Thursday, August 16, 2012

Date night

Since the very first week of our marriage (9 years ago as of last week) Ben and I have shared a date night once a week. Adjustments have been made over the years as our family has changed from just him and me to Ben and Mary + 4 but in all of these years I think we have only missed 5 total. At this point we've fallen into a movie/sit-down-meal rotation. So every other week I make pizza or fried chicken or wings (something junk foodish) and we tuck the kids into an early bed routine with books and cds to listen to and we have supper while watching a movie. The other nights we have a sit down meal which usually requires a bit more prep on my part. During this time the kids are allowed to watch a movie while we enjoy a quiet dinner with just each other. I find that every week I look forward to our date night and it helps me manage the chaos of the other 6 days and evenings when we seem to barely get a word in to each other before drifting off into a coma like state only to hit the ground running the next morning.

Our last date night was combined with an anniversary celebration so I made these which have been termed heaven-on-a-plate.

For those of you who know me you know that I don't particularly enjoy cooking so it was pretty amazing that I attempted these. They were absolutely delicious!!

For junk food nights one of our favorite things to have is wings. If you are a fan of wings (especially spicy ones) you have to try this recipe. I have adjusted it, added more spices, and every time we devour them in complete happiness.

I start with Meryln's Seasoning Mix.  With this mix I sometimes add more red pepper, cajun seasoning, or dry mustard or really anything that I feel like at the time. I store this mix in a glass jar. When I am ready to make the wings I take
1/3 cup of the spice mixture and 
add it to 1 cup of whatever buffalo or hot sauce that I have at the time.  

I mix this up thoroughly and pour it over the wings and then let the wings marinate in this spicy goodness overnight. The key to making perfect wings (while baking them at least..I've only attempted frying once and we both thought we were going to have a heart attack that night) is to bake them longer than necessary. I know that this goes against most of you tried and true cooks out there who are very aware that with chicken you normally do NOT want to overcook it. Wings are a different matter. I have found that if wings aren't cooked long enough they tend to taste fatty and are too juicy. Wings are meant to be dipped in dressing, a bit crispy on the outside but they are not as delicious if they are still fatty or too juicy.

Once I am ready to cook these tiny morsels of sauce and spice I place them on a foil lined cookie sheet (mine has holes in the bottom), 
turn my oven to 425 F and cook them for 30 minutes. 
For the last 10 minutes of this cooking time I set the oven to broil but leave them on the lower rack and let them broil until they are starting to crisp on the top. 
Then I take the pan out, turn them over, put more sauce (the sauce/spice mixture left over from the marinade) on the newly exposed side, and cook them for another 20-25 minutes. 
When this is done it is now time to broil them until they reach crispy perfection (about 8-10 minutes in my oven). 
I look to see if they are mostly dry on the outside and the juices on the foil and mostly cooked off. Then I serve these babies up with plenty of dipping sauce..and celery of course.

(Just so I'm being completely honest, this is not a photo of my wings but one I found online because I haven't taken a picture of my wings. One of these days I will post pictures of the entire process in a pioneer woman sort of way)

As you can see our date nights are not necessarily about health. It is also the only time during the week that we enjoy dessert. It is a wonderful and relaxing time for both of us.
I would love to hear what you do for your date night and what recipes I can add to our date night repertoire.