Here’s another easy yet, oh-so-good recipe, perfect for any time of the year, but especially summertime. Years ago, a restaurant/ice cream chain made a, “cooler” from their watermelon sherbet, and it was delicious; it was also perfect for a brutally hot summer day when ice cream was just too rich. As a matter of fact, I remember being about eight years old and delivering one of these watermelon sherbet coolers to my favorite cousin after she’d had her wisdom teeth extracted (’cause you know a milk shake would have been too thick, and sucking through a straw is frowned upon immediately following a tooth extraction).

I think this restaurant chain still makes them, but the last time I had one, it paled in comparison to the ones I’d had as a kid. Perhaps they changed the recipe of the cooler, or perhaps they changed the recipe of their sherbet…all I know is that it just didn’t taste the same (unfortunately, this applies to many things I had as a kid). The recipe to follow is the closest I’ve ever come to duplicating that refreshing drink of old that I remember so well.

All you need to make approximately four, 12-ounce glasses is:

— Sherbet in your flavor of choice, one quart
— One cup of simple syrup (add 2/3 cup of sugar to a mixing glass; add room temperature water to make one cup; stir until sugar is dissolved; continue adding water, if needed, to make one cup)
— One quart of sparkling spring water, plain or flavored to compliment your sherbet flavor (you’ll use a bit more than half of this sparkling water)

Instructions:

1. Add sherbet to a blender and pour the simple syrup over it; cover and blend as much as possible until it’s the consistency of thin pudding (you’ll probably have to remove the lid and stir it a few times). Turn off the blender.

2. Add about one cup of the sparkling water and blend again, only this time on the lowest setting (you want to keep as much of that carbonation as possible). If your blender has a removable cap, keep your blender on the lowest setting and slowly add another cup or 1 1/2 cups of the sparkling water until it’s incorporated.

3. Pour into glasses and garnish with fresh fruit (if desired). Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Sherbet Cooler

Okay, I admit it – I’m partial to fall and winter. But I nonetheless love living in a state where all four seasons are evident, and since summertime is an eventuality, I’ve learned to love certain things about summer while not particularly liking summer itself. For instance, I love thunderstorms and the way the air smells when it rains. I love having my kids home. And I also happen to love summer fruits – there’s nothing quite like fresh, ripe juicy strawberries and myriad other delicious, wholesome fruits this time of the year.

So, it’s in the spirit of summer fruits that I present this recipe for fruit dip, but it’s not just ANY fruit dip – it’s Angel Fruit Fluff. I’ve been making this recipe for so long that I don’t even remember where I got it, otherwise, I’d give due credit. I’ve seen variations of this dip, with two of the three ingredients, but seldom have I seen it with all three. And it’s so easy to make…you probably won’t even need to write it down. Trust me; there’s no excuse for buying fruit dip from the produce section after you’ve tried this.

Ingredients:

– Marshmallow Fluff (the 16 oz. tub, NOT the small jar) or Homemade Marshmallow Cream (the recipe WITH cream of tartar, since it’s thicker)
– 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
– Extra Creamy Cool Whip, cold but not frozen

Directions:

Using an electric mixer (stand or hand), mix the cream cheese and marshmallow cream until blended. Fold-in the Cool Whip by hand. Chill. Serve with fresh berries and/or fruits of your choice.

That’s it! You won’t believe how yummy…how positively creamy and heavenly this is. I dubbed this, “Angel Fruit Fluff” because FRUIT DIP doesn’t even come close to doing it justice. And if you’ve tried your hand at homemade marshmallow fluff (my last post), it’s even better when you make it with that. I didn’t think it was possible to improve upon perfection, but there you have it.

As always…enjoy!

Angel Fruit Fluff

Since the kids are out of school and Summer’s officially begun, I made eight different flavors of syrup and dusted off the shaved ice maker * inserting gratuitous product plug in the hopes that someone might buy their own through my link: Hawaiian Shaved Ice Machine * FYI, I make my own simple syrup and buy flavor concentrates from a local vendor (the ready-mixed stuff has too many preservatives for my taste – these buds can spot sodium benzoate a mile away). AND, if you’re from Bawlmer, Hon, no snowball is complete without marshmallow.

