, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ever heard the phrase, “winner winner chicken dinner?” Well, whoever made it up was definitely talking about this chicken dinner. These knockoff Chick-fil-A chicken strips are so delicious you’ll feel like you’re eating the real thing (but without the long lines!) And what good is a chicken dinner without mashed potatoes? Our creamy dreamy mashed potatoes are the perfect complement to the chicken strips – they’re so rich and creamy you’ll want to lick the bowl. To add a little color to the plate of carbs meal, we’ve got country green beans with bacon (Mmmm…) and onions. Then, to satisfy your sweet tooth, we made cheesecake. But this isn’t just any cheesecake. This is white chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. And it’s heavenly. This dinner is certainly a winner in our Blended Kitchen.

Almost-Famous Chicken Sandwiches (or Strips!) Food Network Magazine
We love Chick-fil-a. We love their chicken strips. And their chicken nuggets. And their chicken biscuits. And their chicken sandwiches. To us, there’s almost nothing sadder than waking up on a Sunday morning and realizing that Chick-fil-A is closed all day long. Luckily, Food Network Magazine cracked the Chick-fil-A code and figured out how to make their mouthwatering chicken at home, so now we chow down on chicken strips whenever we want (or at least whenever the cleaning lady is coming to clean up the mess the next day…)

One comment about this recipe: we can’t promise it will be easy, but we can promise it will be worth it. A tool that helps us get this recipe right every time is Cindy’s electric skillet with temperature control. We highly recommend putting one on your Christmas list! We used about 5 pounds of chicken for our meal, but we were serving 7 people. We’d err on the side of caution and make extra chicken. If it doesn’t get eaten all in one sitting, it’s nice to have for lunch on Cindy’s signature salad the next day.

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
Peanut oil, for frying
1 large egg
1/2 cup nonfat milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon malted milk powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Cut each of the chicken breasts into 3 strips.

Slice the chicken into three long strips.

Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon each pepper and paprika.

Heat about 2 inches peanut oil in a heavy-bottomed pot (or temperature controlled electric skillet) over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325 degrees F.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg, milk and 2 tablespoons water in a baking dish or large bowl.

Whisk both flours, the malted milk powder, confectioners sugar, baking soda, dry mustard, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper in another dish.

Working in batches, dip the chicken in the egg mixture, turning to coat, then dredge in the flour mixture and shake off any excess.

First put the chicken in the egg, milk and water mix.

Then dredge the chicken in the flour mixture.

Fry the chicken in the hot oil until golden brown, about 4 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed. Drain on paper towels.

Place the chicken in the hot oil.

When the chicken turns golden brown on the bottom it's ready to flip.

Perfectly browned chicken strips. Yummy!

Creamy Dreamy Mashed Potatoes
As a kid, Claire absolutely loved mashed potatoes. If she could have, she would have eaten mashed potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and a few bites for a snack in between meals!) In our family, Claire is the mashed potato connoisseur. She’s tasted the best of the best, but still thinks these mashed potatoes are at the top of her list. These potatoes are just about perfect in our eyes. Their texture is just right – not too airy and light, not too heavy, with enough lumps (or “humps,” as the Nugget calls them) to know that these mashed potatoes really were homemade.

For our dreamy mashed potatoes, we prefer to use Yukon gold potatoes, but russet potatoes will work just fine. The final result depends on the quality of potatoes you use – so don’t go for whatever is on sale that week. Be careful not to overmash your potatoes – they’ll get all gluey and gross. If you’re watching your weight (not us, clearly!), you can cut back on the butter and use skim milk. They won’t taste quite as good, but they’ll still be pretty darn yummy.

4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
Stick and a quarter of butter
3/4 cup 2% milk
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp salt

Peel and cut potatoes into small cubes.

Cook potatoes in boiling water until fork tender.

Mix potatoes and remaining ingredients in large bowl and mash with a potato masher.

