I love chicken. I love sandwiches. Back when I was in college there was this chicken place that served nothing but wings and chicken tenders. They had my favorite which was the Professor Plum. That was fried chicken tenders topped with a tangy plum sauce and mozzarella.  It was the best ever. They also had a sandwich that was dusted with bbq rub, slathered in honey and then drizzled with bbq sauce. This is my attempt at that sandwich. Nothing is like the original but with this sandwich being a complete hit with everyone I served it to, I must say it is pretty dang good.




I made my own chicken tenders but you can use store bought or frozen.
If you make your own, you will need:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups of all purpose flour
2 tbsp of Creole Seasoning or your favorite dry rub
1 cup of cold water  or buttermilk
Vegetable Oil for frying

Clean your chicken and slice them into tenders.  In a bowl mix your flour and seasoning. In a smaller bowl, fill with either cold water or buttermilk.  Dip your tenders in your flour and coat. Quickly dip into the liquid and then back into the flour mix. Make sure to coat by pressing down. You can do this one more time. I flour mine a total of three times for a nice crunchy coating.

Heat your oil on meduim and once oil is hot, place your tenders in. Remove when they are golden in color. Place on paper towel to drain grease.




The idea of this sandwich is more assembly then recipe. My mom made a batch of bbq sauce in preparation for Thanksgiving and I snagged a half a cup of her sauce. You can use your favorite bbq sauce or make your own.

For the Sandwich:

Texas Toast
Honey
BBQ Sauce
BBQ Dry Rub
Mozzarella
Fried Chicken Tenders

In oven toast your bread, before it is completely toasted, add slices of mozzarella to the bottom slice of bread.  Allow it to melt in the ovena and remove.

Place your chicken tenders on top,  sprinkle with a bit of your BBQ dry rub, drizzle your honey on top and then add about a tablespoon of BBQ sauce on top of that. Top with the remaining slice of bread.

And there you have it, a big fat tex sandwich that is HUGE and so filling.








When  I am not cooking, I am a children's photographer.  I will be in Atlanta, Georgia September 26th and have two openings for either a portrait session or more editorial session. Email divianc @ gmail . com

For more of my photography check out my site www.divianphoto.com







I love making school lunches for my kids. I guess it is the thrill of coming up with new ideas to try that my kids will actually like and eat. I have this weird notion that if children can be diverse in their eating, they are more accepting of the diversity of people. We try lots of foods that are often cultural.

When it comes to school lunches, we try to be healthy and balanced. I include a fatty or sugary sweet but for the most part, everything is fresh. Since I include veggies, fruit and a dairy product along with the main entree, I like a certain look and vibe to the lunch boxes. No oozing, no leaks, no mixing of the foods from being tossed in the backpack. I need a box that will stand up to my now 11 year old.

Here are a few that I found that I really like.

These are by Bentgo Kids.  I love the compartments in the box it self and the tray is removable for when you are prepping the lunch. The lidded cups are perfect for sauces, dips, etc and a drinking cup with lid can be purchased. I love that they keep it simple and modern in design and they come in four colors: purple, green, blue and gray.  The box itself averaging $30. 



Available in a variety of colors with cute little drawings inside for food placement, I love the clear dividers and more whimsical approach that Yumbox takes. You can order a carrying bag from this company as well. You can get them with either 4 compartments or six. The tight lined lid sure ensure that there is no leakage or items mixing with others in the tray.




What I like about these is that they are collapsible. The Ultrathin ones are of course not collapsible but I like how they are so thin that they will take up less space in the backpack. My only concern with the Ultrathin would be the types of foods that could be packed.  These choices and more can be found by SmartPlanet. They have a nice selection of different design options to fit many meal packing needs.

While these are not lunch boxes, I fell in love with them when I saw them. Originally popsicle molds, they are perfect for packing snacks.  You can find them on Amazon, these Smoozie Pop molds are perfect for back to school. 










Many moons ago, when I was a wee college student, I took a trip with friends to Orlando, Florida. Of course, your usual college student activities went on and of course one was a trip to the mail. I remember trying one of the mall Chinese places and I ordered Bourbon Chicken. It was so good.  Once back in Mississippi, I was not able to find it anywhere and alas, I have not had it since.

The other night, I really wanted to try garlic noodles. I know a lot of people swear by the goodness of butter and noodles but I have always wanted a bit more taste to my noodles so it is something I never tried. Who knew basically naked noodles with a bit of garlic, Parmesan would be just so good.


Bourbon Chicken

2  boneless chicken breasts (cubed)
1⁄4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1⁄4 cup Hoisin Sauce
1⁄4 cup Honey
1/4 cup Dumpling Sauce
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 garlic clove (diced)
2 tablespoons olive  oil

In skillet, place your olive oil and garlic. Saute on medium for 2 minute, stirring.  Add in your chicken cubes, then add in the rest of your ingredients. Cook on medium for about 15 minutes, continuing to stir so that the sauce does not burn. It should turn into a glaze. Do a taste test and add more honey for sweetness if needed.



