Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

“Winner-Winner” Chicken Dinner Cakes

Posted: December 8, 2011 in Food, Fun
Tags: , ,

I invented this several months ago, but only just got around to testing it yesterday. (It was yummers. Going into regular rotation from now on.) It’s best described as an entire chicken dinner with stuffing, done up in a crab-cake style. Good as a sandwich or by itself, and the options listed below are all perfect for this entree. It’s so good that it’s probably very bad for you, and it’s definitely filling. Makes 8 cakes.

1 box (6 oz) stuffing mix
1 small cooked rotisserie chicken
½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
¼ cup Parmesan
2 eggs
2 cups vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 cup flour
¾ cup corn meal
1 tbsp No-Salt Herb Blend*
1 tsp ground black pepper

Prepare stuffing per package and let cool. Remove cooled chicken meat from bone and shred into 1-inch or smaller pieces; mix with stuffing in a large bowl. Add breadcrumbs, Parmesan and 2 lightly beaten eggs and blend well; form into eight patties ½-inch thick and refrigerate 30 minutes or until ready to cook.

Lightly beat 3 eggs in a large, shallow dish (a pie pan works good). Blend flour, corn meal, herbs and pepper in a second dish to make a dredge. Heat oil on stove top over medium to medium-high heat in a large cast iron skillet. When oil is ready, coat patty in eggs, fully dredge in flour mix, and slowly and carefully drop into skillet. Fry two at a time for three minutes; flip patties and fry another 3 minutes until dark golden brown. Shake off excess oil and keep warm while the other patties are cooked.

Options: chili dip (green chili pepper sauce mixed with chili sauce), turkey gravy, cheese slices, cranberry jelly, sesame seed hamburger buns. Serve with green beans or corn.

*We got the No-Salt Herb Blend from Prevention magazine. We keep it on hand for an easy, no-fuss, baked chicken seasoning.

Have you ever had the inspiration to invent a dish? Did it turn out the way you thought it would? Are you interested in trying this recipe? Let me hear from you in the comments section!

Every once in awhile I’ll be doing something and I get a glimpse, almost a flash-forward perspective, of the way I expect to live fifteen, twenty, thirty years from now. Those little moments where I think, “Yeah, this is good. I would be happy having more of this in my everyday world more often.” Which gets me wondering what I’m doing to guide my life in that direction.

My recent post on golf is a good example. I am certain that I could be happy playing three rounds of golf every week if money was no object. I could easily imagine putting together a remote work agreement that allows me all the time I would need (if not the cash), and have taken a few, small steps in that direction. If it all works out, I’d be living part of my dream life.

Another example is cooking. In our home, cooking together with my wife is a romantic and intimate pastime. Food is life, and sharing a kitchen is play; these are fundamental, not abstract, human needs and concepts. So our plans – a large kitchen with high ceilings, huge granite countertops, a big gas stove, a flat-top grill, beautiful Tuscany tile and an amazing array of copper pots and cast-iron cookware – these plans are never far from our minds. That’s what we expect our future to look like.

Pipe dreams? Maybe. But I think pipe dreams get a bad rap. Thoreau said, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have always imagined.” It’s a better plan than just letting life happen to you.

Food is Life

As much as we enjoy cooking, we also share a special fondness for interesting restaurants. Our tastes in restaurants coincide very well; we’ve been married for eight years, and I can’t remember a single restaurant about which we disagreed. In order to be interesting, it cannot be a national chain, it has to be reasonably priced, it ought to be something none of our friends has heard of, and it must be something we can recommend to people and brag about our discovery. Extra points for quirky, cozy, funky, rustic or bohemian; more bonus points for having a patio, live music, a lending library, a history, friendly waitstaff, local art or an excellent craft beer list.

So we plan to make finding these places a part of our life and our future. Our intent is to dine our way across America, and maybe learn something about the countryside while we’re at it. This originally started out as our plan for spending our retirement years, but the more I consider it the more I realize that there is no reason to wait that long. It’s just a matter of becoming location independent.

Having these dreams, plans, goals – it’s important to keep them in mind so that you know what direction you wish to travel. But it’s equally important to monitor your actions, tasks and behavior to make sure they are propelling you in the same direction as your dreams. Henry Ford said, “Some people succeed because they are destined to, but most people succeed because they are determined to.”

One more point about the concept of “retirement”. We have no intention of letting retirement be a time of inactivity. We see it as a time we are finally able to “do” without limits. To accomplish and to experience. To live the big life. The word “retire” means to withdraw, to retreat; these are antonyms to what we have in mind.

At first I thought I needed to start using a different word. “Dis-retirement? Un-retired? Encounterment years? Big life?” Then I realized I had fallen into the trap of thinking that it was something in the future, distinguishable and separate from our life now. It’s not! I have no plans for myself at age 45 that I cannot see doing also at age 55, 65 or 75. There is no line of demarcation where we will transition from being not retired to being retired. Instead, we are going to keep on moving, building and doing the way we are now, with an eye towards the next new, fun thing. Living the big life and always setting sail towards bigger and bigger shores.

How about you? What are your big goals for a big life? Are you doing things consistent with those goals? Has your retirement planning been based on a specific date, or have you decided to take on some big life in small doses before that date comes? Leave your answers in the comments section, below.