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One of the most important parts of parenting is allowing your children to explore who they are. It can be the most terrifying and exhausting experience of your life, especially with cooking. The whole flame, heat, burn thing is a bit frightening with kids. But sometimes you need to throw a little excitement and danger into the mix. Well, at least excitement. So I say, start small. Crack some eggs, spread some flour, make a mess. There are so many things you can do to get kids involved in cooking. Eventually, they might find their own intuitive spirit about food. Such is the case with this recipe. 

Stiletto2 and one of her best friends love to make "creations". Someday I will share with you the blue water terrace cake. Now that was frightening. But until then you will have to be amazed at this simple little recipe they cook up frequently. Way better than any chicken nuggets you get from a grocery store or at a fast food trough (note I didn't call it a restaurant). They took my breading recipe for frying fish, added some ingenuity, set up a station, and sprinkled a little Diva love and care. Presto they created the best chicken nuggets, ahemmmm, I mean bites you ever ate.
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Ingredients
  • 6 Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour (Enough For Dredging)
  • 1 Cup Skim Milk
  • 1 1/2 - 2 Cups Of Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 - 2 Cups Of Vegetable Oil (Enough To Fill Pan About 1/2 Inch)
Preparation
  1. Heat the oil in a relatively flat pan on the stove to about medium. You will need to adjust this throughout to avoid burning the Panko.
  2. Do not wash the chicken.
  3. Cut the chicken into about 1 1/2" pieces. The size will determine how long they cook. Not too big of the Panko will burn.
  4. Place three shallow bowls in a line and fill each one with flour, milk and Panko.
  5. Dredge the chicken in the flour. You can season the flour if you wish, but the Divas do not.
  6. Dip the floured chicken into the milk and then roll into the Panko.
  7. Place the Panko dredged chicken into the oil heated pan and cook about 8 minutes each side or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Size of chicken and temperature of oil will determine ultimate cooking time. Use a meat thermometer to check if you are uncertain. It should be 165 degrees. Click here for a great food safety cooking chart.
  8. Once done, place on towel covered plate.
  9. Serve with hot sauce. We like Frank's Red Hot Cayenne Sauce. Some may prefer their's with ketchup.

Servings
6 servings.

Nutrition
About 270 calories per serving.

Tips
  • I really hate the taste of canola oil. I think it tastes like the inside of a stale petroleum drum. Go figure. Anyway, I never use it. So I would suggest getting a good vegetable oil. I primarily use the vegetable oil (soybean) from Costco.
  • Do not wash the chicken. This just spreads the chicken juices around the sink and your kitchen. Anything bad will be cooked off during the cooking process.
  • I prefer to use fresh chicken. I think the texture of chicken changes when you freeze it.
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A friend of mine I met during my college years while we were both waiters at a local Mexican restaurant makes a wonderful cheesy egg dish. But first, you should know that she has the most delightful personality, an incredible sense of humor, a voracious love of coffee and about a thousand voices including the most convincing baby voice. So, of course we hit it off famously. Many times our restaurant gang would end up at her house either after a late night shift or in the morning for brunch. Along with her very strong and aromatic coffee, she would make her famous cheesy eggs. I'm convinced the magic to cooking them is the love she put into that pan because simply all she did otherwise was just cook the cheese right into the eggs as they were scrambling. They were creamy and delicious; melt in your mouth good. I honestly could not eat enough of them. So I have been making versions of her eggs now for years for my family and I finally decided it was time to "skinny" them up because I've put on a few pounds over the years eating those dang eggs. So here is my version of Debi's Cheesy Eggs albeit a little bit skinnier, just like I'm hoping to be!
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Ingredients
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges
  • 2 Slices Kirkland Lean Ham
  • Spray Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Optional Hot Sauce For Serving

Preparation
  1. Heat a large non stick pan to medium. 
  2. Chop the ham
  3. Spray the pan with oil.
  4. Add the ham and stir until starting to warm.
  5. Add the cheese wedges and lower heat to medium low.
  6. Once the cheese starts to soften and melt quickly whisk the eggs and add them to the pan.
  7. Stir as the cheese melts and the eggs start to set.
  8. Cooking the eggs on a lower temperature will take a little longer than normal. Once cooked you may season to taste.
  9. Serve with fruit and strong coffee of course!

Servings
1 Serving

Nutrition
About 260 calories per serving. You could lower the calorie count by about 35 calories if you substitute 1/4 cup egg white for one of the eggs.

Tips
Eggs scramble best if the pan is already hot, the pan temperature is lower than normal, and you whisk them well right before adding them.
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My father hates standing in line. He refuses to go to some church buffets because there will be a big line. He will go to lunch early at the cafe to avoid any hint of a line. And he will generally not go to weddings or funerals because heaven forbid there might be a receiving line. 

I used to think that perhaps he just hates talking to people. After all that's what you do standing in line. But he is an affable guy and can strike up a conversation with anybody. I finally realized that it wasn't standing in lines that he hates, it's that he hates wasting time.

Feeding children can be a lot like standing in line. You can spend hours on planning, shopping, preparation, cooking, and serving. The kids devour it in less than ten minutes and run off with their friends leaving you with more than just dirty dishes - that wasting time guilt.

So to assuage my guilt I devised a number of quick meals with quality ingredients. They can be prepared quickly, are colorful and flavorful, and you can spend less time over the stove and more with your children. Here is the first in many no more standing in line breakfasts!

 
 
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Sometimes as an at home parent, a dog day afternoon comes along. Actually, more than you'd like to admit. You have been called upon by everyone else throughout the week. Schedules are shifted without your knowledge. People make plans and forget to tell you. A family crisis arises. And more.. In the middle of it all, you put on your super parent at home cape and rise to the occasion. With no groceries, no time, no patience, a phone constantly ringing, children running in and out, the dogs begging at your side; you whip up this little number in less than an hour. The kids loved it. They gave it two thumbs up. Siskel would be proud. Hooray would be jealous. You are pleased and think...oh, to be a dog.