Chicken Fried Steak

Another Paula Deen recipe here. Well, sort of. Lots of people make chicken fried steak, and it is one of my husband’s favorite foods. I have never had the guts to try it, but since the cube steak required for it was on sale this week, I decided to give it a shot. I browsed a couple of recipes, Paula’s and Alton Brown’s included.

First mistake: Didn’t print out a recipe, or even take my laptop into the kitchen to follow one.

Second mistake: Read the recipes in the morning and then cooked in the evening, could not remember everything.

So, I didn’t soak the meat in buttermilk or tenderize it in anyway prior to cooking. First I dredged it in flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper:

then in egg wash, (milk and egg whisked up):

back to the flour and finally into the frying pan:

Cooked it through, flipping it a couple times because at first I had the heat up too high and it hadn’t cooked long enough on one side. Drain it on paper towels:

It was actually delicious, even if it was a bit chewy!

Happy Cooking!

Jen

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Peanut Butter Fudge Surprise!

Today was a Paula Deen kind of day! My husband was out of work for a week due to cluster headaches that were raising his blood pressure. So he and I spent some quality time together when he wasn’t moaning with pain in a dark room with the covers over his head. Some of our quality time was spent cuddling on the couch and watching Food Network. It’s where I get most of my ideas.

One of the episodes that we watched was an old one that showed her super easy, but very different peanut butter fudge. What makes this fudge so different?

That is a big box of Velveeta in with the two sticks of butter and the peanut butter. And believe it or not, the Cheese Peanut Butter Fudge is delicious!

First, make sure your pan is generously buttered.

And you should probably check after the five year old does it. I think next time I will put wax paper down because I could not get the fudge out of the pan.

In the next picture you can see my slip up. The recipe says to put the butter and cheese into the pan and heat it until it melts and is smooth. Well, I didn’t realize that that also meant peanut butter until the regular butter was melted and I was reading ahead!

Once the butters and cheese were all melted and smooth, you pour the mixture over 32 ounces (2 pounds) of powdered sugar and get to mixing. I took Paula’s advice from the TV show and once the mixture started to get really stiff, used my hands to sort of knead it in.

Once it is as mixed as you can get it, you press it into your buttered pan, then blot the excess oil off of the top with a paper towel. Stick it into the fridge and leave it to set up. Once it is set up, you can try and remove it from the pan and cut it. It is pretty hard at that point, and you should cut it slowly. I didn’t and my pieces are all uneven.

It was delicious, rich and creamy and peanut-buttery. It was so rich that I could only eat one of my crazily cut pieces!

Happy Cooking!

Jen

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Problems with Pastry

The first time I made pastry for a pie, I was in high school taking a cooking elective. my teacher praised it, saying I made a perfect, flaky, delicious pastry. That must have been beginners luck, because I had no luck with my pie pastry today.

I finally have a pastry cutter, so I thought it would be smooth sailing. But for some reason, I had to keep adding extra water to get my pastry to come together. I finally got it, split it in half and pressed it into two flat disks. I saran wrapped them, placed them in the refrigerator, and went on my way.

I came back to the pastry well over thirty minutes, so Betty says to leave it on the counter to warm up a bit. While it was doing that, I peeled, cored, sliced and spiced the apples for the pie. Then came the dreaded rolling of the pastry.

I stink at it.

See how it looks without the top layer? See Betty underneath, mocking me? Betty can be a bit of a bitch like that.

I start out ok:

But something goes wrong in between:

I finally got the pie ready for the oven:

But forgot to add the aluminum foil to prevent the edges from over browning:

There is Betty again, still mocking me.

When I pulled it out of the oven, it looked ok:

But when I cut it, I needed a sharp knife. According to Betty I undermeasured my shortening, and used too much water.

Maybe we will get some more apples tomorrow when the girls and I are at the Berry Patch for our pumpkin picking extravaganza and try again next week.

Happy Cooking!

Jen

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An Epic Win and An Epic Fail

I haven’t felt up to grocery shopping lately. I have been sick and I always take my two children to the store with me and that can wear you out. So my pantry and fridge have been slowly emptying out while I make meals. This has forced me to be more and more creative in making my meals.

For the win, one day I was faced with thawed chicken breasts. Since I had been sick and watching lots of Food Network, I felt inspired by several episodes of Giada at Home. I seasoned and browned the chicken breasts in my frying pan, then switched them to a baking pan and set them in the oven to finish cooking. I then added some oil, sliced and seperated onions, and a can of whole tomatoes plus the juice. I cut the tomatoes into quarters before plopping them in the pan. I cooked it all together, making a really delicous sauce!

I served the sauce over some spaghetti noodles and placed the sliced chicken breasts on the side. It was delicious!

For the fail, I was wanting to make beef stew in the crock pot, but didn’t have any stew meat. So I attempted to make skillet meatballs.

What a huge fail. The meatballs stuck to the pan, burnt on the outside and were still pink on the inside. The soup was so so, not my best attempt at creative cooking.

Happy Cooking!

Jen

 

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The Sous-Chefs Took Over

I’m sick again, so very little cooking has been done. Today, my oldest sous chef decided to make lunch for her and her cohort. She made cheese sandwiches with Miracle Whip and sweet relish. There was also a side of applesauce.
Not bad for a five year old!
Happy Cooking!
Jen

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Promised Pictures

I need frosting lessons:

The pile of dishes and sippy cups I should have washed prior to making the cake:

Cut up potatoes:

Frying cut up potatoes, except my burner conked out (again) and they ended up soggy instead of crispy.

