Robinson Chicken and Waffles

Enjoy my version of chicken & waffles for $3.06 per person!

You know those movies with large loud families connecting with each other chaotically over some delicious repast? You know the ones where the families are normally Italian, Greek, or Latino? Well, I grew up like that.

Minus the ethnicity. Yeah, I’m about as white as white can be, you can trace my heritage back to General Conklin in the Revolutionary War. (Yeah, not the Civil War. The Revolutionary War. We’ve been here since the beginning.)

Still, food and mealtimes were always an event at my house. My extended family may not be as large as, say my wife’s (who can fill an entire island) but we made up for it with lots of friends and were definitely loud. My parents entertained regularly, from bridge groups to the gourmet club my mother started, so the dinner table was often packed.

My brothers and I grew up helping my Mom in the kitchen, and eventually being responsible for our own meals. Of course, there were blunders.  I distinctly remember my elder brothers making some lumpy gravy and  infamously mistaking “cloves” of garlic for “whole heads” of garlic in a pesto recipe.  I also remember leaving out the flour in a cookie recipe, creating a cookie soup. (I was 12, that was a fun night.) Ultimately, though, learning from these mistakes in our early teens helped all three siblings become great cooks. And these mistakes never discouraged us from trying complicated Julia Child and Sicilian Wedding Cake recipes for special occasions.

My point is that, to me, food is family. So when my Mom comes to visit (which she did the last two weeks) my brother and I that live in Los Angeles spend most nights cooking family dinners together (and it’s possible we might be trying to show off just a tad.) The result is quite the gastronomical adventure. Curries, filets, seared ahi, and lots of ornate side dishes. (This is great for the taste buds, but can be bad on the waste line.)

This time, for some reason, I decided to try and give my Mom a taste of her roots. While we may not be ethnic, my mom is from the south, and that brings it’s own culinary traditions. I made a soul food inspired dish made popular by a local Hollywood restaurant, Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles.

I decided to do my best to healthify it a tad, though.  I made an oven baked cornflake chicken that had been marinated in buttermilk and the usual fried chicken spices.  All the flavor of fried chicken without any of the grease and oil. And, honestly, I preferred it with the waffles. Any residual maple syrup that got on your chicken (half the fun of chicken and waffles) went significantly better with crisp cornflakes over the fried chicken batter that I think can get a touch soggy. So, in my very humble opinion I have improved upon the chicken and waffle pairing.

Hypocritically, I cooked kale until lightly wilted in some bacon grease, to make up the calories the cornflake chicken might have saved us from the lack of frying.

Jodie made some Sun Tea to drink over ice as a beverage.

Cornflake Chicken

10 pieces of chicken, a variety of breasts, thighs and legs (Or you may cut up your own whole chicken(s))

1 quart of buttermilk

½ box cornflakes

salt & pepper

paprika

celery salt

onion powder

sage

thyme

  1. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, paprika, celery salt, onion powder, sage, and thyme. In a large bowl cover the seasoned chicken in buttermilk until covered. Marinate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Crush the cornflakes until you have some cornflakes as a fine powder, but also a few larger flakes. (A few larger flakes helps ensure crispness.) Remove the chicken from the marinade one piece at a time and coat with cornflakes. Place the chicken in a baking dish large enough for all the pieces you are cooking.
  4. Bake the chicken for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a internal meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Remove and serve with waffles, maple syrup, and butter.

Waffles

I just used “Buttermilk Pancake Mix” from Trader Joe’s. I substituted half the water the directions on the box calls for with actual buttermilk. Feel free to use your favorite waffle batter recipe or mix.

Bacon Kale

4 slices of bacon

2 cloves of garlic

1 bunch of kale

  1. Chop the kale very coarsely into 2” pieces, throwing away the very bottom stems.
  2. Cook the bacon on medium heat in a large skillet. After the bacon crisps, remove it and let drain on a paper towel. Remove the pan from heat.
  3. Slice the garlic in very thin slices. Add garlic to the bacon grease and return to low heat. Allow the garlic to poach to a very light golden brown about 2 minutes.
  4. Add kale. Toss gently in the bacon grease to coat and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add ½ cup water. (Do this carefully, as the bacon grease may pop.) Cover the pan and steam the kale for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Remove the kale from any remaining liquid and place it into a bowl for serving. Crumble the bacon on top of the kale.

Sun Tea

3 tea bags of your favorite tea (I have used a decaf orange tea, a decaf fruit mix green tea, among others)

water

1/2 lemon, sliced

  1. Place tea bags and sliced lemons in water in a clear covered pitcher
  2. Place pitcher in the sun for at least 3-4 hours, the longer the better.  Serve over ice and pass sugar or splenda.

Accounting: 2 split chicken breasts $5.19  + 4 thighs $2.14 + 4 drumsticks $1.43 + 1/2 box generic cornflakes (@ $2.49 per box) $1.25 + buttermilk $1.99 + waffle mix $1.99 + bacon $.50 + kale $1.99 + tea $.50 + lemon $.33 + Grade $ maple syrup (1/2 bottle @ $5.99 per bottle at Trader Joe’s) $3.00 = $18.37

÷ by 6 people

Comes to $3.06 per person!

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