Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Favorite Homemade Eats

Make all the "black folk" jokes you want, but I love chicken. I like it smothered in vegetables or gravy or barbecue sauce. I like it fried, dyed and laid to the side. So there.

Of course, I don't always do chicken the way my mama use to. Most of the time (in the past couple of years), I've tried to do healthier versions of all my mama's recipes.

First up, this is the Baked Chicken recipe I use to replace the fried chicken I grew up eating.

  • Season a pot of cold water with your fave spices. I use 1 bouillon cube to every 5 cups water and a dash of tenderizer. Set to medium to medium-high heat.
  • Put the chicken (breasts, wings, or legs - whatever) to cook in the water. I leave the skin on, but you can remove it. ~shrug~
  • While chicken is cooking, mix in a small dish some olive oil, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder and a drop of liquid smoke. You want enough of a mixture to dab all the pieces of chicken.
  • When the chicken is fully cooked through, remove from water & drain. Let the pieces cool enough to handle.
  • Heat your oven to between 300 to 375 degrees (depends on how warm or cool your oven runs). Place a wire grill over a baking pan that's deep enough to add water to the bottom.
  • Lift the skin of the chicken and dab on the seasonings mixture (I use my fingers). Make sure to season all sides of the pieces.
  • Bake the chicken the crispiness you like. I like mine to be really crispy, so I will sometimes set the oven to broil for the last minute of cooking.
I use water in the bottom of the baking pan to catch the drippings. It stops the drippings from smoking up your oven, and it makes the pan easier to clean.

This is my Mixed Greens Concoction, which is so simple, I can't even call it a "recipe":
I put about an inch of water and a drop of olive oil into a pot with one dash of salt or a pinch of a chicken bouillon cube.

I start the water boiling and put in first the collards, turnips and ginger. Cover the pot and turn down to medium heat. (BTW: I like the tiny bit of heat ginger gives because I avoid spicy foods)

When the collards and turnip greens are starting to get soft, I add the broccoli - just laying it on top of the other greens without stirring. When the broccoli starts getting that bright green color, I add the kale on top of the broccoli - no stirring.

Let this cook for just a  couple of minutes. Turn off and remove the pot but keep the lid in place.

Slice your onions and tomatoes, sprinkle them with pepper and a little salt (or Mrs. Dash) and set aside.

Here is where you can deviate. Sometimes, I like to add the spinach on top of the rest of the greens and replace the lid while I slice my onions and tomatoes. Sometimes, I like to not steam the spinach and just add them to the top of the cooked greens on my plate.

Whichever way you choose to do your spinach is fine. When I have everything on my plate, I like to eat the greens with little bits of the onions and tomatoes. Sometimes, I will even drizzle a little more olive oil over the whole mess of greens! (By the way, I've done this "Greens Recipe" as a meal in itself - no meat. You'd be surprised as how filling and hydrating this is."

I use this next recipe to satisfy my burger cravings. There's no meat in it, but the dressing added to the veggies and bread gives me a sense of satisfaction. It's a simple veggie wrap:
  • Get whatever type of bread you want as your wrap. I love using a plain piece of sourdough sandwich bread that I flatten with a can or rolling pin. (Okay, sometimes, I use two pieces, flattened together.) You can also use a tortilla, a pita pocket type bread - whatever.
  • Cut up your favorite veggies. I use strips of green, yellow and red bell peppers; onions, spinach, and whatever else I have around. (Recently, I used some kale and collard greens. The kale wasn't bad, but the collards were a little tough. Still good though!)
  • In a bowl, mix together some mayo and some french dressing with a drop of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Dump your veggies in the bowl and mix well so they are coated in dressing. 
  • Arrange your bread (or whatever) on a paper towel with one end of the towel hanging beyond. Add your veggie/dressing mix and tuck your bread closed with the paper towel covering the bottom to stop drips.
  • Dig in.
It tastes really good. The tangy dressing flavor can make you forget that you aren't eating any meat. It's pretty filling. I know that it may not be as calorie conservative as other healthy choices, but you are getting your veggies. (I came up with this one after I went to Burger King for one of my beloved Whoppers. I ended up tossing out the meat and I just ate the rest of the sandwich.)

Before I forget, I also still like this recipe for Water Veggies.



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