I used to buy Marshmallow Fluff from the grocery store, but I’d forgotten it the last time I was there. I didn’t feel like making a run ’cause I just KNEW that I’d go in for one thing and come home with a cart full of bags. So I Googled for a recipe, and as luck would have it, no grocery store trip was necessary since all of the ingredients were at hand: Egg whites, light corn syrup, sugar, water, vanilla extract and cream of tartar (and a candy thermometer is also advisable). I just love it when I can make something at home that I usually buy from the store!

Now, I’ve actually made two different recipes for marshmallow fluff/marshmallow cream lately; one recipe calls for more egg whites than the other, and one calls for cream of tartar while the other one doesn’t. I’ll be honest with you – I really don’t know what cream of tartar is, exactly…nor do I know where it comes from or what’s so special about it. In fact, I generally steer clear of recipes that call for it, and I’m pretty sure that the only reason I had some handy was because my mother gave it to me. However, even though I’m generally indifferent to the stuff, I’ve declared that the recipe with the cream of tartar is my favorite, but that little canister isn’t going to last very long at the rate I’ve been making it, so…. If you don’t have cream of tartar, I’m posting the recipe that doesn’t need it as well. Also, I double the recipes, and they each yielded approximately 12 cups of marshmallow cream.

CLICK HERE to see the Marshmallow Cream recipe WITH cream of tartar.

CLICK HERE to see the Marshmallow Cream recipe WITHOUT cream of tartar.

Just a few words of advice:

The recipe with the cream of tartar resulted in a thicker marshmallow cream. If you’re using it for a snowball or ice cream sundae topping, you’re going to need to thin it out a little bit (either with water, milk or half and half). If you want to use it for say, homemade oatmeal cream pies or as a cake frosting, it’s the perfect consistency for those. Also, I had some various flavors of candy-making extract in the cupboard, so instead of using vanilla the last time I made it, I used the marshmallow flavored extract, and it’s delicious. Have fun experimenting and getting creative with that ;-)

Also, please-please-please be careful with these recipes! The sugar and corn syrup have to be cooked to the, “soft-ball stage” which is 240 degrees – that’s HOT! There’s actually a pouring shield attachment for the KitchenAid mixer that fits around the rim of the bowl to allow for instances like this; when I first got it, I tried it with dry ingredients and hated it, so it sat (unwanted, neglected) for years until I made these recipes. I must say, in this case, it works beautifully and reduces the risk of injury exponentially.

Lastly, there’s something in particular for which this homemade marshmallow cream is perfect, but it’s a surprise…and also the topic of my next post.

As always, enjoy!

YUM!

Yes, you read the title correctly: Chick-Fil-A’s chicken breast tenders AND McDonald’s french fries. I can’t take the credit for these two recipes, though, because I got them from elsewhere (keep reading). The reason I threw these two together for the same post is because they’re both fried – I figure that if I’m going to the trouble of frying…taking up all of that space on the stove, in the oven and on what little counter space I have – not to mention the ungodly mess – then I (and you) might as well make the most of it.

Couple of things…. First of all, the tenders recipe is actually a nugget recipe; I was just too…um…energetically challenged (read: lazy) to cut the raw chicken, which, of course, needs to be turned throughout the process of frying…which, of course, is very time consuming. Now, if I were only making a small batch, then I might have done the nuggets, but my kids go gaga over chicken, so I knew I’d need a lot of it to feed the hungry masses. I’ve made these tenders twice, doubling the recipe each time; I used about four pounds of raw tenders both times, which would make a helluva lot of nuggets.

