Homemade Ranch Dressing/Dip

I made this dressing/dip today to go with some of my fried chicken fingers.  I’m always motivated to make food my daughter, her husband, and especially my grandchildren will love, and chicken fingers are a pretty sure bet.  I made some homemade fried chicken fingers and a big fresh salad.  Tonight we’ll slice up the chicken and add it to the salad and drizzle it with this yummy dressing.  And as for the kids, they’ll undoubtedly opt for no salad and dipping their chicken fingers in ketchup.

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I’m back home and feeling wonderful about the day I spent with my daughter and my grandkids. When my youngest grandson Ezra was savoring his first chicken tender, I said, “Did you know that Safta (that’s me) made these for you?”  He answered so adorably, “No, Safta, I didn’t know that.”  His cuteness is almost too much for me.

When my daughter took her first bite of the chicken dipped in my sauce, she shook her head and said, “Oh, this is so good.”  Her response was worth any effort I expended.

  • 1 cup Fage 2% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated
  • about 7 chives, minced
  • about 20 grinds black pepper
  • about 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • about 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • about 1/2 teaspoon Litehouse brand freeze dried dill
  • about 5 shakes hot sauce, about 1/4 to 1/3 cup buttermilk (I used Friendship 1.5%)
  • rind of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon

Mix all ingredients together in medium bowl; add more buttermilk if it’s too thick; refrigerator.

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs in Tomato Cream Sauce

 These meatballs are so tasty, you definitely will not miss the beef.  They are so moist, and absolutely delectable in the tomato sauce and topped by the cheese.  Real comfort food for a cold winter night.

Ingredients

For the sauce: 

  • 1 (28 oz.) can whole plum tomatoes (Cento San Marzano Organic in puree is my first choice)
  • 11/2 tbsp. butter
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp. organic tomato paste
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

For the meatballs: 

  • 3/4 cup panko
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 lbs. ground chicken
  • 2 1/2  tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. tomato paste

To finish: 

  • 4-8 oz. shredded mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2-3 tbsp. minced fresh basil (optional)

 

Instructions:

  •  Puree tomatoes in food processor until smooth, reserving puree.   Melt the butter in a 2-3 qt. pot and saute onion and garlic till translucent, adding red pepper flakes.  Stir in the tomato paste, and mix for a minute.  Stir in tomato puree and reserved puree in can, add salt and pepper, lower the flame, and simmer for about 10 min.  Take off heat, and add the cream. Set aside.
  • To make the meatballs, combine the ground chicken, panko, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, eggs, and tomato paste.  Stir together with a fork just until blended.   With wet hands, form the mixture into meatballs about 1½-inch in diameter.
  • In large nonstick pan, pour about 2-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, and heat.  Add meatballs, and brown on all sides.  Sprinkle with a little kosher salt as they saute.  Pour tomato sauce in bottom of baking dish.  Add meatballs on top.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and mozzarella and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Then  heat the oven to 400? F.   Put covered baking dish in oven for about 45 min.  Take cover off, put broiler on and broil till cheese browns for about 5-8 min.  Garnish with fresh basil if desired.
  • Serve with pasta or plain with good Italian bread.

Roasted Chicken Pieces with Jewish Spices

This chicken is so easy to make and so delicious!!! And it takes no time at all.  You can use a whole cut up chicken, or just breasts, like I did this time.  I buy my chicken from Whole Foods and it is so fresh and good.

  • chicken breasts
  • kosher salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and a little cayenne (heaviest on the paprika).

Place chicken breasts on baking pan covered with aluminum foil.  Sprinkle both sides with garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, a little salt, very light amount of cayenne, and lots of paprika.

Drizzle tops of chicken breasts with a little light olive oil.

Roast uncovered at 375 degrees for about 40-45 min. till nicely browned. I use my convection roast setting.  Once or twice during the cooking, take out, and baste with drippings.

