I wrote about this idea here.
What I made: oven-fried lemon chicken and jacketed potatoes (400) for dinner with a vanilla/apple dump cake (375) for dessert. I didn’t make the Mexican peppers. I decided to only do the 3 recipes: oven-fried lemon chicken, jacketed potatoes, and apple dump cake.
What worked: Chicken and potatoes were done cooking at the same time and were as good as expected. Both recipes I’ve made before. The apple cake recipe was rather made up as I went. I had no presugared fruit like last time. But it too was good.
What didn’t work or didn’t work as expected: This required a prep marathon, something I usually avoid. I was very busy for a while!
- Because they cook the longest and take the least prep, I got the potatoes cleaned, cut and in the oven first. Set the timer for 1 hour.
- The chicken needs fats added to its cooking pan.
- Seasoned flour needs to be mixed up.
- The chicken is dredged and put in the fridge.
- I made up the lemon sauce for the chicken.
- When the potatoes had been in the oven 45 minutes or so, I rotated them.
- Then I added the pan with the fat for the chicken (the chicken crisps in the hot fat) on a second rack. This requires complete concentration so the fat gets hot but doesn’t catch fire. (It only takes a minute or so.)
- Put the chicken in pan with hot fat, re-set timer for 30 minutes.
- Wash apples. Butter cake pan. Chunk apples.
- Start water and sugar cooking for sauce. Make “pudding”. * Let cool slightly. Add butter and vanilla. Pour over apples to coat evenly.
- Put sauced apples in buttered cake pan.
- When timer goes, pull out chicken, turn it over, pour on lemon sauce. Reset timer for 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle cake mix on top of sauced apples. Push down to dampen most of the cake mix. Dot with butter.
- When timer goes off again, pull out rack– check potatoes and make sure chicken is 165 degrees or more. Turn off oven. Plate dinner. Turn oven back on to 375.
- Oven was hot just before I was ready to sit, of course. Put apple cake in oven. Set timer again for 30 minutes. (Cake actually took about 40 minutes to bake. )
Everything was yummy!
*The original dessert sauce recipe had it cooked in a double boiler. For a few years, I made cornstarch pudding 1 or 2 times a week. I don’t need to cook such things in a double boiler any more! That said? If you’ve never made cornstarch pudding or do so rarely, mix the cornstarch with some of the water in a small bowl beforehand to a smooth slurry, (If it becomes “concrete” keep stirring!) then add the slurry slowly to the rest of the hot water in a double boiler!
I was surprised how long it took to get the oven back to 375. Next time I won’t turn it off, just reset the temperature!
I will do the static prep way in advance —
- Wash the apples and potatoes, but not cut them.
- Make up the seasoned flour and the lemon sauce.
- Butter the cake pan.
- Measure the fats into the chicken pan.
- Pre-measure ingredients for the dessert.
I will do this again, even though it takes more planning than my usual, “toss everything together”.