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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mama D's Fried Chicken

Today I have a guest recipe.  Mama D was in town from Montgomery, Alabama visiting her daughter, Gena Kay and I was invited to have dinner with a group for her famous fried chicken.  Just so you know, you're lucky to get an invite for Mama D's fried chicken cause she doesn't make it often. And fellow foodies, it's made with love and it's delicous!  




Side note... the ingredients will be here but the amounts will be a bit of a guesstimate because she's been making this dish for 56 years and generally doesn't measure anything!  But I'm thinking I've done a good job of breaking it down. 

So here goes...and we begin with the chicken (yes it's raw chicken and it's not pretty, people...yet).


Mama D cuts up her chicken her way and washes it clean and removes any excess fat.  If the chicken is super fresh (i.e no preservatives, etc.), salt and pepper and cover tightly and store in refrigerator over night.  If the chicken is a basic fryer (preservatives), then soak it in cold water overnight with salt and then pepper the next day when it's room temp.  

And don't forget..bone in and skin on folks! This is southern fried chicken!


Add about 2-3 cups of self-rising flour to a bag, paper or plastic.  Salt and pepper the flour.  Add a couple of pieces of chicken to bag, close and shake, shake, shake!  Remove each floured piece and place in bubbling hot peanut oil in a large deep fry pan.  The oil should be about 3" deep the in pan.


Place a lid on the pan and cook until first side is brown.  Turn chicken only one time.  This is very important. Do not keep turning the chicken. Place lid back on skillet and cook the final side.  Approximately 10 minutes for each side.  

She cooks more than one chicken so she cooks all the sames pieces at the same time, legs first.  Look how hot that oil is and be very careful not to burn yourself!  Leave room between chicken in the pan, 
do not over crowded.  Cook the chicken in batches.


Mama D uses very special attention to the flouring of the chicken.  Be sure to shake off the loose flour.


Doesn't look good and crispy?  Can not wait to bit into a piece.  After the chicken is done, place on paper towels and cover with foil to keep warm until you have cooked all the pieces of chicken.


It's gravy time! Drain most of the oil out of the pan leaving the brown bit and about 2- 3 tablespoons of the fat.  Now add about 2 tablespoons of flour, whisking around to let to roux cook the flour taste out, several minutes.  


Be sure that you do not have lumps and clumps, see the consistency in the photo?


Now begin to add the chicken broth to the flour mixture slowly, stirring and cooking over medium low heat to form the gravy.  (She cooks the extra pieces of chicken, like the back and others that your not cooking in water ahead of time to make the broth.  Or just use store bought chicken broth).  She said usually around 1-2 cups broth to the flour mixture.  Adjust seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.


This is the thickness of the gravy!  Yummy!


Mama D's Fried Chicken, just for you!  
If you can follow the photos you can make your own chicken. 
Happy Eating!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fresh and Easy Tomato Basil Soup

Who says you have to pay a lot of money for tomato basil soup?  This is simple and easy to make and is easy on your budget.  It is much healthier than most because I used half-n-half instead of full or heavy cream.  Some of the tomato basil soups served at restaurants have as high as 38 g's of fat for one serving.  This is a better alternative.  

O Organics Organic Half-n-Half


Nutrition Facts

  • Serving Size 2 tbsp
  • Servings Per Container 32
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories 40Calories from Fat 30
  • % Daily Value*
  • Total Fat 3.5 g5%
  • Saturated Fat 2 g11%
  • Trans Fat 0 g
  • Cholesterol 10 mg4%
  • Sodium 10 mg0%
  • Total Carbohydrate 1 g0%
  • Dietary Fiber 0 g0%
  • Sugars 1 g
  • Protein 0 gN/A
  • Vitamin A 2%
  • Vitamin C 0%
  • Calcium 4%
  • Iron 0%


This is so good on a cold winter day by itself or with a grilled cheese sandwich.



The Players!


Chop your basil.


In a large sauce pan add your crushed tomatoes.  Cook over medium low heat until hot.  (Be careful, tomatoes like to plop and spew out of the pan).


Add in 1 tablespoon of chopped basil and the half-n-half.  Stir and heat over low for 15 minutes.  This is a very thick soup.  



I used my stick blender to puree the soup before serving.  Continue to heat for another 5 minutes.  



Use the remainder of the basil leaves for a garnish. 



Tomato Goodness!  



