked to say hot and crispy throughout the process.) Line a large plate with a double layer of paper towels. Meanwhile, heat 1 inch of oil in a large (11-inch diameter) Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. Place three steaks in the oil and fry, turning once, until deep golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes (oil temperature will drop to around 335 degrees). Transfer the steaks to the paper towel-lined plate to drain, then transfer them to the wire rack in the oven. Bring the oil back to 375 degrees and repeat the cooking and draining process (use fresh paper towels) with the three remaining steaks.
    Jane note: I just set a small wire rack over a dinner plate. Simple and easy.

    Jane note: the steaks were pretty large, so I believe I had to cook in three batches.

    Chicken Fried Steak Gravy
    From Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman
    • ¼ cup of the grease from cooking the steaks
    • ⅓ cup flour
    • 1½ cup whole milk (or whatever milk you have in the fridge)
    • salt and pepper
    1. After all meat is fried, pour off the grease into a heatproof bowl. Without cleaning the pan, return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add ¼ cup grease back to the pan. Allow grease to heat up.
    2. Sprinkle ⅓ cup flour evenly over the grease. Using a whisk, mix flour with grease, creating a golden-brown paste. Keep cooking until it reaches a deep golden brown color. If paste seems more oily than pasty, sprinkle in another tablespoon of flour and whisk.
    3. Whisking constantly, pour in milk. Cook to thicken the gravy. Be prepared to add more milk if it becomes overly thick. Add salt and pepper and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until gravy is smooth and thick. Be sure to taste to make sure gravy is sufficiently seasoned.

    view of breaded chicken before it is fried