This Is How We Do It

My goal here is to share my joy in planning and cooking and sharing meals with people.  I have varying success in these areas, as they are quite different from each other.  Analyzing and planning are my JAM!  This is what I do, this is my strength.  My 9 to 5 career that I’ve been doing for the past 23 years relies heavily on strength in planning and analysis and it translates exceptionally well into planning meals.  

20191028_162458I cook quite well (if I do say so myself).  My mom did an amazing job of ensuring that I knew at least the basics of caring for myself, whether I liked it or not. Although cooking has not always been my favorite activity, I’ve discovered many benefits of cooking at home which include freshness, health (including less sodium, healthier fats, less sugar, more vegetables, etc), better flavor, variety, combinations I can’t find at restaurants, better quality, spicier, etc.  Since then I’ve taken classes and I watch and read a lot about techniques, flavors, recipes, etc.

My typical “cook at home” routine goes something like this: “mmm, this sounds interesting but also sounds kind of like I wouldn’t like it, I know, I’ll make my own version of it.”  Or, “hmmm, this sounds amazing, I’ve never had it, I think I’ll make it!”  About a third of the time though, I think, “let’s just make something super easy because let’s face it I really don’t feel like cooking.”  And typically there is a “and let’s make it a healthier version” that creeps into every recipe. It’s all of these together, the planning, the hmmmm what can I do with this, and more than anything the sharing, that makes me enjoy cooking.

My latest venture that captured a few of those thoughts was making chicken and waffles.  I generally do NOT like sweet flavors (fruit, syrup, honey, etc) with meat.  Begone pineapple pizza or pineapple pork or mango salsa chicken or pork chops and applesauce or, well, syrup on chicken and waffles.  And then I saw an episode of something (maybe Guys Grocery Games) on TV where someone made very simple spicy chicken and waffles with a hot honey and butter, and that was the game changer.

20191025_205144There has never been a chicken and waffles entrée on a menu that looked or sounded as good as this dish did on TV.  So I decided to come up with my own version at home to try.  Of course, I had to make a slightly healthier version as well.  And dang if it didn’t turn out more amazing than I expected!  So, here is what happened:  I found a cheesy cornbread waffle recipe, an airfry chicken thigh recipe, and came into some home-grown jalapenos so chopped a little one up and tossed it into a bottle of local honey to make my own hot honey. Oh yeah, have I ever made any of these individual things before?  Of course not; but this is how I do things. (True story, I’ve never made waffles, or air fried chicken, or hot honey for that matter.)

20191025_205500I actually made two different airfry chicken recipes, one with an egg/flour coating and one just with a spice coating.  The spice coating version came out way better as the egg/flour one didn’t get crispy like I hoped.  The waffles were amazing!  And the hot honey…..I later added another jalapeno as the first batch wasn’t quite as hot as I hoped.

This is another set of recipes where I made them pretty much as written, links are above and below.  The only exceptions were I used powdered Saco buttermilk (dissolved in water) for the buttermilk for the waffles.  The spices for the airfry chicken recipe don’t have measurements, but I used coconut sugar (rather than brown sugar) and I used a lot compared to the spices. I would say half coconut sugar to half of the remaining spices; I pretty much adjusted to taste.  It came out a very balanced sweet and spicy.

20191027_111856This recipe combination ended up being a huge hit for me, who had never eaten chicken and waffles in my life before I made them, and my friend who will order chicken and waffles almost every time if it’s on a menu.  And as a side note, I had leftover waffles – I recommend putting them in the toaster oven for about 6 minutes (on toast) with cheddar and topping with 6 minute poached eggs (and if you’re brave, I’ll admit I wasn’t brave enough to try making it, some hollandaise) for brunch!

Please share your experience with making airfry chicken and waffles; I would love to hear how they turned out!

Title inspired by : Montell Jordan

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