Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cooking adventures in an RV

I thought it might be a nice to post some of the recipes for the meals we’ve been fixing during our trip.  Just so you know, the Trek has a combination microwave/convection oven and a 3-burner stovetop. We’ve also brought along an electric frying pan, a charcoal grill and a George Foreman Grill. We felt that with all these cooking options, we would be able to put together some pretty decent meals.

In the interest of sharing some of our cooking adventures, here’s the story of what Consuelo started calling my orange-drop chicken:

We always try to keep a bag of frozen uncooked chicken tenders in the freezer.  I thawed out about 8 tenders and dropped them into a large Ziploc bag.  I reached into the bag with a fork and pierced all the tenders and then I added small can of mandarin oranges (the small snack-size fruit cups).  I laid the bag out on the counter and using the heel of my palm, crushed all the orange wedges.  I then added a couple of spoonfuls of orange marmalade and kneaded the bag to make sure the tenders were well coated.  I left the chicken and orange to marinade for a while.  Meanwhile,  I mixed a small 4 oz. package of potato flakes in a dish with some salt and pepper and paprika. I poured a small amount of olive oil into the bottom of a baking dish (actually a 9” glass brownie pan). Then, I took the chicken tenders and coated them with the potato flake mixture and placed them into the baking pan.

I baked the chicken in the convection oven at 375 degrees.  After 20 minutes, I took the pan out of the oven and turned each tender. It was my intention to bake the other side for another 20 minutes.  But… while I was putting the pan back into the oven, I (gasp!) dropped it.  True to Murphy’s Law, the pan landed upside down, but fortunately, not on my toes – it was close, though!  Consuelo quickly jumped up to my rescue and  scooped up all the chicken pieces, rinsed them off and put them back into the pan. Everything went back into the oven for 20 more minutes. I cooked up a box of Uncle Ben’s Rice on the stovetop while we waited for the chicken to finish cooking.

Despite the mishap, the meal was still wonderful and I would certainly attempt this dish again (of course, Consuelo would have the honor of taking the hot dish in an out of the oven). My only disappointment was that the coating was not as crispy or crunchy as I had hoped.  I think rinsing the chicken –which was absolutely necessary since we’re traveling with dogs—made the coating a little soggy.

My big lessons learned: The position of our convection oven, above the stovetop, along with my short stature and my hyper-sensitivity to temperatures (a lingering effect from my stroke) are a bad combination.  So from now on, Consuelo gets to take dinner out of the oven!

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