Give the grill a break and bake

Spiced Chick­en: Try a dif­fer­ent spin on chick­en us­ing cin­na­mon.

It began as Dec­or­a­tion Day when wo­men in the South dec­or­ated the graves of their Amer­ic­an Civil War dead with flowers and flags. Ob­serv­ance of the day was first pro­claimed by the na­tion’s largest vet­er­ans or­gan­iz­a­tion, and first ob­served on May 30, 1868. Flowers were placed on the graves of Uni­on and Con­fed­er­ate sol­diers at Ar­ling­ton Na­tion­al Cemetery, and the day was re­named Me­mori­al Day. Laurel Hill Cemetery was the site in 1868 of the first Me­mori­al Day ob­serv­ance in Phil­adelphia. Re­gard­less of the name, this hol­i­day hon­ors all mem­bers of our armed ser­vices who died at war.

  Be­sides the many tra­di­tion­al ce­re­mo­ni­al ser­vices, and the pat­ri­ot­ic parades, Me­mori­al Day has be­come the un­of­fi­cial “open­ing day” of sum­mer. Sea­shore towns be­come alive, swim­ming pools around our area open, and pic­nic sea­son starts. It’s time to eat out­doors. 

  Of course, hot dogs and bur­gers are the all-time grilled fa­vor­ites of Amer­ic­an kids (young and old). But maybe you haven’t had quite enough time to get your grill up and run­ning. Fear not. After its winter hi­atus in the gar­age or on the shelf in back of the Christ­mas dec­or­a­tions, the pic­nic bas­ket is wait­ing and ready to be filled with food for for­agers throughout the day. It’s a good al­tern­at­ive to grilling.

  So, what’s in your pic­nic bas­ket this Me­mori­al Day? Something simply de­li­cious, port­able and seasoned with just the right amount of spices will make your out­door ad­ven­tures mem­or­ably me­mori­al. Make a big plat­ter of Cin­na­mon Chick­en.

  Cin­na­mon is one of the old­est known spices. In an­cient times, cin­na­mon was be­lieved to cure snake­bites, freckles and the com­mon cold, among oth­er ail­ments. Stud­ies have shown that cin­na­mon may help type 2 dia­bet­ics to con­trol their blood sug­ar. It may also help lower your trigly­ceride (bad cho­les­ter­ol) levels.

  Cin­na­mon usu­ally fla­vors baked goods such as cakes and cook­ies, or adds spice to desserts and fruits. Cin­na­mon can add fla­vor to hot chocol­ate and mulled wine. It can be used in rice dishes. Cin­na­mon toast is a spe­cial treat in the morn­ing. Cin­na­mon sug­ar can be pre­pared quickly and eas­ily to sprinkle on buttered toast. Mix one cup of sug­ar with two ta­ble­spoons of cin­na­mon. This will keep well in a large shaker jar. But cin­na­mon also adds a spe­cial fla­vor to some meats and sea­food, and es­pe­cially to chick­en in the fol­low­ing re­cipe.


3 Tb­sp. can­ola oil

3 lbs. chick­en pieces, skin re­moved (I used thighs)

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pep­per

1/3 cup flour

½ tsp. paprika

1 tsp. cin­na­mon

1 egg plus 2 Tb­sp. wa­ter

1 cup panko bread crumbs

- Pre­heat oven to 350 de­grees

- Put the salt, pep­per, flour, paprika and cin­na­mon in­to a plastic bag. Shake to mix and set aside.

- In a small bowl, mix the egg and wa­ter. Set aside.

- Spread bread crumbs on a sheet of wax pa­per. Set aside.

- Shake each chick­en piece in the flour mix­ture bag. Then, dip each chick­en piece in the egg mix­ture.

- Fi­nally, coat each chick­en piece in panko bread crumbs.

- Heat 3 Tb­sp. oil in a heavy-bot­tomed, oven­proof skil­let. (Black, cast-iron fry­ing pan works well)

- Ar­range chick­en pieces in a single lay­er.

- Lay pieces bone-side up in skil­let. Brown lightly. (About two minutes.) Turn chick­en pieces over and al­low to cook an ad­di­tion­al minute or two.

- Wrap handle of skil­let with alu­min­um foil and put skil­let con­tain­ing the par­tially cooked chick­en in­to oven to bake for 30 to 35 minutes.  

- Re­move skil­let and turn oven tem­per­at­ure to 450 de­grees.

- Wait a few minutes and then place skil­let in oven for 2 or 3 minutes to crisp the coat­ing.  Watch it care­fully, so chick­en doesn’t burn.

This chick­en re­cipe is great served warm, right out of the oven or re­fri­ger­ated and served cold later.

Have a Happy Me­mori­al Day!

Eat well, live long, en­joy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at Whats­cook­in­ or in care of the North­east Times, 3412 Pro­gress Drive, Suite C, Ben­s­alem, PA 19020)

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