My husband and I returned yesterday from our trip to Upstate NY to visit with my parents. On Friday, my father underwent surgery on his foot, which I wrote about in Friday's post. He did end up having another toe on his right foot amputated, but he is recovering well and due to be released from the hospital today, or possibly tomorrow. His spirits are high, considering. (He didn't get all teary-eyed when he got the news that he only had three toes left on his right foot; he laughed--which struck me as an interesting reaction, but that's my dad. That's Bigfoot for ya.)
One of the hardest things lately as far as my dad is concerned is that he has little-to-no appetite. He is very picky about what he will eat, and even if you prepare something that appeals to his discriminating palate, he eats like a bird. This 6'3", big-boned man, who wears size 13 shoes and XXXL hats (the guy who always loomed large, like a giant, throughout my childhood), now eats less than I do. A lot less. And we need to get him eating again and put some meat on those bones of his!
My mother ("Mimi" to her grandkids) is always trying to tempt Bigfoot with new recipes, and when she found this chicken recipe I'm about to share with you, she hit the jackpot. He loved it so much that she ended up making it all the time--and that's how it got the nickname "Mimi's Lemon Chicken." There is not a speck of lemon juice or lemon zest, or even lemon pepper, in this recipe; it's just that my mom makes it so often that it's like Deborah Barrone's lemon chicken. You know, from the TV show "Everybody Loves Raymond"...Remember, Deborah's Italian mother-in-law is the great cook, and Deb isn't...but Deb's got this lemon chicken deal that she makes all the time, and Ray pretends to love it...?
If you don't get the reference, you may not have been as hooked on "Everybody Loves Raymond" as I was at one time. (It got so bad, with all the re-runs constantly showing on different channels, that one year I decided to give it up for Lent!) Apparently, my parents were a bit hooked on it, too.
Anyhoo--(yes, this is supposed to be a recipe post, not a novel)--here's Mom/Mimi's recipe for "Lemon Chicken."
I have no strict measurements for this recipe. It's an "as needed" or "to taste" sort of thing. You'll need:
4 chicken breasts, either thin-cut or pounded so that they're thin
canola oil--about 1/4-1/2 cup
butter--about 2-4 Tbsp. (optional, but recommended!)
potato chips--about 1/2 of a regular-sized bag--crushed
a handful of crushed pretzels (optional)
red pepper flakes--to taste
an egg or two
a couple of splashes of soy sauce
Pre-heat oven to 350.
Crush up the potato chips and pretzels in a bowl. Add some red pepper flakes, to taste--if you like your foods hot and spicy, add a lot; otherwise, go lightly. (Note: We didn't have pretzels the first night I decided to try this recipe out, so I skipped those and it worked fine without them.* I just used more chips. Also, I used kettle-cooked chips, but I'm sure any kind of potato chip would suffice.)
Beat up the egg with some soy sauce.
Heat up the oil and butter in a large frying pan. (Note: My mom uses just canola oil, to be healthier. I need to add butter for taste, because butter makes my husband happy.)
Now dip each breast first in the egg mixture and then in the chip mixture, until coated. Fry them on one side until browned, then place them in a baking dish--fried side up. Drizzle the remainder of the oil/butter from the pan into the baking dish.
Bake for 1/2 hour at 350, and this is what you get:
*My version remains a potato-chips-only affair. This chicken is so good without the pretzels that my hubby and I decided we don't need them!