Inspiration can come from anywhere – even from eating a Nature Valley granola bar. I’ve wanted to some actual cooking (that’s not pasta or soup) for a while, and thought chicken might be a good candidate. And yesterday, as I ate a Nature Valley granola bar for breakfast, I figured it out – I’d cook a oats and honey granola crusted chicken! Of course it was easy to just think that – so today’s blog, I guess I’ll do a pseudo recipe, and write through my process. Or if you don’t want to read, just scroll down for the pictures of the finished product!
I went to the store and picked up some food today – some potatoes and broccoli for side dishes, as well as a package of 3 chicken cutlets, some eggs for dredging and a roll to use for extra breadcrumbs.
Being a college kid with one pot to use, I had to figure out how I was going to get everything cooked. I started with the potatoes first, as I figured they’d probably take a lot of time to boil. I bought 4 small red potatoes (I figured I’d make enough for 2 meals, so I could eat leftovers later in the week), and but those in the water with a dash of salt to boil and simmer until they were done (when a fork could go into it fairly easily).
While that was cooking, I turned to my chicken dredging. I broke up the roll and granola bar into chunks and put them into one of my produce bags. Then, I had my large heavy can of salt, which I proceeded to use to hit, hack, and smash away at the bread and granola. In lieu of a cooking hammer of course. This was probably the more fun part of the preparation. Though I realized I should have hardened the bread as it was still in big chunks, so I fished out the larger pieces and put them on some aluminum foil in the oven to dry out (no baking sheet either!). Those finished, and I crushed those in with the other granola. I was a bit worried that the sweetness of the granola bar would be overpowering, so I used the entire roll of bread.
I began to dredge the chicken cutlets, covering them in an egg batter, then dipping them in the dry breadcrumb/granola mixture, which I added some salt and pepper to. Around now, the potatoes were done, and I evacuated those from the water, washed the pot, then put some oil in the pot and put the chicken in. Ideally, I would have used a skillet, but alas, only the pot, so I had to cook them in 2 batches.
Basically, just cooked the chicken, about 3-5 minutes on each side (until it was done). The second batch was a little bit overcooked, as evidenced by the smokier room atmosphere when Nick and Cecelia came in later; though it wasn’t too bad. In retrospect, I should have dumped out the leftover breading from the first batch before cooking the second one, as that burned a bit too.
After the chicken was done, I did some quick steaming of broccoli. I had cut up the heads and washed them while the chicken was cooking, so I put them in about ½-1 inch of water, and some butter, covered it, and let it boil until it was done.
And voilà! My first attempt at real cooking was done! I actually attempted to be more careful with plating this time. It looked like a great colorful, balanced meal. Time to try – potatoes and broccoli were good, nothing too special about that. The real test was the chicken. It actually turned out pretty good! The outside crust had a nice crunch (at least on the 2 that weren’t burnt), which had a nice contrast to the soft chicken. You could taste the sweetness in the crust from the honey and oats (I suppose it’d be like honey chicken), which went well with the savory chicken and the light salt. The chicken was also done, but still quite moist and juicy, which was great!
In the end, it took an hour plus of work – probably not something I’d do when I’m tired in the middle of the week (though I’m sure I’d be faster next time). Glad I had leftovers from it! I should also make sure I don’t burn any of the crust next time. I might explore with other spices and batters, or other factors too. But it was a lot of fun and satisfying, and a bit comforting to me to know that I can now say I’ve cooked actual food!