Crispy Homemade French Fries

{french fries}

Do you ever wonder why french fries at restaurants are so much crispier than the ones you make from scratch at home? Do you want to know how to make french fries that aren’t soggy and limp? The restaurants cut their potatoes in large batches and soak them in water until they are ready to fry them. They do this for two reasons. One reason is to remove the excess starch from the potatoes. The other reason is to keep them from oxidizing, or turning black, when they are exposed to the air. This french fry recipe follows that logic, but with a twist. I call it the double fry method. This will turn your homemade french fries into a masterpiece.

Crispy Homemade French Fries

Peel four russet potatoes and cut them the way you like. We like steak fries, so I cut them about 1/2 inch wide and about 1/4 inch thick. Soak the sliced potatoes in cold water for at least 30 minutes to remove the starch. After they have soaked, take them out of the water and pat dry. Heat your oil in your deep fryer to 325 degrees and cook your potatoes for 5 minutes. Remove the potatoes and drain on a wire rack. Increase your oil temperature to 350 degrees. Fry the potatoes again for about 2 more minutes or until they are as brown as you like.

I will usually go ahead and fry the main dish when I make these, like chicken or fish after the first frying. That way, when I do the second frying of the potatoes, they will be piping hot and ready to serve. Always salt them immediately when you take them out of the oil.  I like to use Lawrys Garlic Salt and paprika on mine.

Chicken Soup Cures Almost Anything

Chicken Soup

It really doesn’t matter what time of year it is when it comes to Chicken soup. This is the essence of comfort food. Feeling a little down? Chicken soup. Slight runny nose? Chicken soup. Feeling neglected by your significant other? Chicken soup. You get the picture.

Scientists have confirmed that chicken soup can help cure the common cold. Heck, we have known that all along, haven’t we? Anything that tastes this good has got to cure something.

Seriously, they have said it has something to do with the onions and garlic combination with the chicken broth. Regardless, feel free to use this recipe, but don’t try to low-cal it by using just boneless, skinless white meat or you’ll be missing out on the curative properties. Seems the scientists say you need the whole chicken, not just part of it.

CHICKEN AND RICE SOUP

3  pounds chicken, whole, cut up (leave out the giblets)
1 14 ounce can chicken broth
3  cups water
1  large onion, chopped
3  cloves garlic, minced
2  bay leaves
1  tablespoon dried oregano
1  tablespoon Janes Krazy Mixed Up Salt
1 1/2  cups uncooked rice

This recipe calls for the use of a pressure cooker which gives it a unique flavor and consistency.

If you’re going to use the pressure cooker method, combine all ingredients except the rice in the pressure cooker.  Follow your cookers instructions, which should be to cook for 20 minutes, remove cooker from heat and let pressure drop of its own accord.  After the pressure has dropped, remove chicken pieces, remove bones and skin and dice the chicken.  Return chicken to the pressure cooker and add the rice.  Bring the pressure back up and cook for five minutes, remove cooker from heat and let pressure drop of its own accord. Be sure and check your cookers capacity and make sure you do not exceed the fill level. Add the water last since you can decrease it without compromising the flavor if you have a smaller cooker. If you have to substantially decrease the water, decrease the amount of rice also.

If you’re going to make this in a regular stock pot, the same instructions will apply with the exception of times.  You will need to simmer this on low heat for approximately 1 hour.  After the chicken has been diced and returned to the pot, add the rice and cook for 30 minutes.  This will not yield the same creamy consistency as the pressure cooker method, however, if you wish, you may thicken with cornstarch by mixing two to three tablespoons of cornstarch with one half a cup of ice water, stir to combine and add to the soup, stirring until the soup is thickened. If you don’t like rice, substitute egg noodles, but adjust the time since egg noodles take less time to cook than rice. This freezes beautifully, so make a double recipe and freeze the leftovers, if you have any.

