I’m looking out my kitchen window at a wall of snow almost seven feet high. That’s only in my back yard and it’s still snowing. The winter wind is frantically howling and it’s about three degrees outside. The wind chill is so far below zero that even the snowman’s freezing his snowballs off and wants to come inside. I hate winter, did I mention that? Yes, it’s true, I am a disgrace to my French Canadian heritage (My family founded the Gasp Peninsula). I am not a winter person so I need to experience comforting things to make me feel better about surviving a long, cold, snowy, windy, New England Winter as I wait patiently for Spring and Summer to arrive.
One of those comfuhting things is, well . . . cookin! Ah you surprised? There’s nothin bettuh than a pipin hot bowl of stew or chowduh, especially when you have a Boston accent like I do, but that’s not what I’m cookin tuhnight. I screwed up, I meant to take a frozen package of 2 boneless chicken breasts out to thaw, but I accidentally took out the bag of four. Oh well, it’s not the end of the world, I’ll just use my culinary magic and create two meals instead of one. Hmmmm . . . but how will I prepare it? I opened the fridge door and both the light inside the fridge and above my head went on. “Ranch Dressing” I love Ranch Dressing! Let the comforting culinary curriculum commence! try saying that ten times fast! Wait till you see how I turned my thawed out mistake into two delicious meals.
BAKED RANCH CHICKEN
Boneless chicken breasts (I used 4)
Panko bread crumbs, about 1 and 1/2 cups (Italian seasoned)
Ritz crackers, about 1 and 1/2 cups
Ranch Dressing 1 cup
Set oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a cookie sheet with olive oil
Combine the Panko crumbs and Ritz crackers in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix together ranch dressing and egg. (mix well)
One at a time, take the boneless chicken breast and place it in the ranch dressing mixture and cover well. Next, take ranch covered chicken breast and place in bowl with panko/Ritz dry mixture and coat really, really, well.
Place on greased cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven, let sit for a minute or so, serve and ENJOY!
So now we’ve eaten meal #1 with two out of the four Ranch, Panko, Ritz, boneless chicken breasts I’ve baked, so what do I create with the remaining two breasts? That’s an easy one . . . Papa Tony’s Ultimate Chicken Salad!
One bite of “Papa Tony’s Chicken Salad” and you’re hooked, it’s kind of like Lays potato chips, you just can’t eat one bite. This is one meal the my entire family likes and it’s gone as fast as I’ve made it.
Papa Tony’s Ultimate Chicken Salad
2 Ranch, Panko, Ritz, boneless, baked, chicken breasts cut into small bite size pieces
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 medium size stalks of celery washed and chopped
3/4 cup red seedless grapes (you can use green too) cut in half
1 and 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 and 1/2 cup mayonnaise (more or less if you choose)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Panini bread or similar bread
In a big bowl. combine all ingredients except the bread and mix well.
Place a heaping amount of chicken salad on Panini bread to create a ginormous sandwich. Serve with your favorite chips, soup or french fries,
I served our sandwiches with crocks of homemade French Onion Soup. Delicious on a cold, blustery, New England winter night.