Chicken Fried Steak Bites!

Okay, so like, did everyone know as a kid that chicken fried steak was actually steak and NOT chicken? I know I know it is in the name, Krystal but it tricked me every time! I would get so excited thinking we were having fried chicken to only be served this chewy fried steak. UGH.  I never really liked red meat as a kid and even now as an adult I rarely eat it. I tend to stick with fish, chicken, and 3-4 nights a week vegetarian. I am not a big red meat eater and when I am it has to be done right, and so I generally leave it up to the expert: 2nd dad. I can make chicken fried steak though, right? Yes! I made these a little differently by cutting the cube steak into pieces rather than “steaks” and making bites to dip in black pepper gravy. Baby, these were good. I am now a fan of chicken fried STEAK.

I found that chicken fried steak (CFS) is all about the gravy. Gravy is life. Gravy runs through these veins. I served these with mashed potatoes, because what else? These would be an excellent appetizer for a party.

Ingredients

2lbs Cube Steak (I cut mine into pieces) Cube steak is generally just top round that has been tenderized
2 eggs
1 1/4 Cup Flour (can substitute almond or coconut here) – reserve 3TBSP for gravy
S&P
Garlic Powder
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
25-30 Saltine Crackers
1/4 Cup Panko
Vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk (coconut milk can be substituted)
1/2 Cup Beef Stock
3 TBSP Kerrygold Butter

How To

Set up your batter section while your oil is heating up for frying. As always with 99% of fried foods you COULD bake these by getting some color on them and then placing in the oven, but we are going authentic today. Beat your eggs in a bowl. In a separate bowl add the crushed saltines, garlic powder, pepper, panko, and flour. I do not add salt to this because the saltines have salt.

Cut the cube steak into strips. Place strips into eggs, then into the dry batter, and then into the fryer! Since these are strips and not full steaks they only take 4-5 minutes a piece in the oil. Place them on a paper towel once out of the oil to get rid of excess oil. Taste one to see if they have enough salt for your liking.

Now, the most important part – the gravy. Country gravy. I always make gravy with pan drippings but it isn’t possible with chicken fried steak since you know….you fry it. We will pass on using oil in our gravy. Melt your butter and make a roux with those 3TBSPs of flour we reserved. Once your roux is cooked add the milk and beef stock. I added the beef stock as a little trick for one you could split the milk/stock ratio and save some calories, and two it adds a beef flavor that the gravy would lack due to the pan drippings situation. Let your gravy thicken and right before serving add a TON of freshly cracked black pepper. Delicious!

I still prefer fried chicken…… but these were bomb! Bring these to your next event and as always if you make this recipe tag us on Instagram or Facebook!

 

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Macadamia, Coconut, & Panko Crusted Salmon

So, could this title have more words in it?

True Story: I have not had salmon in about 13 months, because I am allergic(maybe) to shellfish. Yes, I knoooow salmon is not shellfish, but nonetheless my experience was quite traumatizing for me. You may read all about it here if you wish: boring

So, I am writing this before I eat….life of a food blogger is eating cold food since no good picture has steam in it. This may be the last and final time you hear from me unless Jared keeps up with my blog as he is my designated afterlife social media continuer……who won’t even read this. Both fitting and ironic. We continue!

Now, you may call me a hater but I never got(until now) what the big deal was with crusting fish. I mean white fish battered and deep fried with vinegar…..yes but beautiful salmon….why? Why, Why, Why? So, I tried it for myself and it is spectacular. Crunchy toppings go quite well with the buttery flakes of salmon. I imagine you could do this with any kind of fish but salmon, halibut and even shark are your “meatiest” of fish and they hold up well to a wide range of cooking methods. Best part? You can eat in 20 minutes!

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Ingredients – Makes 2 Servings
2 – 4oz Salmon Steaks
Insert Krystal’s Rant: pleeeeeease buy wild salmon! I know it is hard to find and I know it’s expensive but it is so worth it and so so soooo much better for you! End Rant
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Panko
1/4 Cup Toasted Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1/4 Cup Toasted & Crushed Macadamia Nuts
1/2 Lemon Zest
S&P

That’s it!!

