Category Archives: Recipe

Oven-Baked Fried Chicken: A Feast for July Fourth

Oven-Baked Fried Chicken | Faith and Composition

The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. It evokes in me a wave of nostalgia and patriotism. I have sweet memories of family and friends gathered together, a sense of pride uniting the nation, sparklers dancing in the dusk, and a fireworks display in my parent’s backyard that brings the neighbors out onto their decks every.single.year. And then there’s the food … barbecue or fried chicken, corn on the cob, potato salad, an abundance of watermelon, homemade ice cream, strawberry shortcake.

So to celebrate Independence Day and the general spirit of summer dining, I have a simple, yet delicious recipe for oven-baked fried chicken that is sure to be the star of your July-Fourth table. Pair this with a simple potato salad and oven-baked corn on the cob, fresh fruit and dessert, and you have a complete meal for the holiday and throughout the summer.

Oven-Baked Fried Chicken | Faith and Composition

Oven-Baked Fried Chicken
Serves 4
Please note that this isn’t so much an exact recipe, as it is an approximation of ingredients and a recommended cooking time. If you’d like your chicken spicy, add more cayenne pepper. Want to sweeten it? Drizzle on some honey before baking.

1 Whole chicken cut into pieces or a grilling pack that has legs and breast meat
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix the flour with the salt, pepper, cayenne and garlic powder. Pour into a wide, shallow bowl, or a baking dish that will allow you room to dredge the chicken. Then mix the eggs and water. Coat the chicken pieces in the egg and water mixture, then dredge the chicken in the flour and spices until it is completely covered. Repeat with all the pieces. I usually do this ahead of time, then refrigerate the chicken until I’m ready to cook.

Pour oil into a saute pan, coating the bottom with about 1/4-inch of oil. (I usually use a combination of butter and olive oil.) Heat the oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot (you want the chicken to sizzle), carefully place the chicken pieces in the oil. Don’t crowd the chicken. I usually have to do this in three batches. Sear each piece for about 4 minutes or until the coating is brown, then flip and repeat until all sides are evenly browned.

Oven-Baked Fried Chicken | Faith and Composition

Place the browned chicken on a cooling rack nestled inside a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 350-degree oven for approximately 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and move to a platter.

Oven-Baked Fried Chicken | Faith and Composition
You can also place corn on the cob, still in its husk, directly on your oven racks to bake alongside your chicken. The corn steams inside the husk and peels with ease when done. It’s my now-favorite way to prepare corn-on-the-cob, and it makes the prep for this dinner a snap!

Enjoy! And have a Happy Fourth! I’ll be back with a few more Independence Day posts later this week. See you then!

P.S. To celebrate the Fourth, I’ll be sharing one patriotic-inspired image each day this week on Instagram. You can follow me here, if you don’t already. I’d love to have you join me! 

Also, if you weren’t the lucky winner of the Good Enough Mom giveaway, you can still snag a shirt from Charity’s shop. And she’s offering 10% off for F&C readers with code: faithandcomposition.

Faith and Composition

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All content on F&C is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted.


An Afternoon Pick-Me-Up {My Favorite Cup of Coffee}

{Simply because it’s Friday, and I feel like being a bit light-hearted today, I’m sharing a lifestyle post. So kick your feet up and grab a hot cuppa, because we’re discussing one of my favorite indulgences … coffee.} 

The Perfect Afternoon Pick-me-up, perfecting the pour-over method | Faith and Composition

It hits me every day around the same time … the afternoon slump. As the hands of the clock near 2 pm, the exhaustion sets in. Perhaps it’s the fact that I have toddlers, and I tend to follow their schedule (read: I need a nap too!); or maybe it’s simply that we operate with such frantic busyness in our society. Whatever the cause, nearly every day I am in desperate need of a pick-me-up just a few hours into the afternoon.

If I can resist the urge to strap the kids into their carseats for a quick drive to the nearest coffeehouse, I’ll make a cup at home using the pour-over method. A simple, unfussy mode of brewing coffee, the pour-over method results in a robust cup without a lot of bitterness. But it’s not just the flavor that has made this one of my favorite methods of coffee preparation, it’s also about the ritual. The whistle of the tea kettle, the careful pouring of hot water over the beans, the sound of coffee percolating into my cup below. It’s all very soothing. My kids could be running rampant with toys strewn about the floor, but this five-minute preparation and the resulting cup is a little personal escape.

