Friday, May 31, 2013

Restaurant Remake: KFC Coleslaw

The other night we decided to try to remake a classic restaurant side: coleslaw.  In the past, my picky eaters have had plain cabbage with Miracle Whip (our salad dressing of choice!).  I ran across a recipe at The Slow Roasted Italian that I tweaked to fit the ingredients I had in the frig.  The flavor is pretty tasty and it was a hit.  Carrie 1, KFC 0.  Yay!  Now... to find a chicken recipe to go along with in!

Restaurant Coleslaw
½ head of cabbage
1 carrot
1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp sour cream
2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1. Stir together mayo, mustard, sour cream, sugar, garlic & onion powder, salt & pepper and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl.  Set aside.
2. Finely chop cabbage and grate carrot.  Mix together in a large bowl.
3. Pour dressing over the vegetables and stir till well combined.
4. Put in the refrigerator for about 1/2 hour to help flavors blend.
5. Serve.

What do you put in your coleslaw?  

Happy cooking,

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Super Quick and OH SO GOOD Chocolate Sauce

Feeling the NEED for some chocolate sauce the other night, I found a wonderful recipe over at Free Eats that caught my eye.  It was quick (which was up my alley) and sounded rather tempting.

We whipped up a batch and as we were taste testing, we found it called for a bit of tweaking for our palates, so we did what all good New England maple sugar folks do, we added syrup!  The adjustment was just right (rather like Golidlocks, you know?) so I thought you too might appreciate a bit of chocolate sauce one day and would enjoy the recipe.

It goes VERY WELL, warm, on coffee ice cream...just saying...

Here is our slightly altered, somewhat sweeter version:

Super Quick Chocolate Sauce

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 water
1/4 cup brewed coffee
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract

  1. Add all ingredients except vanilla to a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir until all ingredients are combined.
  2. Simmer while stirring for about 3 minutes.  Let cool for a bit and then add vanilla.
  3. Use immediately (I promise, you won't be able to help it) or pour into a container and store in the frig.

I will leave you with one more ice cream image, just because you might NEED it.

 NOTE:  Did I mention you can spoon it out of the jar?  Just a thought... trying to be helpful.

I would also like to mention that I am really enjoying all this "make it yourself" stuff ~ how delicious it is!  It's a lot of fun cooking with my daughter, as well.  :)


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Soft Pretzels with Cinnamon Butter - Sweet & Salty Goodness!

We had our grandsons over the other day and decided to do a bit of baking with them.  There's some strawberry desserts you'll see soon, too, but one thing at a time.  Today, I'd like to share the soft pretzels we made.  I chose these to do with them because little dudes and rolling dough just go together.

The project was fun and came out delicious!  Take a peek:

Soft Pretzels with Cinnamon Butter

5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons dry yeast 
2 cups warm water
spray oil
sea salt or kosher salt

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 tbsp sugar & cinnamon (we have a mix for toast I keep on hand)

  1. Add yeast, sugar and warm water to bowl.  Mix to let them start doing their magic.
  2. Pour in salt and flour. Mix till well combined. Knead for about 5 minutes, till dough smooth. I used the dough hook on my mixer.
  3. Turn out into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for a half hour.
  4. Once it's risen, pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees and sent to work creating the pretzels.  Divide the dough into 12 pieces for large pretzels, more pieces for smaller ones.  Set the pieces on a greased surface.  Now it's time for the fun!  Roll each piece into long "snake" (according to my grandsons).  Twist the "snake" into a pretzel shape and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Spray with oil (I used coconut oil) and sprinkle with salt.
  5. Set in your 500 oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, till golden brown.
  6. For the cinnamon butter, stir the butter and sugar/cinnamon mix together till nice and creamy.
  7. Once the pretzels are done, you can slather this on or dip it, like I did - sweet and salty goodness!


Here's scenes from our baking adventure:

What would you dip yours in?  Mustard, butter, something sweet?  Do tell!

Have fun in the kitchen!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Meat Lovers Pizza

Good morning, friends!

Thought I might like to share Sunday night's dinner's recipe, so today's recipe is a multiple one, if you need it: pizza dough, sauce and the culminating meat lovers pizza!  Yay!!