Fried Chicken with Fresh Peaches and Strawberries and Homemade Ranch Dressing

I wanted to make a light summer dinner salad, so I cooked my recipe for “Delectable Fried Chicken Nuggets” and I made a salad of green leaf lettuce, cucumbers, sliced strawberries and peaches, slices of the nuggets, drizzled with this very light and summery dressing.  In the fall, I’ll substitute slices of apples and add some cranberries and toasted walnuts for the summer fruit. The best part of the salad was the dressing though,which I couldn’t get enough of.

for the chicken:  See my recipe for Delectable Fried Chicken Nuggets.  You can refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the salad.

for the salad:  green leaf lettuce, sliced cucumber, sliced strawberries, sliced peaches.

for the dressing:  In medium bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons Hellman’s or Kraft mayo, 1/2 cup Fage plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup buttermilk, 2 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar, pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, zest of one lemon, and about 3 tablespoons of chopped fine or snipped chive.

Note:  This also makes a good dipping sauce for the nuggets.

Fried Chicken Nuggets Topped With Monterey Jack and Cheddar Cheese and Mushrooms

When I was a senior in college, my roommate concocted a chicken recipe that seemed strange, but mysteriously tasted magnificent.  I used to sneak a few bites whenever I could as she wasn’t sharing.  I made this for my daughter a few times over the years- since nobody else in the family except for the two of us liked mushrooms, and she announced that it was her favorite chicken.  Last week, I made it for her and her family, and she loved it.  I dropped off a taste of this dish to a foodie friend of my daughter’s and mine, and she said, “What’s in this?  It’s insanely delicious!”  So here is the recipe.

  • 1  to 1 1/2 cups of organic chicken breast cutlets (not thin sliced), cut into chunks about 1 1/2 in. by the same (I try to use Nature’s Promise from Stop and Shop)
  • bread crumbs (I used a mixture of Wegman’s Whole Grain Bread Crumbs and Trader Joe’s Organic Bread Crumbs)
  • 2 eggs beaten with a little water
  • light olive oil for frying (or a mixture of canola and light olive oil)
  • 10 to 16 oz. mushrooms (I used baby bella) (slice in 1/4 inch thick slices)
  • about 8 of shredded Monterey Jack and Mild Cheddar (I use Whole Foods)

olive oil and a little butter and kosher salt and pepper for sautéing the mushrooms

Put cut chicken in egg mixture and toss well.  Then coat well in bread crumbs.  Heat oil (a depth of about 1/2 in. till very hot (about 350 degrees) in a large frying pan.  Carefully place chicken in hot oil, and cook quickly only till browned on one side, then turn with tongs, and brown on other side.  Keep in mind that you will be baking the chicken in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, so don’t overcook it at this stage.  Cook it only till browned on both sides.  Drain on paper towels.  Place chicken in a 8 1/2 in. by 11 in. baking dish.   In sauté pan, pour a little olive oil with a little butter.  Slice and saute mushrooms (sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper- optional cayenne- till they no longer have that raw look to them.  They don’t need to be overly browned.

Place mushrooms over chicken and the grated cheese to cover the mushrooms.

You can bake in a preheated 375 degree oven right away for about 10 min. till cheese is melted or you can refrigerate this casserole until dinner time.  Then preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake uncovered till cheese is melted and starting to bubble – about 15-20 minutes.  If you are cooking the chicken right from the fridge, it may take a few minutes longer.  I recommend taking it out of the fridge- if you are preparing it earlier in the day- about 30 min. before you intend to start baking it.

Delectble Fried Chicken Nuggets

The inspiration for this dish, believe it or not, came from eating various chicken dishes at P.F. Chang’s.  The chicken in Chang’s  Spicy Chicken and Kung Pao Chicken is in the form of perfect, juicy, lightly fried nuggets.  So I decided that my grandchildren and my kids would love it if I made homemade chicken nuggets.  I have made them about 4 times in the last 2 weeks for picnic lunches and for dinner.  I have made dipping sauces for them including a Greek yogurt, chive, dill, and lemon sauce, and a mustard and yogurt sauce.  These nuggets are scrumptious!

