Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Can't Get These at the Red Lobster!

Ya know how you see the Red Lobster commercials on tv and all the food looks so good and fresh and bouncing all over the plate. And now they claim to have a GRILL MASTER cooking these wonderful dishes with grill marks all over them. Well I have to admit that I haven't been to Red Lobster in years. Reason #1 - Mark got sick there and ended up in the ER; Reason #2 - we live in a coastal town in Florida....there is absolutely no reason we should be supporting a national chain seafood restaurant when we have locally owned restaurants with fresh seafood; #3 - it's EXPENSIVE; #4 - When you get the food, it's a mess. Bland looking, small, not appetizing at all. Granted if you lived in the middle of Ohio or somewhere like that maybe Red Lobster is the best you can get! But not here and not at my house. Seriously these are the best fried shrimp you could possibly eat. I got the breading sequence from Elise at

My, oh my....this is some fine eating my friends!

Pound of large shrimp (think 16 - 20 count) peeled and butterflied. I even took off the tails - I don't want to have anything in my way when I eat!

1 cup of flour with salt and a bit of cayenne pepper
2 large eggs beaten
1 cup of panko crumbs (is that what they're called?? doesn't sound right.)
1 big bottle of canola oil

Put oil in skillet to heat. I used my 30 year old electric skillet, poured the oil halfway up the side and heated to 350 degrees.

Put the flour mixture in a ziploc baggie. I put all the shrimp in at once and shaked 'em up a bit coating them thoroughly with flour. I then dipped each of them into the egg making a bit of a glue on the shrimp -- then on to the panko coating each one completely. I did about half the shrimp at a time letting the coating rest a bit before plunking them into the oil. It was a quick fry - about 5 minutes on one side and maybe 2 or 3 on the other side.

A bit of fresh lemon juice and some awesome cocktail sauce -- oh my!! These are so crispy and good. Even good the next day for lunch. I reheated in a 400 oven on a cookie sheet with some cooking spray until I heard them start to sizzle a bit.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Acceptable Lasagna

Mark reminds me often of the things I can't make as well as his mother or grandmother or aunt...whatever. It doesn't really bother me but I do attempt to make things he likes since he's my only audience these days. One of these items is lasagna. He likes DRY lasagna. Here's what I did which produced a product that he announced 'very good.'

Box of no-boil noodles
Leftover homemade sauce with spicy sausage
32 ounces of whole milk ricotta
Parmesan - the powder stuff
4 cups of shredded mzzerella
2 eggs
Garlic powder
Dried basil
Dried Italian seasoning

I basically followed the directions on the noodle box. Except the ricotta mixture. I mixed the ricotta with the two eggs and seasonings, a handful of mozzerella and a handful of parmesan. This doubles the cheese mixture. Bake as directed.

Wished (now) that I had taken a picture of a slice of lasagna. It really held together well and was quite pretty!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fried Chicken....Finally continuing with trying to tackle some very basic recipes (for some people anyway) I'm not giving up on frying some decent chicken. This method was good and I can improve on it.

Flour with dried italian dressing mix
1 cup up chicken
Canola Oil with a couple of tablespoons of bacon fat

I used my 1980 electric skillet and poured in the oil to go half up the sides. I heated it to 350 and plopped in the bacon grease. I put the flour and dressing mix into a ziploc bag and put a few pieces of my rinsed chicken in there at a time and gave it a good shake until well coated. I fried it until golden brown on both sides and then covered the skillet for approximately 20 minutes of cooking. I took the cover off for the last few minutes just to give it another chance for crisping up a bit. The end result was a lightly breaded, crispy chicken -- most importantly DONE in the inside!

Next time -- I will soak the chicken in buttermilk 24 hours in advance and I will probably double flour the chicken to provide more of a coating.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Toad in a Hole

Why am I so comforted when I make and eat these? My kids probably don't even remember eating them...but really what could be better? I love things (and places) that are so self-contained!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pepper Bacon

Have you tried it? is slap-your-momma good. Great on sandwiches!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Infamous Marlboro Man Sandwich

I've seen this sandwich posted all over the internet and finally decided to give it a whirl. It was good but I think I need some more seasoning (or maybe some different flavors) in the meat and onion mixture. It was actually better to me the next day. I was surprised how well the meat stood up to the cutting into strips and sauteeing since it was cube steak.

So giving full credit to Ree (by the way, check out her amazing website) -- here is the original recipe -

Marlboro Man’s Favorite Sandwich

2 to 3 pounds cube steak (tenderized round steak that’s been extra-tenderized
1 large onion OR 2 small/medium onions
4 French/Deli rolls
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
Worcestershire Sauce

-Slice onions and cook in 1/4 stick butter until soft and light brown. Remove and set aside.-Slice cube steak against the grain. Season with Lawry’s. -Heat 2 TBSP butter over high heat (in same skillet) until melted and beginning to brown. -Add meat in single layer. Cook one side until brown, then flip and cook until brown, about a minute on both sides. -Add 1/2 (at least) Worcestershire sauce, 5 to 6 shakes Tabasco, and 2 TBSP butter. Add cooked onions. Stir to combine.-Butter halved French rolls and brown on skillet. -To assemble, lay bottom half of French roll on plate. Place meat mixture, followed by a spoonfull of juice from the pan. Top with other half of roll, cut in half, and devour!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Lights

Masterpiece in progress.....

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Soft and chewy. I used peanut butter and chocolate chips. The recipe is right off the bag of chips.

Fresh and hot!

Chicken Pot Pie

Everytime I make chicken pot pie, Mark says 'it doesn't look like a pie.' is your pie! And it was so good.

I got the recipe from

Chicken Pot Pie

Refrigerated Pie Shells

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter
3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
2 carrot, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed (I didn't use potato but I added a handful of frozen peas)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C.)
In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Blend in flour, salt, pepper and onion. Gradually stir in chicken broth. Cook, stirring constantly until smooth and thickened. In a separate pan, saute mushrooms in 3 tablespoons of butter, then stir into saucepan. Stir in chicken, carrot, celery and potatoes. Mix well and pour into bottom pie crust. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown, and filling is bubbly.'s the thing. I don't unless I absolutely have to use multiple pans. I sauteed the vegetables first, added the 1/2 cup of butter and flour to make a roux. Then the chicken broth. I also added a glog of cream for some richness. I made sure that the mixture was very thick. I even let it set to cool a bit before baking to set up some more.

Look how it stayed together!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Raina's Birthday

Mark and I joined Raina's birthday celebration at El Mocajetes in Palmetto. The company - good. The food - not so good. It did, however, prompt me to make my own salsa. In all honesty, Mexicali across from Walmart on Cortez Road is better and I classify that as only a few steps above Taco Bell.

Anyway, it was a good birthday celebration! Karaoke was entertaining - especially when Haleigh joined in.