Thursday, March 16, 2017

KFC Secret recipe accidentally revealed! Watch how to make it!

He cracked the code! I think he skipped on the pressure cooker used to fry regular KFC chicken, as that has been proven that is what they use there to keep the chicken from drying up, as it would in a regular fryer. But this is an interesting concept! If you want to see the full recipe he used, check out his link here:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My Thanksgiving Cake

I just want to show off my Thanksgiving cake. I do not celebrate Thanksgiving the traditional way, I mostly just celebrate the life of Michael Hutchence. Well, this was the cake I made to celebrate his life with.

I know I am not the best cake decorator, but I just wanted to add this message to him. It's a simple devil's food cake and I admit I did cheat this time. The cake is from a box mix. Duncan Hines makes the best cake mixes. But I always make my own frosting. In this case, it's a dark chocolate frosting. I saved a bit out of the mixture to create the white frosting I used to write the words. I also decorated it with some vertical stripes along the side of the cake.

Anyone can make a cake as good as homemade using a box mix, with a little tweaking, it can even be as good as it would be from a professional bakery. This is the trick I learned:

1 box cake mix (any flavor or variety)
4 eggs (5 eggs for a really rich cake)
1 cup of milk

More eggs make for more volume in your cake, and note the water called for in the mix's directions is replaced with milk. This makes a softer, more flavorful cake. After you mix those ingredients, take the amount of oil from the directions on the box, and instead of oil, use melted butter, and double the volume. For example...

  • The cake mix calls for 1/3 cup of oil, you would melt 2/3 cup of butter and add that to the mix instead.
  • The cake mix calls for 1/2 cup of oil, you would melt 1 full cup of butter and put that in the mixture instead.

I like to combine the eggs and milk with the mix first, and beat in my mixer on medium-high speed until it's thoroughly combined. Then while the mixer is going, add the melted butter. This is important, because the mix will be cold. Adding the butter with the mixer off can cause the eggs to curdle and the butter to solidify on contact. You don't want that. So, make sure your mixer is turned on high when adding the melted butter. I keep the mixer going for about 10 minutes, which adds the little bubbles needed to make the cake light and fluffy. This will give the cake that "as good as a bakery" taste and texture. It always works for me! My cakes always come out as good as those made in big bakeries.

The icing I made is my simple buttercream icing, and I added about 1/4 cup of Hershey's Dark Unsweetened Cocoa.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Day Dinner

Well, most people in America are celebrating Thanksgiving this week. I celebrated on the 22nd. That is my own personal Thanksgiving Day, as I am thankful for getting to know Michael Hutchence. He died that day back in 1997, and so I celebrate his life every year on that day. Anyways, I thought I would share here how to make a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner all in one post. These are some of the tips I used to make my own Thanksgiving dinner. First, we will begin with the turkey.

The turkey is the centerpiece for Thanksgiving dinner. It is the main course. I do not get whole turkeys, because I tend to like only the breast meat. I do not eat drumsticks nor none of the dark meat pieces. The best way to cook the turkey is to preheat the oven to 325° and get out a big roasting pan. I always use disposable aluminum pans that can be found in any grocery store. Even the Dollar Store. Place the turkey into the pan and coat with canola oil spray or melt butter and spread evenly over the top of the turkey. The best seasonings to use to season the turkey is salt and pepper, it also helps to use a little fresh rosemary and thyme. Spread the seasonings evenly by hand. Then, place the turkey in the oven and bake depending on the size of the turkey. It is best to bake it for 10-12 minutes per pound if it is not stuffed, and 12-15 minutes per pound if it is stuffed. It is best not to cover the turkey with tinfoil, because that will prevent the turkey from browning. If you've got a 20-pound turkey, you will have to cook it for 4 hours.

If you do like me, and only cook a breast, the internal temperature of a finished breast should be 163° and no greater than 165° in order for it to be tender and juicy. If you are cooking a whole turkey, the legs should be at least 175° and no more than 180°, otherwise they will be rubbery and pink inside. If the turkey has stuffing inside it, the stuffing must be at least 160° on the inside. When the turkey is done, it is best to place it on a platter and let it stand for about 20 minutes. I like to take the drippings, since I do not use stuffing, and make a nice homemade gravy from it.

To make the gravy, you will need a saucepan, or a skillet, and you will need to melt 4 tablespoons of butter, add in about 1/4 cup of flour and combine together. Cook over medium heat. Not for too long, you don't want it to get brown or form a ball. Put in salt and pepper to taste and add turkey drippings from the pan until you get it to the desired consistency you like. I like thick gravy, so I do not add much. Stir constantly until it reaches your desired consistency.

If you like stuffing, the best method I have seen to make homemade stuffing is to combine approximately 4 cups of dried-up bread crumbs (I can tell you how to make dried bread crumbs in another post), season with salt, pepper, thyme, sage, nutmeg and rosemary. Dice one onion and one celery stalk and add to the mixture. Add 1 cup of chicken stock, 6 tablespoons of butter and combine. You can place this into the turkey before cooking, but I always preferred it be made separately.

