Sunday, February 28, 2010

Eggplant and Goat Cheese Sandwiches

Jenny, my sister-in-law, recommended a sandwich recipe she saw in Cooking Light.  I made a variation of this tonight for our supper. 

I made a couple of minor changes with the recipe.  I did not have or use any arugula (or the oil and black pepper in which it is tossed in the recipe).  Instead of ciabatta, I used a multi-grain baguette.  This meant that, instead of two big sandwiches, we had almost two dozen mini-sandwiches.  I made the first batch with toasted bread.  Then, I realized the bread was really crisp and hard for Jacob to eat.  I made a second batch with out toasting the bread.  These turned out perfect.  Because of the small size, the bread slices held up well even when not pre-toasted. 

All three of us enjoyed having these little sandwiches for supper.  However, the potent flavor combination of pesto, goat cheese, and roasted pepper was a little too powerful.  (This is saying a lot coming from three big fans of spicy/gross mixtures.)  Next time, to tone down the intensity, I plan to use a little less goat cheese. 

(I think making these sandwiches on a baguette worked really well and would be great for a party appetizer.)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Couscous Chicken Salad

Tonight I used the roast chicken from two nights ago in yet another new and exciting dish.  I found this recipe in Salads: Food Writers Favorites.  This is not so much a chicken salad as it is a couscous salad with some chicken in it.  The texture of this salad is very appealing- the tender chicken, the crisp apple and celery, and the couscous are a great combination. 

The vinaigrette has a great flavor, but the fresh garlic is very potent.  If you are not a garlic lover, you could substitute a pinch of garlic powder or omit garlic altogether.  (I love garlic, so I thought it was great.)

Jacob was too hungry to wait for me to make the salad.  He munched on each individual ingredient as I prepared it.  He even ate part of a green onion.  When I tried to feed him the finished product, he spit out the bite of salad and ate nothing else for supper.  Maybe the vinaigrette was too garlicy for his liking.  Or, maybe he was just full from all the celery, chicken, apple, and green onion he had just consumed.

1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked couscous
1 Tab margarine
3/4 cup olive oil
3 Tab fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
black pepper, to taste
1 cup cooked, diced chicken
4 large green onions
1 large crisp apple, cored and diced
1 rib celery, diced
Lettuce leaves

In a saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil.  Add couscous and margarine.  Return to a boil; cover and remove from heat.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and let cool. 
In a small bowl, combine oil, lemon juice, salt, coriander, mustard, garlic, and pepper.  Mix well.
In a large bowl, combine couscous, chicken, green onions, apple, and celery.  Add olive oil mixture; toss to coat all ingredients. 
Serve on a bed of lettuce. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chicken, Pesto, and Cheese Pasta

Tonight I used part of the roast chicken I cooked last night in a new way.  I made an easy, quick pasta dish that we enjoyed having for supper.  This made enough for Jacob and I plus lunch leftovers for tomorrow.  (If Art had been here, it would have been a perfect amount for the three of us.  Art is out of town.  We sure miss having supper with him!)

1/4 13 oz box of whole wheat spaghetti
1 cup diced cooked chicken
1 cup torn fresh spinach
1 Tab basil pesto
3 Tab grated Parmesan
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and return to pot.  Stir in chicken, spinach, and pesto.  Heat covered over medium heat until spinach wilts and chicken is heated through- about 8 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in cheese. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Roasted Whole Chicken and Broccoli and Cheese

Enough pizza already!  I never thought I would feel that way.  However, after eating pizza seven times since Saturday, I decided we needed a non-pizza meal.  I think Jacob agreed because he went stuffed himself with the chicken and broccoli we had for supper tonight. 

I steamed some broccoli in the steam insert of my pot for about 4 minutes.  I sprinkle the broccoli with salt and a small amount of shredded Cheddar cheese. 

Roasting a whole chicken at home is really easy and makes for great leftovers.  And, buying a chicken whole is cheaper than buying it cut into pieces.  I based my recipe on the roasted chicken in James Beard's Theory and Practice of Good Cooking.  The chicken was moist and tender. 

