Monday, February 7, 2011
Football season has been busier than usual in our household. As a result, I didn't follow either of the teams competing in tonight's Super Bowl on their journey to XLV. So, for a little added excitement, since I didn't particularly care about the outcome of the game (and because I'm a bit of a food geek), I decided to stage a competition of my own during the game. I carried out the "Hot Wing Face Off" as I watched the Super Bowl from my kitchen. The contenders: Oven Baked Wings vs. Traditional Fried Wings.
We're big fans of traditional hot wings, fried to a crisp and tossed with hot sauce. But last week, I came across THIS recipe for Unbelievable Baked Buffalo Wings on Food.com. Would they really be "Unbelievable"? Better than the fried version, even? I had to find out.
Wings were already on the menu for our Super Bowl snacks, so I set just 6 wings aside to make the Unbelievable Baked Wings.
Here's how it went:
All wings started out the same, separated into flats and mini drummies with my kitchen shears (for a tutorial on how to do this, see HERE) and rinsed.
Put the wings in a pot with water (to cover) and red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil and then cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Transfer the wings to a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
The recipe instructed: "Bake wings on "Broil" (high) for 15 minutes on each side.(For crispier wings, cook longer on each side, maybe 20 minutes per side)."
20 minutes per side!? This much broiling for itty bitty chicken wings seemed excessive to me, but I just shrugged and followed the instructions, but not before moving my oven rack further away from the broiler so the wings would not be so close to the intensity of the heat. About 10 minutes into the broiling time, I smelled something burning. Uh-oh. Luckily, I was able to salvage the wings...barely. No worries about them being crisp enough. I did turn them over and broil for another 2 minutes on the other side just to insure even crispness before removing them from the oven.
To finish, I tossed the wings in my go-to classic wing sauce: equal parts of butter (melted) and Frank's Red Hot. So simple, but it always turns out perfectly.
*For 1 dozen wings, I used 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of Red Hot.
Now for the fried wings: I just dropped the wings into the basket in my fryer (pre-heated to 350 degrees).
Send them for an 8-10 minute dip in the hot tub.
Then remove the perfectly crispy wings. Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with a little salt, and toss with sauce.
*To sauce, I like to put the wings in a plastic container filled with sauce, top with a lid, and shake the container until the wings are coated.
Side by side on the serving plate you can't tell the difference between baked and fried. Despite the fact that the baked wings were boiled with spices, there was no discernible difference in taste, either. But the texture...well, here's where the fried wings had the edge. Both preparation methods yielded a crispy outside, but the meat of the baked wings was a bit chewier-slightly rubbery, even. Not so much that it was repulsive, but enough that I definitely preferred the fried wings to the baked. And so, THE WINNER: the fried wings! That said, if you're really trying to cut fried food out of your diet...and you've got a hankerin' for hot wings, the Unbelievable Baked Buffalo Wings would be a good substitute. But me, I'd skip lunch just to splurge on the fried wings!
And now, for a meal plan!
Monday February 7th
Stewed Garlicky Sausage and Peppers
Tuesday February 8th
Wednesday February 9th
Zippy Chicken Soup
Thursday February 10th
Friday February 11th
Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza
Saturday February 12th
Saturday night appetizer: Spinach in Onion Shells
Sunday February 13th
Brunch: Croque-Madame Casserole
3 large onions
1 large "flat" sweet onion
1 red onion
3 green bell peppers
2 red bell peppers
1 yellow bell pepper
1-3/4 lbs. sweet or hot Italian sausage
4- 6 oz. boneless, skinless duck breast filets
1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
6 oz. turkey or chicken Italian sausage
8 oz. deli ham
shredded Mexican blend cheese
8 oz. mozzarella
6 oz. shredded Gruyere cheese
red pepper flakes
12- 6 in. flour tortillas
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
10 slices white bread
14 oz. can diced tomatoes
dry white wine
32 oz. reduced sodium chicken broth
1 can black beans
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
28 oz. can whole tomatoes
2 cups whole kernel corn
10 oz. package chopped spinach
PRINT IT! For a printable copy of this meal plan AND grocery list click HERE!