For the mashed potatoes, I like to use baby reds. They hold their shape better and have kind of a nice, nearly sweet-ish taste. Cook in water over the stove top until softened, then drain the water out. I also like to add fresh roasted garlic and parmesan cheese to the potatoes. Add in whole milk, or light whipping cream, salt, pepper, and butter to taste. I use my hand mixer to mash, but you can also use a ricer, or a plain potato masher. This makes for nice, creamy potatoes.

For dessert this year, since I am celebrating Michael's life, I made a cake, a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I put Michael's name on it as the decoration. But another dessert I love to have is apple crisp. To make the apple crisp, preheat the oven to 375°. You must peel and dice about 8 Granny Smith apples, and place in a 9x13" square pan to cook. Line the sliced apples evenly into the pan. For the topping, combine

1/2 cup cold butter, cut into squares
3/4 cup of flour
3/4 cup of sugar (I use brown sugar)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Mix together using a pastry blender until it is thoroughly combined and forms clumps. Place over the apples and put in the oven and bake for about 55 minutes. It is always best to serve apple crisp hot, topped off with whipped cream, or ice cream.

Or you could make an apple cobbler, which is another good dessert, which I will discuss in another post. But I have had both for Thanksgiving dinner and they were wonderful! Of course if you happen to not have an oven, you could use a simple microwave method demonstrated in this video:

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! However you celebrate!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Friday, October 28, 2016

For National Chocolate Day!

Enjoy the Chocolate!! Each of these movies will show you what you can make with chocolate.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Right Tools

When you are cooking, you've got to have the right tools for the job. As quoted from Beavis and Butthead. And if you have a Kitchenaid mixer, like me, you no doubt have a good supply of beaters that came with it. I got mine from a display at Walmart. My sis gave it to me the Christmas I spent in Bozeman because she knows I love to cook and bake. Well, it has been my best friend in the kitchen ever since I got it. But we had to get some of the essential beaters ourselves. I love my mixer! I don't know how I ever survived without it. A hand mixer is good too, but my Kitchenaid stand mixer allows me to mix a cake, or cookies, and still be able to walk away and concentrate on something else, like perhaps cracking eggs, or sifting flour. Well anyways, here is a picture of the collection of beaters the mixers come with...

I have them numbered so we can see each individual tool. I use each one of these when cooking in my kitchen. I'm going to discuss with you what each one is useful for.

1. Known as the wire whisk, or sometimes I have seen it referred to as a "balloon whip". This is great for high-speed mixing. I've used it to whip cream, and I also use it when I am making cakes and frostings. It is perfect for making your batters or anything whip up because it is designed to whip air into your mixture, which makes soft, fluffy cakes, frostings, and makes nice whipped cream for whatever reason.

2. This is called the flat beater, or sometimes the "paddle". You can use this to whip cakes, but it doesn't do as well in getting the essential bubbles in your cake batter to make your cake come out fluffy. I mostly use this attachment to mix things like cookies or brownies. You can also use this to mix in the first ingredients of making bread.

3. This is called the dough hook, or sometimes just the "hook attachment". As it's name implies, this attachment is useful for making bread dough, and rarely, cookie dough. This attachment is perfect for jobs where you do not need to add any air bubbles, but need to create gluten, which is essential in making bread and pizza dough.

Each attachment has a different job. I hope this post has helped you to understand how each one works, and what each one is good for. If you are a serious cook, a Kitchenaid stand-mixer is a must! You can get one anywhere you can find kitchen appliances being sold. Mine is a 300-watt mixer. The more wattage the better, and stronger, your mixer will be. I've had mine since 2011, and it was a display model. I only dropped it once, but it still works like a champ! I cannot imagine life in the kitchen without it. Expect them to be pricey. My sis paid $150 for mine, so she said. LOL! But brand new, they can range from $200 and go up from there, depending on the size of the wattage. Some have arms to hold the bowl, like this one:

Mine is the kind that you just twist the bowl into the base, like this one:

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Food dolls - Buckeye Brookies

Interesting concept of combining brownies with chocolate chip cookies. Though for the sake of the cookies, I'd double this recipe to fit a 9x13 inch baking pan. Use a family-sized brownie mix, then use the Pillsbury cookie dough available in all grocery stores, or you can make up your own chocolate chip cookie dough. I prefer to use Nestle Toll House Cookies recipe, and my own recipe for brownies. I will post those at a later date. Try it and enjoy the recipe!

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Best Banana Cake Ever!

I finally did it! I made a to-die-for, melt-in-your-mouth banana cake!!! I love how it came out too! I was thinking that I'd have to order online for a banana cake mix in order to get a homemade banana cake! Or move down south. But no! I made a perfectly good banana cake tonight from scratch that came out fluffier and feather-light as any mix!! I was amazed! The last time I tried to make a cake, I made a devil's food cake with swiss buttercream icing. We were living in Ocean Shores then. The cake was terrible!!! It came out hard as a rock and I never was able to pinpoint exactly what happened! The swiss buttercream came out awesome though. Such a shame! Well, tonight I decided to try home baking a cake on my own, and I got very pleasing results making this banana cake! It's even as fluffy as the cakes you can get in bakeries! I remember I ordered a banana cake for my birthday when I was living in Bozeman, and this cake came out even better than that one! And she was a professional! I am thrilled! It was hard work too! But the end result was worth it!

