It’s the final day of my #30DayChallenge! I’m a little sad to see it end. It’s been a lot of fun writing every single day, but I don’t know if I can keep it up without some set list to work off of.
It makes me a little sad, actually…. Wait a minute!
Is that why whoever came up with this challenge picked Comfort Food as the final post? They knew the writer would be saddened by the end of the challenge and wanted them to be prepared for such a thing, with their favorite comfort food handy and ready to go?
How very thoughtful!
Unfortunately, I’m not sure it will work for me. My absolute favorite comfort food is simply potato chips. Specifically Lay’s Original potato chips.
Or, the Lay’s Kettle cooked chips, if I’m going to have them with dip. And by dip, I mean an avocado. I’ll split open an avocado and use the chips to scoop the green goodness right out of the shell.
This is not a great plan. While avocados are good for you, I will eat an entire bag of chips in one sitting. They are redlight foods for me, and I can never stop until the bag is completely empty. So, no comfort snacking for me today, thank you.
As far as my favorite meal, that can be doable, especially since I am in a situation where I can cook for more than just me at the moment.
When I was younger, and when I go home to my parents’ place for even now, on my birthday my mother would ask what I wanted. It’s not a novel idea, the creating a special meal for the birthday person, but mine has never changed. I like homemade fried chicken with real mashed potatoes (not out of a box), homemade gravy, and some vegetable. The vegetable is the only thing that really changes. It’s been corn, specifically on the cob, and green beans, but if I were to make it right now, I’m craving asparagus.
The trick to the fried chicken (or at least for mine) is using fajita seasoning in the flour. I’ve never been one of those girls who double dredges the chicken, and I don’t use milk. I just run it through an egg wash, then roll it in flour that is heavily peppered with Fajita seasoning (I just buy the premixed stuff, so don’t ask me what’s in it) and fresh cracked pepper, and then cook it in a light frying oil, like canola. I pan fry it, not deep fry it, and I leave it in there just long enough to get a nice golden color to it.
Then I take it out of the oil and bake it on a pan that can let the oil drip out, like a broiling pan. Then I get the nice crisp texture without the super oily mess, and it’s healthier because I don’t have to use so much egg or flour.
I think it’s brilliant.
Once the chicken’s in the oven, I can make the rest of it.
Draining most of the oil out, but leaving enough to make a nice roux, I start the gravy. I use the leftover flour from the battering step. My mother tells me I shouldn’t do this, but I’ve made it nearly 34 years without making anyone sick, so it works. I make sure not to get any particularly eggy or bloody clumps, of course, so maybe that helps. But that way the gravy has a similar taste as the chicken itself, especially with all the cracklings already in the pan. I usually add some extra fajita seasoning and a little paprika to it.
I’m a big fan of paprika, not so much the smoked paprika, which is sweet, but just the plain paprika. It’s a mellow flavor that I’m not sure really adds much to it, but I like it. I like the red color it adds. I use it in my fried potatoes as well, but that’s another recipe for another day.
Then you just add milk and maybe a little more flour to it until you get a nice, thick, not-quite-white gravy.
I really like this gravy on potatoes, but then again I really like potatoes. I specifically like homemade mashed potatoes, and I like to mash them the old fashioned way, with a hand masher. I don’t want any of those sliky, lump free potatoes. Those are too close to that nasty stuff that comes out of the box!
Of course, it taste just as good on brown rice, if I’m feeling like having a healthier version… but, like I said, I really like potatoes, and since this is about comfort foods, that’s the one I find comfort in.
And then I add whatever vegetable I’m in the mood for and the meal is done.
It’s not exactly the healthiest of meals, but it is one that has always brought comfort, and I think I do a pretty decent job of making it a little bit healthier. The worst part is the gravy, and I even use skim milk for that, so…
Then again, are comfort foods supposed to be healthy? I think not.