Rebecca's Cooking Journal

salt and pepper

Penne Ponza

Most delicious pasta ever. It’s perfect because it’s not a heavy creamy sauce, but the tomatoes and breadcrumbs mixture is absolutely delicious. My husband added red pepper flakes to his serving; he said it didn’t have quite enough flavor. But I loved it so much just as it was.

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Chicken Nuggets (Breaded Chicken)

I made Emily Franklin’s recipe for chicken nuggets the other night. I was thinking it was a quick weekend meal, and that it would be delicious.

It certainly was delicious, but being an inexperienced cook, it took me quite a long time. I found I was breading each piece of chicken individually at first. Once I realized I could do many at once, it was much easier. (I know, I’m so dumb.) The breading Emily Franklin suggests is the normal flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.

They were quite delicious. I whipped up some honey mustard (ingredients: honey, mustard, and a little mayonnaise). However. The time it took to fry and then bake the many little bite-sized nuggets was not made up in flavor. Next time I do it, I’m going to leave the chicken in strips, rather than small bite-sized bits.

I think Ms. Franklin’s entire point was that kids are familiar with bite-sized chicken nuggets: once they know Mom can make chicken nuggets better than McDonald’s they won’t hesitate to have Mom’s breaded chicken either. Since my son is still too young to have ever had McDonald’s, I figure I can just skip that step and go strait to the breaded chicken and other chicken dishes!

Arancini

“Arancini” means “little orange balls.” I ate them once at a restaurant, and just as I thought when I first had risotto, I thought: “Wow! This is fancy! If I every cook arancini, I’ll know I’m becoming a cook.”

Arancini is so simple to make, that thought makes me laugh!

Some people don’t like leftover risotto: it becomes sticky and gummy, and loses the “fresh” consistency after a day in the fridge. I don’t mind it, but I love arancini better.

It’s so simple: make a ball of cold risotto, stick a little bit of melting cheese in the middle of it, roll it in bread crumbs, fry it in oil. Yum!

Yesterday night I only have cheddar cheese — I forgot to buy the swiss or mozzarella that is best in arancini. I wasn’t crazy about the cheddar flavor, but it still worked okay. I used a mozzarella-pesto sauce (the same one I had on my meatballs a few weeks ago, i.e., crushed tomatoes mixed with pesto) and it also tasted very good on arancini!

Giada‘s recipe is slightly more complicated than mine: she rolls the balls in egg before bread crumbs. I also used plain Parmesan risotto and her recipe calls for mushroom risotto with peas. I think any kind of leftover risotto might work.

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