Sunday, April 29, 2012

KFC Better Step It Up..Make Your Own Secret Recipe

I have not been very happy with my KFC as of late. They either don't have the chicken or we get it and it's cold and greasy. Not only that it's very expensive! A meal for four can cost around $20.00.

This week I decided to try a new brining recipe I saw on the Foodnetwork. I normally soak the chicken in buttermilk over night. The result was moist and delicious! I may not have the Col.'s original recipe but with a few spices I come very close.

Along with the chicken I made our favorite creamed corn recipe and some creamy mashed potatoes and gravy. My total price for 12 pieces of chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, and gravy, just under $9.00!

What equipment do you need? A cast iron skillet, tongs, paper plates, or a paper bag, paper towels,2-4 cups of flour, 2 baking racks, a baking sheet, and a lid to fit your skillet. And a husband to help with the dishes doesn't hurt!

Let's get this party started!

The Creamed Corn (adapted from the Neeley's recipe)

Once you try this you won't want corn on the cob again!

6-8 ears of corn soaked
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup water
2 TBSP flour
1 TBSP sugar
salt and pepper
2 TBSP bacon grease
1 pat of butter

We don't eat much regular bacon here so when we do we freeze the grease in 2 TBSP bags. Then we pull it out when the recipe calls for it.

Soak the corn with husks on in a sink full of water for 2-3 hours. This plumps up the corn. This is also a great idea if you were planning on putting the corn with husks on on the grill. Shuck and remove the silk from the corn and cut off kernels very close to the cob. Add corn to a large bowl.

Mix the cream, water, flour and sugar together. Pour over the corn and add to the warmed bacon grease in a frying pan. Turn the heat on low and let the corn mixture thicken for about 25-30 minutes. Give it a stir about every 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper before serving. And add a pat of butter.  Serve with chicken or anytime!

This is the second batch

Fried Chicken

As I said previously I usually soak my chicken in buttermilk before dredging but found this idea on the Foodnetworksite also and decided to give it a try. Soak the chicken overnight in a large Tupperware container in the brine.

The Brine:
2 TBSP Salt
2 liters of water

The Chicken

10-12 pieces of chicken
2-4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 pinch Cayenne
1 tsp tarragon
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
2 cups oil (I used Canola)

I both fried and baked my chicken. My chicken pieces were huge!  With a tongs I remove the chicken from the brine and dredged it in the flour and spices I had waiting on a paper plate. Heat the oil in the skillet and pre-heat the oven. The oil should get to about 350-375 degrees. It is ready when it begins to ripple. Note: during the dredging you may also add the flour to a paper bag and add the chicken. Do the shake and they will all be evenly coated.

Add the chicken in batches. I fit about 6 pieces at a time. Fit with a lid and let fry for 15 minutes. With the tongs flip over and fry for another 15 minutes. You may have to adjust the temp. if you see the chicken becoming too brown. You may also have to change oil between batches if you see your oil becoming too dark.

Remove chicken from oil with a pair of tongs.
Check the breast for doneness. With a knife cut closest to the bone. The juices should run clear. If you see your chicken is a bit underdone, place on a baking sheet and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and season with salt.

The Gravy

I like to use this recipe when I make biscuits and gravy on Sunday mornings.

2 TBSP flour
2 TBSP oil or butter
2 cups milk

Add the butter or oil to a frying pan with the flour. With the whisk stir the flour until it becomes a light brown color. Add the milk and continue beating with the whisk until all the lumps are out. Keep stirring the mixture every few minutes until it thickens. Add a pinch of Montreal seasoning or salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

I found a new favorite show on the Foodnetwork. Trisha Yearwood has her new cooking show. So far I have made two things from her show and loved both. This one is a good alternative for when you are pressed on time. I made a few changes but the taste was still awesome. First here is my traditional mac and cheese I bake in the oven.

Easy Pleasy Mac and Cheese

1/2 box macaroni noodles cooked per package directions
1/2 block of a large Velveeta cube
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese (I use a taco cheese)
2 TBSP flour
2 TBSP butter
1 squirt yellow mustard
salt and pepper

In a medium sized pot and on medium heat melt the butter and add the flour. Use a whisk to remove the flour from the sides of the pot so it doesn't burn. Brown for about 2-3 minutes. You are looking for a light brown flour. Add the milk and continue to stir with the whisk. Put the heat on low. Start adding the cheese cubes little by little and stirring. Then add the shredded cheese again stirring as you go. Bring the mixture to just below a boil. Add the squirt of mustard, salt, and pepper.

