Saturday, April 27, 2013

KFC Style Mashed Potato Bowl

Trying to duplicate fast food is easy, if you know the secrets.
Tender bites of spicy, boneless chicken on top of creamy, homemade mashed potatoes, corn (who doesn't mix their corn with mashed potatoes?), gravy and cheese.

I got the spices in the coating for the chicken right, but the gravy was another story.
Most of the copycat recipes included a mixture of chicken and beef stock to make the gravy.
One recipe just used a can of Campbell's Beef Gravy.

After doing a little more digging, someone posted a comment about this gravy.
They had worked at KFC and knew the secret.
Taken from a 1968 KFC Manual, the gravy consisted of 
Powdered Chicken Gravy Mix and
Cracklings (bits of flour and skin left over from cooking the chicken).
Big secret huh?

Let's deal with the chicken first:
1-1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups flour
2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Cut chicken into 1" cubes.  Pour buttermilk over chicken and let marinate at least 30 minutes.
Combine flour and spices in a zip-lock or brown paper bag.

Heat about 1" of canola or peanut oil in a cast iron or heavy skillet over medium heat.
Remove chicken from buttermilk and toss in flour mixture.
Fry chicken pieces about 3-4 minutes on each side until cooked through and crisp.
Drain on paper towel.
Cook up about 2-1/2 lbs. of mashed potatoes.
2 cups of whole kernel corn (canned or frozen) heated
1 cup grated cheddar cheese.

For the Cracklin Gravy:

2 Tbsp. oil (from pan drippings)
4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. browned flour and cracklins from frying chicken
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of sage

Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy duty skillet.
Add flour and cook until golden.  Mixture will be thick.

Add cracklins and stir to combine.

Add chicken broth, bring to a boil and whisk until smooth.
Lower to a simmer.   Add salt, pepper and sage to taste.

While Cracklin Gravy is simmering, whip up some biscuits.

Where's the Cole Slaw?
Get the Coleslaw Recipe Here
Sharing with Manic Monday Party
                   Thursdays Treasures
                Real Housemoms

Friday, April 26, 2013

Make Taco Bell's Crunch Wrap Supreme at Home

I had the pleasure of working with Anne Dolce , Editor at The Daily Meal  to put together a homemade version of Taco Bell's Crunchwrap Supreme.

From the spices in the beef to homemade taco sauce, we put it all together for
a healthier, fresher homemade version.
I've tested the recipes and photographed the steps.
These were flying out of the kitchen as fast as I could make them.
I even made a few "to go"!

Spices for Beef

1 lb. ground beef
1 Tbsp. onion flakes
1 tsp. beef bouillion
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. sugar
3/4 cup water
6 10-inch flour tortillas, warmed
6 tostadas
1 cup sour cream
2 tomatoes, chopped, tossed with 1/4 cup of the taco sauce
Cooking spray for frying

Brown the meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat until halfway cooked, breaking it up as little as possible with a spoon.  Remove the par-cooked meat from the skillet and add to a food processor.  Pulse once or twice until the meat is a finely ground consistency.  Add back to the skillet over medium heat and add the rest of the spices, including the cornstarch.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring to evenly distribute the spices; add water.  Simmer 5-10 minutes, until the meat is cooked through and the sauce is thick and flavorful.

Homemade Taco Sauce

2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. cumin
1-1/2 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. paprika
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes

Combine all of the spices together in a resealable container and set aside.  In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree tomatoes until smooth.  Add to a small saucepan and add 1 Tbsp. of the spice mixture(or to taste) to the tomatoes.  Simmer until sauce is thickened, about 30 minutes.

Nacho Cheese Sauce

1-1/2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup milk, plus more if needed
2 Tbsp. cream cheese
1-1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. hot sauce
1 tsp. seasoning from taco sauce

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Whisk in the cornstarch and cook for 1 minutes, and then slowly whisk in the milk.  If the sauce is too thick, add a little more milk.  Simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes and then add the cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, hot sauce and seasonings.  Keep warm until ready to use.

To assemble the Crunchwrap Supreme.  Warm flour tortillas.  Place 1 tortilla out on your work station.  Add a spoonful of the meat mixture to the center and top with nacho cheese.  Top the meat and cheese mixture with a tostada, and then place 1 Tbsp. of sour cream on top.  Add marinated tomatoes with taco sauce and shredded lettuce on top.  Working counter clockwise, fold the edges of the tortilla up over the meat, cheese, tostada, tomato and lettuce pile.  Continue to fold until it is completely wrapped and in the shape of a hexagon.  

Heat a medium skillet over high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Fry the Crunchwrap Supreme on each side for about 1-2 minutes, until golden brown.  Serve with a side of taco sauce.

Full article from The Daily Meal
Sharing with Weekend Potluck

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Russian Poppy Seed Braid Loaf

I have never seen a sweet yeast bread prepared this way and I don't think I will ever go back to the simple jelly-roll style.

This technique is from Chef Ciril Hitz's Baking Artisan Breakfast Bread and Pastries.
  • For the Dough:
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 to 2 (11-ounce) cans poppy seed filling

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup warm water, yeast and 1/4 cup sugar and set aside.  Scald milk and stir in butter until melted.  Let cool slightly.  Add egg yolks and mix.  Transfer to a large bowl or stand mixer and add yeast mixture, combining until mixed.

