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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Homemade Shake & Bake Chicken with Steamed Asparagus and Pierogi (Polish Dumplings)

The last part of winter hung on and the cold weather really hasn't let go.  So far, it has been a cold, damp spring with snow still in the forecast.  Last night and this morning, heavy thunderstorms with rain advisories are rolling through.  While it isn't perfect outdoor weather, it is a great time for me to do a bit of home canning and baking, especially breads.  Mid-February through to the first week of May, we are in overdrive mode working 16 to 18 hour days 7 days a week, more so my husband for the past couple of years.  We are in bed before 8 PM and while he drifts off to sleep immediately, I sip on camomile tea and play a hidden objects game or crochet before going to sleep by 8:30 PM.  He's up at 3 AM and out the door 20 minutes later.  I'm usually up the same time, sometimes a half hour later.  I have dinner ready for 5:30 PM and these days I am relying on home cooked comfort foods.

homemade shake and bake with steamed asparagus and perogies
Homemade shake & bake chicken is one of our family comfort foods.  It's quick, easy, no muss, no fuss, and just downright good!  What you may not know is homemade shake & bake chicken reheats nicely so you can cook extra one night then simply reheat for a quick meal another night.  To reheat, place the cooked shake & bake chicken pieces in an oven proof casserole dish.  Cover with aluminum foil.  Heat in oven at 350°F for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve.

I used four bone in chicken breasts for homemade shake & bake chicken, 2 each for Saturday and Sunday's dinner.  The first dinner I served the chicken with steamed broccoli, baked potatoes and homemade creamy coleslaw.  The second dinner I served the chicken with steamed asparagus, potato and cheese pierogi and a small garden salad.

Pierogi are Polish dumplings made with unleavened dough stuffed with a potato filling that are either boiled, or boiled then baked or fried.  Traditional pierogi are filled with a mixture of potato, meat and sauerkraut.  Sour cream or caramelized onion pieces are popular toppings for pierogi.   I have not made pierogi from scratch as they are not something we have very often, as in once a year if that.  I bought frozen pierogi this time to serve as a guideline in making them from scratch.  This is a handy tip for getting an idea of how the final product should be prior to making your own from scratch.  I did the same thing when learning to make fresh pasta by comparing it to store bought fresh pasta and when first attempting certain artisan breads.  At any rate, a 1 kg bag of frozen store brand pierogi costs $1.79.  There were about 30 pierogi in the bag but I used almost half the bag for dinner leaving me half to use in my testing.  Homemade pierogi should come in less expensive with a fresher flavour.  One recipe on Food Net work uses 3 c of flour and 3 eggs for the dough which would cost me 99¢ plus the filling so an estimated added 50¢ for potato and cheese, which gives a total cost of $1.49 for 72 pierogi.  So, based on this homemade pierogi should be under half the price of store bought.  I'm off to do a bit of experimenting so will report back on the results later this week.

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