come on, Irene

Hurricane Irene is on her way, and people in New Jersey have straight up lost their minds. I have never seen a store’s bakery rampaged quite like I did tonight. The flashlight section? A barren wasteland. The candle stock? Only the ones that smelled like feet remained. People were pushing multiple carts, each filled with 17 cases of bottled water and three gallons of milk. I understand we’re probably going to spend the next two days inside, but it’s not the zombie apocalypse, people — it’s just some rain.

Nevertheless, most people aren’t going to want to leave their houses while this storm sweeps through, and sometimes cooking with just the things in your house just isn’t that fun. Lucky for all of us, I stumbled across’s version of KFC’s mashed potato bowl, and you should have close to — if not everything — you need on hand to make it.

I highly recommend a deep fryer for this one. During my friends’ annual ‘Thieving Elves’ Christmas party, I became the proud owner of a Presto deep fryer, but for much longer than I’d like to admit, I had been using the appliance only to crisp up frozen french fries. What a waste! Thank goodness I discovered that thing’s awesome popcorn chicken-making abilities. (And with Food Network Magazine’s “Fry Guide” in its latest issue, I’m going to need to steal someone’s arteries at the next Thieving Elves party.)

The double-dipping is key here. I made a similar recipe a few months back, but battered the chicken only once, and the end product was really lacking. This dry mix has a really good spice, and tastes close enough to KFC’s that I don’t really care whether or not Col. Sanders’ survivors ever release that secret recipe.

mmm, golden perfection

♦1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
2 c. flour
2-1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
3/4 tsp. Lawry’s salt
1/8 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1 c. milk

Bring oil in deep fryer to 375 degrees. While that’s heating up, combine egg and milk. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients (flour, spices, etc.). Dip chicken chunks into egg mix, then coat, back into egg mix and back into coating. (I did this in batches of five so I didn’t lose any of the little guys in the bowls.) Fry in batches of 10-12 until chicken is golden and fully cooked. Mine took about 10 minutes each.

♦Mashed potatoes (either instant or homemade — potatoes, butter, milk, salt)
♦Corn (frozen or canned)
♦Gravy, canned
♦Shredded cheese 

Prepare mashed potatoes, whether instant or homemade. Fortunately, I’ve got a guy who makes some incredible mashed taters, because otherwise, I would have been in the kitchen for hours. Place a helping of potatoes in bowl, cover with cooked corn, add chicken bites, then cheese and drizzle with gravy.

Total time? 45 minutes, maybe more if you’re doing it alone.
Cost? $3 chicken tenderloins, $1.50 potatoes, $1.25 gravy, $1.88 cheese, $1 corn.
Overall success relative to expectations? 10 out 10. I figured this would be tasty enough, but the finished product was better than KFC’s. Not kidding. Make this while you’re stuck in the house. It beats the hell out of driving to get fast food, and it’s probably a lot more satisfying than the egg and cheese sandwiches all those loonies at the store are going to be eating all weekend in their fallout shelters.

2 thoughts on “come on, Irene”


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