Fried and Satisfied

My best friend, Jenny, and I love to talk about food. When we talk, text or email throughout the work day “what’s for dinner?” is always one of our questions to each other. Sometimes we talk just to figure out what we plan to have. I am not sure if it is because of our love for food or the fact that we talk so much we never have new news to share.

If Jenny goes out to dinner, and I am at home, I will look at the restaurant’s menu online and guess what she is going to order. We always consider Chicken Fingers or Buffalo Chicken Fingers pretty safe orders. I would not be willing to say the same about quesadillas, wings or hamburgers because we know they can be hit or miss. It is pretty hard to mess up a chicken finger.

Stefani, a Cook with Coupons reader (and friend), asked for a good fried dish. Her husband always wants something fried, but she is intimidated to do it at home. This is our “go to” fried meal. Hold the sauce if you like plain chicken fingers. Well Stef, here you go! Enjoy!

*Helpful money saving and flavor adding hint*

Keep the used oil. Let it cool overnight and put it back in a storage bottle.

Use if for the next few fries.

It adds flavor each time you cook in it and it doesn’t go bad.

Fried Buffalo Chicken Fingers

Serves 4-5

Total Price- $2.85

Total Price per Person- $0.72

Average Retail Price-$12.30

Total Savings- $9.45

Buffalo Chicken Fingers

Chicken

2 eggs

1/3-cup milk

1/3 cup Texas Pete hot sauce

1 tsp salt, pepper, garlic powder

1-cup flour

½ cup Panko bread crumbs

1 ½ tbsp powdered sugar

1 tsp salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper

4 chicken breasts cut into strips

1. Mix eggs, milk, hot sauce, 1 tsp salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a bowl.

2. Place the chicken strips into the mixture and stab a few times with a fork then let marinate.

3. Mix flour, Panko, powdered sugar, 1tsp salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne in a bowl.

4. Heat oil to high heat.

5. Toss the marinated chicken strips in the flour mixture and let set for 2-3 minutes.

6. Place the chicken strips in batches of 5-6 into the oil and cook for 7-8 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.  To check pull the biggest strip and let sit for 30 seconds before cutting in half and making sure it is done.

7. Remove the finished strips and place on a plate covered in paper towels to soak up the excess oil.

8. Serve immediately with dipping sauces or toss in a sauce of choice.

Sauce

4tbsp butter

2tbsp Texas Pete hot sauce

1. Microwave butter for 45-60 seconds or until completed melted.

2. Stir in Texas Pete hot sauce 1 tbsp and then a little at a time until reaching the desired strength.

3. Lighter orange is more mild where red is hot.

4. Serve with steamed rice and asparagus!

Savings on this meal:

-Chicken- $1.48/lb at Inlges

-Texas Pete Hot Sauce- Buy one get one free at Publix for the extra large bottles

-Panko $1.00 off at Publix (limit 3)

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Which Came First…The Quail or The Egg?

My family is crazy about eggs. We eat all kinds of them. We like the tiny and colorful ones used to decorate sushi rolls. We like chicken eggs, Easter eggs, and  Cadbury eggs. We REALLY love quail eggs. They are so yummy and delicate. We put them on top of a lot of dishes, but my favorite is seared scallops. Blake is determined that the reason it is my favorite is because of my OCD. I do have to admit, I really getting a warm and fuzzy feeling inside when I see the fried egg cover the scallop perfectly; not too big and not too small. They just seem to be good matches.

Seared Scallops with Fried Quail Eggs

(Appetizer, but can be Entree if you add more scallops)

Serves 2

Total Price- $2.94

Total Price per Person – $1.47

Average Retail Price- $5.18

Total Savings- $2.24

Seared Scallops and Fried Quail Eggs

Ingredients

-8 medium to large sea scallops

-8 quail eggs

-¼ cup of micro greens

-2 tbsp butter

-Dash of olive oil and vinegar

-Salt/pepper

-Dash of Sriracha

* We  melt butter to drizzle on ours*

Scallops

  1. It is imperative that the scallops are brought to room temperature and patted dry, very dry.
  2. Then sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper and any other seasoning you like.
  3. Put 2 tbsp butter and a dash of olive oil (the olive oil is not for the flavor but to prevent the butter from burning) in a pan and bring to medium to high heat.
  4. Wait until the pan is extremely hot and add the scallops. Make sure they are at least 2 inches apart so that they sear rather than steam.
  5. Cook on the first side for 3 minutes. DO NOT MOVE THE SCALLOPS.
  6. Flip and cook other side for 1-2 minutes.
  7. You can touch scallops to feel if they are ready. They should be soft enough that they smush in when you push them, but not firm.

