Sunday, June 26, 2011

Junk Food (kinda)

Today we're taking my guilty pleasures and making it grown up food. I have several food addictions: dark chocolate, Dr Pepper, bacon, egg yolk, anything fried. There is a reason my body is not what I would like to be. Besides genetics.

This time we tackle ranch dressing and buffalo wings. Or: The buffalo chicken salad.

I could tell you a really long story about how my college friend Brent dragged me, against my will, to Hooters the first time and I thought it was awful and horrible because it's sexist and misogynistic but then I discovered that omg I loved chicken wings and ended up going there frequently, even later on my 23rd birthday when my batshit crazy friend Susanna worked there, and a couple girls only Valentine's because that's what you do when you are single and hating men in Baton Rouge. But I won't. (Yay for run-on sentences!) Just know that's the summing up of that story.

So: I have a love affair with the buffalo chicken wing. Which is awful and fried and horrible for you. But! You can make the boneless wing strips which are...only mildly less horrible for you.

Now: you can make your own wing strips, it goes thusly*:

Get a bowl.
Throw in, mmm, a cup and a half of flour.
Then add a tblsp of Tony's. (You own Tony's now, yes? You should. I've drilled this into you.)
Tsp of any/all of the following: paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin

Take 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut them into chunks/strips. Ya know, equal sized pieces. Toss them in the flour mixture to coat. You can do this ahead of time and put them in the fridge for awhile. That's all good.

Okay, now, frying shit can be scary. I get it. But it doesn't have to be! Get a large pot. Put about an inch of vegetable oil in it and put it on almost but not quite high. Give it a couple minutes to heat up.

In the meantime! Line a cookie sheet in a double layer of paper towels and get out a pair of tongs.

Also: get out a small sauce pot and melt a third cup of butter with a third cup of Louisiana hot sauce (that's a brand. Any hot sauce will work but this one works best), with a dash of garlic powder if you have it on low heat. Whisk occasionally.

Okay: your oil is hot. You have a bowl of flour coated chiken strips. Take your tongs and fry them in batches. They should need no more than about 3 minutes a side. Flip them half way through, though if the oil covers them completely, you don't need to flip them and just give them about five minutes. After about five minutes, take them out and put them on the paper towels. Continue until you have them all fried.

You are essentially making chicken nuggets. Yay! They can be eaten this way: crispy and fried! But remember that hot sauce/butter mixture you made? Put your chicken nuggets in a bowl, dump the hot sauce mixture over them and toss. You have buffalo strips! Let them cool down for a minute.

The whole deliciousness that is the hot wing is because you get to pair it with creamy cool ranch dressing. Or blue cheese. But I hate blue cheese so in my world: ranch. And the best way to make ranch is this: buy the ranch dressing packet and follow the directions. That is: 1 cup of mayonnaise, 1 cup of milk, and the magical spice packet. Whisk it all together and put it in your fridge. Ta-da!

So we've now made wing strips and ranch. But to make it feel the tiniest bit healthy you need to chop up some lettuce. Clean that, put it in a bowl, throw some wing strips on top, pour some ranch dressing over the whole mess, toss, and you have junk food that we can pretend it not as awful for you as it is.

You can, of course, add anything else you want to your salad. It's all good. And you can also skip the turn it into a salad portion and serve buffalo strips with ranch (or other dressing) as a snack for whatever. It's a DIY buffalo strip! They are soooooo good. I can't make these things unless for an event because I will sit and eat them all. All. (Fat forevvver.)

*Don't want to mess around with deep frying chicken breast meat but love buffalo strips? Go buy any brand of frozen buffalo strip. The Safeway Select brand one is pefectly fine in my book. They involve only turning on the oven, placing on a cookie sheet, and baking. Much simpler! When you don't have time to fry stuff! Follow the directions, take them out of the oven, let them cool for a minue and then chop into bite size pieces and put on lettuce, toss with ranch. Dinner! My favorite dinner! So bad for you! So good! Serve with Dr Pepper! Never lose weight! YAY! (I may have lost it a little bit by this point...)

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