Let's start with the dough.  If you like to just buy it from the store, by all means, go ahead.  Keep in mind you are paying $1.50-$2.50 for flour and a sprinkle of yeast that's been sitting in the store... just saying... Want to make some for a LOT less?  Give it a try!

Before I go any further, I highly recommend saving THIS LINK.  Or just open it in another tab and look once you've read today's blog - wouldn't want you to get lost!! offers a free class in making the perfect pizza.  I learned SO MUCH from even the one time I watched it that I can absolutely recommend it!  You do have to sign up with Craftsy, but the class is one of their free offerings.

Don't have time to watch the whole video?  I found my personal favorite pizza dough recipe over at Annie's Eats.  Zip over and she'll tell you how.  Just click on this link and open it in another tab.  She has some good hints, as well.

So, now either you've got your dough from the store, you already had your own recipe or you've come back from Annie's!  It's time to get started.

Meat Lovers Pizza

Yield: 1 medium sized pizza
  • 1 ball Pizza Dough (bought or homemade)
  • 1 cup Pizza Sauce (recipe to follow)
  • 1/4 pound Chorizo Sausage - casing removed
  • 1/4 pound Pork Sausage - casing removed
  • 1/3 pound Hamburger
  • 1 1/2 cup Shredded Cheese
  • Flour for working with dough & parchment paper
  1. If dough has been refrigerated, allow to come to room temperature.
  2. Pre-cook the sausage and hamburger in a skillet till cooked through.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 500 or hottest temperature you can.
  4. Place pizza stone in oven to pre-heat.
  5. Flour parchment paper and flatten the dough on the parchment paper.
  6. Once pizza stone is heated, remove and place dough on stone. Add sauce. Add cooked meat. Top with cheese.
  7. Bake for 7-10 minutes. 

After watching the Craftsy video, I had to give making my own sauce a try as well.  It was as easy as he said and really good.  Feel free to tweak it - I did!!

Pizza Sauce
  • 1  28 oz can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tbsp Dried Basil
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  1. Pour crushed tomatoes into a pot.  Cook on medium heat.
  2. Add the dried ingredients. Stir. Taste test - okay on salt? Sugar? Pepper?  Basil?
  3. Cook for 25-30 minutes.  I continue tasting till it's done.  Maybe I just like the flavor? 
  4. Use an emulsion blender if you don't like chunky sauce, to give it a smoother texture.
What to you guys think?  It's really a fun dinner to make - especially if you have children who you want to get started in the kitchen.  Have them add the toppings!

What's your favorite kind of pizza?  I liked this one, but I am partial to Hawaiian as well as ones with chicken.

Have fun in the kitchen!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday's Menu: Week #4

Here's what's on tap in the Whitt household for this week.  Only a couple of "crazy days" this time around.  It's getting better!

Follow the links to the sites that gave me all these wonderful ideas!!

Sunday - Pepperoni Pizza (with homemade dough)

Monday - Memorial Day BBQ (burgers & dogs, salads and such)

Tuesday - Slowcooker Teriyaki Chicken
Image from

Wednesday - Chef Salad on a Stick
Image from

Thursday - Shepherd's Pie
Image from

Friday - Grilled Chicken Bacon Sliders
Image from

Saturday - Cheesy Ham Pasta Bake
Image from

What's up in your world this week?

Have fun in the kitchen!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The History of King Arthur Flour

This week I posted about my visit to King Arthur Flour and shared a yummy recipe that I made using their Baker's Cinnamon Filling (those YUMMY Cinnamon Buns) so I thought I'd finish out the "series" with a bit about the company.  The history lover in me HAD to share this video with you!  Kind of like a History Channel show. I enjoyed it and hope you do, too. 

Happy eats,

Saturday, May 25, 2013

How Sweet it is --> Sweet and Sour Chicken

Chinese take out is, undoubtedly, one of our family favorites.  Sweet and sour chicken,  "#31 w/chicken" is both of my daughters' standing order.  I ran across a recipe that sounded like it might fit the bill and we gave it a try.

I just want to say, for the record, that this is amazingly delicious and when you open the oven door to take it out you will swear you've got something right from a restaurant!