The Recipe:

Tomato Basil Soup

1 large (28 ounces) can of crushed tomatoes
½ cup Half-n-half
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
several small basil leaves for garnish

Chop basil and set aside.

In a large saucepan empty the can of crushed tomatoes.  Cook over medium- low heat until hot.  (Be careful, tomatoes like to plop and spew out of the pan).  Add in 1 tablespoon of chopped basil and the half-n-half.  Stir and heat over low for 15 minutes.  This is a very thick soup!  I used my stick blender to puree the soup before serving.  Continue to heat for another 5 minutes.  Use the small basil leaves for a garnish. 

Note:  If you like a thinner tomato soup use vegetable broth or chicken broth to thin soup to your desired consistency.

Happy Eating!


Friday, December 3, 2010

Crab Cakes with Red Pepper Aioli

Feeling a little crabby?  Fall and cold weather blues set in yet?  If your having a holiday get together these are great for an appetizer or starter for your guests. You can make them so fast and easy.  So head to your fish monger and get some fresh lump crab meat.  Get ready, go!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Red Snapper Vera Cruz, TJ's Style

Are you hungry for a tasty fish recipe that is so easy and something really healthy, low fat, and made from the freshest of ingredients?  I found a fresh seafood market down in Dallas off Preston and Forest.  They are a family ran seafood market and they have fresh fish that is flown in daily.  The name of their market is TJ's Fresh Seafood Market.  It was worth my drive into Dallas to find a sea monger that will give me exactly what I need.  While I was there they had some recipes on the wall and I chose this one to share with you.  You will not regret making this snapper recipe for your family and loved ones.  I loved this recipe and will definitely be making this again very soon.



The Players!


Heat oil in a large skillet, cook onion until soft and add garlic until fragrant.  Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and cook for another 5 minutes.  Arrange snapper fillet in a baking dish.  Pour tomato sauce over fish.  Sprinkle with olives and capers.    


Bake @ 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until fish is flaky.


Serving one bite at a time, just for you!

Happy Eating!


The Recipe:

Red Snapper Vera Cruz TJ’s Style

1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup chopped sweet onion
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoon sliced green olives stuffed with sun dried tomatoes
1 small clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 lb red snapper fillet

Heat oil in a large skillet, cook onion until soft and add garlic until fragrant.  Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and cook for another 5 minutes.  Arrange snapper fillet in a baking dish.  Pour tomato sauce over fish.  Sprinkle with olives and capers.  Bake @ 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until fish is flaky.    
Serves 2.

Happy Eating!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hearty Tomato Basil Soup with Focaccia Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Are you wondering where I've been?  I actually took a vacation for a week and went up to Cloudcroft, New Mexico.  No cell phones, no computer and absolutely no posting!  The aspens were just starting to change and the cool mountain air was very invigorating. The colors of Fall....




When we returned I was chasing my 14 month old grandson for 5 days while his parents and sister went to Disney World.  No time for cooking much less posting recipes.  




On the last day I did manage to make homemade tomato basil soup with a focaccia grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.  It is a very thick hearty soup that sticks to your ribs!  Good for dipidge...




The Soup Players!



Chop 1 tablespoon of fresh basil.


Heat  1 (28oz ) can of crushed tomatoes, 1/2 cup of half-n-half, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper to taste for 10 minutes.  Add in chopped basil and continue to heat for additional 5 minutes.    


Puree with a blender or a stick blend until your desired consistency (mine is creamy and pureed for about 5 minutes with my handy Cuisinart Stick blender.
No, I am not sponsored by Cuisinart at this time!!!



Thick, rich and creamy!


Yum!



Sandwich Players!



Cut your focaccia bread into desired size and slice down the middle, add cheese to the middle and grill in hot skillet until cheese is melted.  This sandwich is a great complement to this soup.  Now get dipping!!!!



The Recipe:

Tomato Basil Soup with Focaccia Grilled Cheese Sandwich

1 (28 oz) can of crushed tomato
1/2 cup of half-n-half
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Chop 1 tablespoon of fresh basil.  Heat  1 (28oz ) can of crushed tomatoes, 1/2 cup of half-n-half, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper to taste for 10 minutes.  Add in chopped basil and continue to heat for additional 5 minutes.    

Puree with a blender or a stick blend until your desired consistency (mine is creamy and pureed for about 5 minutes with my handy Cuisinart Stick blender).

Cut your focaccia bread into desired size and slice down the middle, add cheese to the middle and grill in hot skillet until cheese is melted.  This sandwich is a great complement to this soup.  Now get dipping!!!!

