Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ranch Chicken and Twice Baked Potatoes

These first recipes will all be thrown together recipes. I'm starting to realize a lot of my dinners are all random, without any recipe. SOOOO, here's another winner.

This was one of my favorite dinners I ever made.

P.S. Expect to see a lot of green beans as my side dish... I am obsessed with green beans (fresh, canned, frozen).

Ranch Chicken
3 large chicken breasts, cut length wise in half OR 6 small chicken breasts or tenders (I always cut the breasts in half to give it the illusion we have a feast)
Shake and bake Ranch flavor packet or a dry Ranch dressing packet (I used the entire package of Shake and Bake... and let me tell you something.. it was heavenly)
1 1/2 cups Breadcrumbs or panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 1/2 cups Flour
2 eggs

Get three shallow bowls and fill one with flour, one with eggs and in the last bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the shake and bake or ranch packets. You can try just using the shake and bake packet alone but the reason the breadcrumbs are there is because I was originally going to use my ranch packet.. You can salt and pepper your chicken but this time I just salt and peppered my flour bowl. It worked well since either the Shake and Bake and the Ranch packets have a lot of flavor already.

I digress.

Dip the chicken breasts in first the flour, shaking off any excess completely. Then the eggs and finally the breadcrumb mixture. Get your skillet (I used two so the chicken could all cook together) and heat it up pretty high. You want a good crust. I did medium high. Cook the first side until brown, about 5 minutes. It all depends on how thick of chicken you are going to use. Flip and cook until the chicken is no longer pink (I always cut one piece to make sure... although that piece always loses all the juices). You can also see if the chicken is cooked if when you touch it, there's not very much resistance. If it's squishy, it's still raw.

And then guess what?? It's done wahooooo.

And it was yum o. That's for you Rachael.

Twice Baked Potatoes

Well gosh, look at that... another potato. But before you freak out at me, these meals are all about a month apart. We don't eat potatoes every night. I swear!!!

4 medium potatoes (Or however much you want)
6-8 slices of bacon
1 small onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
1/2 - 3/4 cup of sour cream (Again, depending on how many potatoes you make)
Chicken Stock or milk (Milk is preferably but I only had stock. It makes it slightly healthier)
Cheddar Cheese (I use sharp)

Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees. Cook bacon until brown, crumble and set aside. Meanwhile, bake or microwave your potatoes until soft. I have never been able to get my potato cooked just right by baking. Call me an idiot, but I prefer the microwave because it's faster. A lot of people like to bake them because the potato can become "gummy" in the microwave. I cooked mine for a total of 18 minutes for 4 potatoes. (Is that long??) Let them rest so you can handle them and then scoop out all the flesh, leaving enough for the potato to stand up to a lot of delicious filling. I'm not good with measurements so you decide. Just make sure there isn't just potato skin left. Meanwhile, heat up a pan and add some olive oil. Cook the onion and garlic until soft. About 5-8 minutes. Add these onion mixture to the potato flesh, sour cream, cheese, bacon (save a couple pieces to sprinkle on top), salt and pepper and slowly add in the stock or milk until you get the right consistency.

I didn't salt and pepper my potato skins, but I should have. But you can always omit any salt and pepper suggestions since the bacon does give this dish enough salty taste. Fill the potato skins very liberally... heaping spoonfuls. Sprinkle a little more cheese on top with the reserved bacon. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese melts.

Eat. Enjoy. Exercise.