Second, both recipes call for frying with peanut oil. Although I have peanut oil, it’s older than dirt, so I went with another healthy oil. No, not olive oil (I like olive oil, but it has a very distinct flavor that, in my opinion, can at times be overpowering). As it happened, I had just ordered three bottles of sunflower oil at a really good price from Amazon (inserting gratuitous Amazon Associate hyperlink that might yield me a few pennies toward the expense of this blog: http://www.amazon.com/Hain-Pure-Foods-Sunflower-32-Ounce/dp/B005KRXJOW?&linkCode=wss&tag=creati05c-20), so I used that for frying both recipes.

I used the Chick-Fil-A recipe from this page: http://thesistersdish.blogspot.com/2012/04/chick-fil-bites.html. The first time I made this, I didn’t have any pickles, so I marinated the tenders in “Bettermilk” and egg. The second time, I made it with the pickle juice that’s called-for in the recipe. The difference between the two batches was subtle, and I can’t really put my finger on exactly what it was…the flavor of the chicken, maybe? Anyway, the writer commented that she was going to have to keep buying jars of pickles for the juice so’s she can keep making these, but it occurred to me – she could just make her own pickle juice, and so can you; look at this Ball Kosher Dill Flex Batch Pickle Mix (I think you just add vinegar and boil, so it’s pretty simple and you won’t waste or dehydrate a whole lot of pickles). Just a thought, in case you’re not a big pickle eater but want to make these over and over again.

I’m going to be brutally honest here, okay? These don’t taste like Chick-Fil-A anything to me. Sorry, but they just don’t. I mean, they were very good, the kids loved them, and overall, they were a big hit, but…they’re just not Chick-Fil-A, and I think that has something to do with the seasoning. My kids often say that the CFA nuggets and tenders are a little on the, “spicy” side, and this recipe just isn’t highly seasoned at all. The texture was there, but the taste wasn’t.

Now, for the BIG surprise – the recipe for McDonald’s french fries: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2010/05/perfect-french-fries-recipe.html. The reason I called this a big surprise is because I was really just looking for an easy way to make my own french fries. I had potatoes since I’d just been grocery shopping, and I figured that an, “easy” fry recipe would go perfectly with the tenders. I browsed through a few “oven fried” potatoes recipes, but then stumbled across this gem. I wouldn’t call it EASY. I wouldn’t call it QUICK. But I’d definitely call it GOOD!

This fella went through A LOT of trouble to create this recipe; in fact, he wrote a lengthy post on a separate page (http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/05/the-burger-lab-how-to-make-perfect-mcdonalds-style-french-fries.html) detailing his mission to create (or RE-create) the perfect french fry, which in his opinion is the McDonald’s french fry. He also mentions here that McDonald’s used to fry their potatoes in beef tallow (lard), which made me chuckle a bit – I’d been telling my son just a couple of weeks ago how good McDonald’s fries USED to be, when I was a kid and they were fried in lard…you know, before the Nutrition Nazis came along and said that hydrogenated oils were SOOOO much more healthier than lard, which has since been proven FALSE (pfft!). I don’t know about you, but that crap they fry them in now has a nasty, bitter after-taste to me (which is how my son and I got on the subject in the first place). I told him that, once I manage to locate some decent lard that’s non-hydrogenated, I’m going to fry potatoes in it for him and his sister, so that they can get an idea of how good they were back in the day…when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, ;-)

So, I followed this recipe to the letter (except for the type of oil and the amount of oil – I used half of what his recipe calls for), and they turned out beautifully! In the past, my homemade fries have been okay, but there was always something missing – either the texture was off and they were chewy, or they were way too crispy (like, break-a-tooth, crispy), or they tasted bland…. I’ve just never, ever had homemade fries that tasted so good. Period. In fact, my son said that he thinks they’re BETTER than McDonald’s fries (which, of course, made my day).

