Monday, August 17, 2009

Chicken Rehab: When Fowl Goes Foul

Confession: I cheated my way through 8th grade Geometry. Sorry, Mr. Narveson, but it's the truth. I tried to learn to solve the problems myself; I did. But no matter how hard I concentrated, how often I came in early for extra help, those angles and lines never made any sense to me. It was humiliating. I sulked through that class, slung myself low in the corner, praying that old "Nickels" Narvie wouldn't call my name.

For some people, cooking is like that dreaded Geometry class. However, Geometry class ended. I just had to "do my time" for two semesters. People who are cooking challenged have to deal with the stove for the rest of their lives. Now that's terrifying.

Cooking, like any other hobby/creative pursuit takes practice. That said, some of us just seem to have a knack for it. I'm lucky that way. I can rummage around my pantry, peek into the refrigerator and, most times, figure out a way to combine the odds and ends into something fairly tasty. For others, throwing dinner together on the fly like that is akin to Chinese Water Torture. Or 8th grade Geometry.

My sweet fellow blogger Gibby wrote this hilarious post a while back, cataloging her mishap with a recalcitrant chicken dinner. While I can't say I've been confounded by chicken, I do know how she feels. What chicken is to Gibs, a parrallelogram is to me. Life is cruel, I tell you.

Luckily, Gibby has a sense of humor about her struggles (unlike me, who will retain her Mathematical Sourpuss title for life). I promised Gibs that I would post a Chicken Rehab recipe for her--a relatively simple solution for her chicken conundrum.

So wonderful, witty Gibby, this is for you. Give it a shot, sweet-cheeks, and let me know how it goes. Life's too short to Kung-Fu fight with chicken.

Honey-Mustard Oven Fried Chicken
adapted from Paula Deen
serves 4

3 cups Panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons freshly minced thyme leaves (or you can use 1 tsp. dried thyme)
Kosher salt, ground pepper and a dash of cayenne
1/4 cup honey mustard
2 tablespoons water
2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4 inch thickness

Directions: Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil. Place a cooling rack (wire) over the baking sheet and coat rack well with nonstick cooking spray.

In a shallow dish, combine panko, 2 tablespoons olive oil, thyme, salt, pepper and cayenne.

In a separate bowl, combine honey mustard, water, and salt and pepper to taste, and remaining olive oil.

Coat each chicken breast with mustard mixture; dredge in crumb mixture. Place on prepared rack in pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until chicken is golden brown. Serve immediately.

**A note from me: If you place each chicken breast between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, they pound out easily and tend not to tear around the edges. My girls love pounding out chicken--it's noisy, a little dirty, and strangely cathartic to go all Jackie Chan on a lump of fowl. Trust me.


  1. I can't wait to hear how Gibby does with this one. I think she'll be okay if she sticks to the recipe!

    I think she probably cooks like I do... just fine as long as you don't veer to far off the recipe.

    I wish it would cool off a little. It's so hot here I don't dare turn on my oven!

  2. Yay for this! Those of us with, um, chicken issues are grateful.

  3. This sounds great and I just happened to find some Panko bread crumbs at the store the other day!

  4. I love honey mustard combined with chicken. This sounds like a winning and simple recipe! Hang in there Gibby - unlike Math you can make up whatever answers you like when cooking!

  5. This looks mighty good. I do mine with spicy mustard. Haven't tried it with panko bread crumbs yet. They are easier to find at your grocery store, before you'd run across them every so often.

    I could never do Algebra! :(

  6. Sounds yummy! You're so sweet to understand people with cooking issues. I have issues with fish because I wasn't raised eating, though undercooked fish can't kill you like undercooked chicken.

  7. Delicious. I am a loser at math too. I can't wrap my brain around it no matter how hard I try.

  8. LMAO!!! DEfinitely...this sounds like a tasty recipe that the kids will love, too!

  9. Nothing beats a written morsel like old "Nickles" Narvie.

  10. ck: Since I'm sure old "Nickles" ain't gonna be reading this, allow me to complete the visual: He had this overbite thing going on that, I swear, made him a dead ringer for a snapping turtle.

    The "Nickles" moniker came from a strange habit he had of jangling whatever loose change he had in his front pockets CONSTANTLY. Personally, I think he was just playin' with his Junk...

    Dude had the personality of a fire hydrant.

  11. Hmmm...sounds good - might have to give that a go! xxx

  12. Yum!That is delicious! Thanks for the link to Gibby,I couldn't stop laughing after reading her blog because that is just so like me when I started out in the kitchen :)You have so many great recipes here, I love it!

  13. (How did I miss this yesterday?!)

    Sooooooo, what does it say if I am equally bad at geometry AND cooking? How about when my calc professor wrote at the top of my paper, "you have no idea what you are doing?" Still one of my favorite math memories.

    Anyhow, thanks for the shout-out!!! You're so sweet, TKW! And KB!, don't you worry, you guys will hear all about this. Just not sure I'll pull the camera out, because I am pretty sure mine will not look like this pic. Off to get Panko bread crumbs...

  14. Imagine...I learned to cheat in Sunday school, and I still can't get over it!It upset me for so long, I never cheated for myself again. I say "for myself" because my rule was that I would give others my papers or answers to copy, but never would take a return "gift."

  15. catherine, I am laughing that you learned to cheat in Sunday school!

    Alisa: yeah, our Gibby is pretty special! I love her blog.

    Gibs: your little math anecdote made me laugh, but that teacher is a wretch! I STILL have nightmares about math class.

  16. everything tastes better with panko

  17. This sounds delicious and easy and like something my monkey-butt children will eat. Brilliant! I will have to do some breadcrumb research and find our equivalent to your Panko.

  18. OMG I found the Panko breadcrumbs in the miniscule Japanese section of my grocery store. That little bag cost me over $4 but I don't care because I'm just excited that I found them.