day 9: using what you’ve got … til it’s gone (chicken salad)!

In the world of food, creating a new dish from ingredients you have on hand is looked upon as creative and expressive. It can also be a glimpse into one’s ability to spend your kitchen dollars wisely. Here … I like to refer to it as an opportunity to show off your culinary kung-fu kickery. Did you know that some of the most delicious dishes were comprised of mere leftovers, remnants of what was once a delicacy?

As someone that enjoys the art of cooking, loves food and loathes the never-ending trips to the market … I take this practice to heart often. Ever been to someone’s house who says they have no food? Ever seen that person whip up rock star meals with seemingly no effort, budget or stress? It’s down right sexy isn’t it (oh, yes I did)!

Let’s exercise some of that frugality, shall we? Day 1 dawned homemade chicken stock. Day 2 brought a chicken soup to life. Fast forward … what on earth could possibly be left? Chicken salad of course!

Leftovers have never looked or tasted so good!

Leftovers have never looked or tasted so good!

What you’ll need:

  • Leftover pulled chicken
  • A smidge (yes, a smidge) of mayo by way of about a heaping tablespoon
  • A smidge of sour cream (heaping tablespoon I mean – or plain Greek yogurt)
  • Juice from one lemon
  • Fresh Italian parsley, chopped (a small handful works great)
  • A bit of dried fruit – dried cranberries is what I used. Raisins, fresh grapes cut in half or apples chopped will do just fine.
  • 2 stalks of celery diced
  • 1/2 red onion diced (or chives work great too)
  • 1 tsp of brown sugar
  • salt & pepper to taste (I add quite a bit as chicken, in my humble opinion is like a blank canvas)
  • Chopped nuts (I don’t like nuts in my salads, but hey, if you’re into that sort of thing add away)

What you’ll do:

  1. Combine mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. Whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture is velvety smooth.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine chicken , parsley, fruit, celery, onion and nuts (if you’re choosing to).
  3. Pour dressing over the chicken mixture and blend until all ingredients are well combined.
  4. Simple as that! Now serve with celery stalks, a sandwich container of some sort, atop a mixed green salad, or eat with the crunch of your choice … mine at the moment are pretzel thins (insert AMAZING).
  5. Enjoy!

granny’s fried chicken

Here’s the funny thing about being a foodie … the more you love food, the less you know what foods you really want to eat at any given time. I find the biggest arguments I have with my beloved are truly about what to have for dinner. Sometimes there’s just no correct answer. But today (insert thankfulness) there is one.

Granny's Fried Chicken

Granny’s Fried Chicken

Now, I’m not saying MY grandmother is the only one who knows what to do by way of fried chicken. But, for a gal that refuses to eat hot foods cold – this is the recipe that breaks all bounds. It took me 20 years to realize that more often than not – simple is truly better. I’m honored to share this one with you. *Please note, there may be some terms that make no sense to you (if you’re not Southern or at least from these here parts, but keep at it. It’s well worth your time.

What you’ll need:

  • 12 drumsticks (although, works with any chicken cuts you desire). Nope. Leave the skin on and all in tact.
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • Iodized (you know, like Morton’s) salt
  • A lot and I mean a lot of pepper
  • Canola/ peanut oil (enough to coat your skillet and fill to 1/2 an inch)

What you’ll do:

  1. Heat oil in skillet to medium high.
  2. Place chicken in the largest bowl you’ve got.
  3. Salt generously – don’t worry about shaking it or anything fancy. *If you have more layers (due to constrained bowl size, fret not! Simply salt each layer generously. And yes! It’s normal to think you’ve got too much salt going. Again, DO NOT WORRY!
  4. In another bowl, pour flour. Then add chicken pieces (no more than 6 at a time). Toss to coat thoroughly. Do not, again DO NOT be shy.
  5. Place first batch of chicken into skillet and turn heat up to high (the temperature of the chicken drops the temperature of the oil – thus this is the most important step folks)!
  6. Generously pepper the chicken (while in the skillet).
  7. When the edges of the chicken turn “kindly” or golden brown (about the shade of a toffee candy), flip your chicken.
  8. Pepper generously again.
  9. When all sides of the chicken are toffee colored or 165 degrees, remove and …