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Homemade Chick-FIL-A Nuggets

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4)

½ tsp. paprika

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 c. milk

1 tsp. salt

1 egg

1 tsp. pepper peanut oil, for frying

1¼ c. flour

2 T. powdered sugar

Cube chicken into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, whisk the egg and milk. Add the chicken to the egg mixture, stir to combine. Cover and marinate for 3-4 hours.In a gallon-sized Ziploc bag, mix the flour, powdered sugar, and spices until well combined. Add the chicken pieces and shake well. In a large cast iron skillet or frying pan, pour 2 inches of peanut oil. Heat oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add battered chicken to the pan. Cook chicken in batches, turning once halfway through, until nuggets are golden brown. Drain chicken nuggets on a paper towel and serve.

Helpful Hints when creating your Appetizer or beverage

  • Add flavor to tea by dissolving old-fashioned lemon drops or hardmint candies in it. They melt quickly and keep the tea brisk.
  • Make your own spiced tea or cider. Place orange peels, wholecloves, and cinnamon sticks in a 6-inch square piece of cheesecloth.Gather the corners and tie with a string. Steep in hot cider or tea for10 minutes; steep longer if you want a stronger flavor.
  • Always chill juices or sodas before adding them to beverage recipes.
  • Calorie-free club soda adds sparkle to iced fruit juices and reducescalories per portion.
  • To cool your punch, float an ice ring made from the punch rather than using ice cubes. It appears more decorative, prevents diluting, and does not melt as quickly.
  • Place fresh or dried mint in the bottom of a cup of hot chocolate for acool and refreshing taste.
  • When making fresh lemonade or orange juice, one lemon yields about 1⁄4 cup juice, while one orange yields about 1⁄3 cup juice.
  • Never boil coffee; it brings out acids and causes a bitter taste. Store ground coffee in the refrigerator or freezer to keep it fresh.
  • Always use cold water for electric drip coffee makers. Use 1–2 tablespoons ground coffee for each cup of water.
  • How many appetizers should you prepare? Allow 4–6 appetizers per guest if a meal quickly follows. If a late meal is planned, allow 6–8appetizers per guest. If no meal follows, allow 8–10 pieces per guest.
  • If serving appetizers buffet-style or seating is limited, consider no-mess finger foods that don’t require utensils to eat.
  • Think “outside the bowl.” Choose brightly-colored bowls to set off dips or get creative with hollowed-out loaves of bread, bell peppers, heads of cabbage, or winter squash.
  • Cheeses should be served at room temperature –approximately 70°.
  • To keep appetizers hot, make sure you have enough oven space and warming plates to maintain their temperature.
  • To keep appetizers cold, set bowls on top of ice or rotate bowls of dips from the fridge every hour or as needed.

Helpful Hints when creating your Soup or salad

  • If the soup is not intended as the main course, count on 1 quart toserve 6. As the main dish, plan on 1 quart to serve 2.
  • After cooking vegetables, pour any water and leftover vegetable pieces into a freezer container. When full, add tomato juice and seasoning to create a money-saving “free soup.”
  • Instant potatoes help thicken soups and stews.
  • A leaf of lettuce dropped in a pot of soup absorbs grease from the top – remove the lettuce and serve. You can also make soup the day before, chill, and scrape off the hardened fat that rises to the top.
  • To cut down on odors when cooking cabbage or cauliflower, add a little vinegar to the water and don’t overcook.
  • Three large stalks of celery, chopped and added to about two cups of beans (navy, brown, pinto, etc.), make the dish easier to digest.
  • Fresh is best, but to reduce time in the kitchen, use canned or frozen broths or bouillon bases. Canned or frozen vegetables, such as peas, green beans, and corn, also work well.
  • Ideally, cold soups should be served in chilled bowls.
  • Perk up soggy lettuce by spritzing it with a mixture of lemon juice and cold water.
  • You can easily remove egg shells from hard-boiled eggs if you quickly rinse the eggs in cold water after they are boiled. Add a drop of food coloring to help distinguish cooked eggs from raw ones.
  • Your fruit salads will look better when you use an egg slicer to make perfect slices of strawberries, kiwis, or bananas.
  • The ratio for a vinaigrette is typically 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar
  • For salads, cook pasta al dente (slightly chewy to the bite). This allows the pasta to absorb some of the dressing and not become mushy.
  • Fresh vegetables require little seasoning or cooking. If the vegetable is old, dress it up with sauces or seasoning.
  • Chill the serving plates to keep the salad crisp.
  • Fruit juices, such as pineapple and orange, can be used as salad dressing by adding a little olive oil, nutmeg, and honey.

