Friday, February 25, 2011

So many plans...

... so little time.

I am really excited about spring coming. Hopefully we won't see some freak snow storm from here on out, though I most likely just jinked us. The reason I am excited of the idea of spring is because I have so many huge plans for this spring and summer.

1) We are going to clear out the garden and build our own planter boxes. This will hopefully help our garden and allow us to do better this yea then last. We are currently planning on tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, sweet peppers, hot peppers, and some herbs. Not sure if this will be our final list or if we will add to it.

2) Lots of new grilling recipes to be made this year! We are also looking into getting a new gas grill to take the place of our poor dying charcoal grill.

3) We are going to clean out the garage to make room for shelving and a freezer. We have found we really need to get a freezer of some sort. Our current one (the one attached to the fridge) is just too small for our needs.

and so much more!

Also, school has been kicking me in the behind recently which is why I have been slow in updating. Hopefully I will be back soon with new recipes and ideas for you all!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fried Chicken... YUM!

Fried Chicken is amazing... or should I say, good fried chicken is amazing. I have not had much luck in the past with fried chicken recipes. The chicken is either dry and overcooked or the coating is burned before the chicken is fully cooked.

Then I met the Pioneer Woman... and she has saved me from any more fried chicken disasters. There are a couple keys to this recipe that make it so wonderful. First is the buttermilk
"bath" that the chicken takes overnight. Second is the milk/buttermilk that is put into the flour mixture that causes the coating to be extra crunchy. Finally, by frying it until brown and then baking it to finish the cooking, it really keeps it from drying out the chicken or over browning the coating.

I made this with corn on the cob and biscuits with honey butter.

Pioneer Woman's Buttermilk Fried Chicken

2 cut-up fryer chickens
1 quart plus 1/4 cup buttermilk
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons seasoned salt (like Lawry’s)
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup milk
canola or vegetable oil for frying

1. In a large bowl (or 2 freezer bags) add the chicken with 1 quart buttermilk. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to fry, remove chicken from bowl and let sit on counter for 30 minutes to take chill off.

2. Preheat oven to 350F. Stir together the flour, seasoned salt, pepper, thyme, paprika and cayenne in a very large bowl. In a small bowl combine the 1/4 cup buttermilk and the milk. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and use a fork to mix until little lumps throughout.

3. Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a deep skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat to 365F. Working in batches, thoroughly coat each buttermilk-soaked chicken piece with the breading, pressing to adhere the breading. Add the chicken to the oil 3-4 pieces at a time. Cover pan and fry 5-7 minutes, checking to make sure chicken isn’t getting too brown. Turn, cover and cook additional 3-5 minutes more. Monitor temperature of oil to make sure chicken doesn’t burn. Keep in mind chicken will finish cooking in oven.

4. Place chicken on baking sheet and continue frying rest of chicken. When done, bake the chicken for 10-15 minutes, until chicken cooked through.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Quick, fast, and tasty...

I think a lot of home cooks with they had more recipes for meals that are quick, fast, and tasty. I know I am always looking for more! So, when I was looking around some of my favorite recipe web sites, that is normally what I am looking for. This past week, I found one that is a definite keeper. It is also a pasta dish that is low on tomatoes, but is not full of heavy cream.

Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Fake Bake (adapted from Rachel Ray)


  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 (14.5) can diced tomatoes
  • Handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan


-Prick sausages with a fork and place in a large skillet with 1 inch of water. Cover and bring water to a boil then reduce heat. Allow all the liquid to cook away then brown the sausage. Remove from the pan and reserve the dripping.

-Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.

-Add the peppers, onions, and garlic to the pan. Cook until the vegetables are tender.

-Slice the sausage and add the slices back into the pan with the vegetables. Cook until the sausage becomes crisp around the edges.

-Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock, making sure to get all the browned bits off the bottom (this is where the flavor is!). Stir in the crushed tomatoes and parsley and bring to a bubble. Reduce the to low.

-Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the ricotta cheese and half the Parmesan. Stir to combine and until the cheese is all mixed through.

-Add the past mixture to the peppers and onions. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated.

-Serve with the rest of the Parmesan.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chicken... a wonderful reason to eat stuffing!

So, this week I am roasting a chicken. In reality it's because I have been craving some cornbread stuffing... so the chicken is just an excuse. This has become one of my favorite recipes and now is a "must have" at my family's Thanksgiving table. It's a tiny bit sweet and a whole lot of tasty. It also makes a ton of stuffing, so be prepared!

Cornbread Stuffing (adapted from Pioneer Woman)
  • 1 whole Pan Of Cornbread (I use Jiffy because I like the sweetness)
  • 1 loaf French Bread
  • 1 stick Butter
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 2 cups Celery, Chopped
  • 4 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • Dried parsley to taste
  • Dried sage to taste
- Chop up the cornbread and french bread into one inch cubes and allow to dry for about a day.

- Add one stick of butter into a large skillet. When it’s melted add the onion and celery and cook for a few minutes until the vegetables are tender.

-Add 4 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add some of the dried parsley and some of the sage.

-Place the bread crumbs into a large bowl and ladle in the broth/vege mixtures. Add enough broth into the bread crumbs to make it moist, but not too watery.

-Add more parsley and sage to taste.

-Either stuff the bird and bake according to directions or place in a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.