I would like to mention that I think the key to this recipe isn’t necessarily frying TWICE – I think the key is pre-cooking the potatoes in the water/vinegar/salt mixture…THAT, to me, is what made all the difference. But the reason I say that frying two times might not be necessary is that, after pre-cooking them in the water mixture, I used one potato slice to test the temperature of the oil since I have a crappy cooking thermometer…and that one fry tasted amazing. However, if I wanted to freeze them for cooking at a later date, I wouldn’t skip that initial 50-second fry, which I think might be necessary if you’re not going to cook them right away. In fact, I’d always wondered why frozen, packaged potatoes felt, “greasy” when taking them out of the bag, and now I know….

It’s worth while noting that the first time I made these fries, I painstakingly cut them into McDonald’s-sized fries by hand. All six russet potatoes. By hand. Into one-quarter-inch slices. All I can say about that is, UGH. Since the fries turned out so well the first time, I knew I’d be making them again (and again, and again…), so I decided to invest in a, “mandolin” slicer (inserting another gratuitous Amazon Associate hyperlink: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000632QE?&linkCode=wss&tag=creati05c-20), which made the task much, much quicker and easier the subsequent time. I also managed to keep all of my digits in tact, which is another plus ;-)

A couple of tips….

* Frying the potatoes in the (strained) oil in which the chicken was cooked will add additional flavor.

* You can reuse your oil by allowing it to cool and then straining it through a cheesecloth-lined, wire-mesh strainer; just store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. I don’t know how long it will keep, but I would think AT LEAST a month.

* If you make both recipes at the same time, prepare the, “marinade” for the chicken in a zipper bag, add the chicken, then put it in the refrigerator to marinate. About two to four hours later, begin peeling and slicing the potatoes and continue with the french fries recipe. After you’ve fried the potatoes the FIRST time (Step 2), while the potatoes are cooling, you can begin coating and frying the chicken. Pre-heat your oven to 200-degrees and prepare a paper towel lined cookie sheet for the fried tenders; this will absorb excess oil and keep your chicken warm, since more than likely, you’ll have a few batches to make. Cook most of the chicken between two or more frying pans, then when you’ve got just enough chicken left for one pan, begin frying the potatoes in the other pan; strain the oil first, if you wish. Have a second paper towel lined cookie sheet ready in the oven for the french fries. This is just a suggestion, of course…something to help with time management. Any way you do it, though, make sure to fry the potatoes LAST because you’ll want them to be nice and crispy.

Check out my pictures below, and if you try your hand at one or both of these recipes, enjoy!

Chick-Fil-A-like Tenders

Chick-Fil-A-like Tenders



Hand-cut potatoes from 1st batch, just after boiling

Hand-cut potatoes from 1st batch, just after boiling



Cooked fries from second batch

Cooked fries from second batch



I’m not 100% sure, but I think these are also referred to as, “pillow cookies” (or maybe it’s that ANY puffy cookie is referred to as a pillow cookie). Anyway, regardless of WHAT they’re called, though, I’m not kidding when I say this recipe is a lifesaver. And a time saver. And surprisingly easy. And surprisingly fun. It’s so totally, surprisingly simple, and there are SO MANY variations that you can use…I probably couldn’t list them all here (but I will give you some suggestions that I, myself, use).

I originally found this recipe on the back of a package of Andes “thin mint” candies. Ironically, though, I don’t use Andes thin mint candies in it – not because they’re not good (I bought the package on which I found the recipe, after all), but because my kids don’t particularly care for mint anything. So, if the people consuming your cookies like mint anythings, then all the better (I do feel a bit guilty for using their recipe but not their candies in that recipe, lol).

Anyway, there are just THREE ingredients in the base of this cookie: A packaged cake mix; Oil; Eggs. You’ll also need candies, mostly the chocolate-based kind, like Andes Thin Mints (honorable mention), Hershey Kisses (and the seemingly endless varieties that go with them), Milky Way (preferably the, “mini” kind, only because they’re easier to work with), Snickers (again, the mini kind), and/or those meltable candy wafers that are used to make chocolate pops and such. Truth be told, those meltable candy wafers are the easiest to work with, due to their smooth shape.