  • 1 to 2 lbs. of organic boneless chicken breasts (not thin sliced) You can find these at Wegmans or at Costco.
  • Italian bread crumbs (I like Colonna)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1-2 eggs mixed with a little water
  • light olive oil for frying

Directions:

Cut chicken up into nice size chunks- about 1 1/2 inches by about the same.  The sizes don’t have to be exactly the same.

Crack 1 or 2 eggs into a bowl or baking pan and add a little water, mix with fork.  Put cut pieces of chicken in egg mixture and toss to cover well.

Pour enough bread crumbs into a baking pan, add some kosher salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer egg coated chicken to pan with bread crumbs and toss well to cover really well.

In large saute pan (about 10 in. in diameter) pour oil about 1/2 inch deep.  Heat up till nice and hot- about 350 degrees. Oil will start to shimmer when ready.  Drop chicken in carefully.  Fry on one side till nicely browned, turn and fry on other side till browned nicely.  Check to insure chicken is cooked through.  Drain on paper towels.

That’s it.

Sauces:

Greekish Yogurt Sauce

Mix about 1 1/2 cups Fage total fat or 2% fat Greek yogurt with zest of 1 lemon, juice of 1 lemon, fresh or freeze dried chive, and some freeze dried dill, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper.  Refrigerate till you use.

Or …  Mustard and Yogurt-Mayo  Sauce (inspired by Ina Garten)

In bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup mayo and 3/4 cup Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons Guldens spicy mustard, 2 tablespoons country style grainy mustard.  Refrigerate till you use. Next time, I may use all yogurt as a healthier option.

My New Chicken Cutlets

I made this recipe three times, and the flavors are really great.  My daughter Randi loved the chicken, so I’m sold.

1 1/2 pounds organic chicken cutlets

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil mixed with 1 large or 2 medium garlic cloves grated

pinch kosher salt

pinch of red pepper flakes

sprinkling of dried oregano

about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese mixed with about 1 cup Italian bread crumbs with a few twists of freshly grated black pepper

Put the chicken cutlets in the oil and garlic mixture with the salt, red pepper, and oregano.  Then dredge in the bread crumbs and cheese mixture.

At this point, you can fry the cutlets, or bake them.  If you bake them, you have to bake them at a high temperature to brown them.  I fried them, and that worked out well.

Chicken with a Chili Rub and a Honey-Lime Glaze

I’m always looking for new chicken recipes, and I spotted a great looking recipe on a blog called “Week of Menus.” The picture of the chicken looked incredible. I decided to make dinner for lunch for my sons Benji and Danny since they won’t be home later. I adapted the recipe a little for my taste. I served this with my fresh sauteed corn and a bagged caesar salad. My kids really enjoyed the chicken. They said it was “full of flavor and juicy as hell.” I was surprised that it turned out not to be too hot or spicy. Ingredients:4-5 chicken breast halves on the bone, or 1 chicken cut up into eighths (I buy Bell & Evans)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (that’s one more tablespoon than in the original recipe)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (that’s half the amount 0f the original recipe)
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt (I reduced the salt from 1 teaspoon as there are many other spices to make up for the reduction)
Honey Lime Glaze
1/2 cup honey (the original recipe calls for 1/3, but I felt the glaze was too thin, so I added some more honey.)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (or juice of 1 lime)
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Mix olive oil, chili powder, oregano, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, and, salt together in a large bowl. Place chicken in a foil lined roasting pan. Rub and cover pieces all over with the spice mixture.  Roast for 30-35 minutes (basting once or twice during the cooking) depending on how meaty your pieces of chicken are. After 30-35 minutes, mix honey with lime juice. The skin of the chicken should be really brown. Spoon the honey mixture over the chicken. Put back in the oven for 5-7 minutes.  Take out from oven.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Serve.

Oven Fried Chicken Cutlets

My kids love these oven fried cutlets as much as real fried cutlets.  They are easier to make, and maybe a little healthier.

