Paul and I have been working very hard to teach certain aspects of our faith to Matthew. We have a set of prayers that we recite every night before bed, we say grace before meals, we read books with religious themes, and we try to talk through some important elements of the Mass with him each Sunday morning. For the most part, our little sponge has been pretty good about absorbing what we are trying to teach. One of my favorite parts about putting him to bed is hearing him say: "Peas God help Matthew be a gooood boy!" Puts a smile on my face every single time.
However, as can be expected from his mixed-up, crazy little three-year-old mind, he often misunderstands or misinterprets our lessons.
His biggest mix-up? Thinking that he is the child Jesus.
For example, we have a beautiful painting in our home of the child Jesus being lovingly cradled by Mary. Every time Matthew spies that painting, he points to it and declares: "Look at Baby Matthew! Baby Matthew is so cute!"
I try to correct him and say: "No Matthew...that's Baby Jesus and his mother Mary!"
But of course, he knows better: "No Mommy, NOOO! That's baby Matthew! A picture of Baby Matthew! And that's you too Mommy! That's YOU!"
While I'm flattered that he draws a parallel between me and the Blessed Mother, I can guarantee that I am nowhere near as beautiful and saintly as she!
This theme continues further when we are at Mass and he spies all the depictions of the child Jesus. Apparently, to him, our parish is heavy into honoring the "Baby Matthew." Imagine how thrilled he was last Christmas to discover an entire manger scene, complete with cows, donkeys, and sheep, all with "Baby Matthew" at the center. What a bloated little ego he must have!
It's no wonder at the conclusion of Mass every Sunday Matthew normally declares: "I had fun at church, Mommy!"
The recipe I wanted to share with you is a simple little salad that we have been throwing together lately. It is easy, delicious, healthy, and satisfies that ever-present craving for all things Buffalo Chicken that I have been having for about a year now. It's a bit healthier than eating straight-up wings because we remove the skin from the chicken before tossing it with the sauce. Plus, chicken drumsticks are normally $0.62/pound at our store, making this a fairly inexpensive meal. I included instructions for making an Avocado Ranch that pairs wonderfully with this salad. However, regular ranch dressing or even a blue cheese dressing works wonderfully in a pinch! This is one of our favorite summer salads.
Matthew does not eat it in salad form. He prefers his drumsticks perfectly intact. He does, however, enjoy carrots and lots and lots of cucumber on the side!
Buffalo Chicken Salad
dressing recipe adapted from Smells Like Home
For the Chicken:
8 Chicken Drumsticks
1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot
2 Tablespoons Butter
For the Avocado Dressing:
1/2 avocado, chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise (we use Hellman's Light)
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 small bunch of chives
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup buttermilk
For the Salad:
Fresh corn off the cob
Sliced Red Onions
Blue Cheese Crumbles or Shredded Cheddar
To make the chicken: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place a wire cooling rack over a baking pan that is completely covered in foil. Spray the cooling rack with cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss the chicken legs with as much salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder as you want. I tend to use about a teaspoon of each. Place the chicken legs onto the wire rack and bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, or until tender and cooked through.
While the chicken is baking, blend all the dressing ingredients together in a food processor or blender. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the salad.
Whisk together the Frank's Red Hot and melted butter. Leave at room temperature.
When the chicken is finished, allow to cool briefly. Using two small spoons, remove the meat from the chicken and discard the skins. Place chicken in a medium bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the hot sauce mixture over the chicken and toss to coat completely.
To assemble salads, place some romaine lettuce on plate and top with desired vegetables. Add the sauced chicken on top and drizzle everything with the avocado ranch dressing.