Saturday, June 19, 2010

Recipe of the "Week"

I'm a master procrastinator. Case in point, I'm writing this post instead of cleaning my kitchen. I figure, I'm writing about cooking, which involves working in the kitchen, so maybe that makes it okay. . .right? No? Well, it was worth a shot. Okay, I promise, right after this post, I'll go clean the kitchen. Once I check my email (again) & call my Mama. But, then I'll clean the kitchen. (Speaking of Mama, you know that these sorts of bad character traits are all her fault. Somehow. I'll bet I could get a psychologist to agree with me. Cue mischievous laugh.  Oh, wait. . .that puts me in a psychologist's office. . .hmmm.)

How in the world all of this became the intro for this week's recipe I'll never know.

Italian Baked Chicken with Smothered Potatoes

Ingredients for Italian Baked Chicken:

-2 lbs. chicken breasts
-Zesty Italian dressing (believe it or not, the Wal-Mart brand is our favorite one. And I detest W-M.)

Directions for Italian Baked Chicken:

-Spray a 9"x13" baking dish with cooking spray, all over the bottom & up the sides

-Shake the dressing bottle well (I know, I know, but somebody's not gonna do it) & squirt enough dressing to coat the bottom of the dish.

-Lay out the chicken breasts so that they're slightly overlapping (I'm able to lay out 3 side-by side & end-to-end this way).

-Stab each piece of chicken all over with a fork.

-Pour Italian dressing all over the chicken breasts until they are mostly covered.

-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. This allows the chicken breasts to marinate while the oven is heating up.

-Bake chicken until both sides are golden brown. Be careful not to cook them too long or the dressing will turn black, which they say is carcinogenic.

-When serving chicken, spoon any remaining dressing from the bottom of the dish onto the chicken.

Ingredients for Smothered Potatoes:

-Cooking oil
- ~ 5 or 6 potatoes*
-6 or 7 onions*

*Note: The number of potatoes & onions is really a personal preference. We like our potatoes smothered in onions, so I put more onions than potatoes in this dish. The onions always shrink up considerably, & even when I think I have too many potatoes & onions at the start, it never seems to be enough once I'm done. Oh! Also, I only cook this in an electric skillet, so some modification may be necessary with a cast-iron or any other round skillet.

Directions for Smothered Potatoes:

-Pour enough oil into the skillet to just cover the bottom.

-Turn the skillet's temperature gauge up to 350 degrees.

-Chop the onions. Watch this video for a great way to chop an onion without the risk of it slipping & you cutting yourself. Follow the instructions until just a little after the 2-minute mark. At this point, you need to cut the onion straight down vertically (instead of horizontally as she does). Don't dice them. Here's a picture to show you how they should look. Visuals always help me. Oh! And one more thing - I slice my onions very thin. I get more onions this way, plus they turn more brown like I like.

-Once you've distributed the onions into the skillet, put the top on & let them cook while you cut the potatoes.

-Scrub the potatoes & cut off any bad parts.

-Cut each potato from one end to the other. Don't cut them too thick or they'll take forever to soften, but if you cut them too thin, they'll fall apart.

-Before you lay the potatoes out in the skillet, stir the onions. They've been cooking on one side up until now, so this lets them cook on the other side as well.

-Lay the potatoes out in one layer on top of the onions, as shown.

-Replace the lid & continue to cook them, stirring periodically so that everything is cooked evenly.

-When you notice the onions & potatoes beginning to stick (don't wait too long on this), you'll need to turn the temperature down to about 300 degrees. I like darker & slightly crispy onions & potatoes, but it's no fun to fight the stuck-on potatoes while you're trying to cook them!

-Once they've reached your desired consistency & coloring, turn the skillet to warm until you're ready to serve them.

Okay, now this next part is vitally important. Please make sure that you do not divert from these directions in the least.

-Once your meal is on your plate, squirt ketchup all over the smothered potatoes & then mix together. Seriously, you won't get the right flavor if you don't. I realize some of you are mavericks who like to blaze your own trail, but don't. Or, if you do, don't tell me about it. 

Serve this meal with corn, green beans (I doctor mine up with minced garlic, Italian seasoning, a little bit of salt & pepper, & just a dash of sugar), & rolls. Dessert can be whatever you wish.



Lisa said...

Looks delicious! But ketchup on your smothered potatoes??? Seriously??? They are soooo good without old nasty ketchup! :)

The Boyds said...

Like this is news to you! And it's absolutely necessary! Don't you go encouraging people to forego the ketchup! Get thee behind me. . . (hehe)

The Boyds said...

Oh, & what? No comment on the "Mama-bad traits-psychologist" part? ;-) That was just for you!