What’s Cooking – A Southern Favorite


Most of you know that I live in the North and was born on the West Coast. So why am I talking about a “Southern” favorite? Well, even though I have no ties to the South personally, other than when I lived in Georgia and Tennessee for a few years of my life, I love the slower pace of life experienced in the south and southern hospitality is simply the best. I could have been southern in another life! 🙂

Today is Wednesday and that means it is time to share some recipes…both that I have created myself and ones that I have gotten from places like the Food Network or family/friends and just “tweaked” them to my and my family’s liking. I love to cook so I usually have fun in the kitchen but I know this is not everyone’s strong point or passion. So, here are some tips to make cooking a little more fun…

1. Put on some music or talk radio… Whatever floats your boat. Make sure that it’s not too distracting so that you don’t get more engaged in the surroundings instead of the food itself but if you enjoy music, this could be key in helping to make the time you spend in the kitchen seem to fly by.

2. Wear an apron or chef’s hat… There is much truth behind the saying “When you look good, you feel good.” If you look the part, you just might end up getting into the “mood” of cooking. Hey, it’s worth a try.

3. Cook with a buddy… There is something magical that seems to happen when we do things with other people. Almost like a load lifting…and besides, it’s just more fun to do things with someone else. So, bring your kids, best friend, sibling, spouse or significant other into the kitchen with you and get cooking.

Those are just a few ideas and ways to make cooking a more enjoyable experience.

What are some ways that you make cooking fun at your house? If you tried any of my suggestions, how did these work for you?

Tonight I am cooking one of my children’s all time favorite meals. You probably already guessed it from the picture but yes, it is Chicken and Waffles. Not just any chicken though, it is Oven-Fried Chicken and Homemade Buttermilk Waffles.

I kind of cheated because I already made the chicken (got up early this morning and did that so that I wouldn’t have much left when I got home this evening) but I will let you know what I did from start to finish. Feel free to try the recipe and share whether or not you liked it or how you would “make it your own”. We’re all here to learn from each other so feel free to chime in.

Oven-Fried Chicken

TOTAL TIME (start to finish): 1 hr. 50 mins.
Total Prep: 1 hr. 10 mins (this includes letting the chicken sit)
Cook: 40 mins.
Yield: 6 servings
Cooking Level: Easy


  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons mustard (Can also use hot or honey mustard)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper (plus additional for dredging)
  • 10 pieces of raw chicken (2 breasts, 2 legs, 2 thighs, and 4 wings; boneless or bone-in; or whatever your preference)
  • 1 1/2 cups unseasoned panko
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon MG chili powder (Use any one that you’d prefer)
  • Canola oil spray, as needed


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper until thoroughly combined. Add the chicken pieces and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (for more flavor let it sit overnight), turning chicken occasionally.
Combine the panko, all-purpose flour, smoked paprika, McCormick Gourmet chili powder and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing the excess to drip off. Add the chicken to the panko mixture and coat each piece thoroughly. Arrange the chicken on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet.
Spray the chicken pieces evenly with canola oil spray, then sprinkle with smoked paprika. Bake the chicken until its coating gets crispy and evenly brown. When an instant-read cooking thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit (about 35 to 40 minutes depending on whether you are cooking in a gas or electric stove), you are done. Serve hot. Eat and enjoy! 🙂

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