Remove from heat and add the macaroni noodles. You can serve it as is or go the next step. Butter a baking dish and add the mac cheese mixture. Top with bread crumbs. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Trisha Yearwoods' Crock Pot Mac and Cheese (from

  • Cooking spray
  • 8 ounces cooked elbow macaroni
  • One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick ) of butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Two 10-ounce bricks sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (about 5 cups)
  • Dash of paprika

  • I cooked my noodles al dente' because I was afraid they would turn to mush.

    It is very important to spray the crock pot with cooking spray! In a large crock pot combine the cooked macaroni, 1 can of evaporated milk, 1 1/2 whole milk (I used fat free) 2 large beaten eggs. I also added salt and pepper. This is where I cut down... She uses 20 oz of cheese. I used 8 oz of shredded cheese. And it tasted great! The Paprika really didn't have any affect on the taste. If you want a zip you can add a pinch of Cayenne.

    Mix everything except for a half a cup of reserved cheese in the crock pot. Sprinkle the reserved cheese over the top and cover. Cook on low for 3 and a half hours.

    All in all I liked the taste and the convenience of having it ready when I came home.


    Saturday, April 14, 2012

    Great News Today

    I usually reserve this blog for my food obsession but I have a lot going on right now. The last few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for me. My oldest has not been making the best choices and I have been waking the tightrope trying to decide what is the best way to help her. I want to take her to therapy to see if there is something else emotional going on. She thinks I think she is crazy. That's not the case but I want her to talk to someone objective.

    In the midst of all this family drama I have been going to school. I had to petition to get into my program and got my acceptance letter today! I got in! I was thinking the worst but it worked out. I am hoping the same for my daughter. I hope we can repair the trust that has been broken.

    Whatever I did wrong as an adolescent is coming back to me three fold! The difference is I didn't have any parental supervision and I am there for my daughter even though she doesn't think so right now. The tween years are more than I bargained for that's for sure!

    Sunday, April 8, 2012

    Easter Must Dos and Some New Recipes Too!

    When you do something great why fix it? I am sticking with my glaze recipe for the ham which includes pineapple juice, OJ, and ginger ale.  I wanted something different for my devilled eggs so I pulled out a Rachel Ray recipe for Caesar devilled eggs. They taste exactly like the Caesar salad dressing. I will include my old recipe for fool proof devilled eggs.

    Another standard is orange fluff. Instead of adding Mandarin oranges this year I added pineapple tidbits. I am also trying out a new Pioneer Woman Cherry Almond Crumble.

    Let's get started. I am using a Cooks ham which is pre-cooked.
    Mountain full of ham!

    Ham Glaze:

    I can pineapple rings (juice reserved)
    1 cup OJ
    1 cup Ginger Ale
    cloves for ham

    This is very easy!  Add all the ingredients except for the rings and cloves to a large bowl. Cut the ham skin in a checkerboard pattern first making your lines down. Then cut across and add cloves in each box. I also tac the pineapple rings to the side of the ham. Baste your ham about every 20 minutes or so using a baster. If the ham becomes too brown cover with foil. Mine bakes for about 25 minutes a pound.

    I have made this recipe before for Caesar Devilled eggs. I will post my version first and then Rachel's. I am doing this from memory.

    Fool Proof Devilled Eggs

    12 eggs boiled
    1/4 cup mayo or Miracle Whip
    1/4 tsp mustard powder
    1 pinch Cayenne mustard
    1 squirt mustard
    Paprika for garnish
    salt and pepper

    Add uncooked eggs to cold water and bring to a rolling boil. Set egg timer for 15 minutes and walk away. After 15 minutes remove from heat but let sit in the hot water for another 5 minutes. Run cold water over the eggs after the 5 minutes. You may have to change the water more than once to cool down the eggs. It is also better to use older eggs near their expiration date. For some reason they peel better.

    Next cut the eggs lengthwise and scoop out the yolks into a medium bowl. With a fork break down the centers. Add the mayo, mustard, mustard powder, and Cayenne. Use a teaspoon to scoop the devilled eggs back into the whites. Try to get these to the table.