For the garlic noodles I followed the recipe here from  The Noodle Guy and my kids absolutely loved them! The only thing I did was add 2 teaspoons of Soy Sauce.








When it comes to making red beans and rice, I do them two ways.  One is super easy using cocktail sausages, canned beans and gravy mix. The other uses traditional sausage, dried red beans, and tomatoes.

For this one, I used the latter method. It takes a bit longer because you have to slow cook the beans.

You will need:

1 bag of dry red beans
2-3 knorr chicken bouillon cubes
2 tablespoons of dried Italian seasoning
1 can of Rotel tomatoes with chiles
1 package of sausage links or bratwurst


In large pot rinse your dried beans and then fill with water. Mix in two Knorr cubes. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium.  Cook on medium for one hour, stirring to prevent sticking to the pot. Reduce heat to low and cook another hour.  Check the softness of the beans.  Cook until beans are tender and not chalky.

You can also cook your beans in a crockpot. Cook on low for about 4-6 hours.

The beans will make their own 'gravy' from cooking so long.

After beans are cooked, you can taste to make sure they have flavor. If not enough, add in one more Knorr cube. Cook until it is dissolved.

Slice your sausages and saute in skillet.



Place sausages and can of Rotel into the beans.

Serve over rice.


Yesterday, I made fried green tomatoes. Even though they are my absolute favorites, it was not for me.  I had a friend visiting from Chicago and she had never tried them. She said she could not leave Mississippi without giving them a go. And give them a go she did. She loved them!

Fried green tomatoes are truly a southern delicacy. I can't get enough of them and whenever I see green tomatoes in the store I always load up on them. I do not like red tomatoes raw but the tartness of the green ones get me everytime.

I can't remember the first time I had these but I know I was an adult. It was one of those things that I never thought I could make but when I found out how easy it was I could not stop. The only problem is finding green tomatoes! If you happen to find some at your local grocery, stop and pick up a few. You have to try these.

My mom prepares her fried green tomatoes differently from me. She likes to use flour while I prefer the crunch you get with using cornmeal. Like I do with most fried foods I double batter my tomatoes for an extra crunch as they tend to get soggy fast if you do not.

You will need:
2 green tomatoes
1 cup of yellow cornmeal
3 tbsp of all purpose flour
2 tablespoons of Creole Seasoning ( or salt and pepper mix)
1 cup of water or buttermilk

2 cups of vegetable oil for frying


In a bowl, mix your dry ingredients. Pour your water or buttermilk into a separate bowl.

Heat oil in skillet or pot on meduim high heat.




Slice your green tomatoes into your desired thickness but remember that the thicker they are the more likely they are to not be as tender on the inside without burning the coating.



Coat your slice in the cornmeal mix on both sides, pressing down so that the mix sticks to the tomato from the moisture inside of it. Quickly dip the slice into the water or buttermilk and back into the cornmeal mix, patting and pressing down for a nice coating.



Once all are coated, place into frying oil.  Remove when golden brown.




Here in the South, we usually coat these bad boys in hot sauce and eat them that way. I like to add a bit of hot sauce and ranch dressing for dipping and it is so good!

You can also serve them with a nice remoulade and they are perfect on turkey sandwiches!




I am thinking that this summer heat calls for one of these!  Nothing like an ice cream cake to beat this Mississippi heat.


What you will need:
Ice Cream (softened)
Cake (I used box cake mix but I am sure a homemade cake would be divine!)
Raspberry or strawberry jam
Strawberry Frosting
Pocky sticks (I used two large bags of pocky sticks to cover the 9 inch cake)(you can find these in the Asian section of your grocery store or at an Asian food market)
clear wrap
ribbon if you like

After the cake has cooled, I trimmed off the top excess to make it even. I then spread a generous amount of jam to the layer. Place in the freezer until it is hardened. This is important because it will need to be frozen to ice it later. Otherwise,it will become a slippery mess!

On the other cake layer, spread your softened ice cream. Wrap tightly in clear wrap and place in the freezer until frozen.

                                               



Once both layers are frozen, place them together like the photo above. You can use a knife to trim off any icecream that is sticking out from the cake. Place back into the freezer.

Once it is again frozen solid, take out and begin frosting. You will need to move fast and do not worry if it is not perfectly frosted. You just need enough frosting on the sides so that the pocky sticks. After frosting, immediately begin placing the pocky sticks around it. This would be fun for the kids to help with but be careful, pocky is very delicate and they will break easily.

I tied ribbon around my cake because I thought it looked super pretty and it helps keep the pocky in place. Place back in the freezer.  I topped my cake off with chocolate covered strawberries and plain strawberries. You will need to leave in the freezer until it has hardened and take out when you are ready to serve.  It is sooooo good!





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