Perhaps the most beautiful part about this recipe is that it can be mixed by hand. I have a very small kitchen, so I need to store my KitchenAid mixer on top of the refrigerator. I always say a little prayer when getting it down, because if I dropped it, there’s no doubt in my mind that whatever body part I dropped it ON would be crushed to a pulp. So, no worries with having to drag down the electric mixer!

Here’s the recipe the way I make it:

Ingredients:

– One packaged cake mix, any variety
– ½ cup light olive oil (or whichever oil you prefer using) for cocoa-based cake mixes OR 1/3 cup for white, yellow or spiced mixes
– 2 eggs
– Chocolate-based candies

Directions:

1.  Mix cake mix, oil and eggs, by hand or electric mixer.
2.  Grab batter by the tablespoon and wrap around a piece of chocolate-based candy, so that the candy is completely covered by the batter (your little dough/candy package should be ball-shaped).
3.  Drop onto cookie sheet lined with Reynold’s non-stick aluminum foil, leaving 2-inches of space between each ball.
4.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.
5.  Cool on wire racks, then store in airtight container or bag.

That’s IT!

Since chocolate-based candies and cake mixes have so many different varieties, one could really just use this one recipe for ALL of their cookie needs (if one were so inclined). For example, I waited until the 11th hour to make Christmas cookies (and clean the house and wrap gifts and…well, you get the picture) this year. When I was doing my food shopping, I saw that my local grocery store had Betty Crocker cake mixes on sale, so I stocked up. I bought yellow, spiced, chocolate fudge, devil’s food, and triple chocolate fudge. I always freeze wrapped, leftover candies at Easter and Christmas, so I had some of the coconut crème Kisses that I believe are only around at Easter. I also had some mini-Milky Way, regular Kisses, and Caramel Kisses.

Here are the combos that I recently used:

Devil’s food cake mix and coconut crème Kisses, rolled in desiccated coconut.
Devil’s food cake mix and regular Kisses.
Devil’s food cake mix and ½ mini-Milky Way, which makes for a chewy, gooey cookie, even when cold.
Spiced cake mix and white chocolate melting wafer, rolled in sugar and cinnamon (and/or nutmeg and/or ginger, or even the pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice).

Have fun creating your endless combinations for this wonderful recipe, and enjoy!




Yes, you read the title correctly – this recipe is for CHICKEN curry, not turkey curry, although you can make it with that, too. I’ve also made it with crab meat, and it’s totally dee-lish!

I first tasted this dish as, “turkey curry,” prepared by a family member; I loved it so much that I asked for the recipe. The next time she made it, I asked again (and the next time, I asked again, and the next time…). I wanted to make it at home so badly that I finally just decided to find it myself, so I set upon digging through the Internet…. I knew it was creamy and it had mushrooms, poultry and curry powder in it, but most of the results that came up (from searching for turkey curry) weren’t for a creamy dish. However, after searching through countless recipes, I finally came across one that looked about right. It is this EASY TURKEY CURRY recipe (from Allrecipes.com) that I base mine upon. Of course, I tweaked it a little and made it my own ;-)

First, a few tips….

You can serve this over any kind of rice or egg noodles; all are equally delicious. And really, the ingredients aren’t all that exotic; my only suggestion as far the ingredients would be to buy your curry powder and Minute rice (and whatever else you can buy) from a warehouse club, and that’s just to save you some dough.

As far as the meat, you can:

– Buy a rotisserie chicken or turkey breast and pick the meat off
– Use the leftovers from your Thanksgiving turkey or last night’s oven-stuffer
– If you’re in a hurry and you want to trim a little time off of preparation (and cost isn’t an issue), you can use Perdue Shortcuts
– AND if cost REALLY isn’t an issue (or even if it is, and you just want to splurge), as I mentioned before, you can substitute a pound of lump crab meat for the poultry (Heaven!)

As for the sour cream, I generally use 1 ½ cups of sour cream and a ½ cup of plain (Greek-style) yogurt. You can try using the light variety of sour cream to trim a few calories, but that tastes more bitter to me than the regular, which may throw the flavor off a bit.