Quail Eggs

  1. Heat a thin layer of oil in a pan to medium-high heat.
  2. Crack the quail eggs and place them in a very small bowl.  Make sure to do this before you crack into the pan to get any shell out.  It works well to use a sharp knife and cut a small clean slit into the shell before cracking.
  3. Place the quail eggs in the oil and cook until all of the white is cooked through without flipping.
  4. Use a spatula to transfer the quail eggs from the pan to a plate keeping the yolk side up.  Place one on top of each scallop.

Fried Quail Eggs

Plating

  1. Melt some butter to put on the base of the plate.
  2. Then place the scallops.
  3. Top each scallop with a fried quail egg yolk side up.
  4. Toss micro greens in a little oil and vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper and use for garnish. If you have Edamame beans, they look pretty on the plate. Drizzle some Sriracha in the butter for a nice touch.

Savings for this meal

Scallops- $18.99 for 4lb. at Costco

Quail Eggs- $2.99/ 18 eggs at Super H Mart

Eat Your Veggies!

Entertaining is the best. I wish I had a bigger house so I could entertain every weekend. Since I can’t do this, I do my best to be invited to as many “potluck” parties as possible. This allows me to make friends via fun appetizers. You know how you go to potlucks and wind up eating four varieties of potato salad, two macaroni salads, a handful of pigs-in-a-blanket, three meat balls and a scoop or two of 7-layer dip and then leaving feeling unsatisfied, but miserably full? Well, maybe that is just me, but I love to bring something different- something that “wows” the crowd.

This summer Blake and I joined my childhood pool to have a place to spend our summer days, meet some friends and allow Lottie to meet some other kids.  We LOVE our pool. Anyway, we had a Memorial Day potluck right when the pool opened. Blake and I decided to bring one of our favorites- a veggie basket! The cool thing about this appetizer is that you can munch on it all night long and still leave feeling very healthy.

Veggie basket

This dish was a HIT! In fact, I met one of my Facebook friends based totally on the dipping sauce of this basket (J Tisha). The only problem with this basket is that everyone at the pools knows me as “Veggie Basket Girl” rather than Meredith. Oh well, take what you can get.

The key to this appetizer is to buy vegetables that look like they were just pulled from the garden. Tie a pair of garden gloves to the handle for a nice little touch. Be careful in the basket you choose. It really needs to be wide and FLAT. Otherwise the veggies all roll into the center and frustrate the dickens out of you.

Choose veggies that are on SALE!

The Veggie Basket

For the green beans and asparagus– boil for a few minutes (4ish) and then drain and transfer IMMEDIATELY to a bowl of ice water. Do not over boil!

For the potatoes Boil until fork tender, but not as tender as a potato for mashing.

For the artichoke– cut stem down. Boil for 1 hour 15 minutes. Add water as necessary.

For the carrots – Try to find the ones with green stems to allow them to hang off edge of basket for the “fresh from the garden” look. They weren’t on sale when I made mine.

For the radish and celery– serve raw but try to find the ones with stems.

***You can make all these veggies the night before and store in ziplock bags in the fridge until a few minutes before the party***

For the sauces- (Serve in hollowed out bell peppers)

–         Spicy ranch– ranch mixed with a teaspoon of Sriracha.

–         Mock Hollandaise- ½ cup mayo, ¼ cup mustard, tsp lemon juice, salt and pepper and tsp of poppy seed.

–         Blue Cheese- Whichever kind is on SALE.

–         BE CREATIVE!