I've mentioned before I am a fan of the bags of frozen chicken tenders - here's another recipe using them.  I like them in part because I can use as many(or as few) as I need.  This was about 2/3 of a 2 pound bag.  It filled a 9" x 3" baking dish.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
1 cup corn starch
2 eggs
salt and pepper
olive oil

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup orange juice
4 tbsp ketchup
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp corn starch

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Beat eggs and pour into shallow bowl.  
  3. Pour 1 cup corn starch in a shallow bowl
  4. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces.
  5. Add oil to skillet and heat to medium.
  6. Dip chicken in corn starch and then egg.  Place in heated skillet.  Continue dipping each piece of chicken till skillet is filled.  Lightly brown one side and the flip and lightly brown the other side.  Do not cook all the way through.
  7. Transfer to greased 9" x 13" baking dish.  Continue till all chicken is battered and cooked.
  8. Add all sauce ingredients to a bowl.  Stir till well mixed.  Pour over the chicken and put in the oven to bake for about 50 minutes.  We finished it up at 450 for a few minutes to get it "crispy".
  9. Serve with rice.  
We kept a wee bit of the sauce aside and poured it over the hot chicken before serving.  Incredible. 
Need a rice recipe?  I've got you covered in the next few days!  Just let me get it typed up!


Friday, May 24, 2013

Homemade Cinnamon Buns

The smell of cinnamon wafting through the house.  The taste of buttery bun and gooey sugary cinnamon on your tongue.  Let's create some memories with this recipe! 

On one of my trips up to King Arthur Flour, I grabbed a bag of the Baker's Cinnamon Filling for cinnamon bread and buns.  I finally had a chance to use it to make some very tasty cinnamon rolls the other day.  Did I mention VERY tasty?  Warm, sticky, gooey tasty?  Maybe I did, but if not - they are!

I started with a recipe on the King Arthur Flour website called Carl's Cinnamon Rolls. This recipe made a few more than I needed, so I scrolled down the page to a reduced yield version that sounded a bit more like what I was looking for.

I tweaked the recipe a bit, so here it is:

Homemade Cinnamon Buns

1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup milk
4 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter 

optional: spray oil 

1 cup KAF Baker's Cinnamon Filling
3 tbsp water

1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon orange extract

1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
2. Dissolve the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in the lukewarm water and set aside.
3. Combine the rest of the dough ingredients in a large bowl and mix. Once it's combined, you need to knead the dough for about 5 minutes.  I like using my mixer with the dough hook. It's fun to watch! The dough should be smooth when you are done. 
4. Turn the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for 1 to 2 hours till increased in bulk.
5.  Once it's risen, roll out on a floured surface the size you want.  I filled my cutting board - so it was about 12" x 18".
6.  Make the cinnamon filling.  I purposely bought some of the KAF's Baker's filling for this purpose and have been dying to try it!  You mix 1 cup of mix with 3 tbsp water, stir and then spread on the dough.
7. Once it's covered, roll the dough into a log - starting at the long edge.  Pinch to seal the finished edges.
8.  Time to cut it - I cut the log in half, cut each of those halves in half and then each of those pieces in thirds to get 12 equal slices.  They were just over 1" thick.
9. Grease the pan you'll be using and then set the buns in it.  I sprayed them with coconut oil before putting them in the oven.
10. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
11. While they are baking, mix up the icing.  Taste test and adjust.
12. Remove the buns from the oven and drizzle with icing.  OMG... amazing!  

We found these fantastic day old if you just pop them in the microwave for 45-60 seconds and frost.  I didn't ice them when I first made them because we weren't eating them right away.  (I know, crazy, right?)

Here's a couple more images for you... if you NEED more convincing!
Here is the cinnamon mixture spread on the dough.

In the oven, ready to go!  This is a 9" x 13" baking pan.

Enjoy and let me know how yours come out!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ingredient Shopping and a Sandwich or Two: King Arthur Flour

If you follow my other blog, Whitt's Kits Fabrics & Crafts, you will have heard about our trip to King Arthur Flour in Norwich, VT.  We have a pretty busy schedule, to say the least, so I am all about combining trips to get the most out of the time I have.  Bri's girl's softball team had an away game in Hanover, NH and we literally drove by King Arthur Flour on our way.  It seemed to make sense to me...