The Perfect Afternoon Pick-me-up, perfecting the pour-over method | Faith and Composition

Here’s how to do it:

Fit a paper filter inside your pour-over device. I use this one I picked up for just $6.99 at World Market. This one also gets great reviews. Run water through the filter and the pour-over brewer to rinse; and discard the rinse water. This step isn’t necessary, but it will eliminate any paper lint and prevent the filter from falling in on itself when you pour the hot water. Scoop fresh-ground coffee beans into the filter. (I use approximately 2 heaping tablespoons per 10 ounces. Adjust the amount of beans to your liking.) Stack the pour-over device atop your coffee mug.

The Perfect Afternoon Pick-me-up, perfecting the pour-over method | Faith and Composition

Meanwhile, heat water in a kettle until it just boils, then pull the kettle off the heat for 30 seconds. Pour a small amount over your coffee grinds, being careful to saturate the coffee. Set the kettle down and inhale the aroma. No really, it’s delightful! After a few seconds, pour the remaining water over the coffee until it nearly fills the filter. Let it drain into the cup below with a rhythmic percolating sound. Add cream or sugar if desired, and enjoy!

The Perfect Afternoon Pick-me-up, perfecting the pour-over method | Faith and Composition

Et voila! Your perfect afternoon pick me up.
Do you have a ritual afternoon break? If it involves coffee, how do you take your cup?

Faith and Composition

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All content on F&C is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted. 

Chopped Harvest Salad {A Recipe}

Chopped Harvest Salad | Faith and Composition

I am always amazed by the splendor of fall; brilliant reds, oranges, yellows and browns litter the landscape like a dazzling tapestry. It’s almost as if God designed this overwhelming beauty to carry us through the stark days of winter ahead. And while the changing leaves are stunning indeed, the bounty of a fall harvest is just as beautiful: bright orange-fleshed pumpkins and butternut squash, brilliant green brussel sprouts, the saturated red of cranberries and pomegranates, the dappled skins of apples. Was there ever a more beautiful table than a harvest table?

Chopped Harvest Salad | Faith and CompositionChopped Harvest Salad | Faith and Composition
Inspired by the colorful bounty of fall, I created this Chopped Harvest Salad as a simple, quick way to highlight the fresh flavors of the season. I’ve since had it four times in the past week. It really is that good! And the fact that I can throw it together in a matter of minutes only makes it that much better. It’s also quite nutrient dense, complete with a fair amount of healthy fat.

Chopped Harvest Salad | Faith and Composition

Chopped Harvest Salad | Faith and Composition

The salad is filling enough to stand on its own as a meal, but you could add chicken if you desired something a bit heartier. As salads go, you can choose proportions of each ingredient that suit you best; I prefer a rather equal amount of ingredients. One note about the lettuce: I use romaine, because the components of the salad need a sturdy base. You could substitute red or green leaf, but I really prefer the crunch romaine lends. Also, be sure to chop your lettuce leaves (don’t skip this step)! Chop all the ingredients to uniform size, and then toss everything together so you get all the flavors in one forkful! Enjoy!

Chopped Harvest Salad | Faith and Composition

Chopped Harvest Salad
Makes enough for 1 large salad or two side salads

4 or 5 romaine leaves, chopped
1 apple, cored and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced (not shown above)
3 or 4 brussel sprouts, chopped
1 small handful dried cranberries
2 tablespoons pepitas
1 small handful chopped walnuts
Blue cheese, crumbled

Toss all ingredients into a bowl and combine. Transfer to a plate, top with blue cheese and a sprinkle of salt to taste. Drizzle the Harvest Vinaigrette atop the salad.

Harvest Vinaigrette

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (I prefer Bragg’s)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake to combine. The vinaigrette will keep for a week in the fridge. If your olive oil hardens when refrigerated (unadulterated oil should harden when cold), just remove the dressing 15 minutes before you want to use it so the oil can liquefy.

Let me know what you think! And if you enjoy the salad, please share it with a friend who may enjoy it as well. Thank you, dear friends!

Peanut Butter and Honey Popcorn {A Recipe}

Peanut Butter and Honey Popcorn | Faith and Composition
Fall was in the air this weekend, with its slightly cooler temps and a quick rainstorm that sent us all scurrying to the car in the midst of Little Man’s flag football game. We don’t get many changing leaves in Texas, and 90-degree days can stretch well into October, so any respite from the heat is welcome. The kids asked to nap with their window open on Saturday so they could listen to the rain, and well, how do you say no to that? Later that evening we trekked to a nearby park and went for a short hike as the sun began to set. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the image I posted of the sky aflame. It was beautiful!

