I think careful cooking is love, don’t you? The loveliest thing you can cook for someone who’s close to you is about as nice a valentine as you can give.
A funny thing happened on the way to the kitchen to cook some home-style baked chicken for the ol’ family.
The Handsome Prince asked what I was planning to serve for dinner.
He apparently wanted more than the abbreviated story so I rattled off the ingredients I intended to use and the steps to cooking it.
He made a face. So I demanded to know what was wrong with my chicken that I got a screwed up mug about it.
He replied, “The chicken sounds wonderful but this cooking stuff you speak of, just sounds hard. You actually go back and carefully spoon sauce back over the chicken?”
He gave me a hug and thanked me for not having to think about spooning sauce over his chicken.
*He is a great cook but since acquiring a partner in crime, he’s happily not had to think about what goes on in his kitchen for many years. *
He orders a mean take-out.
Home-style baked chicken is actually rather simple, light in fat but heavy on flavor.
Pre-heat those ovens to 400 degrees!
Grab a large casserole dish, or if your nice dish happens to already be in use, grab a large tin baking pan with edges and contribute to the local landfill with a toss away pan like me.
Wash and pat dry 4-5 boneless chicken breasts.
Grab a large Ziploc baggie (for easy clean up) and add to it:
3/4 Cup Flour
Salt and pepper to taste
One at a time, toss the chicken breasts into the flour mixture and give it a little massage action to make sure that you get the whole breast covered in flour. Place each flour coated chicken breast into the pan or casserole dish of your choice, taking care not to over lap the breasts.
Get out a small sauce pan.
In it goes:
1 Cup of Onions
(I like the onions in large strip chunks)
1 Tablespoon Wine Vinegar
(I prefer white wine vinegar but red is excellent as well)
1 Teaspoon Dry Mustard
1 Teaspoon Chopped Fresh Garlic
(We’re nuts for garlic so I honestly I use about 1 – 1 1/2 Tablespoons of fresh garlic but if you just want a little garlic action, don’t be like me and stick to teaspoons of the stuff or you too shall scare off vampires like us.)
1 Cup Tomato Juice
(Frugal Tip: If you don’t use tomato juice regularly, purchase it in the smaller individual cans so it stays fresh in the pantry. You’ll get more for your money without waste.)
1/2 Cup Water
Stir over medium high heat until it comes to a boil.
Pour that delicious sauce over the chicken and put it in the oven at 400 degrees.
Cook uncovered for 20 minutes.
Then open the oven, spoon sauce over the chicken and turn the oven down to 350 degrees and continue to bake that gorgeous chicken another 40 minutes.
The home-style chicken turns out tender, moist and gets requested time after time.
It has such a great flavor that I like to pair it with simple side dishes that compliment the chicken and let it be the star of the show. A favorite rice and steamed veggie is always a hit sitting beside home-style chicken.
Chop any leftovers and use it for soft tacos or toss in a salad the next day for lunch.