Oven Fried Chicken and Tomato Pasta (AKA let's reinvent the Kraft Pizza Box)

Oven Fried Chicken and Tomato Pasta

  • Servings: 4-8
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 1 Kraft Pizza Kit
  • 10 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 7 large mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsps butter, melted
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 14 cherry tomatoes, cut in pieces
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp freeze dried basil
  • 2 Tbsps red wine
  • 150 g (5.5 oz) dried pasta, linguine
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions


Preheat oven to 425ºF/220ºC. Place 1/4 cup of butter in large glass baking dish and place in the oven until its melted. Remove from oven. Remove items from kit. Remove 1.5 cups from pizza dough mix, place the rest of the mix in a bowl. Add herb packet and cheese packet, garlic powder and salt, mixing well. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, with 1 tablespoon of water. Dip the drumsticks one at a time, from the egg wash, to powder mix, back to eggs, back to powder, then place in the melted butter in the baking dish. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons butter over chicken in dish. Bake in oven for 35 minutes, then remove and turn carefully. Put back in the oven for 15 more minutes, or until internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165ºF/75ºC. Sauté garlic in a pan in the olive oil until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and cook. Add tomatoes, sauce from the can in the kit, oregano, basil and wine, and cook down. Cook pasta in a pot of boiling water. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and add to the sauce, allow it to cook down further. Drain pasta. Mix the pasta with the sauce. Serve.

And now for the details…

We are at day 7 of 14 in isolation, and I am at day 7 of my quarantine challenge to post a new recipe every day. In the last post, I had talked about the Kraft Pizza Kit I received as a gag gift from a friend of ours while we are in isolation. The kit is something we both remember eating when we were young, and I think he was basically implying that since I am in isolation, I must be desperate enough to use the kit. And so this… this post is for you Marcus. I have reimagined the Kraft pizza box into oven fried chicken and pasta.

Let’s get right into it.

Start by preheating the oven to 425ºF/200ºC.

Let’s take a look at the contents of our pizza box: the dough mix, the herb packet, the cheese packet, and the sauce can.

Start by removing 1.5 cups out of the dough mix from the package and set it aside. Aside for what? No idea. From what I can see from the ingredients, the dough mix is pretty much Bisquick. So I guess use it as a replacement for that? Or………? *blank stare* The rest of the package goes into a bowl, along with the herb packet, the cheese packet, garlic powder, and salt. Mix these together well with a fork or whisk until they are mixed fully.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs with one tablespoon of water to make an egg wash for the chicken.

Before moving on, melt 1/4 cup of the butter in a large glass baking dish in the oven. Once melted, take it out, and set it to the side to start placing the chicken in.

We will be double dipping the chicken to get a nice crust for the oven fry. Dip one of the drumsticks in the egg wash, coating completely. Then place it in in the powder mix, turning to coat. Place it back in the egg wash, coat, and then back again into the powder mix, coat. Place the drumstick in the baking dish. Repeat this procedure with all the chicken pieces until they have all been coated.

Once all the drumsticks have been coated and placed in the dish, melt another 2 tablespoons of butter in a small dish, and drizzle it over the drumsticks. Place the drumsticks in the oven for 35 minutes.

After 35 minutes, remove the chicken from the oven, and carefully turn the drumsticks over, trying to gingerly make the flip without tearing the skin or crust on the chicken. I didn’t have success with all the pieces, but 80% is still a passing grade, right?

Place back in the oven and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the inside of the chicken registers at 165ºF/75ºC, making sure to not touch the bone with the thermometer.

In the last 15 minutes, we will cook our pasta and sauce. Sauté the garlic in the olive oil in a large pan until the garlic is fragrant, then add the mushrooms. Usually this is where I would suggest adding salt to help the mushrooms release their liquid, but the sauce in the kit is plenty salty, so we will not be adding any additional salt. If the pan gets too dry before the mushrooms start releasing liquid, add a splash of broth or water to keep the mushrooms and garlic from burning. Once the mushrooms are cooked, add the tomatoes, and stir.

Finally, add the sauce from the can, the oregano and basil, and red wine, using your spoon to stir up any caramelization that formed in the bottom of the pan to absorb back into the sauce.

While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Just before removing the pasta from the stove, add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the sauce, mixing it in. Then, drain the pasta, and add it to the pan with the sauce, stirring well. Let the pasta and sauce cook for a short while more until thick.

When the chicken is done, remove it from the oven. Plate your chicken and pasta. I also cooked some broccoli in a separate dish while my chicken was cooking for some added greenery (just for you Mark, I knew you’d like that).

Serve and enjoy.

Happy eating.

Linguine with White Clam Sauce

Linguine with Clam Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cans (142ml/4.8oz each) baby clams, drained
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to tase
  • 250g (8.8oz) dry linguine
  • 2 Tbsps grated parmesan cheese

Directions


Sauté the shallots on medium high heat in the olive oil until soft. Add the white wine, and cook down until reduced by over half. Add chicken broth and clams, stir. Add oregano and hot sauce, stir. Cut the cream cheese into smaller pieces, then add to the sauce. Allow to melt and stir into the sauce. Cook the linguine. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the sauce. Cook until sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drain the pasta, add to the sauce, and toss to mix. Top with parmesan cheese and fresh ground pepper, serve

And now for the details…

This dish was a family favourite. We were introduced to it by a family friend when I was young, and it quickly became a special dish in our household. We had it often enough, that after a bit of time my mom would not even bother pulling the recipe card out when making it, she had made it so often. We had a tradition in our household that on our birthdays, we would get to choose what we wanted for dinner. The amount of times that I would choose this dish as my birthday dinner are innumerable. Not… because of my age… but because… I liked it so much… I can’t remember how many times… Okay, I’m getting old. Regardless, this is a special dish in my heart, and any time I’m feeling homesick or want some comfort food, this is the dish I turn to.

