Last week Jesse and I decided to go on a grand adventure in the cooking world. We invited my parents over for dinner because they are awesome, and we wanted to thank them for being so. We also invited my brother John, his wife Sarah Beth, and their daughter Virginia over. Here’s a picture of our super-cute niece!!!
So what was on the menu you ask? We kept it nice and Southern: BBQ chicken sandwiches, snap beans, hushpuppies and banana pudding for dessert! I started out with making the BBQ chicken. That was the easiest one for tonight. Below is the recipe:
6 chicken breasts
1 bottle of BBQ sauce
That morning, I got out the crock pot and put the chicken inside. Then, I dumped in a bottle of the BBQ sauce and turned the crock pot on low. I have come to realize that Carolina BBQ sauce is one of my favorites, and even found this really delicious sauce at our local Ingles: Sticky Fingers. Sticky Fingers also has a few restaurants around the South. It turns out I’ve eaten at their
Anyways, I let the chicken cook for the whole day, periodically helping the crock pot shred the chicken. That’s Jesse’s favorite part, and since that was his work from home day, he did a lot of the helping along. Below is a picture of the finished chicken:
Ok, so the last two things weren’t as easy as the first two… We made the hushpuppies and banana pudding from scratch.
I started on the hushpuppies first because I could get the dry mix together early in the day. The hardest part was finding a recipe – but I did that a few weeks ago. Jesse and I developed a huge craving for hushpuppies last month when we had some down at the beach. I love sweet hushpuppies, and our favorite restaurant in
- 6 cups peanut oil
- 1 1/2 cups self-rising cornmeal
- 1/2 cup self-rising flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
So like I said, I mixed all of the dry ingredients first, and added in 2 tablespoons of sugar. Below is the mix:
Next, we borrowed a rather large pot from my mom so we could appropriately fry these, seeing as how we don’t have a fryer. Then, about an hour before we were to eat, I added in the onion, eggs and buttermilk. Jesse took over from there and formed little balls out of these while the oil heated to 350 degrees. Below are the pre-cooked hushpuppies:
Hands on: 25 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes or more for cooling
Feel free to use the full-fat versions of the sweetened condensed milk, if you prefer. The pudding can also be served in individual 1-cup ramekins.
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Dash of salt
2 1/2 cups 1 percent low-fat milk
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups sliced ripe bananas (about 5 to 6)
45 reduced-fat vanilla wafers
4 egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine flour and salt in medium saucepan. Gradually stir in low-fat and condensed milks and yolks, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 8 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Arrange 1 cup banana slices in a 2-quart baking dish. Spoon 1/3 pudding mixture over bananas; top with 15 vanilla wafers. Repeat layers once; top with remaining bananas and pudding. Arrange remaining 15 wafers around inside edge of dish. Gently push wafers into pudding. Beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved (2 to 4 minutes) Spread meringue over pudding, sealing to edge of dish. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Let cool at least 30 minutes.
Per serving: 334 calories (percent of calories from fat, 16), 9 grams protein, 61 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 6 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 45 milligrams cholesterol, 186 milligrams sodium.
So Jesse and I embarked on this dish with anticipation. I started by making the custard on the stove. While I worked on that and kept stirring, Jesse peeled and sliced all of the bananas.
Then he took out the Nilla Wafers (cause let’s face it, anything other than Nabisco is an imposter!). He went on and lined the outside of the casserole dish with Nilla Wafers and then added bananas to the bottom.
Once the custard mixture was done, he spooned that on top.
Really, he followed the recipe as shown above. Next, he made the meringue out of the egg whites I had already separated. He then put the whole dish in the over and we waited for it to cook.
Then, he pulled it out of the oven, and for all intents and purposes, it looked like banana pudding should look!
Finally, our dinner was done, the table was set, chairs were found, and tummies were rumbling. It was time to eat!
BBQ Chicken: 5 out of 5. It’s so easy even a Caveman could do it! Wait, is that trademarked? Let me give a shout out to Geico, I don’t own that phrase, if anyone does, they do.
Snap Beans: 4 out of 5. Snapping the ends off is the only reason it’s not a 5.
Hushpuppies: 2 out of 5. These were fun to make, but not all that easy. Especially the frying part. They definitely take some time.
Banana Pudding: 2 out of 5. It was not easy to make, especially since it was all from scratch. Except the Nilla Wafers. I’ve never made a custard, and I always worry I won’t know how thick is thick enough. Of course, that’s pretty obvious once you’re there… I’ve never made meringue either, and still haven’t because Jesse did that part. I was nervous, but I’m determined to make the meringue next time. Meringue is really yummy!
Overall: 3.25 out of 5
Taste: I give the whole meal a 4.5 out of 5. The hushpuppies were, unfortunately, a little dry and I definitely didn’t add enough sugar. Next time, we’ll add a little more buttermilk and sugar to the mix to see if that works. Or, if anyone has any yummy hushpuppy recipes, send them over. The BBQ was good and the beans good, but what really sealed the deal was the Banana Pudding. It was irresistible. The whole meal could have been awful, but with the banana pudding it would still get a high score. It was so good that there were no leftovers. We all have second servings of it as witnessed by this picture:
Pickiness Factor: Hmmm… I think this deserves a 3.5 out of 5. While I liked this meal, a lot of people don’t like beans. I used to hate green beans when I was little and pretty much ate them under duress. And some people are picky about the type of BBQ sauce used, so if they didn’t like this one, then they wouldn’t have liked the meal. But if someone was picky about banana pudding, I don’t think I should know you. Banana pudding is the BOMB! Especially home-made, warm banana pudding. That instant crap you can buy at restaurants, that have whipped cream and not meringue, well, that’s probably just the Yankees trying to create banana pudding.
Special Yoda Factor: We decided to try out the hushpuppies on Yoda. I threw one at him and told him to HUSH PUPPY! It worked like magic. He gives those a 5 out of 5. Of course, once he was done eating them he decided he wanted more and started begging… My bad. :)
Preparation: I give this a 3 out of 5. It was pretty super easy, just a little time consuming. Snapping the beans probably took the longest, but it was fun. Nothing was too difficult, especially just letting the chicken sit in the crock all day. Easy Peasy!
Taste: I give this a 4 out of 5. The BBQ Chicken and Nanner Puddin’ was epic-ly awesome, too bad the Hush Puppies were a bit dry. And I’ve never been a huge fan of snap beans (but they are fun to make).
Cost: 4 out of 5. The entire meal was pretty much made from scratch. The only ready made portion were the Nilla Wafers, and well, there’s no excuse to not buy those…if you were born in the south, you know exactly what we mean. The total cost was pretty low, and we had left over sandwiches for a while…but unfortunately the Pudding was completely destroyed.
Overall Rating: 3.9