It really is all in how you mix the cake. I use my Kitchenaid stand mixer, which, if you are a serious cook, you should not be without. This was the recipe I followed and how I got the results I got...

Best Banana Cake Ever!
1 1/2 cups of milk
2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
Place in a bowl, stir and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of white sugar
3/4 cup of softened butter
Whip for about 3 minutes until thoroughly combined. Then add
4 eggs
1 Tablespoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of salt
Whip on high speed until creamy, about 5-7 minutes. Measure and sift
3 cups of cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
(I sifted 3 times, the more it is sifted, the smoother and softer the cake will be)
Pour in milk mixture and flour mixture a little bit at a time, as the mixer is going on medium speed. Occasionally, stop to scrape the sides of the bowl.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. I prepared 3 8-inch cake round pans by spraying with cooking spray and dusting it with flour. Once the milk mixture and flour is all combined, let the mixer go on mixing for about 7-10 minutes on medium-high speed. Then pour in
About 3 ripe bananas, crushed
Turn mixer back on for about 1 minute just to incorporate.
Pour evenly into cake pans. Bake for about 32-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out dry. Allow cakes to cool for about 15-20 minutes.

While the cakes cool, I make the icing. It's a simple recipe for regular icing. You can use cream cheese icing if you prefer, but I myself prefer the regular white icing. This is the recipe I always follow...

6 cups of powdered sugar
1/3 cup of shortening
(Butter can be used instead too)
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
pinch of salt
Mix for about 2-3 minutes on low speed, until the powdered sugar combines with the wet ingredients. Increase speed when all ingredients are combined and let whip on high speed for about 10 minutes, the longer it whips, the fluffier your frosting will be. Frost each layer as preferred.

This is how I made this cake, and this is what I got as the end result! Believe me, it's better than any boxed cake mix...

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Chicken and Dumplings

I love chicken and dumplings!!! It is awesome on a cold, rainy day to warm your body with. I used to make chicken and dumplings all the time for the family. If prepared properly, it is a great dish, and very healthy as well. I used to make the soup homemade. A lot of people take short cuts when making this soup, but I prefer the home made method. You could do like the demonstration in this video...

But if you want to use only homemade soup, this is the recipe I always followed...

For the soup, you take 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken, dice it and place in a 5 quart pot with 3 tablespoons of butter. Cook on medium heat until brown. Add 1/3 cup of flour, with salt and pepper to taste, and about 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream. Add in 3 cups of chicken stock and cook over medium-low heat. At this point I usually like to add diced potatoes, peas and diced carrots. But you can add any vegetable combination you like.

You could use canned biscuits as well, if you like short cuts. I'd recommend using the buttermilk biscuits, as Southern-style gets a little too soggy. I prefer to make homemade dumplings. I follow this recipe...

2 cups of flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine these ingredients together in a ceramic bowl. Then prepare the wet ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat...
3/4 cup of milk
2 Tablespoons of butter

Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir. I like to make little round balls from the mixture and drop it into the boiling soup. Sometimes I serve this over a plate of mashed potatoes, but that's only if I do not use the potatoes in the soup. Other than that, it can stand alone as a good meal.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

My Ma's Tuna Casserole

This was always a family favorite, and so easy to make. It combines mac and cheese with tuna, and creates a nice, creamy dish that the whole family should enjoy! In order to make this, you have to prepare the mac and cheese according to the instructions on the box, and use a good-sized casserole dish. I like to use a casserole dish anyways, but any bowl or pan that is oven safe can be useful too. Instead of using milk, you use cream, so that the casserole stays creamy. I like to do eye-measurements, but I think I generally put in about 1/3 of a cup of heavy whipping cream. Of course, if you would rather skip more calories, you could substitute the cream with evaporated milk. Use about 1/4 cup of evaporated milk if you prefer.

I don't like generic brand mac and cheese, because the cheese powder is never that great. I always use the Kraft mac and cheese, and I only use the regular. Though you could, if you want to surprise the kids, use the mac and cheese with the unusual shapes. But I find those take a lot longer to cook, and requires more moisture when baking. The actual recipe goes something like this...

2 boxes of Kraft Mac and Cheese
Follow instructions on the box. Drain the water. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place drained noodles in casserole dish and add cheese powder pouches and
2 Tablespoons of butter
1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 6-oz can (or packet) of chunk white tuna
Combine together thoroughly. Place in oven for about 15 minutes.
Top with your choice of American cheese slices, grated cheddar cheese, or Panko bread crumbs and place back in hot oven for about 5 minutes.

I like using the packet of tuna, because you don't have to drain them. They should be available in the same section of the grocery store as the cans of tuna. I serve this dish usually with a side of veggies, and sometimes garlic bread, or biscuits. I have created a video describing how to make this dish.