This is great served with a crusty roll or saltines.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 Serving
Percent daily values based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.
The following ingredients were not linked to the ingredient database and were not included in the nutrition information:
Salt and Pepper to taste

Amount Per Serving
Calories   97.07
Calories From Fat (11%)   10.27
% Daily Value
Total Fat 1.13g   2%
Saturated Fat 0.30g   1%
Cholesterol 15.44mg   5%
Sodium 352.03mg   15%
Potassium 209.49mg   6%
Carbohydrates 11.66g   4%
Dietary Fiber 0.73g   3%
Sugar 0.85g
Sugar Alcohols 0.00g
Net Carbohydrates 10.93g
Protein 9.40g   19%
MyPoints 1.9

So, the next time you are feeling under the weather or just want a soul soothing bowl of soup, try your Grandmother’s favorite – Chicken soup.

Salmon Stew, An Easy Dinner Recipe

If you are looking for an easy dinner recipe, then salmon stew can help you out.

Salmon recipes are very healthy for you and this one couldn’t be quicker. All you need are a few pantry staples that you can keep handy, milk and a saucepan. Now how simple is that?

Salmon Stew, An Easy Dinner Recipe

1 Can Salmon, Skin and Bones Removed
8 Ounces Evaporated Milk
8 Ounces Regular Milk
1 Onion, Chopped
3 Potatoes, Diced
2 Tbs. Butter
Salt and Pepper To Taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Cover and simmer on low heat
until potatoes are done.

Nutrition (calculated from recipe ingredients)
———————————————-
Calories: 514
Calories From Fat: 220
Total Fat: 24.8g
Cholesterol: 117.3mg
Sodium: 731.1mg
Potassium: 1543mg
Carbohydrates: 41.3g
Fiber: 2.4g
Sugar: 4.4g
Protein: 32.2g
My Points: 12.84

Cooking Tip: Serve with oyster crackers.

Comments: Perfect for a cold, rainy night.

To save even more time, you can omit the potatoes if you like and this recipe is still delicious.

Buffalo Wings – The Ultimate Football Party Food

Buffalo Wings are one of the best things about a football party. They are simple to make and everybody loves them.

The origin of Buffalo Wings is the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York and they were first prepared and served in the early ’60s. There are at least five different version of how the recipe came to be, but regardless of whichever one is right, we are eternally grateful.

People prepare Buffalo Wings many different ways. Some use only the section called the drummet, some cut the tip of the thin part of the wing off, but, I leave it totally intact. My reasoning is that the tip gives you something to hold onto while eating it, lol. Just prep the wing any way you want to. The important part of wing making is the procedure anyway.

What is the procedure, you ask? This is so simple, there is no need to even put it in the standard recipe format.

Buffalo Wings

  • Deep fry your wings according to your deep fryer manual instructions.
  • Mix together equal parts of Texas Pete (or Crystal, or whatever is your favorite hot sauce) and melted butter.
  • Cover wings with sauce and toss to make sure the sauce totally covers your wings.

Now, how easy was that? Serve celery sticks and blue cheese dressing on the side and you’re ready to party. During a football game, I will typically make at least four to five batches of wings throughout the game. I don’t like my wings cold or soggy and they are so easy to make, I can whip up a batch in no time.

How To Make Homemade Pimento Cheese

Homemade Pimento Cheese is another one of our true Southern traditions. It is one of those recipes that have been handed down through the generations in my family.

Now, football time is upon us and, in my opinion, you just can’t have too many dip and sandwich recipes to choose from. Well, this one fits the bill for both occasions.

If you are looking for a quick snack or an alternative to the same old luncheon meat choices for a great sandwich, why not try Pimento Cheese? It’s cool and refreshing. This is such a versatile little mixture that can be used in many ways. This is not even a kissing cousin to the spreads offered by your grocer. No true Southern household would be without it. Try it yourself.

PIMENTO CHEESE

16 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 large jar minced pimentos, drained
2 cups mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Lawry’s Garlic Salt
2 teaspoons Janes Krazy Mixed Up Salt
3 dashes Tabasco sauce

Blend all ingredients either by hand in a large bowl or in a food processor.  If you like a “chunky” spread, mix by hand.  If you prefer a “smooth” spread, use the food processor. Adjust the salts and Tabasco to taste.  When this is mixed initially, it needs to be “soupy” as if you have too much mayonnaise.  The cheese will “soak up” the mayonnaise after it sets up.

