Monday, November 5, 2012

Oats and Chicken

When I first got my Quaker (Rolled) Oats, I was weary on what to do with them. It's all a part of a learning process when you make the conscious decision to eat better. You have to experiment with recipes, and spices, make something amazing or make something horrible. You just have to keep learning, and tell your husband that if he doesn't like your hot dog casserole, then he can eat cat food, like I always tell mine.
What about this hot dog casserole, you ask? Well, it truly was a horrific pan of something teetering on the edge of inedible and edible. The recipe called for Jiffy mix, and I used Bisquick. When you're standing in your kitchen, sporting paint splattered sweats, and have already removed that godforsaken bra for the night, the last thing you feel like doing is putting that bra back on and having to go back to the grocery store.  So this recipe was supposed to be a pan of cornbread, littered with hot dog pieces and possibly cheese and maybe some onion. I don't really remember. I just remember pulling out a pan of biscuits, with hot dogs and attempting to eat it with mustard and ketchup. Out of the goodness of his heart, Ben reluctantly ate a bowl of biscuit mix with hot dogs, and kept nicely reassuring me that it was 'Ok'. What I should have done, was took the pan out of the oven, and set it on the floor so the cats could have at it. The remaining hot dog mixture was promptly disposed of. Of course, this wasn't meant to be one of my healthier choices of recipes...more like a Pinterest fail...stupid Pinterest. Stupid Jiffy. Stupid bra.
That was one of many of the scary recipes I've pulled out of the oven, or scooped out of a skillet. Neither Ben, nor myself, have ever had any practice cooking. My proudest moments are when I can perfect a bowl of instant pudding, or not burn a pot of noodles for once. In my attempts to discover myself in terms of cooking, I came across my Quaker rolled oats. Much like the little paper bag oats you can buy, these are the same, except much cheaper and you get a lot more. I was craving oatmeal one night and only had these ridiculous, tasteless oats in my cabinet. So I dove inside my endless cabinet of crap and came across a few things to add to it. When I was done sprinkling, squeezing and dashing things in it, it came out quite good.  So I thought I would share my breakfast recipe with you.
1/2 cup of rolled oats
1 tbsp of brown sugar
2 drops of vanilla extract
1 tbsp of milled flax seed
A few sprinkles of Cinnamon
As much honey as your heart desires
Use skim milk in your oats (I don't ever measure this out, I usually just use enough to soak them, but this also depends on how dry you want them), and put them in the microwave for 1 minute. Depending on the texture, you can put them in for 30 more seconds to another minute to get it to the desired consistency. They may not be as sweet as the packaged, but they are better for you and you can make way more of it for less money! If you're feeling fall festive, add some nutmeg. For those of you who prefer soy or almond milk, it tends to make things runnier, so microwaving times may vary.
Something else I made over the weekend, which came to a shock to me, was a baked chicken dish. The recipe originally required a packet of ranch mix and wouldn't you know it, the grocery store was fresh out, so I had to get a Fiesta style ranch pack.  I could hear Ben's voice in my head, "You scare me when you don't follow the recipes exactly", while shaking his head and heading for a bag of BBQ Jays to fill up on before forced to eat my creations. The recipe also asked that you dip the chicken in melted butter before dipping into the mix, and that just didn't sit well with me. There is no reason you need to use melted butter. An egg, or even an egg white work just fine. So here's the recipe...
3 large chicken breasts, trimmed and cut in half
1 egg
3/4 cups of crushed cornflakes
1 packet of Fiesta Ranch (or regular)
3/4 cup of grated Parmesan
Normally I get alarmed when I see 'crushed' of anything because I do not yet own a rolling pin. So to crush the flakes, I just put them in a sealable sandwich bag, and crush them with the bottom of a thick glass. Don't judge me.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Mix the cornflakes, ranch packet, and grated Parmesan in a bowl.
Next, take the chicken pieces and dip them in the egg, and then coat them completely with the coating mixture. Place them in a 9x13 greased baking dish and let them cook for 45 minutes. When the 45 minutes was up, I took them up, and brushed the tops with a little bit of melted butter for a little extra browning. If you want this dish to stay somewhat healthy, don't get crazy with the butter.
This was incredibly easy, and Ben loved it. Genuinely, and not just to be nice. I'm making this again tonight with an original ranch packet. I plan on capturing my masterpiece so I can add a picture tomorrow.
I am always open to healthy alternatives, and welcome any comments or suggestions.

Edit: Here is the promised picture of my chicken-


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