Also, if you’re not a mushroom fan, you can substitute cream of chicken soup, but decrease the amount of chicken base. And while I’m on the subject of chicken base, I usually wing it – I’ll add one TBSP, and if it tastes like something I could eat right then, at that point, I stop adding it. If it still tastes like it’s, “missing something,” I’ll add a little more. You don’t want to overdo it, lest your sauce become too salty.

Almost done…. I prepare the sauce in a 2-quart saucepan, and I use a whisk right up until adding the chicken (and then I switch to a large spoon). The whisk helps to make all of your creamy ingredients clump-free. AND I ALWAYS, without fail, end up with the pan filled right to the brim. This isn’t that big of a deal; I just wanted to let you know to use AT LEAST a 2-quart saucepan so you don’t cuss-me-out if it spills out over the sides while you’re trying to stir it.

And lastly, but not leastly, MY KIDS ABSOLUTELY LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS RECIPE!

INGREDIENTS:

¾ to 1 cup of minced, sweet onion
4 TBSP of butter (½ stick)
26 ounce can of cream of mushroom soup (or two small cans)
½ cup milk
1 to 2 TBSP chicken base (like Minor’s or Better than Bullion)
2 cups of sour cream
1 tsp curry powder
1 to 2 pounds of raw chicken tenders (or regular breasts), cooked and cut into pieces

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.  While you’re mincing the onions, melt the butter with ¼ cup of water over low heat in a covered, 2-quart or larger saucepan.
2.  Add minced onion to the saucepan and cover; simmer until translucent. Add more water in small increments as needed so that the onion doesn’t caramelize.
3.  When the onion is translucent (and the water’s mostly evaporated), increase heat to medium and add cream of mushroom soup. Stir.
4.  Add milk and chicken base and stir well.
5.  Add sour cream and stir until incorporated, then taste. If needed, add more chicken base.
6.  Add curry powder and stir.
7.  Add chicken and stir constantly until sauce is hot/bubbly.
8.  Serve over rice or noodles.
9.  Enjoy!




For a printer-friendly, .pdf copy of this recipe, CLICK HERE.

I’m sure everyone’s tried Tastykake’s, “Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes” at some point in their lives, and there are copycat recipes all over the Internet for these. The recipes that I USED TO USE call for the cake part to be made from scratch, and I literally drove myself nuts with them. And WHY did I drive myself nuts with them? Because some recipes called for “scalded” milk, while others said that the “scalded” part didn’t matter. Either way I tried, though, the cake part was just, eh; it just didn’t knock my socks off – it was plain, virtually tasteless and I didn’t like the texture. Another issue with the copycats on the Internet is that many call for semi-sweet chocolate chips when everyone should know that the original peanut butter variety Kandy Kakes are made with MILK chocolate. What else can I say, except that I’m a little OCD when it comes to stuff like that. If you’re going to make it with semi-sweet, then it’s not “technically” a copycat.

Just a couple of weeks ago, we had a cool, rainy spell. Given the cooler temperatures outside, I could use the oven without turning my house into a sauna, so I had a go at tweaking the Kandy Kake copycat recipe. I don’t know why I had a Betty Crocker white cake mix in my pantry – the Betty Crocker part isn’t strange, as I often buy those products for the Box Tops for Education, um…squares (they’re technically not “box tops” since the part you need is generally somewhere on the box OTHER THAN THE TOP). What WAS strange, though, was that I had a white cake mix at all because I don’t make a habit of buying them…any kind of fudge or yellow, yes, but white, no.

Anyway, I thought, “Why not use this white cake mix for peanut butter kandy kakes?” So, I did. The box called for 1 ¼ cups of water (which I followed), but I upped the oil (I used light olive oil) from 1/3 to ½ cup, I upped the eggs from three to four, and I added ½ a small box of vanilla flavored instant pudding. I poured the prepared batter into a 12×17 jellyroll pan and baked for about 28 minutes. I panicked slightly when I removed the cake from the oven because it rose higher on one side than the other (I think my oven isn’t level because my kitchen floor is unlevel), but as it cooled, it sank back down again. Whew!