This should be made one day in advance of serving.  Use for sandwiches or as a spread for crackers. You can also use it as a dip for a vegetable tray.

A vegetable tray paired with homemade pimento cheese can really add to your table at a party.

The colors are beautiful and the tray can be used as a centerpiece. Use a large round platter, put a bowl in the center for the dip, which could be onion, ranch, blue cheese, pimento cheese, or whatever your favorite happens to be, and group the items in a line from the center to the edge. Use cherry tomatoes, celery, bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber strips, carrots, olives, cubed cheese and anything else that you like.

Make sure you have enough room in your refrigerator for the tray to keep it cool. If you don’t, put each group of items in a resealable plastic bag to save space in the refrigerator and arrange the tray when guests start to arrive.

Servings: 16

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 serving
Percent daily values based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.

Amount Per Serving
Calories   233.17
Calories From Fat (73%)   170.00
% Daily Value
Total Fat 19.27g   30%
Saturated Fat 7.42g   37%
Cholesterol 37.40mg   12%
Sodium 899.86mg   37%
Potassium 50.14mg   1%
Carbohydrates 8.24g   3%
Dietary Fiber 0.03g   0%
Sugar 2.03g
Sugar Alcohols 0.00g
Net Carbohydrates 8.20g
Protein 7.49g   15%
MyPoints 6.3

You can substitute anything you want if you don’t like sharp cheddar cheese. I have even made one half of the cheese medium cheddar and the other half Monteray Jack with jalapeno peppers – now that one has a kick! You can even add softened cream cheese if that is one of your favorites. One of the very best thing about making everything from scratch is that you can make it to suit your own taste.

This really is as simple to make as it looks. All you need is a grater, a spoon and a mixing bowl, unless you use the food processor method, of course. So, go dust off that mixing bowl and make something great for your family to enjoy while watching the game.

How To Cook Southern Pinto Beans

I get asked how to cook Pinto beans all of the time.

I guess one of the reasons for that is because we use Pinto beans in a lot of our recipes. They are great for soups, stews, chili and even dips. Not to mention that they are great all by themselves, served as a side dish.

I will cover the basic stovetop method with the following Pinto bean recipe here.

2 Lbs Pinto Beans, Dried
1/8 Lb Salt Pork
2 tsp Chili Powder
1 Tbs Cayenne Pepper
1 Tbs Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tbs Janes Krazy Mixed Up Salt
1 Tbs Lawry’s Garlic Salt
1 Tbs Oregano, Dried
1 Tbs Beef Bouillon

  • Sort beans according to package directions. Remove the broken and discolored beans.
  • Wash thoroughly. Cover in cool water and lift them out of the water into the stockpot. You may need to do this two or three times to remove all of the dirt, depending on your region of the country.
  • Cover with water and soak overnight, or do the ‘quick soak’ method. The quick soak method is when you put the beans into the stockpot and cover with at least 3 inches of water over the top level of the beans. Bring the pot to a boil, cover and remove from the heat. Let this stand for 1 hour.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  • If you want the liquid thickened, tilt the lid during the last hour of cooking.

Servings: 10

Cooking Tips For Southern Pinto Beans

For a healthier alternative, substitute 4 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil for the salt pork. It’s not Southern, but it is still very tasty. Pinto Beans are the backbone of many of our soup, chili and stew recipes. We always cook a large batch and freeze the leftovers to be used in many recipes.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 serving
Percent daily values based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.

Amount Per Serving
Calories   178.65
Calories From Fat (28%)   49.69
% Daily Value
Total Fat 5.57g   9%
Saturated Fat 1.88g   9%
Cholesterol 5.08mg   2%
Sodium 686.36mg   29%
Potassium 427.80mg   12%
Carbohydrates 24.67g   8%
Dietary Fiber 8.68g   35%
Sugar 0.11g
Sugar Alcohols 0.00g
Net Carbohydrates 15.99g
Protein 8.66g   17%
MyPoints 3.2

The next method of cooking Pinto beans is for using a Crockpot.

