Saturday, October 16, 2010

Winna Winna Chicken Wing Dinna!!

After a busy last half of the week, we are spending a Saturday evening at home watching a movie (and the baseball game).  It is nice to slow things down for the weekend.  I still have to finish my yard work before the snow flies but tonight I am cooking a few tasy favourites and relaxing with the boys!

Now over the past year or two I have been testing different mixtures of coatings to make oven  roasted chicken wings crispy. Wheat flour, corn starch, mixtures of the both, different seasonings...the list goes on! I like using a corn flour and corn starch mixture as it not only makes for a really crispy coating but it is also safe for my gluten free friends!

Tonight however, I tested out the corn starch/corn flour mix and was told they were the best wings I had ever made!  Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!

To make the tastiest oven roasted hot wings ever:
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Prepare a baking sheet with either a silicone baking sheet liner or some parchment paper.
 In an extra large zip top freezer bag mix together:
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 cup corn flour (you can use regular flour or all corn starch but the all the corn products make for a nice crispy coating)
  • Note: You can use 1 cup of four if you wish, the wings will still turn out fabulous! 
  • 1 tbsp paprika (smoked if you have)
  • 1tsp onion powder
  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • pinch each of salt and pepper
  • any other seasonings you feel might be tasty (tonight I added some old bay seasoning)

Once these ingredients are all mixed up place in the bag:
  • 1 pkg of chicken wings and drumettes rinsed in cold water and patted dry (tonight I used a 1.5 kg package)
Seal the zip top bag and shake things up a bit until all the wings are coated.
Take the wings out of the bag and shake off the excess coating.
Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet
Bake for 20 minutes and then turn the wings over.
Bake for another 20 minutes.
Turn the broiler on if needed to brown the wings and give them an extra crispy coating.

Just before serving, transfer some wings to a large bowl and douse and toss them with the sauce of your choice.  Anything you have on hand is a viable option such as:
  • Frank's redhot sauce (a house favourite)
  • BBQ sauce of choice
  • Honey garlic sauce
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Lemon pepper seasoning

Some things in our house are sacred.  Homemade mac and cheese is one of them.  I don't make it very often but when I do, it is sooooo good.  The start of any home made mac and cheese is the bechemel sauce which gets the addition of cheese.  Making the bechemel sauce is one the first jobs my Mom let me do in the kitchen.  I think she was suprised that I had the patience to stay in the kitchen and keep my eye on the sauce.  I might be weird but I do find something relaxing about watching the sauce thicken as I stir it.

To make mac and cheese:

Put a large pot of water on to boil and boil according to the package instructions for firm pasta:
  • 1 lb pkg of elbow macaroni (or any other shaped pasta you have on hand)
In a medium size pot:
  • Melt 4 tbsp butter
  • Stir in 4 tbsp flour
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Continue to stir this mixture for 1 or two minutes to cook out any raw flour taste
Add to this mixture (called a roux)
  • a couple dashes of hot sauce
  • 2 cups of half and half cream (you can use milk but then you risk the milk curdling as it cooks and curdled milk does not make a nice textured sauce!)
Stir/whisk quikly as you add the half and half to keep lumps from forming
Keep the heat on medium and continue to stir fairly often whild it thickens.
You will soon notice the mixture is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon and some thick but slow ripples appear in the pot as you stir.
At this point add and stir at the same time:
  • 1 can of evaporated milk
This won't water down the sauce too much and it will thicken again quickly.  I find waiting to add the evaporated milk helps to prevent it from curdling.

You have now made a bechemel sauce!!
To your wonderfull bechemel sauce, add:
  • 4 cups of shredded cheese
This is one of those time where you can really play with the recipe!  This can be all chedder, just make sure you use a sharp or old cheddar.  Or you can use any mixture of cheeses you like.  Be creative.  Tonight I used sharp cheddar but that was what I had on hand.  Some cheesy ideas"
  • provolone
  • mozzarella
  • monteray jack
  • colby
  • havarti
  • gouda
  • asiago
  • parmesan

 Mix the cooked pasta with the cheese sauce and pour into a baking pan.  Make the crumb topping to put on top before you bake:
  • Melt 2 tbsp butter and add:
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
Mix together until the crumbs are all coated in melted butter (add a little olive oil if the crumbs look dry)

Sprinkle the crumbs evenly on the top of the macaroni and cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree F oven until the topping is golden brown (about 30 minutes).

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