1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 lemon
seasoned salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
Remove neck/gizzards/liver from chicken cavity (doing this is not as bad as it sounds).  Pat chicken dry with paper towels and place on a roasting rack in a roasting pan.  Soften 4 Tab of butter.  Stir in salt and pepper.  Place butter mixture inside cavity.  Rub chicken with lemon. Turn chicken on its side and brush with melted butter.  Sprinkle with seasoned salt.
Bake 20 minutes, or until side of chicken is golden brown.  Carefully turn chicken on the its other side and repeat, baking 20 more minutes.  Turn chicken so the back is up and repeat, baking 20 more minutes. Turn chicken so the breast is up and repeat, baking 20 more minutes, or until chicken registers 165 degrees on a thermometer.
Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes.  Carve and serve.   

Deep Dish Pizza

In keeping with our pizza theme, we had pizza for supper last night.  I made a whole wheat "Chicago style" crust.  Like any deep dish pizza, the dough was thick and chewy.  But, a small amount of olive oil brushed on the dough before adding toppings and baking added a bit of crunch.  This was a heavy crust, but not greasy.  And, it was easy to make and bake.  I adapted mine from a recipe in Whole Foods for the Whole Family.

1 Tab yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tab olive oil
3 cups whole wheat flour
olive oil for brushing dough

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
Sprinkle yeast over water and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or, other large bowl).  Add salt and oil.  Stir in 2 cups flour and combine.  Gradually add remaining flour.  Knead in stand mixer with dough hook (or, by hand) until dough is smooth. 
Spread into a lightly greased 9x13" pan.  Let rise 15 minutes.
Brush dough with olive oil.  Add toppings.  Bake 20-25 minutes. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Oatmeal Pizza Crust

Tonight was pizza, again.  I mixed things up a bit by making a different crust.  This is a pizza crust unlike any I have had before.  I picked up the recipe from somewhere while I was in college.  It is slightly crispy.  The dough requires no kneading and very little rising time.  This is a great crust to make if you don't like to knead dough, or you don't have a stand mixer that will knead it for you.  It is also convenient if you decide to make pizza for supper at the last minute.  

3/4 cup warm water
1 pkg yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tab olive oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats  (not instant)
1 Tab grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine water, yeast and sugar in a bowl and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Stir to combine for 1 minute.  Cover and let rise 15-20 minutes.  Spread dough on a pizza stone.  Cover and let rise 15 minutes.
Bake 12-15 minutes, or until golden.  Remove from oven.  Spread crust with toppings.  Bake additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. 

Jacob update:  Jacob is feeling much better today.  I have started expanding his food options.  But, I didn't want to press my luck by giving him pizza.  So, I made him a little pizza with just mozzarella cheese on the crust.  He loved it. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010


For lunch and supper today we ate leftover pizza.  It was great reheated in a 350 degree oven on a stone for about 15 minutes.  

I loved having pizza for three out of my last four meals.  However, I think I will get tired of it before we run out of pizza ingredients.  I need to get creative...

Jacob is still eating only carbohydrates.  Today he ate banana pancakes, Cheerios, crackers, the red top off of a Bomb Pop, and a few Bran Flakes.  I don't think his little tummy will be ready to eat pizza any time soon.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza

My sister-in-law, Jenny, is in town and we were planning to have a Pampered Chef party tonight.  However, last night at Sakura, Jacob made clear that he was not over his stomach bug.  So, to keep from giving everyone and their kids the same thing, we had to cancel the party.  Our steely resolve and the fact that we had already bought enough supplies to make pizza for twenty people combined to help us enjoy a fantastic dinner anyway.

This was good pizza.  Art, Jenny, and I had fun making it together.  I made a double recipe of the crust.  We set all the toppings out on the dining room table and made our own pizzas. The toppings were amazing: sausage, turkey pepperoni, roasted red/yellow/orange bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, feta, Parmesan, spinach, mozzarella, basil, oregano, grape tomatoes, and Greek olives.  I'm glad we liked it so much because we have a lot of leftovers. 

Poor Jacob is still on a strict diet of only bland carbohydrates.  So, I spread out a pizza crust for him and baked it with no toppings.  He seemed to really enjoy his plain pizza. 

