Creative cooks everywhere should give credit where credit is due. General Foods deserves an oven mitt-full of credit for inspiring homemade versions of Shake 'n Bake, the well-known, crumb-style coating that keeps meat crispy on the outside and juicy inside. Shake 'n Bake was introduced in 1965 to help cooks mimic the taste of crunchy fried food without the mess, not to mention the fat quotient, of preparing food in oil. This recipe takes the genesis of Shake n' Bake (now marketed by Kraft Foods) and improves it with herbs and spices, resulting in a flavourful, mouth-watering coating that is especially good on chicken breasts and pork slices. When the meal is gone, the crumbs won't be; this recipe makes enough to almost fill a 2-litre storage container.
Pour 4 cups of corn flakes into the large bowl. Crush the flakes into tiny pieces with the potato masher. (Trying to crush any more than 4 cups at a time is tricky; crushing less prolongs the process of using up the entire box of corn flakes.) The consistency should be flaky but not as fine as bread crumbs.
Add 1 tbsp parsley and 1 tsp each of basil, garlic power, garlic salt, paprika, salt and thyme. Mix the ingredients thoroughly.
Pour this first batch into the 2-litre container, either with a spoon or a funnel.
Repeat this procedure, crushing 4 cups of cereal and then adding the herbs and spices and pouring the mixture into the storage container, until the box of corn flakes is gone. Shake the container vigorously after each addition.
When you're ready to shake and bake a meal, get two dishes with side edges (to prevent spills that result from working with a flat dish). Melt a few tablespoons of margarine or crack and stir an egg in one dish and pour an ample amount of the crumb mixture in another dish.
Dip a piece of meat into the margarine, coating it on both sides, then put it immediately in the crumb mixture, turning the meat several times to ensure that it's completely covered. Put the meat in a sprayed baking dish.
Sprinkle a thin layer of the crumb mixture over the meat. Spray the meat pieces with non-fat cooking spray.
Bake uncovered at 177 degrees Cor about 40 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink in the centre of the thickest slice. Serve and savour the most delicious crumb coating that will ever grace your dinner plate.
Some cooks have used bread crumbs or crushed tortilla chips in place of the corn flakes. Try these variations if you like, but some cooks -- like Goldilocks -- find that the bread crumbs are too fine and tortilla chips overwhelm the meat. Corn flakes turn out "just right."