  • Always pre-soak using the method of your choice from the directions listed above. Make sure you have the 3 inches of water to cover the beans.
  • Taste and adjust by adding more of the spices during the last hour of cooking since slow cooking tends to deplete the flavor of your spices.
  • Use the high or low settings that work best for your schedule. If using low, cook for 10 to 12 hours. If using high, cook for 6 to 7 hours.

Lets look at the pressure cooking method.

This one depends on the type of pressure cooker you will be using. If your pressure cooker is the stovetop style, you will need to pre-soak overnight – no exceptions. Dried beans will foam when they are cooked in a stovetop pressure cooker, so soak overnight, drain and use fresh water. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 45 minutes.

Digital pressure cookers are a little more user friendly. I use the Wolfgang Puck digital pressure cooker and it does not require pre-soaking at all. Yeah, I feel the digital pressure cooker envy, lol. Just throw all of the ingredients in there, make sure you have about 4 inches of water above the beans, use the meat setting and let ‘er rock and roll for 1 hour. However, that is the only one I have, so if you have a different brand, please check your manual for instructions for dried beans and go by that.

No matter what type of pressure cooker you use, let the pressure drop of its own accord, do not release the pressure by hand.

Pinto beans are not only versatile, but very good for you. Pinto beans are among the most nutritious of all of the plant foods. They are high in protein, B-complex vitamins, iron, potassium and other minerals. They also provide large amounts of fiber, including the soluble type, which are important in controlling blood cholesterol levels.

Well, I think I have covered all of the different methods on how to cook Southern Pinto beans, but if you think of another one let me know.

Linguine With White Clam Sauce

It sounds too simple to taste as good as it does.

2 Tbsp. Butter
4 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Can Clams
1/3 Cup Parsley, Fresh, Minced
8 Ounces Linguine, Cooked and Drained
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated

1 Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add extra virgin olive oil and lightly sauté the garlic.


2 Add the liquid from the clams and parsley to the garlic and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes or until the parsley is done. Add the clams and just heat through. Do not overcook the clams or they will be tough.


3 Pour the clam sauce over the linguine, top with the parmesan cheese and toss to coat the pasta.

Servings: 4
Cooking Tips
Serve with an antipasta salad and garlic bread.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 serving
Percent daily values based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.

Amount Per Serving
Calories   474.54
Calories From Fat (43%)   203.75
% Daily Value
Total Fat 23.20g   36%
Saturated Fat 13.35g   67%
Cholesterol 54.46mg   18%
Sodium 961.33mg   40%
Potassium 200.05mg   6%
Carbohydrates 38.90g   13%
Dietary Fiber 1.37g   5%
Sugar 0.52g
Sugar Alcohols 0.00g
Net Carbohydrates 37.53g
Protein 26.86g   54%
MyPoints 11.2

This is so easy to make that now you have absolutely no excuse for not preparing dinner for your family. Just be sure to use the “good” Parmesan cheese, not the pre-grated stuff. You will notice the difference.

A Chili Recipe For Spicy Food Lovers

In the early ’80s, I lived in Texas. I had eaten chili before, but nothing like the Texan variety. Wow, was I ever hooked. I learned to embrace all things Tex Mex. Before then, my favorite ethnic food was Italian, but Tex Mex has taken the number two slot of favorites. This recipe is easy to prepare and freezes beautifully. Give it a try and let me know if you like it. Be advised, this one is spicy. If you aren’t a hot and spicy fan, tone down the peppers to suit you.