I do wish we had been able to have friends over to share this wonderful meal.  They would have seen some awesome Pampered Chef cooking tools in action, and gotten to meet my really fun sister-in-law.  The pizza stone is indispensable for making perfectly cooked pizzas.  The metal spatula is the perfect sturdy tool for scraping topping laden crispy crust off the stone. 

If you're interested in seeing what would have been on display, my Pampered Chef party will be open until Tuesday.  You can check out Jenny's website here and enter "Shannon Carden" as the host or you can call Jenny at 205-585-2464.  Apparently, the stoneware (which I love and use all the time) is carrying a 20% discount right now.  Even if you don't live in Memphis, you can order.  It will be shipped to you. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Salmon, Sweet Potato, and Tabouli

I apologize for my lack of posts this week and last week.  I have no excuse for last week.  This week, Jacob and I had a stomach bug.  The very thought of food made me toss my cookies.  But, we are both feeling much better today.  In fact, my improvement has been so dramatic that I was able to go to the store and buy olives and raw fish.

Tonight for supper I made baked salmon.  I also baked some sweet potatoes in the oven.  We ate those with cinnamon, brown sugar and butter.  (Traditionally, I have been a fan of real butter for its flavor and performance in recipes.  Recently, I have felt a need to cut cholesterol and have switched to Smart Balance 50/50 butter blend.  I really like it, so far.)

For the much anticipated salad, I made tabouli.  I based mine on a recipe in Whole Foods for the Whole Family.  It was really good and simple to make.  We decided it will be even better tomorrow when all the flavors have had a chance to intensify.  You can add other fresh vegetables like mushrooms or peppers and fresh herbs like mint.  Art sprinkled his with feta.

1 cup bulgur wheat, soaked for 1 hour in 1 cup of water, drained
1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
1-2 cups diced grape tomatoes (or, any tomatoes)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried dill weed (or, 1 Tab fresh)
pepper to taste

Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, salt, dill, and pepper together in a small bowl.
In a medium bowl, combine bulgur wheat, cucumber, and tomatoes.  Stir in dressing and toss to coat.  Chill until ready to serve.

My mom- who is in town!- ruled the meal a success.  We all thought the flavors of each dish complemented one another quite well.  Jacob promptly spit out the tabouli, but he enjoyed a few bites of salmon before he was ready to get out of his chair and play.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Leftover Chili, Grilled Cheese, and Cute Picture

Jacob and I had fun on our first full day back together after my trip.  This morning, we went to Sam's Club and Walmart.  Jacob pushed the buggy around both stores.  I don't know how I ever shopped without him.  We arrived home exhausted, but with some great groceries.    

I did very little cooking today.  We mostly ate leftovers and sandwiches.  I balanced the heavy- and, delicious- chili and grilled cheese with a healthy amount of baby carrots.  

Jacob decided he just wanted carrots for supper.    He was still chewing his last carrot when he got in the bathtub.  By the end of the bath, the carrot was chewed and swallowed and Jacob was ready to brush his teeth (and climb on my craft supplies). 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Central BBQ and Detox

Tonight, I returned from a great weekend with friends in Austin.  We had such a good time together, as always. 

Art and Jacob picked me up with smiles and roses.  I am so glad to be home! 

On the flight home, I was thinking about all the food I had consumed in the last 48 hours.  We ate a lot over the weekend and I need to plan some light meals for the week. Art's pirate posts made me think Jacob and Art would also benefit from some light meals this week- maybe even some sort of detox would be beneficial.  Good thing we have all that leftover chili in the refrigerator.

With this in mind, I decided we should go to Central Barbecue for supper.   We got turkey bbq nachos and turkey bbq salad.  This was the perfect end to a weekend of heavy eating.  (And, a perfect Valentine's supper with my two favorite boys.)

In Austin, we ate lunch at the flagship Whole Foods Market.  The salads they offered were very inspiring.  Based on this inspiration, I plan to incorporate some salads into our rotation this week- and blog about them.  Stay tuned... 