Prior to our hike, I made a batch of this popcorn, and we devoured it in no time. I concocted the recipe last week, when I was craving a simple, but sweet after-school snack, and the result was delightfully addictive. After a few handfuls, I knew I wanted to share it with you.

I almost feel guilty calling it a recipe … it’s just six simple ingredients, but those ingredients make for a sweet/salty snack that will have your hand perpetually planted in the popcorn bowl. At least it did mine! So without further ado, here’s our new favorite snack. Try it after school, for movie night or before a hike with the family. And let me know if you find it as addictive as I do!

Peanut Butter and Honey Popcorn | Faith and Composition

Peanut Butter and Honey Popcorn
Serves 4

Coconut oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/2 cup all-natural salted peanut butter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons raw, local honey
Sea salt

Spoon coconut oil into the bottom of a heavy-bottomed pot; you want enough oil to leave a thin layer on the bottom of the pot. Throw in a few kernels, and heat the pot over medium high heat. Once the few “test” kernels have popped, quickly add the 1/2 cup popcorn kernels. Top the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and then gently swirl the pot to coat the kernels in oil. Once the kernels begin to pop, reduce the heat to medium. As the kernels pop, periodically shake the pot (take care not to burn yourself on the lid; it will be very hot). Remove the pot from the heat when the kernels have slowed to popping every three to four seconds.

Peanut Butter and Honey Popcorn | Faith and Composition
Meanwhile, heat the 1/2 cup peanut butter, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 4 tablespoons honey over low heat. Stir to combine; you may have to use the tongs of a fork to smooth out any peanut butter clumps. Once the butter has melted and the mixture is a smooth consistency, remove from the heat and drizzle one-third over the popcorn. Toss, drizzle another one-third, then toss and drizzle the remaining peanut butter and honey mixture over the popcorn. Top with a sprinkling of sea salt. (If you used unsalted peanut butter, you may have to add more sea salt.) Enjoy!

Peanut Butter and Honey Popcorn | Faith and Composition
A few notes: A heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid is essential for stove-top popped popcorn. Lighter pots just don’t distribute the heat evenly. Also, feel free to play with the proportions in this recipe. Not sweet enough? Add more honey. Want to give it even a bit more kick, add some cocoa. The great thing about this recipe is that it’s a simple base that can include a host of variations. If you try this treat and like it as is, or if you come up with an addicting variation, please come back and let me know! And as always, I would be delighted it you would share!     

Linking up with Annapolis & Co.

A Quiche Recipe and a Book Review {French Kids Eat Everything}

A Review of French Kids Eat Everything and a Quiche Recipe | Faith and Composition
Open the first chapter of Karen LeBillon’s French Kids Eat Everything, and these words from the first paragraph jump off the page: “Ask my children what their favorite foods are, and the answer might surprise you. Seven-year-old Sophie loves beets and broccoli, leeks and lettuce, mussels and mackerel—in addition to the usual suspects, like hot dogs, pizza and ice cream. Claire, her three-year-old sister, loves olives and red peppers, although her all-time favorite is creamed spinach.”

I’d barely cracked the spine (err, fired up the Kindle) of French Kids Eat Everything before I was hooked. The book is a heartwarming manifesto-of-sorts that tells how Karen and her family moved to France and cured her children’s picky eating habits. For one, the book is honest, witty and a few times chuckle-out-loud funny. But it also provides some fantastic take-aways, ideas that can readily be implemented in any home with young, picky eaters.

The food culture in France is radically different from that of the food culture in the U.S. (obesity rates attest to this; whereas France’s rate of childhood obesity is one of the lowest in the developed world, the U.S. boasts some of the highest.), and there’s a lot to be learned from the French methods. Lucky for us, Karen gives some honest, you-can-do-this-too advice for busy moms and dads who want to get their kids to not only try their beets but to enjoy them as well.

During her year in France, Karen perceived a set of unstated, commonly understood rules that set the groundwork necessary to guide young French kids into a healthy relationship with food. These rules form the framework for the habit of eating in France, and Karen suggests that these rules can be applied to help establish healthy eating patterns in North American kids too. From the very first rule—“Parents, YOU are in charge of food education”—the book empowers parents with the confidence and the methods they need to help instill healthy eating habits in their little ones.

