Thursday, August 8, 2013

Oven Fried Chicken

You can do this one a few ways – if whole chickens are on sale, buy one of those and cut it up.  (Often, if you ask nicely, the grocer will cut it up for you.)  Or you can buy chicken thighs and legs and use those, if they’re cheaper. Wings used to be really cheap, and I would use those; but since the wing craze took off, those are crazy pricey. Don’t use those.


  • Enough chicken to feed your family – I get half a pound per grown up and ¼ pound per kid
  • About a cup of flour
  • 1 tsp salt Salt
  • I tsp Pepper
  • Some other spices – I use thyme and paprika and onion powder, but you can mess with this if you like

Start about two hours before you plan to eat – leave the chicken out to get to room temperature.

When you’re ready to start, heat your oven to 425.

Cut the chicken up into serving size pieces if it’s not already cut up. Wash the pieces and pat them dry.

Put the flour, salt, and spice (about a tsp each, or more if you like – I always use more!) into a brown paper bag.  A regular grocery bag is perfect.  Seal the top and shake it up good.

Now add all the chicken pieces.  Shake it again.  Shake it good.  You want flour all over the chicken pieces, thoroughly coating each.

Cover a large baking with aluminum foil.

Lay the chicken pieces flat in the pan.

Bake at 425 for about 45 minutes, or until all the chicken is done.  (Bigger pieces might take longer than smaller pieces, so watch out for this! Maybe turn them over while they’re baking.)

Goes well with mashed potatoes or asparagus.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Chocolate Gravy

This is a local favorite, which until I came to NW Arkansas I had never heard of.  But my Arkansas and Oklahoma students all learned to make it from their Nanas, and in fact this recipe comes to me from one of my students (thanks, James!)


  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 2 1/2 rounded tbs of coca powder
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • A little butter

Whisk together the dry ingredients

Mix in the milk slowly.  You're working to avoid lumps here.  Stir constantly over a medium heat until the mix thickens to a nice muddy texture.

Put in a serving bowl.  You can stir in butter to taste, and then either dip in your biscuits or spread onto your biscuits and eat, depending on how you prefer.  You can also just rip up your biscuits, put'em in the gravy, and eat them up with a fork.  

It's also good on toast if you're one of those that eats toast.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Stir Fry

Warning: This isn’t authentic stir fry.  This is more like graduate school, impoverished stir fry.  

  • A couple green onions, diced fine
  • A carrot, peeled and cut up into little bits
  • A quarter-sized piece of ginger diced fine.  (Hint: you can get a hunk of ginger root from your health food place, peel it, cut it, and then freeze the bits.  It keeps forever.)
  • Some other vegetables – whatever you like to eat or have on hand, basically. Peapods are good, or sugar peas; fresh green beans in season; broccoli if you like that (I don’t); maybe a little fresh spinach; a little bok choy; water chestnuts and those little ears of baby corn if you’re in the money.
  • About 1/4 cup of broth.  Your vegetable broth is fine and you can used canned broth or water here.
  • A little soy sauce – maybe a tbs?
  • Sesame oil if you’ve got it – it’s not vital, but it’s tasty.  Also about a tbs.
  • Meat if you’ve got it – maybe ½ cup of whatever you’ve got.  I use up leftover chicken or beef this way.  But any sort of meat is fine, and you can leave it out.
  • Peanut oil for frying (Use any kind of oil you like, really, but peanut oil is the best).
  • Cooked rice

Cook your rice beforehand.  You want it ready to go when the vegetables are done. White rice or brown rice, whichever you like best.

Cut up everything while the rice is cooking.

In a nice big cast iron skillet put enough peanut oil to cover the bottom.  Get it hot. It's ready when a drop of water flicked into the skillet dances and sizzles.

Add the ginger and the green onion and stir.  Dump in the carrot and whatever other “tough” vegetables you’re using – veggies that need lots of cooking. (Broccoli, green beans, that kind of thing.) 

Stir well for three or four minutes.  Add soy sauce and Sesame oil.  Add broth or water.  Add meat. Cover, let it cook for about five minutes. (Skillets don't usually have lids.  If yours doesn't, cover with anything that will work -- I use a pizza pan.)

Remove cover, add the rest of the vegetables, stir for another few minutes.

Serve hot over rice.  Or rice noodles – those are good too.  Extra soy sauce at the table!