Pirate Post #2: Chili

Pirate Post by Art Carden 

Jacob and I are nearing the end of our Guys' Weekend as Shannon's flight from Houston arrives a little before 6:00 this evening.  He's napping now, and we're meeting his friend Avalyn at the Children's Museum at 3:30 (if he's awake by then).  We had some friends over for lunch after church today, and we had chili with tortilla chips and shredded extra-sharp cheddar.  There's no real "recipe" for chili, but this is basically what I've been doing with it for about the last nine years.

Meats: One pound of ground turkey, 1 lb of smoked sausage (Bryan's Cajun-Style this time).

Beans: One can of store-brand chili beans, one can each of organic black beans, pinto beans, great northern beans, and kidney beans.  The store brand organic beans were on sale at Kroger for $0.89/can yesterday.

Peppers: one red bell pepper, one orange bell pepper, one green bell pepper.

Onions: I forgot to get onions.

Tomatoes: one can of Hunt's diced tomatoes (because that's what was in the cabinet when you decided to add more tomatoes), two cans of Kroger diced tomatoes with green chiles (store brand Ro-Tel, in other words).

Other: one can of Kroger golden corn.

Seasonings: lots of black pepper, some garlic, a dash of cayenne pepper, one packet each of store brand chili seasoning and store brand taco seasoning (thanks to Jeremy Jackson for the taco seasoning suggestion sometime in 2002, I think).

Beer: Busch, about 12 fl. oz.

Prep (Saturday Evening): combine beans, tomatoes, corn, and seasoning in a crock pot.  Cook sausage in a medium-sized skillet.  Add sausage to beans/tomatoes/corn/seasoning.   Brown turkey in sausage drippings, sprinkle with black pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper.  Add to beans/tomatoes/corn/seasoning/sausage.  Put entire mixture in fridge overnight.  As you're drifting off to sleep, realize that you forgot to add bell peppers and onions.  Make a mental note to do it first thing in the morning.

Prep (Sunday Morning): Plug in crock pot full of chili, add beer, set for four hours' cook time, and stir well.  Alternate between chopping bell peppers with your Pampered Chef Food Chopper and feeding Strawberry Crunch cereal to Jacob.  Plug your sister's Pampered Chef business.  Look for onions in the fridge and pantry; finding none, do a quick cost benefit analysis and decide that while the onions are good, they don't add enough to justify another trip to the store.  Clean up, dress Jacob, swing by the gas station, and arrive at church just in time for the service that you thought started at 9:30 but that actually started at 9:00. 

Serving: Head home with friends after church, wipe up whatever bubbled out of the crock pot and onto the counter (or be thankful when one of your guests does it for you), and serve the chili with tortilla chips, shredded Kroger extra-sharp cheddar cheese, a selection of name-brand soft drinks, and enjoy.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pirate Post: Tasty Buffet, Chili Tomorrow

Pirate Post by Art Carden

Shannon is in Austin living it up with some friends from college, so Jacob and I are having a Guys' Weekend.  I've taken over No More Nuggets until she returns.  It's been pretty successful so far: Jacob slept kind of late this morning, we had fun at swim lessons (after the crying stopped), we went out for lunch and then to the grocery store, he took a long nap this afternoon, and right now he's running around the house after dancing to Sixpence None the Richer.  Yesterday, Shannon left us a crock pot full of chicken tortilla soup, which I'm going to reheat for dinner here in a few minutes.

When Shannon travels, I usually indulge my inner teenager/college student and eat one meal I shouldn't.  For lunch, we went to Tasty Buffet, a Chinese buffet a few blocks from our house that offers the standard Chinese buffet fare, some American staples like pizza, french fries, and chicken tenders, a limited sushi selection that can be pretty good at times, and Mongolian barbecue.  It isn't somewhere I would take Shannon on a date, but Jacob and I enjoyed it.  Jacob liked the noodles from the Mongolian barbecue, the chicken tenders, and the french fries.  He wasn't so enthusiastic about anything else.