How To

I toasted both the coconut and the nuts together just in a pan over low-medium heat….once you can small them they are done pull off the heat. Wait for them to cool down and then pulverize in food processor/blender.
Add in a bowl the panko, nuts/coconut mixture, lemon zest and S&P. Separate bowl: crack and whisk your egg.
I only crusted one side of the fish but you do you.
Dunk one side of the salmon steak into the egg wash and then into your dry mixture. This is where you really want to make sure your dry mix is sticking and you have a nice layer.


In a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat melt your butter/oil. Place fish crusted side down for 2-3 minutes and depending on how you eat your salmon get some color on the naked side of the fish and then pop in the oven or cook another 2-3 minutes on the side, pull, rest, and enjoy medium salmon. Remember cooking time all depends on your personal preference of the salmon’s temperature as well as the size of your steaks, but you can always show these pictures to your butcher and they should be more than happy to cut them to this size.

Beautiful! I ate this completely on its own because I had been cooking for hours and this seemed to be a sufficient snack, but it would go well with a small salad or grilled veggies. Keep salmon lite!

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Roasted Potatoes with Pesto & Parmesan

Pesto.
Parm.
Potatoes.

HOW can I go wrong?

I love everything about mini golden potatoes because they are small(like me), roast up nicely in the oven, and I feel like I can eat more and feel less guilty since they are itty bitty……right? I used these as a side for this week’s dinner choices and they stay well in the fridge for a couple days and reheat beautifully. These are an easy side dish to make for yourself or impress everyone at an event or party. You could even stick some toothpicks in em and call em an appetizer 😉

Ingredients
1 Bag of Mini Golden Potatoes (about 20) – halved
1/2 Cup Pesto (homemade or store bought)
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Lemon Zest + 1/2 Lemon Juice
S&P

How To
Cut all your potatoes in half after washing – potatoes are a dirty vegetable! Place potatoes on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil…coconut oil….avocado oil(my choice)….body oil….I don’t know. Any oil you like! Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. At the 25 minute mark I pull the taters out of the oven and toss them with the pesto, parmesan, lemon, and S&P. Go light handed on your salt as both parmesan and pesto are salt bombs. I place them back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes and then you are done! Success! Hope you enjoy!

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Potatoes after 25 minutes at 400 degrees right before adding final ingredients

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Crispy Polenta with Mushroom Gravy (Vegetarian)

I love polenta. I love creamy polenta, crispy polenta and polenta on the bottom of a pizza crust. What is polenta? Corn meal. It is just corn meal. Polenta is used a lot in Italian cooking as it is their little personal version of grits…..also corn meal. I decided to make this for a quick breakfast, #meatlessmonday dinner, and I maaaay make a version of this as a holiday appetizer.

Now, generally I make my own polenta because it is embarrassingly easy but for this venture I bought the imported tube straight from Italy to make my polenta discs. If I make this as a holiday appetizer I will make my own as any store bought food, even from Italy, the flavor was lacking. Please know I would only EVER buy store bought polenta for crispy polenta as the setting and cooling has already taken place. Never ever should you buy this for creamy polenta.

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Ingredients
1 Tube of Polenta – Cut into discs of your desired thickness
8 Mini Portabella Mushrooms
2 Cups of Vegetable base gravy (I make my own)
2 eggs
Parmesan
S&P
Green onions & Tomato for garnish

How To
Can’t get easier than this! Once your discs are cut place them in a pan with some oil or butter or both and crisp both sides up! The store bought polenta has a higher water content so it took about 5 minutes on medium heat per side to crisp up. Fry yourself up an egg and begin to make your layers. Ours were as follows: Polenta, tomato, egg, gravy, Parmesan, green onion. Done! The outside of your polenta cakes should be crispy while the inside remains creamy. Quick dinner, snack, lunch, or impressive appetizer!