I spread the peanut butter evenly on top of the still-warm cake and put the whole thing in the refrigerator. While the peanut butter was firming-up, I melted four measured cups of milk chocolate chips with four tablespoons of coconut oil in the microwave for one minute. After stirring the chocolate and coconut oil, it was the PERFECT spreading consistency. I then spread the melted chocolate over the hardened peanut butter and returned the pan to the refrigerator. After the chocolate was set, I removed it from the refrigerator and allowed it to come to room temperature before cutting. Okay…so I didn’t wait for it to come to room temperature – I just HAD to see how it turned out. It was perfect. So perfect, in fact, that I bought a box of the Tastykakes for comparison, and there’s no contest – my copycat copy won, hands-down!

A note about the chocolate…. I know four cups is a lot, but I’m one of those, “I like a little peanut butter with my chocolate” type of people; if you’re the opposite, then use less chocolate chips. Although, for a pan that large, the least you could use without having difficulty spreading it evenly would probably be around 2 ½ cups, and of course, you’d need to decrease the coconut oil. The rule of thumb that I follow is, one tablespoon of coconut oil to one cup of chips. Also, I wasn’t sure how well the chocolate would set after it came to room temperature; I was afraid that I’d need to store it in the refrigerator, but I needn’t have worried – it was fine unrefrigerated since I initially let it harden in the refrigerator.

I also tried it with a yellow cake mix, and it’s ALMOST as good as the white, but still better than the original. For the yellow cake mix (again, Betty Crocker), I kept the water amount the same, increased the oil (again, light olive oil) from ½ cup to just shy of ¾ cup, increased the eggs from three to four, and added ½ of a small box of vanilla instant pudding. You can try using another brand of cake mix, but I can’t guarantee the results. Voila!

Oh…and ENJOY :-)



For a printer-friendly .pdf copy of this recipe, CLICK HERE.

Here’s a recipe that I’m recalling from memory. If you’re looking for something light to eat that doesn’t require cooking on the many hot days ahead this summer, you’re sure to love this recipe! I found it on the back of a bottle of Heinz white vinegar twenty-odd years ago, and it was so good (and easy) that I didn’t even need to write it down, although I do have the label somewhere around here….

I remember having my doubts about it at the time, because up to that point, I don’t think I’d ever eaten canned tuna without mayonnaise; the entire idea of tuna salad without mayo seemed almost alien to me. I really did think that it would be too dry without it…but I was pleasantly surprised.

You can make a single serving for one or a large serving for many; the choice is yours. Amounts are general, so you can add as many or as little of anything as you like, according to your taste.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Canned tuna in water (regular or albacore, your choice)
White vinegar
Oil (olive oil or another type of healthy oil)
Chopped, fresh, ripe tomatoes
Sour cream or regular, plain yogurt
Corn tortilla chips, unflavored (Tostitos are our favorite, and they come in a “scoop” variety, too)
Sweet onions, minced OR spring onions OR chives (optional)
Fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Instructions:

1.  Drain the tuna and empty into a dish or bowl; separate the flakes with a fork and mix-in the minced onions (or spring onions or chives), if desired, and salt and pepper to taste.
2.  Clean and chop the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and arrange over the tuna.
3.  Mix (shake) the oil and vinegar in a separate covered container, and drizzle over the tuna and tomatoes.
4.  Top with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt and sprinkle with fresh parsley, if desired.
5.  Eat with corn chips, making sure you get a little bit of every ingredient with each bite.

Come to think of it, you could probably throw everything on a crispy taco shell (omitting the chips) and eat it like that, too! If you try it that way, please let everyone here know how it turned out :-)

The really awesome part about this recipe (besides its deliciousness) is that it’s light but satisfying at the same time. Also, if you look at the individual ingredients, it’s quite healthy – it doesn’t get much better than eating something that’s both tasty AND good for you.