It’s also a fairly quick and easy meal to come together. So even though it was a special dish, it was still something that could come together on a school/work night in a fairly short amount of time. Pair it up with a simple green salad, and you’ve got yourself a great meal!

Start everything off by mincing the shallot and sautéing it in a large pan on medium high heat with the olive oil just until the shallot has started to soften and turned translucent. Add the white wine to the pan, stirring to mix.

We are going to let the white wine reduce until the liquid has almost completely boiled off. Just a small amount of liquid should be left in the pan.

Next, add your chicken broth and clams. Yes, I am suggesting to drain the clams, and yes, this is an opportunity to use the clam juice to increase the “clamminess” of your dish. But to be honest, I actually find the clam juice a bit too salty (I know, it’s shocking, I’m calling something too salty, call the press) and not as rich in umami flavour as using chicken broth as your liquid source. It’s also important to use baby clams in this dish. I made the mistake once of not paying attention when buying the canned clams and ended up with whole clam pieces. The texture is just not the same as the small, juicy bites of baby clams.

Stir, bringing the sauce back up to a simmer, then add the oregano and hot sauce. Just a few dashes of the hot sauce, we are not trying to burn our faces off (I mean, unless that’s what you are looking for, then have at ‘er), just adding an extra layer of flavour to the dish. Now is also a good time to start cooking your pasta so it is ready around the time as your sauce.

Cut the cream cheese into smaller pieces. This will allow the cream cheese to melt faster, and meld into the sauce a bit faster. A quick note on cream cheese: you can use low fat cream cheese, but I would recommend the full fat. The low fat cream cheese does not melt as quickly, and it takes quite awhile before your sauce looks homogenous without a whole bunch of white chunks floating around.

Let the sauce simmer for a bit as you stir the melting cream cheese in. At this point, your pasta should be fairly close to being done as well. Before draining the pasta, add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the sauce and allow it to continue to simmer until the sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon. The addition of the pasta water helps the sauce to thicken, and will help it adhere to the pasta. Give the sauce a final taste test and add salt and pepper to suit your tastes.

Once the sauce is ready, add the drained pasta to the pan, and stir to mix the sauce into the pasta. Transfer to a wide serving platter, and top with the parmesan and fresh ground pepper, then serve!

Happy eating.

Rainbow Vegetable Bowl with Satay Sauce

Rainbow Veggie Bowl with Satay Sauce

  • Servings: 2 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/4 red cabbage, sliced thin
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 3 leaves kale, stalk removed and sliced into strips
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 cup brussel sprouts, sliced thin
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 inch ginger, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 3 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 6 Tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sambal oelek
  • 2 eggs, soft boiled

Directions


Prepare your veggies. Mix together the peanut butter, chilli sauce, coconut milk and soy sauce, and set aside. Add the shallots, garlic and carrots to a large pan with the oil and sauté on medium high heat until the shallows start to brown. Add the ginger and stir, then add the cabbage and brussel sprouts, stirring while cooking until the sprout and cabbage have just started to soften. Stir in the kale and red pepper, and cook until the kale has turned bright green. Separate the veggies into two bowls. Top with the satay sauce and eggs, and serve.

And now for the details…

Guilty admission: this recipe was created when I was trying to clean out our refrigerator. I had all these random bits of veg left over from other recipes that I had made and I needed to find something to do with them. Et voilà: a rainbow smorgasbord of sautéed veggies with a satay dressing and soft boiled eggs to top them off.

This recipe comes together fairly quickly, and so is a great option for a weekday meal. And since the main protein source is egg, it’s also appropriate for the non meat eaters out there! Have a vegan in the crowd? Swap out the eggs for pan fried tofu, and you are in business! The recipe also scales up an down quite easily, depending on the number in your crowd.

Start everything off my prepping your veggies and sauce. Once the cooking starts, this recipe comes together very quickly, so you want everything ready to go so you can just toss each element into the pan and plate immediately.

Slicing of your sprouts and cabbage could be done by hand or in a food processor, whichever is your preference. I like slicing by hand since it allows me more control and I prefer the veggies to be sliced thinner than the food processor will allow.

For the sauce, we simply whisk together the peanut butter, chilli sauce, coconut milk and soy sauce until they are fully mixed. I like using crunchy peanut butter for this so you get little bites of peanut in the dish after mixing the sauce into the veggies. I also added some sambal oelek for added spice, but if you prefer a milder flavour, you can omit it.

Next it’s on to cooking. Start with your soft boiled eggs. Bring a pot of water to a boil, carefully place the eggs inside (use a spoon or skimmer to help you do this to prevent dropping the eggs too fast and cracking the shells), then reduce the temperature to medium-low and cook the eggs for 6-7 minutes, depending on your preference of yolk smooshiness. Have an ice bath ready. While the eggs are cooking, we can start cooking the rest of the meal, but the moment the eggs are done, they should be removed from the hot water and placed in the ice bath.

Moving on to the veggies. Heat a large pan at medium-high heat with the oil, and add the ginger and garlic. Cook until just fragrant, then add your shallots and carrots. Stir, cooking until the shallots start to brown, then add the Brussel sprouts and cabbage. Stir, cooking just until the cabbage starts to soften, and add the kale and red pepper. One last stir and cook until the kale turns bright green and just starts to wilt, then remove from the heat and place into your bowls for serving.

Pour the satay sauce over the veggies, peel the eggs (yes, I definitely massacred them in this photo…), cut them in half and place on top, and you are ready to for dinner!

Happy eating.