Texas Chili Recipe

Serving Size  : 10

2 Lbs.  Ground Chuck, browned and drained
3  Cloves garlic minced
1  Large onion chopped
29 Ounces Tomato Sauce
56 Ounces Whole Tomatoes, Canned with Liquid
32 Ounces Pinto Beans with Liquid
2  Tbs. Cayenne Pepper
1  tsp.  red pepper flakes
1  Tbs. Chili powder
1  tsp. Beef Bouillon
1  Tbs. Oregano, Dried
2  Tbs. Janes Krazy Mixed Up Salt

1. Brown the ground chuck in an 8 quart stock pot and drain off the fat.

2. Add the chopped onion and garlic, but do not brown it.

3. Add the tomato sauce.

4. Chop the tomatoes and remove the stem end and add to the pot.

5. Add the pinto beans and liquid.

6. Add the spices.

7. Put the lid on the stock pot and simmer on low for one and one half
hours.

Nutrition (calculated from recipe ingredients)
———————————————-
Calories: 373
Calories From Fat: 77
Total Fat: 8.5g
Cholesterol: 54.4mg
Sodium: 1388.6mg
Potassium: 1779mg
Carbohydrates: 48.5g
Fiber: 13.9g
Sugar: 14.5g
Protein: 30.2g
My Points: 7.37

Make sure that you have your choice of cool beverages when you serve this. You’re gonna need em.

Vacuum Food Sealers – Tips And Tricks To Using One

My husband and I tend to be extremely practical individuals, even in our gift giving. One year, we gave our family members that did not previously have one a vacuum food sealer. I have had one for twenty four years and couldn’t bear to be without one.

I guess that I have used one for so long that I forgot about the “learning curve” for using one of these wonderful kitchen helpers. My telephone line was burning up with questions from the gift receivers about the best way to use their new-fangled kitchen appliance. So, here we go – a few tips and tricks to using a vacuum food sealer.

Using Food Saver Bags

1. Make use of the rolls instead of the pre-cut bags. You can cut them to whatever length you need.

2. Wrap up all your items in Saran wrap. That way you may reuse the bag without washing it. That means cheese, bacon, wieners, etc.

3. Make the bags approximately twice the length you need them to be. That way, as you make use of partial portions of your item, you have room to reseal the bag several times.

4. Pre-freeze all meats in plastic wrap (See # 2), then vacuum seal. Create the portions whatever size you want, but bear in mind, the smaller the bulk, the faster it will thaw.

5. Pay attention to meat with sharp bones. I went through 3 bags one time because I didn’t notice that a bone was piercing a tiny hole in my bag. I position a Saran wrap “patch” over the sharp bone. Simply make a small square of some layers of folded up Saran wrap and put it on top of the sharp part before you wrap it in the Saran wrap – that typically solves the problem.

6. If you’re freezing things with liquids, like stew or cooked vegetables containing liquid, freeze them first. You can use a zip lock bag, freeze it, then vacuum seal. This may sound a bit wasteful, but everything keeps longer if it is vacuum sealed. Another word of advice for freezing liquids. When you place your zip lock bag in the freezer, make layers using cut up cardboard between the zip lock bags. That way, they freeze flat, like an envelope and will not stick together. You can make your vacuum seal bag large enough to hold numerous packages (See # 3). You can also make use of freezer containers, but you will need to take the item out of the container to vacuum seal it.

7. Pre-freeze items like pie crust dough and pizza crust dough in batches in Saran wrap, after that vacuum seal them. Once you’re ready to use them, remove the amount you require and leave them in the fridge the day before you need them and they’re all set to go. You can prepare several batches at one time to save time and cleanup.

Using Wide Mouth Canning Jars

1. Nearly all of the vacuum sealers come with an attachment that can seal wide mouth canning jars. I use them to seal dried beans, rice, macaroni, baking supplies, peanuts, whole coffee beans, tea bags. The list is never-ending.

2. Make sure that the lids you use have never been used in a canning process or they will not seal correctly. Just try to store them in a different area of your kitchen so you don’t combine them in with the other ones. The seal will last for a long time, but if you need new ones, you can get them at any grocery store in the canning section. All you want is the flat part. Never use the screw top part with this, it isn’t needed and may cause the seal to break.

3. Occasionally wash the accessory that goes on top of the jar by using a wet paper towel since on occasion, you can have a small build up of powdery substances, like flour.