We're hosting a few friends for lunch after church tomorrow, and I'm making chili.  I learned something about how situations aren't always as they appear today while shopping.  I started putting beer in chili in about 2001 or so, when Michael Thomas and I started getting together to watch Alabama football games  in St. Louis.  Today, I was standing in the checkout line at Kroger with all of our groceries in the bottom of Jacob's stroller--numerous cans of beans, cajun smoked sausage, ground turkey, bell peppers, seasonings, a bag of tortilla chips, a couple of two liters, and a 24 ounce can of cold Busch beer.  Observers who noticed might have thought "he won't be winning 'father of the year' anytime soon."  Or they might not have cared.  In any event, appearances can be deceiving.  I also learned that the demand for low-end beer in our part of Memphis is very, very price elastic.  Miller High Life, which was priced at $1.29 in 24 ounce cans, was sold out.  The other brands, which were priced at $1.39, were available in ample quantities.

I'll post the "recipe," if you could call it that, tomorrow.  Shannon gets home tomorrow, too, and it goes without saying that we will be very happy to see her.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Chicken Dijon, Polenta, and Roasted Cauliflower

I made a chicken recipe I found in Southern Living.  The ease of preparation and Dijon mustard appealed to me.  And, the article promised that kids would love the creamy sauce. 

Jacob must not be one of the kids to which they were referring.  He would not even eat it when he was distracted by a cup of water and a book.  Art and I liked it, but didn't love it.  The sauce was not as flavorful or creamy as I had hoped.  I doubt I will make it again anytime soon- there are so many other recipes out there to try and so little time. 

I also made polenta. This is a very easy side that we have just recently started enjoying.   The liquid base is very versatile- try chicken broth, heavy cream, or even water.  Try stirring in a variety of herbs and cheeses. 

3 cups skim milk
1 cup water
1 cup polenta
dash of salt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Stir milk, water, polenta, and salt together in a medium pot.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often.  Reduce heat to medium- low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and polenta is thick (30-40 minutes).  Stir in cheese and serve warm. 

Finally, I roasted some cauliflower in the oven.  I tossed cauliflower with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted it at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.  We really liked cauliflower like this.


Sunday, February 7, 2010


I made brownies to take to our friends' house for lunch.  But, I somehow forgot to grab them on our way out.  (Convenient, I know.) 

These brownies are from a recipe in Cook's Illustrated.  This magazine is dedicated to testing everything kitchen or cooking related.  In this article, they tested several brownie recipes before coming up with this one that is not too cakey or to fudgy.  (They also tested boxed brownie recipes and crowned Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Premium Brownie Mix the winner.)

They stress the importance of not over-baking the brownies.  Toward the end of the cooking time, test them often.  Make sure a few moist crumbs are attached to a toothpick when stuck in the center of the brownies. If the toothpick comes out clean, they will be too dry. 

We did eat a few tonight, but the rest will be delivered to our friends tomorrow.  I hope they enjoy them as much as we have.

1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
6 oz unsweetened chocolate (buy the best quality you can find)
12 Tab butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 Tab vanilla extract

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 325 degrees.  Line a 13x9" baking dish with aluminum foil.  Spray with cooking spray. 
Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. 
Melt chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth.  When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined.  Whisk in vanilla.  Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with a rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogenous. 
Transfer batter to prepared pan; using spatula, spread batter into corners and smooth surface.  Bake until toothpick insterted into center of brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes.  Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan by lifting foil. Cut into 2" squares and serve. 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Plum Oatmeal Bread

Yesterday I made a nutritious, yummy snack bread.  It is easy and quick to make.  I love the juicy bits of plum.  The recipe is from The Family Circle Cookbook: New Tastes for New Times

2 tsp white vinegar
2 cups all purpose flour (I substituted some whole wheat flour)
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup quick cooking oats (not instant)
1 cup chopped, pitted plums (I cut up two plums because I like a lot fo plum in my bread.)
1 egg
2 Tab vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a loaf pan
Pour vinegar into 1 cup glass measuring cup.  Add milk to measure 1 cup.  Let stand 10 minutes to sour.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.  Stir in oats and plums. 
Beat egg in a bowl.  Add milk and oil.  Pour all at once into dry ingredients.  Stir just until evenly moistened. Turn into pan.
Bake for 45 minutes.  Remove bread from pan to wire rack to cool.  Store overnight for easier slicing. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fried Rice

Art is giving some lectures in Iowa.  With Jacob's pre-supper entertainment out of town, we are eating very simple meals.  Last night I made brown fried rice with tofu and vegetables. 
This came together very quickly and was approved by Jacob and I.  I cooked brown rice in the rice cooker in the afternoon so that it was ready to fry for supper.  This made enough for Jacob and I to have leftovers for supper tonight.  If Art were home to help eat, I would have doubled the recipe.