Add flour and salt a little at a time to make a soft, sticky dough.  Knead on medium speed until a smooth dough forms, about 8 minutes.  Cover and let rise until doubled (about 1 hour).

 Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a rectangle that measures about 10 inches wide by 20 inches long. (Dough should be about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick). Spread poppy seed filling over dough leaving a 1-inch border on each of the shorter ends. Brush shorter ends with egg wash. Starting from shorter end, roll dough, jelly-roll style, into a tight log.

Press ends of rolled dough to make a neat log about the length of the prepared pan. With a sharp knife, cut log of dough in half lengthwise. Watch the Chef's Technique. Carefully twist the two pieces of dough together and place into prepared pan. 

I cut the ends in half to make four Danish.
Brush dough with egg wash, cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours (don't rush it).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
When dough has risen, brush again with egg wash and bake until well browned, about 40 to 45 minutes. 
For the Glaze:
1 to 2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. light corn syrup
1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

Remove from oven and brush hot loaf with glaze.

Let cool in pan 10 minutes, unmold and brush with more glaze.  Cool completely.

Poppy Seed and Lemon Curd.  A nice combination.

~Adaped from Eastern European Food

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bread Salad with Gruyere & Black Forest Ham

A cross between panzanella and a chef's salad,
this recipe calls for more croutons than lettuce.
I can just imagine this salad in the summer when home-grown, juicy tomatoes are at their peak!

1 loaf country-style bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
2/3 cup plus 3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup red wine-vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb. Gruyere (or cheese of your choice) cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups halved grape tomatoes
1 rib celery, sliced
1/2 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 head romaine lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
6 oz. sliced Black Forest Ham, cut into strips
Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
Toss bread cubes with 3 Tbsp. olive oil and spread on baking sheet.
Bake, stirring once or twice, until crisp and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper.  Add the remaining
2/3 cup oil and whisk to combine.

Add the toasted bread, cheese, tomatoes, celery, onion and parsley and toss to coat
Let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the lettuce and ham and toss to combine.

You can lighten this up a bit by using canola oil in place of the olive oil - just as delicious!
Just be sure to toast the bread cubes in olive oil.

Sharing with La Cocina de Leslie

Friday, April 12, 2013

Cracker Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes & Basil Pesto

Flour tortillas make an excellent pizza crust.
It couldn't be easier to make a pie with tortillas.
The "dough" is rolled thin, it's in a perfect circle,
all you need to do is add toppings!

Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce: (or store-bought pizza sauce)
  • 4 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, whole
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Place pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven.  Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic cloves, salt, pepper flakes, and sugar.  Toss tomato mixture with olive oil; roast 25-30 minutes until tomatoes have softened and become lightly caramelized.
Add a thin layer of basil pesto and top with roasted tomatoes.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and mozzarella or provolone.
Place on parchment paper and bake on stone.
Bake for 5-6 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and edges are crisp.
Makes 4 "bar size" pizzas.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Food Bloggers Against Hunger - Budget-Friendly Recipe Round-Up #TakeYourPlace

What would you do if you were hungry?

Millions of Americans who participate in the nation's food stamp program are limited to an average of $3 or $4 per person each day to supplement their food budget.

As most of us know, the most affordable food is often the unhealthiest.

Nicole from The Giving Table has a website dedicated to make a difference!
Over 200 bloggers unite today in partnership with Share our Strength, we ask our readers
to take a few seconds and send a letter to Congress asking them to support
anti-hunger legislation.

Take a moment to watch the film's trailer to learn more.

A Place at the Table
 I have put together a round-up of budget-friendly, healthy recipes
that your family will love.

Classic Tuna & Noodle Casserole
Confetti Turkey Meatballs
Hamburger Buddy

Unstuffed Cabbage
Beef Taco Bake

Poor Man's Risotto (Chicken & Rice)

Chicken-Fried Chicken & Waffles

Twitter: Follow @thegivingtable and tweet using the A Place at the Table hashtag #takeyourplace
Become a Fan on Facebook!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Chicken Fried Chicken & Waffles

Buttermilk fried chicken breasts coated in a peppery crust, goes perfectly with crispy, warm waffles and syrup.
For some extra heat and flavor, add some hot sauce to the buttermilk!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 8-oz. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved crosswise
Peanut or Canola oil for frying
Frozen or homemade waffles.

Whisk flour, pepper and 1/2 tsp. salt in a shallow bowl.
Pour buttermilk an another shallow bowl.
Dredge chicken in flour mixture, shaking off excess.
Dip in buttermilk, allowing excess to drip back into bowl.
Dredge again in flour mixture, shaking off excess.

Pour oil into a heavy skillet to a depth of 1/2".
Heat over medium heat.
Fry chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.
Transfer to a wire rack and season with salt.
Serve with hot waffles, butter and warm maple syrup.
Sharing with: Weekend Potluck

Artisan Cast Iron Dutch Oven Bread

This recipe is a typical one with two rising periods.  Most of this time it's the yeast working and not you! 2 cups water 1...