  • 1 pound thin sliced chicken cutlets
  • Italian bread crumbs, plain bread crumbs, or a mixture of the two (my favorite combination to use is Colonna Italian Style Bread Crumbs mixed with 4-C whole wheat bread crumbs)
  • olive oil (any type)
  • kosher salt and black pepper (if using plain bread crumbs) to taste, black pepper but less salt if using other than plain bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Pour some olive oil into a bowl.  Put the cutlets in the oil.  Then pour a generous amount of bread crumbs on a flat plate and any salt or pepper.  Dredge the cutlets in the bread crumbs really well.  Place the cutlets on a half sheet pan covered with foil, that you have greased with some oil.  Bake for about 25-350 minutes depending on the thickness of the cutlets.  

Note:  You can make these for Passover using matzoh meal instead of the bread crumbs, seasoning the matzoh meal with with salt and pepper.  Before baking these, drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Bobbie’s Gourmet But Easy Chicken Cutlets With Garlic, Onion, Romano Cheese, And Parsley

Just yesterday, I was at my magnificent grandson Noah’s second birthday party, having the best time ever.  One of my daughter’s very lovely friends, Bobbie,  was at the party with her son, and I started having a great conversation with her.  We discovered we had some common interests, especially food and cooking.  Then, I noticed she was feeding some yummy looking chicken to her son.  She offered me a taste, and I really liked it.  She was kind enough to email me her recipe, and I made it this evening for my son Danny and me.  Wow!  The flavors were great.  The combination of ingredients is delicious! Danny was oohing and aahing and stated that this dish was pure delectableness.  I think of the dish as tasting gourmet, but what I like is that the ingredients are simple, and the preparation is easy.  Tomorrow, I’ll bring the leftovers to Randi, and I know she’ll love it.  Hopefully, Noah will like it too.  Thanks for sharing your recipe, Bobbie!

for the chicken:

  • 1 pound of thin sliced chicken cutlets
  • about 4-6 tablespoons flour mixed with about 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and about 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

for the sauce:

  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, or 1 large shallot,  sliced thin (I used yellow onion)
  • about 6-8 cloves garlic, crushed, minced, or chopped (I chopped it finely in my new little chopper)
  • about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • about 3/4 cup to 1 cup  of chicken stock or broth to start and more as needed (I used Greenway Organic Chicken Stock – Greenway is an A&P organic brand)
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Romano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • about 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • additional Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
  • lemon wedges for serving about 3/4 of a lemon for 1 pound of cutlets

Dredge cutlets in flour mixture.  Heat about 3 tablespoons oil (I used light olive oil) in large nonstick saute pan over high flame.  When hot, add cutlets- do not crowd pan ( I did the cutlets in 2 batches).  I sprinkled a little more black pepper on top of each cutlet at that point.  Flip cutlets when lightly browned on bottom, and brown lightly on second side.  Set aside on a plate. If your cutlets are thin, and mine are because I use the Purdue thin sliced cutlets, then you want to do this as quickly as possible so as not to overcook your chicken, because you will be cooking the cutlets in the sauce again in the last step of this recipe.

Wipe out same saute pan with a paper towel if you feel there is too much residue from the flour and oil.  But if you only have just a little of the brown bits, you can leave it.  I did wipe out my pan.   Add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil -I used extra virgin for this- or light olive oil to pan.  Over medium flame, saute onion for about 2 minutes till translucent,  add a good sprinkling of red pepper flakes- 1/4 teaspoon or so, then lower the flame to low and add the garlic, and saute for a minute over low flame- be careful not to burn.  Then add the chicken stock, and simmer about 2-3 minutes, just till reduced a bit.  Add the 2 tablespoons of Romano cheese and mix.  Then add 2 tablespoons cold butter cut into cubes.  Mix, then add cutlets back to pan, and heat through about 2-3 minutes.  Add about 1/4 cup more of stock, a little sprinkle of kosher salt, a sprinkle of ground pepper, and  another little sprinkle of red pepper flakes.  Finally add some parsley to the sauce, sprinkle some on top of the cutlets to make them look pretty, and heat for another minute or so.  Place cutlets on serving platter and sprinkle all with the juice of about 3/4 of a lemon.  Serve.