Happy Cooking!

Jen

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Crazy Wants Chocolate (No pictures)

It has been crazy around my house lately. We had the five year old’s birthday party over the weekend, which was a blast, and includes me attempting to ice a weirdly shaped cake! I’ll have to post the pictures of that, plus my secret to yummy mustard potato salad. Anyway on Sunday I was feeling off and by Monday I had a full blown case of the stomach flu. I battled through Monday, still doing my normal household and child rearing chores. (I love using the term child rearing. It just tickles me somehow.) All of that proved to be too much, and I spent Tuesday on the couch.

That brings us to today! For those not in the know, I’m bipolar. Please save your criticism for some other bipolar. If my kids turn out to be bipolar then they will have an excellent role mode in how to handle the disease in me. Anyway, even though I am medicated, medication only does so much. I still recognize minor changes in my mood, mostly after the fact, but sometimes before or during. I generally have a manic phase after a depression phase, and I guess being unable to move off of the couch except to speed for the toilet tricked my mind into thinking I was depressed. I had lots of energy today and was very productive. These are the manic phases I enjoy, because lots of annoying projects I don’t want to handle generally get done.

So anyway, I wanted chocolate. Specifically, I wanted chocolate cake. Ignoring the dirty dishes from breakfast and lunch piled into my sink, I grabbed Betty and made the first chocolate cake recipe I found.

I made a huge freaking mess and I still haven’t iced the darn thing yet.

Oh, and I didn’t have the ingredients to make frosting, so I had to run up the street to Food King and buy frosting in a can. The five year old went with me and we compromised on caramel. Say it with me: care-A-mel. Not carmel. Do not neglect the middle a!

I’ll have to let you know how the frosting came out.

Happy Cooking!

Jen

PS I have temporarily misplaced my camera, so no pictures for right now.

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Giant S’more Cookies

The posting paragons of proboards all decided to try this new recipe from Jamie at My Baking Addiction. I was game for it. There were no fails, I was just disappointed in the outcome. It wasn’t really what I thought it would be.

Make a basic chocolate chip cookie dough, I used the one in Jamie’s recipe, but you could probably just use whatever one you wanted.

Once your dough is made, you take a quarter cup of dough and press it flat. The original recipe cause for muffin top pans, but I don’t have those, so I used cookie sheets. Once the dough is pressed flat, take broken up pieces of graham cracker, some cut up marshmallows, (Do you have any idea how hard it was to cut up marshmallows? The little suckers try to get away from you, or else they stick to everything!)


and pieces of Hershey’s chocolate bar and press it in top of the dough.

Then bake for 11-13 minutes.

Then try to keep the children from devouring them.

I didn’t care for the cookie. I think I will just make s’mores when I want a s’more, instead of all the extra work of making cookie dough!

Happy Cooking!

Jen

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Swedish Meatballs Fail

To be honest, my only experience with Swedish Meatballs is of the Lean Cuisine variety. I had a hankering for these though, so started to search the internet for a recipe. Finding this one, I set to work.

First off, I still cannot roll balls of anything, meat, cookie dough, what have you, evenly. I start out OK, but somehow, it gets away from me and I end up with a variety of sizes.

Patience is a virtue is a phrase that my Nana frequently said to me. It still hasn’t quite sunk in. I did not have the patience to wait for the flour mixture to come to a boil on medium heat while I stood at the oven stirring it. I cranked it up to high, and as a result I had a very raw flour taste in my sauce. I tried to remedy that by shaking in a lot of Worcestershire sauce, which isn’t in the recipe, but I couldn’t disguise the flavor.

I also overcooked my egg noodles. Which resulted in a big plate of gooey stuff and meatballs.

The meatballs were good though. The cats even agreed once we scraped the sauce off them!

Happy Cooking!

Jen

PS. Sorry for the lack of pictures this time. I had a lot going on while making this recipe!

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Heart Attack Dinners

Popular opinion is that heart-attack dinners generally arrive in the form of a paper bag. However, at my house, heart attack dinners are prepared by me!

One of my favorite heart attack dinners is paprika pork served with a side of twice baked potatoes. The fat and cholesterol level in these two dishes must be twice what you are supposed to have in a day!

To make paprika pork, first slice an onion and cook it until it is just about tender. Take that cooked onion, and place it in a bowl with sour cream, sauerkraut, paprika and pepper.

Mix that all up.

Take your pork chops and season them with paprika, garlic salt and pepper. Stick them under the broiler for however many minutes for the first side. When you flip them, pull them out a minute or two before they would be done. Cover the chops with the sauerkraut mixture and finish broiling them.

For twice baked potatoes, I generally start these in the morning, than assemble them for cooking after I pull the chops out of the oven. Take baked potatoes, cut them in half and scoop out some of the insides.

Place the scooped out potatoes, place them in a bowl with butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Mash it all up together. Stuff the potato shells with the mixture.

Top with cheese and reheat at 350 degrees for about twenty minutes.

These were not finished cooking, the cheese needs to get a little more done.

Unless you are using low fat everything, these dishes are pretty high in calories but they taste delicious!

Happy Cooking!

Jen

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