And perhaps the best thing about the rules? They’re not ironclad. In fact, rule number 10 (the Golden Rule, as Karen dubs it) states that “Eating is joyful, not stressful. Treat the food rules as habits or routines, rather than strict regulations; it’s fine to relax them once in a while.”

In short, the book is a witty how-to manual that gives advice for curing young, picky eaters with word pictures of the provincial French countryside dotted throughout. It’s a joy to read, and you come away from the pages thinking: I can do that. So if you need a little more help in encouraging your kids to eat and enjoy whole foods, check out French Kids Eat Everything (get the Kindle version here). You’ll be both pleasantly informed and entertained!

A Review of French Kids Eat Everything and a Quiche Recipe | Faith and Composition
The back of the book contains several simple French recipes that parents can whip up in no time. I asked Karen if I could share one with you, and she was happy to oblige. I’m choosing to share this Quick No-Pastry Quiche with you, because quiche is a meal we serve once every couple weeks, if not once a week. I especially love quiche for its versatility; we often throw in an assortment of veggies (broccoli, zucchini, greens) or a handful of herbs. It’s also great with a little ham or bacon. I sometimes double this so we can have a quick breakfast or lunch the next day. In Karen’s quiche recipe, she deliberately leaves out the pastry, which reduces the prep time and allows busy parents to have dinner on the table with less fuss and in no time flat.

Quick No-Pastry Quiche | Faith and Composition

Quick No-Pastry Quiche
Reprinted verbatim with written permission from Karen LeBillon  

Preparation: 5 to 7 minutes
Cooking: 30 to 40 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6 small adult servings

Easy and quick to make, quiche is a classic French recipe that pleases adults and children alike. Quiche is also one of the most versatile recipes in the French household, as it can be eaten hot or cold, for lunch or for dinner, and works well with any combination of vegetables that you can think of. French families often make it in advance, as it lasts well for a couple of days in the fridge (or even a few hours in the cupboard—my mother-in-law tries to avoid refrigerating her quiche, arguing that it changes the texture). In a pinch, I find that quiche freezes fairly well, although most French people don’t do this. The recipe presented here is the children’s version, which uses a higher proportion of milk and a smaller number of eggs than a quiche intended for adults. The resulting dish is fluffier, less dense, and less eggy, and so more likely to please young palates. For older children or adults, reduce the milk by a half cup, and add one more egg (or play with the ratio of eggs and milk until you find the texture that your family prefers).

Most French cooks have their personal twist on this dish. For a while, my favorite was a ratatouille-style quiche, with eggplant and tomatoes. A quick survey of our extended family turned up as many recipes as there were cooks: zucchini, broccoli, carrots—almost any vegetable you can think of. Chopped or grated finely, most vegetables don’t even need to be cooked in advance.

8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (or 3/4 cup milk and 3/4 cup cream)
Salt and pepper, if desired
1 cup flour

Filling suggestion (These are some of our favorites, but feel free to make up your own.):
Quiche lorraine: 1 cup cubed or sliced ham and 1 cup grated cheese (Gruyère works best, but Cheddar will also do)
Quiche aux légumes: 1 small onion, finely diced, 1/2 cup thinly sliced greens (I use spinach or chard, but not kale, which is too chewy) 1/2 cup finely chopped red pepper
Quiche provençale: 1 cup ratatouille (this is a great way to use leftovers)
Optional: dried herbs such as parsley or oregano

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, beat the egg; add the milk (or milk and cream) and mix well. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, if desired. Stirring constantly with a fork or a whisk (to avoid lumps), add the flour a little bit at a time. Mix in the cheese followed by the fillings you are using.

2. Pour the mixture into a greased 9- or 12-inch pie plate and bake for 30 minutes, or until the quiche puffs and starts to brown on top. Cool 5 minutes before serving (the quiche will settle, and you’ll be able to cut it more neatly).

Tip: Changing your quiche ingredients is also a great way to introduce new vegetables: the reassuringly familiar look of the fish may entice even the wariest of eaters.

Note: Take care not to overfill your pie plate, as the quiche will puff up as it bakes. I place mine on a baking sheet in the oven, in case of spills. The quiche will deflate after you remove it from the oven: this is normal! Kids like watching this soufflé effect.

Enjoy, and au revoir, friends! I’ll see you in the next few days with a sample week-long whole foods meal plan, and next Monday I have the first F&C guest post featuring a simple, yet effective work-out you can do at home with the little ones underfoot!