    Caesar Deviled Eggs

    Rachel Ray's Caesar Devilled Eggs

    The recipe is Rachels but I adapted it for my own use so the measurements may not be exactly like hers. I believe this one is available on the foodnetwork site.

    1/4 cup mayo
    2 tsp anchovy paste
    1/4 cup Parm cheese
    salt and pepper
    12 hard boiled eggs

    Scoop out the yolks and add the mayo. Add the Parm, anchovy paste, and salt and pepper. Stir the mixture and add back to the egg whites with a teaspoon. She serves these with shredded Romaine on the top.
    Cherry Almond Crisps

    Pioneer Woman's Cherry Almond Crisps

    Again I am adapting the recipe for my own use but you can get the original from

    Topping or crumble

    1 stick and half of butter in chunks
    1 cup flour
    1/2 c sugar
    1/2 c brown sugar
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1 dash nutmeg
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 c silvered almonds

    48oz frozen tart cherries
    1/2 c sugar
    1/4 c cornstarch
    2 tsp almond extract

     Pre-heat oven to 350.  Make the crumble with a pastry cutter in a medium bowl.  Instead of ramekins I am using a large baking dish. Add the frozen cherries, sugar, and cornstarch. Give a stir with the almond extract. Cover with the crumble mixture and bake for 45 minutes. I am making ready whip but this looks like it would be good with ice cream also.

    Orange Fluff

    Orange Fluff

    You can use any flavored Jell-o you like for this recipe but I prefer the orange.

    1 small box orange flavored Jell-o
    1 8oz container Cool Whip
    1 can drained Mandarin Oranges or drained pineapple tidbits
    1 container large curd cottage cheese

    This is extremely easy. Empty the cottage cheese, orange jello packet, and drained fruit into a medium sized bowl. Stir and fold in the cool whip. Chill until ready to serve.

     I hope everyone has a great Easter!

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

    Review of Pioneer Woman's Sausage and Pancake Corn Dogs

    I love Pioneer Woman's blog and FoodNetwork show! Recently she had an episode about breakfast for dinner where she made these delicious Pancake and Sausage Corn dogs. I gave them a go this morning. I had to do a few things in preparation for this. My skewers were too long and I had to cut them in half. I used a serrated knife to score each one and then broke them in half. It works better to score the sticks all the way around before snapping.
    They don't look perfect but they taste great!

    I also wasn't sure about how much oil I needed.  I ended up using about 3-4 inches in a Cuisinart pan with high sides. Next I prepared the sausages. I used Jone's brand links. For the batter I used an Complete Pancake Mix and Jiffy cornbread mix.
    This is after the carnage!

    My only criticism about the whole recipe is that it make a whole lot of batter. I made 12 and it easily could have made dozens. I used a pair of tongs and a slotted metal spoon to turn them.

    Here is the recipe:

    Sausage Pancakes on a Stick

    16 sausage links (I used one box of Jones')
    3 cups Pancake Mix (I used a Complete store brand)
    1 cup yellow cornmeal (I used Jiffy)
    sprinkle of cinnamon
    1 egg beaten
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    3 cups water (I wasn't paying attention and used FF milk)
    canola oil (about 3-4 inches)
    chopsticks (I used skewers)
    syrup for serving

    Brown the sausage links per package directions. Let cool. Insert the skewers into the sausages about 2/3 of the way.

    In a bowl combine the pancake mix, cornmeal, cinnamon. Add the egg, vanilla, and milk. I added one cup of milk at a time. The batter should be thick enough that it will adhere to the sausage. I added about 2 cups of milk and then a half at a time.

    Heat the oil in the pot to about 350 degrees. Drop a pinch of batter into the oil and it should rise to the top.

    Dunk the skewered sausages into the batter. I also used a spoon to make sure they were completely covered. Add to the pan and let sit for a minute or two. Turn over using a tongs and slotted spoon. I didn't have much of a problem with sticking. The corn dog will release itself when it's getting brown. Or you can gently coax it with the slotted spoon. It took about 2-3 minutes per side.

    Also you will need to adjust the oil up or down depending on how fast or slow the corn dogs are browning. I was able to fry about 3 at a time. I drained the corn dogs on paper towels and paper plates. I also changed the paper towel when I rolled them over.

    All in all we liked this recipe. I think we may use it with some good ole Wisconsin Brats over the summer!