Several days ago, as I was driving home after an arduous, long day of work, I wondered what I should do for dinner. It was just going to be my wife and I for dinner. I started to think about fish. And then, I thought about shrimp, and then I realized that what I was wanting was something akin to the classic British, “fish and chips”. Then I thought about mac and cheese, and how that mac and cheese goes so well with fried shrimp, or fried fish. And then, I realized I didn’t have any fish. Chicken. Yes, chicken, instead of fish. The synapses in my brain jump around in quirky ways like that most of the time. I really enjoy my drives home, except when I find myself driving next to people texting on their cell phones!
I allowed myself an hour to prepare the meal. Time at home is precious for me during this busy part of the year. I typically have about 4 to 5 hours after I get home to prepare a meal, eat it and digest it before I trot off to bed.
Mac and cheese…check. Chicken and shrimp…a quick prep and fry…check. Steamed broccoli…a few minutes in the microwave…check.
The most time consuming part of the meal was the mac and cheese. The rest was a flurry of flour and cornmeal and chopping a few things. Easy.
I made enough mac and cheese for six people and I made enough chicken and shrimp for two or three.
My son and his girlfriend joined us, just as we were cleaning up after dinner. We had enough chicken and shrimp left to share and plenty of mac and cheese. It was all gone in a matter of a few minutes. Mac and cheese saved the day…Perfect!
1 ½ cup fresh broccoli
½ cup cooking oil
2 medium sized chicken breasts, thinly sliced
10 raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Cut the broccoli into large, bite-sized pieces. Place in a microwave safe bowl. Seal with plastic wrap and set aside.
Cut chicken into 3” to 4” pieces.
Butterfly cut the shrimp. I do a back butterfly, cutting into the backside, instead of the underside. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a skillet at medium/high heat.
Pour the flour onto a plate. Dredge the chicken in flour, egg and then flour again. Drop chicken in pan and pan fry to golden brown, remove to a paper towel lined plate. Keep warm.
Add the cornmeal to the remaining flour and mix with a fork.
Dredge the shrimp in flour and cornmeal mixture, egg and then flour and cornmeal mixture again. Drop the shrimp into the hot oil and cook for about 1 minute, or until the shrimp begins to brown and feels firm to the touch.
Lay the shrimp on the paper towel lined plate, along with the chicken, and keep warm.
Put the covered broccoli in the microwave and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the broccoli has softened. Serve with mac and cheese and ketchup or spicy ketchup.