4. You may use jars to freeze liquid things like soups and stews if you have room in your freezer, however this will take up a fair amount of space.

Using Canisters

1. The majority of the manufacturers have canisters in a lot of different capacities with their systems. I’m not sure if they’re interchangeable or not. I would simply be safe and use ones that your unit offers.

2. Canisters can be used for any dry goods such as breakfast cereals, grits, oatmeal, corn chips, snacks, bread crumbs, baking supplies like flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and so on. In other words – any items that you do not want crushed and any items that you would normally put in a canister.

3. I use them for fresh vegetables and fruits. I wash the items, dry them and vacuum seal them for refrigeration. The tall canisters are super for green leaf lettuce and celery. I will make a large salad, vacuum seal it and it will keep for at least a week in the refrigerator. One preparation and one cleaning – Sweet.

4. Use the canisters for vacuum sealing deli cold cuts. They work a lot better than the bags for this purpose.

5. When vacuum sealing flour or anything finely ground, lay a paper towel or paper coffee filter on the top when you have put it into the canister to avoid any of the dust from getting pulled into the suction tube.

6. Most manufacturers offer a container to marinate meat. It is typically rectangular. It is nice, but to be honest, any of the canisters that will contain the amount you require will work just as well. Just make certain you have a sufficient amount of the marinade to cover your meat.

Well, these are merely a few pointers off the top of my head. It ain’t rocket science, however adhering to a few rules makes the learning curve a lot easier. Vacuum sealers truly are a wonderful system to conserve money and reduce waste. There’s no way to tell how much money I’ve saved since I have been using mine for so long. I just know that it would be difficult for me to do without one.

Dieting? Here’s a Tip to Help You Succeed

Uncompleted diets and lack of will-power may lead you to think that losing weight is a difficult thing to do, but it is really rather easy.

The one single thing you need to do is burn more calories than you eat. I know that It sounds very simplistic and minimal, but that is it in a nutshell.

Your first step is to try to calculate how many calories you are burning daily. There have been studies that have come out over the years that estimate how many calories you burn per day based on your sex, age, weight, height and physical activity. When using these calculations, keep in mind that the number you get gives you an estimate, not a fixed number that never changes day to day. It will vary daily.

Good weight loss is considered to be one to two pounds per week. While it is possible to lose more, it is considered by the experts to be unhealthy for you.

So how many calories do you actually have to cut out of your diet? One pound of body fat equals about 3500 calories. If you want to lose one pound in a week, you need to cut 3500 calories out of your diet per week. While this might sound like a lot, it comes out to only eliminating 500 calories per day.

Your next step is to decide how you want to get rid of that extra weight. You can cut 500 calories out of your diet per day, or increase the amount of calories you burn by 500 calories per day. A combination of these two things is the easiest way to go. If you combine the two methods, not only will you lose weight, but you will be healthier.

So, let’s compare a few snacks to see what kind of choices you have.

(2) oreos = 140 calories, or (1) apple = 65 calories
(1) package of cheese crackers = 230 calories or (1) carrot = 35 calories
(1) donut stick = 230 calories or (1) celery stick = 5 calories

Just switching up these three items alone gets you to 495 less calories per day. Duh!

I think you can see where I’m going here. Yeah, I know that you will have to go to the trouble of washing and preparing the apple, carrot and celery, but it’ll be worth it. I found an easy way to do this. I buy, wash, divide into portions and package for a week’s worth of snacks once a week. I keep them fresh using a vacuum food sealer. You can seal them in bags or small canisters. You can take them with you to work, to the park or any place you need to go. That way, you aren’t tempted to grab a bag of junk food. As an added bonus, you will save a lot of money.

Once you start to see the steady and consistent weight loss, it will be easy to stick to this method. You won’t have to starve yourself or work out every single day to achieve your weight loss goal. Just remember that slow and steady wins the race.

Go to the USDA website and view the My Pyramid page for the calculations you need to determine your best choices for weight loss.