Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sunday Dinner

This morning I fixed a bigger-than-usual breakfast, with bacon, grits, eggs and toast (for the boys).  I got out the homemade apple butter and jellies Mom had canned in previous years, and needed a new jar for saving my bacon grease because my other jar is full (because I forget to use it instead of shortening or oil).

As I was pouring the bacon grease, I was wondering if it needed to be kept in the refrigerator. I keep mine in the fridge, but Grannie never did. She had a metal cannister thing that had GREASE stamped on it, with a strainer inside, that sat on her stove she poured her bacon grease in to.  She also used it a whole lot more than I do, though.

As I was thinking about Grannie and her stove, I started feeling nostalgic for Sunday Dinners at Grannie's we used to have when I was a kid.
It wasn't every Sunday, though it sometimes seems like it in my memories, but probably more like once a month or so, everyone would go to Grannie's house for Sunday Dinner. Sometimes it would just be us and my Mom's sisters and brother, but more often several of Grannie's brothers and/or sisters and their families would show up, too.
Grannie would always fry chicken in her big iron skillet. She'd make green beans in her pressure cooker, tater salad, creamed corn and corn on the cob, fried okra, biscuits, gravy, and cornbread. And chocolate cake, with fudge icing that no one in the family has been able to replicate since.

Nor, apparently, her fried chicken. Mom is the only one of her sister's that can even remotely fry chicken, and (sorry, Mom!) her's just ain't that good.  I've tried a few times over the years, but so far, no good.
I refuse to give up trying. I couldn't make gravy for a long time, or biscuits for even longer, but I just kept trying and trying, and finally, I got it!
I know how Grannie told me to fry chicken, but I thought maybe I'm missing something, or over-complicating the issue.  I've gotten lots of helpful hints from the internet about all kinds of things in the past, so I figured I'd look around and see if I could find any "magic tricks" for making southern fried chicken.

Not really, but I ended up coming across a really, really easy recipe for "Unfried Chicken" at the Kraft foods site.
Basically, you marinate chicken parts (it called for whole cut up chicken but I only had boneless/skinless breasts) in a 1/2 cup of Ranch Dressing (called for Kraft Lite but I only had Wishbone) in the fridge for 30 minutes, then coat in Shake-n-Bake, and bake in the oven on 400* for 40-45 minutes.

But, I didn't have any Shake'n'Bake.  I thought to myself, 'There's a recipe for 'homemade' everything else on the internet, I bet there's one for homemade Shake-n-Bake, too'.
I have no idea what is in Shake-n-Bake, but I found a recipe at Allrecipes I thought I could handle. It involved a lot of spices, several of which I didn't have, but was able to find at the Dollar Tree for $1.00 each. Except Celery Salt, which I found at a local grocery store for $1.09. (Walmart only had a big +$4 bottle.)

Got the supplies for the Shake-n-Bake gathered up.
Put the chicken parts in a 1/2 cup of Ranch Dressing to
marinate in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour (or so).
When I started making my Shake-n-Bake, I ended up not having enough breadcrumbs. I already knew I didn't, and could have bought a cannister of them at the Dollar Tree, but I said, 'You know, I think I can make home made bread crumbs.'

Put pieces of bread in single layer on a cookie
sheet and put in oven on about 300*. I turned mine over
several times so they'd dry evenly on both sides.
Took about 15 to 20 minutes.
Break up dried bread into food processor and chop.
Voila'. Homemade bread crumbs.
Mixed up the Shake-n-Bake in a ziplock bag.
 Made at least two or three batches, maybe more.
I stored the rest in the freezer. Don't know if I
needed to, though.
"Unfried" Chicken, field peas & snaps,
and garlic roasted mashed potatoes.
It was pretty good!
Eventually I realized today was Saturday, not Sunday, haha!


Danielle said...

I am laughing, I just caught the end of your post as I went to comment, that it was Saturday and not Sunday! :o) Whatever works!! :o)

That chicken looks good, and I don't even eat chicken! I might have to make this for the family. I may even have a box of shake n bake. Is it the ranch dressing liquid or powder?

Melissa said...

LOL, yeah I have pretty much lost all my sense of day-of-the-week since the boys have been out of school and J doesn't work any kind of normal schedule.

My Ranch was liquid but I'm sure you could mix up a powder mix and it work the same way, so long as it's wet and coats the chicken.

I bet you could use pork chops instead of chicken if you preferred.

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