Crunchy Chicken Strips

crunchy-chicken

Looking for an alternative to deep fried chicken? How about chicken your kids will eat, without all the preservatives that come in the frozen varieties? Get all the crispiness of fried without all the fat and oil. Vary the flavor by using your favorite dipping sauces. Cut up into smaller chunks and toss into a green salad.

Crunchy Chicken Strips Recipe

¾ cup Panko bread crumbs
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
½ tsp granulated garlic
½ tsp Adobo seasoning
½ tsp thyme
¼ tsp salt and pepper
¼ cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
2 eggs, beaten with a dash or water or milk,  or ½ cup egg beaters
1 lb chicken breasts sliced into strips or package of chicken tenders

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a cooking sheet with aluminum foil and spray generously with cooking spray. In a shallow bowl, combine Panko crumbs, cheese, garlic, Adobo seasoning, thyme, salt and pepper. Mix well. Place flour and eggs into separate shallow bowls.

Add all of the chicken into the flour, mix by hand to coat, shake off excess. One-by-one, dip each piece of chicken into the eggs and then the bread crumbs. Be sure to coat evenly. Arrange chicken in a single layer, on the prepared cooking sheet. Spray the tops of the chicken with the cooking spray to promote browning. Bake for 15 minutes.

Take chicken out of the oven, turn each piece and spray foil and chicken with additional cooking spray.

Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes until the chicken looks golden brown. Make sure internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees. Don’t over bake. Serve immediately.

Makes approximately 3 – 4 servings.

 

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Do You Have the Right to Use that Photo?

Spend any time on the internet and it won’t take long to be overstimulated with various imagery all vying for your attention. Images pop up everywhere, persuading you to stop, look or take some sort of action in ways that are hard to ignore. Even though many pictures are taken professionally, the majority are taken by the general public. Instagram claims to receive over 95 million photo and video uploads per day. Facebook brags that users are uploading 350 million images per day.

But who owns all these images? Professional photographers have the right to restrict use of their images, and often put a water mark across each one making difficult for someone to use without permission. There can be a false sense of security into thinking that no one notices or cares if anyone downloads copyrighted images on Google or Bing for personal use. In case you think no one is watching, there is image tracking software that can and is used by businesses to track their images on the internet. Large companies like Getty Images have been known to send out emails threatening a lawsuit if their images are found on websites or blogs without permission.

But what about the average internet user? Most of the time it’s a matter of ethics – doing the right thing. No one wants their ideas stolen. A legit business should use legit images and artwork, preferably their own original creation or a paid license. Who wants a reputation as someone who steals other people’s work?

Coming from the creative side of the tracks, it’s frustrating to see some users not take a photographer’s copyright seriously. Some people may not truly understand how perfectly composed photography comes to be. A professional photograph that looks so simple, yet clever, can be easily dismissed as something that wasn’t a big deal to create. Not to say that there aren’t happy accidents, by being in the right place at the right time with a camera, but based on my past experiences, the more simplistic a photo looks, the more difficult it is to create. Not to mention the post production that images may go through in Photoshop. Touching up photography and making it look great can be a full-time job in itself.

If you use images on your blog, website or social media, get into the habit of looking for ones that are “public domain.” A customized Google search can help, but there’s no guarantee. It’s best to go to the website where the image originates and contact the owner for permission. Sometimes all they ask is for is a credit to the photographer somewhere on or around the image. Or if you feel adventurous enough or have a creative edge, there are plenty of tutorials that show users how to take eye-catching photos using natural light without a ton of equipment, even with a cell phone. This way you can avoid all that copyright nonsense and be a true original.

Sweet Roasted Acorn Squash

September is here which means fall is in the air. This time of the year I get a taste for winter squash. There’s so many varieties to chose from. They are a source of potassium, fiber, vitamins A, B6 and C. If you’ve never prepared squash before here’s a quick way to prepare a tasty side dish of acorn squash.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Use a metal baking sheet and cover with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray. Cut one acorn squash in half. I like to cut the top with the stem off first, and place the flat side down for a more steadier surface. Some squash can be a little tough to cut into. Then with the bottom size up, I usually use a chef’s knife to cut down the center.

acorn squash w.seeds.jpg

Inside, the acorn squash has the same guts and seeds just like a pumpkin, which is another type of squash. While using a large spoon, just the same way you would clean out a pumpkin, clean out the squash leaving the insides smooth. If you’d like, clean and keep the seeds and roast them later for a crunchy snack.

acorn squash no seeds.jpg

Once the squash is nice and clean, place the squash flesh-side-down and roast for 30 minutes until soft. Turn the squash flesh-side-up. Then inside the middle of each place 1-2 Tablespoon(s) of brown sugar and 1 Tablespoon of butter (optional). I also sprinkled a little garlic, adobe seasoning and pepper over the top (optional). Then place the squash in the oven for about 15- 30 minutes until the sugar and butter melts into a liquid and the flesh shows some browning.

acorn squash done.jpg

Let it cool off for a while then use the large spoon to scrape the flesh out away from the skin into a bowl. Mash and sprinkle brown sugar on top if desired.

roasted acorn sqash2.jpg

Try different variations. Winter squash is so versatile and can be eaten sweetened or not. Instead of brown sugar, add 1/4 – 1/2 tsp granulated garlic, adobe seasoning, and chili powder. Salt and pepper to taste.


SWEET ROASTED ACORN SQUASH
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 acorn squash, cut in half and cleaned
1 Tablespoon butter
1 -2 Tablespoons brown sugar

Unsweetened

1/4 – 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 – 1/2 tsp adobe seasoning
1/4 – 1/2 tsp  chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Place acorn squash halves flesh-side-down on cooking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes. Add sugar, butter and other desired seasonings inside each half. Put back into the oven flesh-side-up for another 15 to 30 minutes until butter and sugar melt and the flesh is browned. Scoop out squash and mash. Sprinkle with more brown sugar if desired.
Makes about 2 – 3 servings.