Helpful Hints when creating your vegetables or side dishes

  • When preparing a casserole, make an additional batch to freeze for when you’re short on time. Use within 2 months.
  • To keep hot oil from splattering, sprinkle a little salt or flour in the pan before frying.
  • To prevent pasta from boiling over, place a wooden spoon or fork across the top of the pot while the pasta is boiling.
  • Boil all vegetables that grow above ground without a cover.
  • Never soak vegetables after slicing; they will lose much of their nutritional value.
  • Green pepper may change the flavor of frozen casseroles. Clove, garlic, and pepper flavors get stronger when frozen, while sage, onion, and salt become more mild.
  • For an easy no-mess side dish, grill vegetables along with your meat.
  • Store dried pasta, rice (except brown rice), and whole grains in tightly covered containers in a cool, dry place. Refrigerate brown rice and freeze grains if you will not use them within 5 months.
  • A few drops of lemon juice added to simmering rice will keep the grains separated.
  • When cooking greens, add a teaspoon of sugar to the water to help vegetables retain their fresh colors.
  • To dress up buttered, cooked vegetables, sprinkle them with toasted sesame seeds, toasted chopped nuts, canned french-fried onions, grated cheese, or slightly crushed seasoned croutons.
  • Soufflé dishes are designed with straight sides to help your soufflé rise. Ramekins work well for single-serve casseroles.
  • A little vinegar or lemon juice added to potatoes before draining will make them extra white when mashed.
  • To avoid toughened beans or corn, add salt midway through cooking.
  • If your pasta sauce seems a little dry, add a few tablespoons of the pasta’s cooking water.
  • To prevent cheese from sticking to a grater, spray the grater with cooking spray before beginning.

Helpful Hints when creating your main dishes

  • Certain meats, like ribs and pot roast, can be parboiled before grilling to reduce the fat content.
  • Pound meat lightly with a mallet or rolling pin, pierce with a fork, sprinkle lightly with meat tenderizer, and add marinade. Refrigerate for 20 minutes and cook or grill for a quick and succulent meat.
  • Marinating is a cinch if you use a plastic bag. The meat stays in the marinade and it’s easy to turn. Cleanup is easy; just toss the bag.
  • It’s easier to thinly slice meat if it’s partially frozen.
  • Adding tomatoes to roasts naturally tenderizes the meat as tomatoes contain an acid that works well to break down meats.
  • Whenever possible, cut meat across the grain; this will make it easier to eat and also give it a more attractive appearance.
  • When frying meat, sprinkle paprika on the meat to turn it golden brown.
  • Thaw all meats in the refrigerator for maximum safety
  • Refrigerate poultry promptly after purchasing. Keep it in the coldest part of your refrigerator for up to 2 days. Freeze poultry for longer storage. Never leave poultry at room temperature for over 2 hours.
  • When frying chicken, canola oil provides a milder taste, and it contains healthier amounts of saturated and polyunsaturated fats. Do not cover the chicken once it has finished cooking because covering will cause the coating to lose its crispness.
  • One pound of boneless chicken equals approximately 3 cups of cubed chicken.
  • Generally, red meats should reach 160˚ and poultry should reach180˚ before serving. If preparing fish, the surface of the fish should flake off with a fork.
  • Rub lemon juice on fish before cooking to enhance the flavor and help maintain a good color.
  • Scaling a fish is easier if vinegar is rubbed on the scales first.
  • When grilling fish, the rule of thumb is to cook 5 minutes on each side per inch of thickness. For example, cook a 2-inch thick fillet for10 minutes per side. Before grilling, rub with oil to seal in moisture.

Helpful Hints when creating your desserts

  • Keep eggs at room temperature to create greater volume when whipping egg whites for meringue.
  • Pie dough can be frozen. Roll dough out between sheets of plastic wrap, stack in a pizza box, and keep the box in the freezer. Defrost in the fridge and use as needed. Use within 2 months.
  • Place your pie plate on a cake stand when ready to flute the edges of the pie. The cake stand will make it easier to turn the pie plate, and you won’t have to stoop over.
  • When making decorative pie edges, use a spoon for a scalloped edge. Use a fork to make crosshatched and herringbone patterns.
  • When cutting butter into flour for pastry dough, the process is easier if you cut the butter into small pieces before adding it to the flour.
  • Pumpkin and other custard-style pies are done when they jiggles lightly in the middle. Fruit pies are done when the pastry is golden, juices bubble, and fruit is tender.
  • Keep the cake plate clean while frosting by sliding 6-inch strips of waxed paper under each side of the cake. Once the cake is frosted and the frosting is set, pull the strips away, leaving a clean plate.
  • Create a quick decorating tube to ice your cake with chocolate. Put chocolate in a heat-safe, zipper-lock plastic bag. Immerse it in simmering water until the chocolate is melted. Snip off the tip of one corner, and squeeze the chocolate out of the bag.
  • Achieve professionally decorated cakes with a silky, molten look by blow-drying the frosting with a hair dryer until the frosting melts slightly.
  • To ensure that you have equal amounts of batter in each pan when making a layered cake, use a kitchen scale to measure the weight.
  • Prevent cracking in your cheesecake by placing a shallow pan of hot water on the bottom oven rack and keeping the oven door shut during baking.
  • A cheesecake needs several hours to chill and set.
  • For a perfectly cut cheesecake, dip the knife into hot water and clean it after each cut. You can also hold a length of dental floss taut and pull it down through the cheesecake to make a clean cut across the diameter of the cake.