I discovered Chef in Training on Facebook a few months back and have shared many of her recipes via social media, but I have to say tonight my regard for her jumped way up the ladder.
See, what had happened was I had just shared her recipe for Baked Crispy Ranch Chicken (I just went ahead and shared it before I clicked over because I already knew it was gonna be good) when I popped over to take a closer look at the recipe. Most of the ingredients I probably could have come close to guessing, but it was actually something she threw in as a side-note that caught my eye and gave me an "apostrophe" of monumental proportions.
What was this revelation, you ask? Bread crumbs. Now, I know bread crumbs in and of themselves are no great bit of news, but she mentioned that she likes making and using her own by throwing white bread into a blender. Well, let's just say my inner creative chef went into orbit.
See, I am a saver. I just plain can't stand wasting food. I am also a big fan of making things myself rather than buying them already made. So it should be easy to see why I wanted to reach right through the monitor and hug her neck. My little Ninja chopper is one of my favorite kitchen thingies ever, and when I read the line about throwing bread into a blender, I immediately thought of 1. my beloved Ninja, and 2. all the bread I reluctantly throw away because I can't stand to eat a sandwich on bread that's more than three hours old. So my inner saver and my inner chef and my inner foodie all converged and threw a party.
My reason for posting about it here (other than to shout out to my new friend who has no clue I'm on the planet) is to share the thoughts that raced through my mind right after I had the vision of saving bread AND making my own bread crumbs. I mean, I haven't been this delighted since I had the crazy notion of making homemade croutons out of a giant loaf of sun-dried tomato bread my friend gave me that I was afraid might go bad. It's like a whole new world opened up. It's really fun when new worlds open up.
Anyway, my thought: Flavored bread crumbs.
- Italian: Toss Italian seasonings and garlic powder right into the chopper with the bread. This would be amazing sprinkled over a salad. Just saying.
- Basil: Toss some dried basil in and blend it with the bread crumbs, and you'll have something perfect for sprinkling over a steaming mug of tomato soup and no need for crackers.
- Ranch: Toss dry ranch seasoning into the chopper with the bread. Ooh! This would make a fine breading for chicken wings!
- Cereal: Toss a favorite dry cereal (like the corn flakes the above-mentioned chicken recipe calls for) and blend it right in with the bread crumbs.
- Nuts: Nuts! Just blend 'em right in! I feel like I'm flying. And seeds! All the seeds.
- Spicy: Toss some favorite spices or spice rubs (like Caribeque's Calypso) in and blend in with the bread crumbs.
- Variety: Varying the breads opens up even more possibilities. I'm getting more excited even as I type this and new ideas are forming. Pumpernickel, rye, ohmyword King's Hawaiian! Not that there's usually any of that left over to pulverize, but still.
Talk about making cooking time way simpler and tastier in a flash! And wow, the space for creativity. This is almost too much to process. I'm probably going to need some coffee.
Anyway, I'd like to thank Nikki over at Chef in Training and encourage you to check out both her website and her Facebook page. The recipes she shares are sure to make your inner chef very happy.