TODAY   |  April 07, 2014

The Neelys make easy fried chicken, healthy side

Pat and Gina Neely join TODAY with recipes from their new cookbook, ”Back Home with the Neelys: Comfort Food from Our Southern Kitchen to Yours,” and show how to make a fun family meal.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> the new book "the neelys: comfort food from our southern kitchen to yours." making fried chicken with a twist. great to see you guys again.

>> great to see you guys again.

>> these are generational recipes but you lightened them up a little bit. can't eat the way grandma and grandpa eat.

>> we remixed it a little bit. kind of bring it up to the times. but also to reach back and still contribute that, add some of that. but it's important to keep a identifies balance.

>> people, they want this now. they love their old favorites, but they want to eat a little bit better.

>> they really do. with this being our third cook book , i think the thing that's most attractive about this book is everyone can relate to down home grandmother, grandfather in the backyard, those type of stories.

>> so fried chicken with a twist. what's the twist?

>> the twist is, first of all, we're going to dredge it. this chicken -- and al, i'm going to help you out. we've got paprika, some pepper, some onion powder, and add that salt right in. we're going to give that a stir. we're going to dredge that chicken, al. you're familiar with this. we've got eggs and butter milk . and then we've got some hot sauce . and then you can take that and whisk that all together.

>> the butter milk , the acidity of the butter milk ?

>> and also it's going to bond things together. the seasoning has been on our chicken overnight. i like to season just like a good old barbecue, want to do it the night before. we're going to take some of our seasoning and put it into our flour. we're going to season our flour. just a little bit more flavor. then we're going to come right in, there you go, al. and dredge it.

>> he doesn't need those tongs.

>> al goes right in.

>> the great thing about it. he's dredging it and it's going through both. we've got grandmother's cast iron skillet. we've got peanut oil . got it at about 350 degrees. we want it good and hot. and we're going to come right in to our skillet. once it fries for about ten, 15 minutes until it's golden brown , obviously the thighs and the breast are going to fry a little harder.

>> and you don't want to crowd the pan.

>> never. it lowers the temperature of your oil. and then you don't get an even cook.

>> that candy thermometer saved my life.

>> you got the proper temperature. this is a hot maple glaze that will just come right across our chicken once it's done. and look here, y'all. that's good old southern fried chicken .

>> what goes in the glaze?

>> some hot sauce , some maple syrup , some mustard and a little butter, we'll add it right to the chicken.

>> make some waffles with that.

>> oh, yes.

>> a little twist on mashed potatoes here.

>> exactly. that's mashed cauliflower. a great way to trick our kids into having something nice and healthy. i got started with my own. i have to keep the side dish moving. so i cored off my cauliflower. i used some butter and then some garlic to give it a little saw today. stir it all in. you want to add in some warmth to loosen it up. you put everything all in here.

>> there are people who say i wanted my mashed potatoes . but this tastes good when you mix it all together.

>> don't even tell them. don't even tell them.

>> i'll take that approach.

>> get it all in there. of course, cheddar cheese .

>> bring in the cheese.

>> got to have the cheese, baby.

>> and then just mash it all up.

>> actually, because cauliflower, the texture is different, you want to put it right into the food processor . that saves a lot of time. and then the peppers.

>> you mind if i get in here and try it?

>> that's fantastic.

>> that's the finished product. put some chives on top to make presentation wonderful.

>> that is great. it's great.

>> isn't it amazing?

>> pat and gina neely , thank you so much. that is good eating. for these recipes and more, head to we're back in a moment. but first, this is "today" on nbc.

>>> look at that. kathie lee and hoda coming up next. as always, prepared.

>> in 45 years, she's never been late. not once.