Happy Eating !







Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Basil Harvest

What do you do when your basil plant is out of control?  Harvest time!  How do you preserve fresh basil?  Dry it? Takes too much time.  I deceided to freeze mine and here's how...


Go out and gather all your basil.  Pull off any flowering parts and seeds and stick them into the ground, they will grown new plants.








Wash your basil throughly 2 or 3 times.  Then use your wonderful salad spinner to remove the water



Wash, rinse and spin!


Chop basil and add just enough olive oil to cover the leaves.  I used my food processor and pulsed it until desired size.  Now I am going to put the basil into ice cube trays to freeze.


After they are frozen, pop them out and put into a freezer bag.  Now you will have fresh basil to add to your sauces and soups this winter.  


I wish you could smell how fresh this is when I opened up this bag to photograph the frozen cubes.  It smells just like it did when I chopped them up the other day.  Can't wait to use them.  

Happy Eating!





Thursday, September 23, 2010

Eight Ball Squash

I picked up these cute little eight ball squash at the farmers market in Dallas and thought what a neat presentation these little jewels would be in any dish.  So as usual, I stuffed them.  OK, I know I stuff a lot of things but this is going to really good and fun to serve to your family or guests.





The Players!




Using a grapefruit knife or spoon hollow out each ball, reserving some of the pulp to add to the stuffing (1/4 cup chopped)



Place squash in a baking dish with 1/4" of water in bottom.  Cook in 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until fork tender.




Brown 1 lb. ground beef along with 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped red and yellow bell pepper, 1/4 cup chopped pulp from squash, 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.  When meat is browned and vegetables are tender, add in 3 tablespoons tomato sauce and 1 cup of grated 
sharp cheddar cheese to make the filling.



Stuff each ball with filling and return to baking dish.


Top each ball with remainder of the grated cheese and 1 tablespoon of tomato sauce.  Add remaining tomato sauce with 1/2 cup water to the bottom of the baking dish.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes in a pre-heated 400 degree oven.


Makes a nice meal all by itself or with a side salad.


Look how luscious and savory!



Another savory bite for you!
Happy Eating




The Recipe:

Eight Ball Stuffed Squash

5 eight ball squash (softball size)
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup red and yellow pepper mixed, finely chopped
1/4 cup squash pulp, finely chopped
1/2 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce, divided

Using a grapefruit knife or spoon hollow out each ball, reserving some of the pulp to add to the stuffing (1/4 cup chopped).  Place squash in a baking dish with 1/4" of water in bottom.  Cook in 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until fork tender.

Brown 1 lb. ground beef along with 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped red and yellow bell pepper, 1/4 cup chopped pulp from squash, 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.  When meat is browned and vegetables are tender, add in 3 tablespoons tomato sauce and 1 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese to make the filling.

Stuff each ball with filling and return to baking dish.  Top each ball with remainder of grated cheese and 1 tablespoon of tomato sauce.  Add remaining tomato sauce with 1/2 cup water to the baking dish.  Cover with foil and 
bake for 30 minutes in a pre-heated 400 degree oven.

Remove from oven and serve on a plate with some of the broth in the bottom of the baking dish.  

Happy Eating!



Monday, September 13, 2010

Canning Green Beans

Our next adventure is canning green beans!  We can't use our water bath method on these and I am not happy about it.  We have to use the pressure cooking method.  I have never ever used a pressure cooker and frankly a little frightened about the possibility of it blowing up in my kitchen.  After much debate on freezing or canning I deceided to give it a shot.  Keep your fingers crossed and hope it all comes out ok!

"Canning Green Beans Year 1"

Buy a pressure canner at Walmart (they are not a sponsor of mine nor do they know who I am).  I found them cheaper there and it had a lot of good reviews.  


She's a beauty!




I used 5 pounds of beans from the farmer's market.  Make sure the beans snap and are not limp.  Snapping means fresh!


Wash your beans really well in soapy water.


Rinse.


Dry...

Now  trim the ends of beans and cut into whatever length you want.  

Follow the directions of your pressure cooker for the rest.   Mine could be different than yours and I would hate for you to have a bad experience.


After all the stress over the pressure cooker I found that it was very easy to use and my beans turned out great.  Now I moving on to corn next.  My goal is to remove all the tin can foods from my pantry and go fresh!

Happy Eating!

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