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Mushroom & Lemon Cream Sauce – Chicken

I love dark meat, yes it is true. I also love thighs: my thighs, fat thighs, Chris Pratt’s thighs, and chicken thighs…..which is what we are talking about today. Do yourself a wonderful favor and cook with some dark meat because dark meat is heavenly. You cannot argue that! I make this dish so often that I never thought to publish a recipe since to me it isn’t anything special, but good lord I posted a picture on Facebook and I thought I was going to get eaten alive. Y’all came after me. Enjoy! This also takes 30 minutes to throw down from start to finish so this fancy meal real isn’t that time consuming.

Ingredients
4 Bone in – Skin on Free Range Chicken Thighs
2 Cups Sliced baby portobello mushrooms
1/2 red/white onion diced finely
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 Lemon worth of zest & Juice
1 Cup Chicken Stock
1 Cup Whole Fat Milk
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 TBSP Kerrygold Butter
2 TBSP Flour

P.S I never said this recipe was healthy.

How To

Start getting a pan hot on medium-high heat, I used my cast iron skillet. Put your butter and a little oil of your choice in the pan. By mixing your butter and oil you get a higher burn temperature so that your butter doesn’t burn and ruin your whole dish. While the pan is getting hot salt and pepper your chicken thighs ON BOTH sides, love everyone equally. Place the thighs skin DOWN in the pan – your pan should sizzle – kitchen music. Let the thighs sit there and work their magic DO NOT touch them for 4-5 minutes and by the time you flip them over they should have beautiful brown caramelization. Now, you can finish your chicken in the pan but I threw mine in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes because I wanted to finish my sauce by the time the chicken was done and you NEED those pan drippings. Chicken is in the oven. Throw a another pat of butter in the pan you used to cook your chicken and toss in the garlic, onions, and mushrooms. While you are moving everything around you will notice the drippings coming off the bottom of your pan….we want this! Once your onions are translucent add your flour and let it cook for a minute or so and then finally add your fluids: milk and broth. Stir everything together and let your sauce come to a simmer so that it can thicken. I add in the parmesan and lemon juice & zest right before plating so that it stays bright and fresh. I served this with mashed potatoes, then sauce, then chicken placed on top. The side dish pictured is brussel sprouts roasted with balsamic and walnuts.

I hope you enjoy!

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Loco Moco

If you follow my Facebook ….. which hello? It’s me. You will know I LOVE Loco Moco. What is Loco Moco? Loco moco is a meal in the contemporary cuisine of Hawaii. There are many variations, but the traditional loco moco consists of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy. Thank you, Wiki.

I have been going to Aji Japanese Bistro which is nestled in the El Dorado Hills Town Shopping Center almooooost every weekend, and they make the most amazing Loco Moco. I have a problem. Well, this past weekend I hosted a Cousin Cult Party and decided I would just make my own version! What is Cousin Cult, you ask? Exactly what it sounds like. Mikaela (my cousin & photographer) and I find it very important to spend time with family so we often plan Cousin Cult parties filled with food, cards against humanity, and funny movies. The other night’s theme was Christmas in August as Mikaela and I are holiday freaks! My two brothers came as well, Jacob and Lucas. Pictures below if you dare. Fill your life with memories and food!

Ingredients
1Lb Grass-fed Ground Beef
2 Cups of White Rice (Serving is 4 people) – Cauliflower rice could also be used here, wild rice, brown or whatever you dietary needs
8 Finely Chopped White Mushrooms
2 Cups Beefstock
1TBSP Flour
2 TBSP Kerrygold Butter
2 TBSP Soy Sauce
1TSP Sesame Oil
S&P
Garlic Powder
1TSP Rice Wine Vinegar
Bundle of Green Onions for Garnish
2 Eggs per serving

How To

Always start with your rice because out of all the items we are preparing rice is going to take the longest. Now, I have a rice cooker, but if you do not follow the instructions for the rice you choose to use. I do put the sesame, soy, and vinegar IN the water I am cooking my rice in as it infuses the flavors throughout the entire cooking time so no matter how you choose to cook your rice make sure to put those ingredients in.