1 cup brown rice, cooked
1 Tab canola oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
5 oz firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/4" cubes
1 egg, whisked
1 cup frozen green peas, cooked and drained
1 Tab rice wine vinegar
2 Tab low sodium soy sauce
squirt of Sriracha or other chili sauce
1 Tab finely chopped ginger

In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add onion, carrot, and tofu.  Cook until onion and carrot are soft and tofu is browned, stirring occasionally.  Remove from skillet to bowl. 
With skillet still over medium high, scramble egg, breaking it into small pieces. 
Return tofu and veggies to skillet with egg.  Stir in peas and remaining ingredients.  Stir until combined and heated through. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lil' Round Chickens, Macaroni and Cheese, Green Beans

We had two kid (and adult) favorites for supper last night: chicken nuggets and mac n cheese.  And, we had our usual roasted green beans.  (I really need to start making other vegetable sides.)  These were not frozen or from a box.  They were made from scratch at home.  Compared to the typical frozen/boxed varieties, I was able to eliminate some preservatives and add some whole grains.

My mom made lil' round chickens for us when my sister and I were growing up.  This has always been one of my favorite ways to eat chicken.  They are really easy to make.  Mom always used Bisquick in the batter.  I made my own "baking mix" based on a recipe in Whole Foods for the Whole Family.  This mix can be used to make pancakes, biscuits, etc. like any store-bought baking mix.  Only this has whole wheat flour and no partially hydrogenated oil. 

Baking Mix Ingredients
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 heaping Tab baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola oil

Combine dry ingredients.  Cut in oil using a pastry blender or your fingers to make fine crumbs. 
Store, covered, in the refrigerator. 

Lil' Round Chickens Ingredients
1 1/2 cup baking mix
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup milk, or more as needed
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and cut into small pieces
canola oil for frying (1/2 cup or so)

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Mixture should be slightly thicker than pancake batter. 
Pour enough oil into large skillet to about 1/4" deep (oil should come halfway up the side of a lil' round chicken).  Heat over medium heat.
Working in batches, dip chicken pieces in batter to coat.  Let excess batter drip back into bowl.  Carefully drop chicken in hot oil.  Cook until golden brown and flip.  Cook until golden brown all over and remove to a plate lined with paper towels. 
Serve warm with sauce- we like dijon mustard, Sriracha, and "honey mustard" made by combining honey and mustard.

I got the macaroni and cheese recipe from Food and Wine Books Pasta.   It was good, but not great.  I was hoping for a bit more cheese flavor.  Jacob loved it.  In the future, I might experiment with adding different cheeses.

I cooked and combined everything into a baking dish while Jacob was napping and put it in the refrigerator.  Before supper, I made the bread-crumb topping and put the dish in the oven to bake. 

Macaroni and Cheese Ingredients
5 Tab butter, divided
3 Tab flour
2 cups milk
3/4 lb sharp cheddar, grated
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
pinch cayenne
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 lb elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat)
1 cup fresh bread crumbs

In a medium saucepan, melt 3 Tab butter over medium heat.  Add the flour and cook, whisking for 1 minute.  Whisk in the milk.  Bring to a boil, whisking.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat.  Add the cheese, mustard, cayenne, salt, and pepper.  Whisk until cheese melts.
Cook macaroni according to package directions and drain. 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
Butter a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.  Combine the macaroni and cheese.  Transfer to dish.
Melt 2 Tab butter and combine with bread crumbs.  Sprinkle over the macaroni. 
Bake until the top in brown and the sauce bubbles, about 30 minutes.