Add the butter and milk to the potatoes.

Mix in the garlic salt for a hint of garlic flavor.

Don't mash the potatoes too much or they'll become gluey.

Pass the gravy?

Country Green Beans
Why are these green beans “country?” Well, this is just the way they make green beans in the country – with bacon and onions and lots of love. They’re the perfect side dish for a more complicated meal (like the Chick-fil-A chicken) because they’re really good, really quick and really easy.

We make this dish really simple by using canned green beans (it keeps getting classier at Blended Kitchen, doesn’t it?), but you can use fresh green beans if you’d prefer them. For the bacon and onions, you can use as much or as little of each as you want. If you want to switch it up, you can use pancetta or prosciutto instead of bacon. When the prosciutto is sliced really thin and cooked until it’s nice and crispy, it provides an awesome crunch in the green beans.

2 cans of green beans, drained
4 slices center cut bacon (We like center cut because it has less fat than regular bacon)
1/2 cup chopped onion
salt and pepper, to taste

Cut bacon into bite-sized pieces.

We love using our kitchen shears to cut up the bacon.

Cook bacon and onions together until bacon is crisp and onions are soft and delicious looking.

This is what we mean by "delicious looking."

Add green beans to the bacon and onions, mix to combine and cover with a lid. Heat on low for approximately 10 minutes.

Can't go wrong with green beans and bacon!

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake 
This cheesecake is dangerous. Butter? Check. Peanut butter? Check. Cream cheese? Check. Nutter butters? Check. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? Check. White chocolate? Check. Mix all that together and you’ve got one fabulously rich dessert. Lindsey’s boyfriend discovered this cheesecake at a work potluck. It looked so good that he tracked down the recipe from his coworker (thanks to Brad for letting us use this recipe!), bought all the ingredients and helped Lindsey make it (and eat it!) If you’re looking to impress guests over the holidays, this is the dessert to make.

The one suggestion we have for this recipe is make sure you read the ingredients and directions lists thoroughly. Instead of 2 tablespoons of flour, Lindsey added 2 cups to the cheesecake mix, resulting in a disgustingly doughy batter that had to be thrown out. Luckily she got it right the second time, and everyone raved about how phenomenal this cheesecake was. Keep in mind that this cheesecake has to cool in the refrigerator for 8 hours, so you’ll want to make it the night before.

1 pkg. mini nutter butters (20 regular size nutter butters)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar

3 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, room temp
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoons vanilla
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 heaping cup creamy peanut butter
8 oz. white bakers chocolate, melted & cooled
1 bag Reese’s White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, unwrapped and cut into halves or fourths

What's not to love?

If you have a food processor, pulse nutter butters until crumbly. If not, put them in a plastic bag and either whack them with a hammer or crush them with a rolling pin. Add melted butter and sugar. Mix until well combined and crust sticks together (add more butter if crust doesn’t squeeze together.)

Press into the bottom of a greased 9-inch spring form pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Cool and prepare the filling.

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.

This is what the cream cheese should look like after you whip it.

Add sugar and beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then mix in vanilla, flour, peanut butter, and melted & cooled white bakers chocolate. Beat on medium speed until fluffy, smooth, and well combined.

Pour half of the cheesecake mixture over the crust. Sprinkle half of the Reese’s cups over that.

We put chopped up Reese's AND Nutter Butters into the middle of the cheesecake.

Pour the remaining cheesecake mixture on top, spreading out evenly. Sprinkle the remaining Reese’s cups on top. Bake at 325 degrees about 50-65 minutes. (It may be a little jiggly) Do not bake longer than 65 minutes or cheesecake will get too overdone.

Put the rest of the Reese's on top of the cheesecake.

Cheesecake, pre-oven.

Let the cheesecake set up and cool to room temperature. Once cooled, cover and store in the fridge overnight or at least 8 hours.

Decadence at its best.

Nom. nom. nom.