Comfort Food 101, Fried Chicken and Mac n’ Cheese

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Updated: November 8, 2015

Today was not unlike other Sunday’s for me as I had time to cook a good meal, something I can’t make during the week because of time constraints.   The Steelers are on, though I have a sick kid at home, I have a hungry wife and other child coming back from a Cheering gig.  So, I wanted to do some kind of stick to your ribs kind of good food.  Hence, Fried Chicken and Macaroni and Cheese.

This is comfort food 101 but takes time, so here goes.   First off if you don’t get a chance to marinate your chicken pieces in buttermilk overnight, don’t despair, this also works well.  We use dark meat pieces but you can use the breast if you want.   Does not matter.

I used 8 chicken thighs and 10 legs.

Depending on the amount of chicken you are frying, you will need:

at least 2 cups of flour
2 tablespoons of salt
teaspoon of cumin
teaspoon of onion powder
Teaspoon of Garlic powder
Pepper
Savory leaves spice, (Check out Penzeys.com for the leaf mixture)
4 eggs
Milk

Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix all the wet in another bowl. I use a little hot sauce in the wet for more flavor, maybe 5 or 6 squirts.

Then, dip your chicken into the wet, coat well. Then into the dry. Try using a different hands in each dredge so that you do not create flowery hulk fingers.

Once all your pieces are coated well. Let stand for about 30 min. During that time, you need to get your oil hot. I like using vegetable oil. Peanut oil is great also. Canola will also work, if you like that route.

I like to shallow fry, but if you have a fryer at home, feel free to follow the directions for that fryer, and your chicken will turn out well.

If you shallow fry,  fill a large shallow pan half way to the top, literally a container of oil is emptied into the pan. I get that good and hot, 360 degrees. I then add the chicken pieces and please if you do not fry often, you got one shot to learn this. Do not over fill the pan the first time around with chicken. If you put in too many pieces in, your oil may go over the edge.  At that point,  you best have baking soda around because you will have a fire and a large problem.  Been there, done that as I almost burnt my mothers kitchen down when I was in college. Fire on the stove, log home….needless to say, I was scared. Now back to the regularly scheduled post.

I like to fry each side of the chicken about 10 minutes or until it is golden brown and crispy. Please monitor your oil temp because if the temp lowers a bit your chicken will not crisp up enough.

I pull out the pieces after the frying process salt and drain them over a wire baking rack that sits over a cookie sheet. Once all the chicken is fried, I then finish it in the oven, set at 375 degrees until finished. Use a meat thermometer to check the thighs and or breasts. They will take the longest. The legs pretty much finish in the oil.

As for the Macaroni and Cheese, I use elbow macaroni. I boil a pound of elbow macaroni then pour into a strainer. In another pan I cheat a bit as I use a nice melting processed cheese…yes I said processed. Like Velveeta or similar product. I also use a shredded Mild Cheddar jack, milk and butter. I used 3/4 block of the processed cheese and about 6 ounces of shredded cheddar.

I put the drained macaroni noodles in a large pot, and then add about a cup of milk to start. I do this initially over medium to low heat. I then add the processed cheese in cubes as it is easier to melt. I will add half a stick of butter and another cup of milk. Finally, once that is creamy, I will then add the shredded cheddar which adds that  melty stringy texture to your Mac n Cheese.

Now, some would throw that in a greased glass dish, add bread crumbs on top and bake it in the oven. I like to keep it simple as many kids don’t like the texture that the bread crumbs add to the top. The oven, no matter what you do, also tends to dry the mixture out. So, I make my mac n cheese at the last-minute and serve it when we are ready to eat.

Do it how you like, but I like giving options. Also something to note, add more milk if necessary, but know that it will mellow out the cheese flavor.

In the end, it should all look something like this.  I hope you enjoy!!!!

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