Enjoy!



For a printer-friendly .pdf copy of this recipe, CLICK HERE.

I’ve been using this copy-cat recipe for years; you’ll not find anything as close to the original as this one. I first found it on Top Secret Recipes, but now it’s all over the Internet. For the purposes of this post, however, I’ll use a link to his recipe, because I’m pretty sure it originated from him, no matter where you’d find it now. CLICK HERE for the TSR version.

NOW, I’m going to improve upon his recipe and offer little short cuts that trim some time off of preparation but still produce the same delicious result.

Buy a few bags of the pre-shredded coleslaw mix from the salad section in your grocery store (the kind with cabbage and carrot sticks, that DOESN’T have the dressing). Chop this in your food processor until, like TSR’s recipe states, it’s the size of rice. There! You’ve saved yourself from having to wash, chop, and process a head (or heads) of cabbage (which, let’s face it – IS MESSY AND TIME CONSUMING!); it’s also saved you from having to do the same with carrots, as well.

You can gauge by the back of the package (where it states the number of servings) how many packages you’ll need; TSR says 8 cups, which is equivalent to about one head. Don’t forget to figure in the ¼ cup of carrots. Honestly, though, I just wing it; I usually use three or four packages and double the recipe anyway, so if I end up with too much dressing, I just either use a slotted spoon to serve it, or I pour off a little of the excess.

Put the finely chopped cabbage and carrots into a large bowl and set aside.

Now, instead of painstakingly mincing the onion, find half of a small (sweet) one, de-skin and rinse it off, then cut it into quarters. Put one or two of those quarters in a blender, along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend on the STIR or LIQUEFY setting until everything is nice and smooth. Pour over the cabbage, stir, then let marinate for at least two hours.

A couple tips about the buttermilk, the lemon juice and the pepper…. You can make your own buttermilk if you don’t have any on-hand (see: “Bettermilk” post). Also, if you’ve got fresh lemons, JUICE THEM AND USE THE JUICE – I don’t know what it is, but using the fresh lemon juice adds a little something more to the recipe than using bottled lemon juice. Lastly, the first time I made it, I thought that the pepper was a bit much, so I only use half of the pepper that the recipe calls for.

I had the coleslaw from KFC a couple years ago, and it didn’t taste like it used to (hardly anything tastes like it USED to anymore); this recipe is for the KFC coleslaw that USED to be…the kind where one could drink the dressing because it was so good.

Make a double batch to take to cookouts and other kinds of gatherings, reserving a little to keep at home – you’ll thank me later.

Enjoy!



Okay, so my grandmother is in the hospital, and I thought I’d take her some cookies – I really, really wanted to take her snickerdoodles…. Now, I’ve tried frequently in the past to master the snickerdoodle, but to no avail – for some reason, the sugary, buttery, cinnamony treats have endlessly eluded me. What I’ve typically ended up with is either dry, floury cookies or doughy, gummy cookies.

I’ve been a little mentally zapped lately (hence the scant posts the last couple of months), and I was in no mood to do another trial and error with snickerdoodles, so what I did was, I improvised. I had a few packages of pre-made dough in the fridge, the sugar cookie kind. So, I got a bowl of cinnamon and sugar, then another separate bowl of turbinado sugar (“Sugar in the Raw” was the brand that I used).

I rolled the little pre-made sugar cookie dough squares in the cinnamon-sugar mix, making sure to coat every side, then pressed one flat side into the turbinado sugar; I then arranged the squares on the sheet with the turbinado side facing UP. From there, I followed the package instructions for baking.

This is what the dough looked like after rolling (see the turbinado crystals glistening?):



I couldn’t believe my eyes when I took the first batch from the oven! Take a look at that picture…they look like snickerdoodles to me, and they taste divine – crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. They even passed the “kid test,” so I know I did well. If snickerdoodles aren’t your strong point, either, or if your noodle’s too tired to experiment, then this is a wonderful way to “cheat.”

Enjoy!