They are open 360 days a year from 7:30 in the morning to 6 pm at night.  You will find them an online source for amazingly good ingredients and cooking tools, but they also have a fantastic flour you can buy at local groceries stores (at least here in New England) which is some of the best flour going.  On top of that, they have bakery/cafe where you can get a sandwich or treat (see below) and a cooking school offering a multitude of classes you can attend. 

I left Whitt out in the car with the iPad and headed inside.

Let me just say that not only is it a fun place for foodies, it's beautiful in an architectural way.  Pure Vermont at it's best.

A variety of fresh baked-on-site goodies...sigh...

Can you see the donut/bagel cutter on the right?  I am the proud owner of one!

Seriously?  2 pounds of baking chocolate?  What's not to love?

An entire section of "SECRET INGREDIENTS" - oh yes, we need these...

I wandered aimlessly with pure intent for about a half hour, up and down the aisles, perusing the many culinary offerings.  This trip I selected the following items to add to the pantry:

The aforementioned donut/bagel cutter; a scraper, 2 containers of critters to top cupcakes and a bag of baker's cinnamon filling mix (so I can whip up "Cinnabon-type" creations!  Oh, you'll see...).  I was a very happy girl for less than $20.

To keep the hubster happy, it was time to hit the cafe for a couple sandwiches we'd have for dinner after the game (rather than fast food, yah, baby!)  Bri is a roast beef kind of guy, so I got him the "roast beef with blue cheese aioli, slow-braised balsamic onions, and baby arugula".  He loved it!  Ladies, PULEEZE do NOT tell him the ailoi was blue cheese, let him just think it was flavorful with a little bite, okay?  He thought the arugula was a bit strong, but that it went well in the sandwich.

Me?  I went with what is going to be my new favorite chicken salad sandwich: Grilled Lemon Chicken Salad "with yogurt, lemon tarragon mayonnaise, raisins, and toasted almonds".  Let me see, what were the notes I wrote in Evernote while I was eating?  Oh, yes:
  • Wonderful hints of lemon - very light mayo/yogurt dressing. 
  • Nothing extra on the bread which allows the flavors to shine.  You might think it would be too dry, but it wasn't.
  • Bread is nutty and tasty - like the crisp, crusty edge;
  • Smattering of raisins and bits of almonds - great accent to the chicken.
  • Chicken was in nice small pieces, easy to chew.

Seriously, this sandwich was amazing!  I need to try to make some artisan bread and recreate the yogurt/lemon mayo.  I WILL be working on it and will let you know when I get it right!

While I was waiting for these, I wandered a bit more.  Loved this!  If I'd had someone with me (not in the car) you'd see me there!  Maybe next time...

Till next time, here's to great cooking and eating!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Nutri-Grain Bar Fail or Chocolate Fixes All

I was talking to friends yesterday and telling them about a pair of fails I made the day before.  They said they wanted to hear about it, as much as the delicious, successful recipes I do.  It's good to realize we all make mistakes.  Makes us feel human.  Let me tell you, I am WAY human... I make plenty of errors.  I also make some yummy things!  Here's a story about a couple that didn't go so well.


Shauna is home for the summer and I am trying to have good food available for my hardworking athlete.  She had requested, along with all the chicken I am buying and making, some fruit salad mixings and Nutri-Grain Bars.  I ASSURED her that I could most definitely make a healthier equivalent, and set about searching for recipes.

I wanted something as close (at least visually) to the processed product as I could.  After much time many hours searching I found what I thought was a do-able one at Domiciliary Artillary.  The recipe sounded great, looked good (she had actual photos of HER food) and I had all the ingredients, so I set about trying. 

I must have done something wrong.  Terribly wrong. I mixed it up and found it wasn't very dough like - it was much crumblier than I thought it should be.  Despite my apprehension, I formed two balls and set them in the frig overnight in hopes that an evening in there would improve them.

It did not.  When I took them out and began to "roll them" (let's use the word "roll" loosely here, okay?) they were WAY too crumbly and didn't faintly resemble the ones I saw.  Dang.. now what?  Well, I flattened them as much as I could, moved them (in pieces) to the baking dish, spread strawberry jam all over and then looked at it.