Beef Patties – the simplicity of this dish is key so I ONLY use S&P and garlic powder on my little meat patties and fry them in butter until medium rare(once again, any temperature you prefer is fine). Out of the pound of ground beef I made 6 patties about half an inch thick and smooshed down to the size of my palm, and I have little hands. The patties took only 4-5 minutes on each side on high heat for a medium/rare cook. Let them get those crispy bits on their tops.

Gravy – In the pan that we fried the beef in begin your roux – add the butter and then cook the flour and add beef stock. I add the mushrooms last as I like them to have a bit of bite left but you can saute them in beef fat/butter and then make a roux and add stock.

Eggs – Traditionally, the eggs are served fried and medium so the yolk mixes with the gravy and rice…..gurl. Make your eggs the way you like but fried over medium is how they turned out for this recipe.

Assembly – Take your beautiful rice and place on the bottom of a bowl, add your beef patty, gravy, and finally your eggs. I garnish green onions and maybe some hot sauce! I hope you like this dish and are willing to try it!

Enjoy the random pictures of Cousin Cult night and yes, I do eat store bought frozen fries and weird cinnamon rolls out of a cardboard tube…..I am a real person.

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Sweet and Spicy Chili and Beer Cheese Sauce FRIES
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Left to Right: Lucas, Yours Truly, Jake, and then Mikaela as a snowman!
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Kyle isn’t really a cousin but he wore a taco Christmas shirt so we let him in ❤
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Weird Cardboard Cinnamon Roll “Christmas Tree”

Protein Packed Twice Baked Potatoes (Vegetarian)

Protein? Without meat? Krystal, c’mon.

Y’all c’mon. In case you have not noticed a lot less meat is being consumed in my tiny household. A couple months ago I started having an odd aversion to chicken(no, I am not pregnant). I’m very in tune with my body and its cravings and dislikes. When I crave eggs I fry up an egg and eat it. So, when chicken became repulsive and I was still traumatized by seafood – vegetarian became much more dominant in my life, and since Kyle can’t cook his as well. I have been participating in meatless Monday for months now and at least 2 other dishes for any given week are also vegetarian. I have been challenged for new recipes that are unique, tasty, and still have an appropriate amount of protein. I have muscle dystrophy (muscle wasting) I need protein in my diet – it’s not negotiable. On average, I try to stay around 60-75g of protein a day.

Greek Yogurt!

If you have not tried subbing out mayo/sour cream with greek yogurt you are missing out. I swear it is good! AND packed with protein! Now, my secret is to still mix in a tiny amount of sour cream or mayo whichever the recipe called for with the greek yogurt because you will get less of that tang. I promise if you get a good quality greek yogurt and put it in a sauce or dip you may be able to tell the difference but it will not be bad! I used a cup of greek yogurt in these bad boys with just a couple tablespoons of sour cream. Delicious!

I ate these for lunch all week. Each HALF is as follows: 15g protein, 10g fat, 15g carbs.

Ingredients – 4 Servings
2 Large Russet Potatoes
1 Cup Greek Yogurt (I use Fage)
2 TBSP Sour Cream
1 TBSP Butter
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1 1/2 Cup Broccoli – chopped finely
1 Cup Spinach – chopped finely
S&P
Garlic Powder

How To

Line a baking pan with foil. Get your oven set to 450 degrees. Poke holes all around your potatoes and pop in the oven for 25 minutes, take them out coat in olive oil and sea salt and bake in for 20 minutes.
All other ingredients go in a large mixing bowl.
When the potatoes are down let them cool……or don’t like me and burn your fingers off. You’ll want to cut them horizontally and scoop out the filling into your bowl with all the goodies. Give everything a quick mash, stir, and then the filling goes back into the potato skins….add some extra cheese and cook for another 10-15 just so your small broccoli florets cook.

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Healthy, fast, and veggie.

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