Category Archives: Appetizers

Finger Lickin Chicken Wings

One of my favorite appetizers to make and eat are chicken wings. While they are simple to make they can be done poorly. Overcooked they will be dry, oversauced and they are just messy. My Finger Lickin Wings give a nice balance that are just yummyliscious to eat

INGREDIENTS

4 pounds Chicken Wings

Oil

2 tsp Salt

2 tsp Garlic Powder

4-6 cups of Milk

1 bottle BBQ Sauce

Look for wings that have a good amount of meat on them. It is annoying to pick up a wing do not even have a full bite of meat on it. I don’t make wings often but if I find them on sale I pick them up so they are ready for when I do.

Rinse off the wings in warm water then pat dry. Place in a large bowl and pour enough milk no to cover. Or, place into a ziplock bag and do the same thing. Soak in the milk 2-12 hours. This tenderizes the meat and is the secret to frying up great chicken. Pour off the milk and pat the chicken dry. Spread out on a pan and pat some more. If liquid is on the wings it will make your oil splatter so you really need to make sure the skin is nice and dry. This is when you will season with the mixture of salt and garlic powder. Just a little as it is just adding layers of flavor.

Dry those babies off
Dry those babies off

Choose your favorite oil and keep in mind it’s smoking point. You will be using a high temperature and if you choose the wrong oil you will have a big ole mess in the kitchen. This website lists smoking points for various oils.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoke_point

Next, decide what cooking vessel you prefer. If cooking on the stove I like good cast iron because it keeps the Heat consistent. I also have a deep fryer if I am going to be frying quite a bit of food. I also have a Salad Master electric skillet which also keeps the oil at a consistent temperature. I like to keep my oil at 325 degrees. Between batches be sure to allow the oil to come back up to temp before adding more chicken. I use a splatter screen for two reasons. First, to keep the oil from splatter all over while frying, and second, it allows the chicken to drain a few seconds before I place in the oven to keep warm.

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Once i I have allowed the chicken to drain for a few seconds, I transfer to a cooling rack that is on top of a cookie sheet. This goes into a warm oven until all the chicken is fried. Keeping it on a rack makes sure the skin stays crispy.

I use the same cooling rack is use while baking cookies. The low oven temp will not hurt it.
I use the same cooling rack is use while baking cookies. The low oven temp will not hurt it.

Once all the chicken is done I place the wings in a bowl and coat with a light layer of BBQ sauce. The wings then go back onto a clean cookie sheet and into a 350 degree oven. Placing parchment paper under the wings will ensue easy cleanup later on.

Use very little sauce, as you will e building up layers.
Use very little sauce, as you will e building up layers.

Bake for about 5 minutes, or until you see the sauce is cooked.

You can see it has thickened and Apis sticking to the wings.
You can see it has thickened and Apis sticking to the wings.

Now using a pastry brush, add another thin layer and cook for another 5 minutes. Do this a total of 4 times.

Yummy yummy for my tummy tummy!
Yummy yummy for my tummy tummy!

The last layer you will place in under the broiler until you get a little char and a nice soft crust. If you like, serve with warm BBQ sauce on the side for extra dipping.

Chicken nirvana!
Chicken nirvana!

Now there are lots of variations you can make for your chicken wings and I will share some of them a little later. The main thing is to properly cook the wings before adding the sauce. I hope this inspires you to make your own for the big game rather than buy a bag in the frozen food section. Let me know how it goes!

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Freezer Egg Rolls

Certain foods are just so yummy to make at home, but the time it takes means I don’t do it very often. That is why I like doing freezer prep. I take many foods or dishes and make a lot at one time, and out in the freezer. This helps get dinner to the table quickly on an average weeknight. Chinese food  is one of those  things that can really benefit from doing freezer prep. Below is the recipe I used, but keep in mind that egg rolls are very forgiving. You can substitute whatever meat you like, or leave it out totally. The same goes for the vegetables. This batch made 60 for me. Which means, you can also make them up this week and save them for your New Year’s Eve part or the Super Bowl on February 1st. GO SEAHAWKS! (Sorry, had to throw that in)

INGREDIENTS

4 pounds Pork  Sausage

3 cups shredded Carrots

1 1/2 cups finely shredded or diced Onion

1 large head of Green Cabbage shredded

2 Tb Garlic Powder

Salt to taste

60 Egg Roll Wrappers

Parchment Paper

Cookie Sheet

cup of water

Begin by cooking the sausage and set to the side on paper towels to soak up excess grease. Using the grease in the pan, cook the vegetables. As you go, set on paper towels to soak up excess grease. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and pull out the egg roll wrappers. I prefer that the ingredients have all cooled before rolling, I think it keeps the wrap from getting soggy.

Put approximately 2 tablespoons of filling on the corner of each wrapper. I do one at a time, it goes really quickly.

Too much filling means the wrapper won't fully cover the ingredients and it will break open while frying.
Too much filling means the wrapper won’t fully cover the ingredients and it will break open while frying.

Fold over the point, and roll slightly so all the filling is now covered. Fold over the left and right corners as if making an envelope.

Most wrapper packages have a diagram of how to do this. Always roll from the bottom point, or it won't seal correctly.
Most wrapper packages have a diagram of how to do this. Always roll from the bottom point, or it won’t seal correctly.

Use your finger to wet the top corner with water. As you finish rolling this ensures it will seal shut. The biggest thing to watch for is to make sure the ends are tucked in all the way. Otherwise you risk having greasy egg rolls when they are done frying.

You can see on the right the bottom isn't tucked in all the way. This risks a lot of grease getting inside and being trapped, or filling to fall out while frying.
You can see on the right the bottom isn’t tucked in all the way. This risks a lot of grease getting inside and being trapped, or filling to fall out while frying.

Place then on a covered cookie sheet. Once the pan is full, cover it with a towel and place in the freezer. A couple of hours later they are frozen solid and ready to be bagged up.

Cover the cookie sheet with parchment paper to ensure the rolls don't stick to the pan while freezing.
Cover the cookie sheet with parchment paper to ensure the rolls don’t stick to the pan while freezing.

To fry, heat oil to 350 degrees and cook frozen. This will take 5-9 minutes depending on how much filling you actually used in each one. A good sign is that it will be floating. Test one to see if it heated all the way through. The wrapper should be a nice golden brown. Serve with your favorite dipping or soy sauce. I learned this trick from my best friend Thao in high school. In Vietnam they don’t put a lot of veggies inside. Instead, they serve each roll with a piece of uncooked cabbage leaf wrapped around it. This gives extra flavor and crunch while devouring them. If stored in a freezers bag with the air sucked out they will keep for months in the freezer.

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