Wait!  There is one ingredient that might be able to rescue this to the point it would be edible, I hoped:  CHOCOLATE!  I proceeded to sprinkle chocolate chips over the jam and sat back to admire my work.  It looked acceptable, so I "rolled out" the second ball and did my best to cover the top with that.

The result LOOKS great!  I have to be honest, the girls around here (Shauna & I) both didn't like it.  It was way too dry and not what I was looking for.  Now here's the kicker, the 3 gentlemen who dine here occasionally (nightly for Whitt) all liked it.  Wow - really?  Waaaay to dry and not sweet enough for my taste.

Here it is:
Can you just SEE how dry it is???

Photography can do amazing things...

Doesn't it look good in this photo? It is a lesson in advertising: just looking good doesn't mean it tastes good.

I am going to go back to the drawing board on this one as soon as I get more of the ingredients I need.  I want them to be bars that we can hold, carry with us, eat in the car or out on the field.  This didn't work.  Blech!

Later that same morning (must have been in the air), I was trying a dessert recipe that was a HUGE fail.

This was supposed to be an amazing coffee walnut cake.  The recipe came from a fellow blogger in England.  That means that we had to convert the quantities and such.  This ISN'T where the problem came - Shauna converted everything just fine.  It was my highly honed reading skills that failed me.  I missed a couple of key words that created my biggest fail so far:

Do you see how flat this is?  The frosting was delicious (as you can see by the places the frosting was nibbled away?) but the cake?  Let's imagine a fruit cake with no fruit.  Yah...not so good.

The key words I missed: self-rising flour.  This is key because I didn't add anything to help it rise.  Nope.  Nothing.  The other word: castor sugar.  Seems that this is a very fine sugar.  What did I use?  Regular sugar.  Waaaaaaaaaa!  The result from these two mistakes was some not so good dessert!

Well, there you have it.  It's all a process, right?  I will redo both of these recipes because I think they would be doable.  Doable and probably pretty good!  We shall see... another day... when I have more butter...lots more butter...

Have you ever had a big fail in the kitchen? Tell us!  (You'll feel better!)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Beef Fajitas

After the delicious roast beef Sunday night, I needed to use up the left overs, but with the week being what it was, it had a be quick, easy and potentially portable.  Enter: beef fajitas.

Around here there is nothing hubby loves more than smelling onions and peppers sauteing in a skillet.  If you had asked me 30 years ago, I'd of said I WOULD NEVER COOK/EAT THEM.  Oh, how things change.

This is a super easy recipe and, as I said, fits our needs on this super crazy week.  I can stir fry it up, pop it in a container to keep it warm, bring along some soft tortilla shells and fill them as the hungry hoard is ready!  Tote along a small container of shredded cheese and they will all be happy.

Beef Fajitas

1 onion
1 pepper (or several smaller sweet peppers)
Leftover beef
olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
soft taco shells

  1. Heat olive oil, salt & pepper in a skillet.
  2. Slice onions and peppers and add to skillet.  Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Slice beef into strips and add to skillet.  Cook till meat is heated through.
  4. Warm taco shells in the microwave or use cold.
  5. Spoon mixture into each one and top with a bit of cheese each.
  6. Eat and enjoy!

Fajitas of any kind are a great way to stretch a small piece of meat, get in some veggies and mix it up.
Want some more ideas?  I found loads of ideas at All


Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Menu: Week at a Glance #3

It's so helpful to have a plan, that's all I have to say!  This week I did tweak things day to day, but it worked overall.  How about you?  Have you tried planning out your meals?  Does it seem to help?

This is a pretty crazy week of sports for multiple people this week.  Me?  I'm the driver and food provider, so all good.

I will continue to bring you ideas for the table - linking to wonderful recipes that I want to try, as well.  As my repertoire grows, more and more will be mine.  For now, it's a mix!  :)  Feel free to send me ideas you think I should try.

Sunday - Slow Roasted Beef

Monday - Beef Fajitas

Tuesday - Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken 

Wednesday -  BLT's

Thursday - California Veggie Wraps (with chicken California Chicken Veggie Wraps here!)

Friday - Dinner out (final regular season softball game - GO, Cougars!)

Saturday- Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

Phew!  It's going to be a crazy week... this plan should help!  We'll see!
Have a great day, all!