Chile-rubbed chicken with corn | Recipe report card

19 Apr

The Lil Guy arrived March 19, and we have been fortunate enough to have my in-laws in town, keeping us well fed pretty much ever since. The Lil Guy has been such a good baby so far, so I figured I should try to get back in the habit of cooking while I still had backup. I finally busted open my How to Cook Everything Fast: A Better Way to Cook Great Food and picked out a few recipes, incorporating some of the techniques I learned from Dinner: The Playbook.

When I was cooking the Dinner: The Playbook recipes, I went astray by choosing recipes that were meat dredged in flour and fried. I am not a big fan of that. I can never quite brown the meat properly, and when I eat it, I can’t really see the benefit of all that work. Why not just roast it? This recipe was chicken dredged in a cornmeal mixture and pan fried. But as I made it, I realized that it’s basically chicken fingers, which, at the time, was the only meat the Bug was reliably eating, so I had a good feeling about it. OH BOY, was this a hit!

Also, I really should have taken a photo because this dinner was just as pretty as it was tasty.

Chile-rubbed chicken with corn (and scallions), How to Cook Everything Fast, p. 640

  • Meal: dinner, sometime last week
  • Kid tried?: Yes.
  • Keeper?: Hell yes.
  • Cook’s grade: A. I had dinner on the table within about 20 minutes of getting home with the Bug from daycare. I made the cornmeal coating and cut up the chicken a few hours before I made dinner, which sped things up. Since cornmeal doesn’t absorb water the way that flour does, I think I could have tossed the chicken in the coating then, too, and it would probably stand up to a few hours in the fridge. After you pan-fry the coated chicken, you brown corn in the same pan, adding scallions (which I forgot to buy, hence the parenthetical above), and then queso fresco once you take it out of the pan. I used frozen corn because we had several bags of it in our freezer and I am trying to cook more from our pantry (I defrosted it in the microwave while the chicken was cooking).
  • Kid’s grade: A. Bug ate all of her meat and said, “My like chicken!” (She is still sorting out her pronouns.) Yes, it’s chicken fingers, but it’s really good chicken fingers. The spice from the chili pepper wasn’t too much for her (she has a very low tolerance for spice), but it added enough interest for us.

Cooking tips for busy parents:

  • It’s tough to make this recipe much faster. But, you can mix the cornmeal coating before, cut the chicken, dredge (and even freeze) the chicken, and defrost the corn (if using frozen). But doing most of that as you go works, too.

Chile-cumin baked beans, How to Cook Everything, p. 937

  • Meal: dinner, sometime last week
  • Kid tried?: I think so…
  • Keeper?: Yes.
  • Cook’s grade: A. I have been looking for a good, basic black bean recipe for a while, and this one is basically what I throw into beans when I’m trying to add some flavor: cumin, garlic, a fresh chile pepper, and salt and pepper. But this had the right balance of all those elements, instead of the too-spiced or not-spiced-enough versions I consistently came up with on my own. Except for chopping the chile, this recipe takes just as long to make as it takes to heat up beans.
  • Kid’s grade: B+. Bug eats beans, and I think she ate some of these. I only added half the jalapeno to the beans to keep the heat low (see note above about Bug’s tolerance for spice).

A note on leftovers: If you, like me, don’t often use queso fresco and are left with a big chunk of it after you make this recipe, add it to any meat on a heated tortilla with salsa for a quick taco lunch or make a quick salad of browned corn, avocado, tomato, and queso fresco. Both are pretty yummy.

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One Response to “Chile-rubbed chicken with corn | Recipe report card”


  1. Lea & Perrin’s pulled pork | Recipe report card | Seamripper - April 20, 2015

    […] grade: A. I made this up on the fly because I so enjoyed the browned corn side I had made earlier that week. We had an avocado that only had a few more days of life to it, a few […]

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