February 27, 2011

PW's Chicken Fried Steak

Dieter's - run!!!  What you are about to witness is fattening, flavorful, comfort food to the fullest.  The only downside is, it might clog your arteries.  But other than that, it's totally yummy. 

I recently bought the Pioneer Woman's cookbook.  I highly recommend it, unless you're dieting and then forget I said that.  I want to try every single recipe in the book. Seriously! This does remind me of my grandmothers cooking.  Everything in moderation right?

Begin by getting your assembly line ready, meat, egg/milk, flour/seasonings, empty plate.  You want to take your meat, dredge it in flour, then egg, then back to flour again.  This makes a nice thick coating.

I used about 1/4 to 1/2 C of oil for frying.  I think next time I'll try baking it.

Making gravy! I followed the directions exactly as written and I ended up adding salt, and onion powder - otherwise it tasted to oily for me.  I think next time I'll cut back on the oil and just use butter for the grease portion.

The coating on this was perfect.  Very flavorful, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  Using cube steak is perfect for this.  The nooks make it hold onto the coating and gravy so you get the perfect bite.

I'm going to list the recipe below just as I made it - not exactly like Pioneer Woman's Cookbook recipe.

1 1/2 lb cube steak
2 large eggs
3/4 C. milk plus 2 C. for the gravy
1 1/2 C. Flour
1 tsp. Seasoned Salt
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 C. Vegetable Oil for frying
Salt to taste
Onion Powder to taste

Get  your assembly line ready.  Meat, egg/milk, flour mixture, clean plate.  Begin by dredging the meat into the flour, then the egg, then back into the flour before putting it on the clean plate.  Get all your meat breaded before frying.
Next, heat the oil in a large skillet.  When you can drop a few sprinklings of flour into the oil and it fries instantly then it's ready.  Now cook three to four pieces at a time until the edges start to brown up.  When you can see that it's golden brown underneath, flip it over and cook for a couple minutes on the other side.
Place the cooked meat on a dish with a paper towel under it so the grease can drain off. Repeat until all the meat is cooked.  I was able to do it all in one batch since I used less meat than the original recipe.
After frying, drain off all the grease into a heat proof bowl.  Do not clean your pan.  Add about 1/4 cup of the oil back into the pan and allow to heat back up. Sprinkle 1/2 Cup of flour over the grease and use a whisk to mix together. Cook until the color turns golden brown. Now pour in the milk slowly, whisking as you add it. Generously season with Salt, Pepper and Onion Powder to taste and cook until it's the consistency you're looking for.  Now, pour over the fried steak and mashed potatoes. Enjoy!  Thank you Pioneer Woman!

I see that she's got this on her website now, find it here: PW's Chicken Fried Steak

February 20, 2011

Dr. Pepper Cake

Please don't laugh at my decorating skills.  I never claimed to be a cake decorator.  My friend Kristi is engaged and getting married in just a couple of weeks.  Last night we threw her a bachelorette party and this was her cake.  Why a Dr. Pepper cake?  Because I rarely ever see her without a Diet Dr. Pepper, that's why.  Oddly enough, this cake doesn't taste like Dr. Pepper at all, there is even Dr. Pepper in the frosting and you can't taste it there either.  The cake tastes like chocolate, sort of a very sweet mild chocolate flavor.  It was extremely moist and I got a lot of compliments on it.  It was unlike any cake I've made in the past, I'll explain why as we go.

Begin by creaming the sugar, butter and vanilla together.

Add the eggs one at a time.  Then add the other dry ingredients and the buttermilk - but not the marshmallows or Dr. Pepper.

Once the mixture is incorporated; stir in the Dr. Pepper.  Once this is blended add the marshmallows.

Pour the mixture into two well greased 9" cake pans, or a 9x13 inch pan.  Bake the round pans for about 35 minutes and the 9x13 inch pan for about 40-50 or until a toothpick comes out clean.

This is the part that was different for me than other cakes.  They didn't really mound up in the middle like I'm used to cakes doing.  They sort of stayed flat.  This made frosting them much easier but it also gave me un-necessary doubts about how it would taste.  As you can see above, the marshmallows are visible.  I let them cool for about 10 minutes in the pans, then inverted them onto cooling racks until they were cool enough to frost.

I used wax paper on the bottom of my cake stand so that when I frosted the cake, I could pull the wax paper away and the cake stand would still be clean. 

I turned both cakes upside-down to frost them since the bottoms were perfectly flat.  The frosting I used also had Dr. Pepper in it and tastes like a mild chocolate flavor.  You can't taste the Dr. Pepper at all.

I of course "decorated" mine for my friends soon-to-be wedding.  Feel free to draw stick figures on yours too.

I took pictures of the cake while I was at the party.  It was very moist and delicious.  I will make this again for sure!

Recipe is from Cooks.com

1 C. Butter
1 3/4 C. Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 Eggs
2 C. Flour
2 Tbsp Cocoa
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 C Buttermilk
1 1/2 C. Mini Marshmallows
1 C. Dr. Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients except Dr. Pepper and marshmallows.  Blend at low speed for 1 minute, then beat 1 minute at medium speed.  Add Dr. Pepper, blend well.  Stir in marshmallows.  Pour batter into greased 9x13 inch pan, or two 9 " round pans.  If using a 9x13 bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  If using the round pans check it at around 35 minutes.  If using the round pans, cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack.  Don't frost until the cake is cool.


1/2 C butter, softened
3 tsp. Cocoa
1/3 C. Dr. Pepper
4 C. powdered sugar
1 C Pecans, chopped (optional)

Combine all the ingredients except Pecans, beat until smooth.  Stir in the pecans (if you're using them).

February 16, 2011

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies

I really didn't know what to expect with this cookie.  Actually, I had it in my head that this was going to be sort of a healthier type of cookie since there are only four ingredients.  I might have just been trying to make myself feel better.  I've never had much luck with meringue in the past so I made these thinking I might have to just throw them out.  Boy was I pleasantly surprised.  They are wonderful.  Easy to make, and so very good.  Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.  But, the crispiness is different then other cookies, its like biting into a very thin layer, and then there being air underneath until you get to the bottom and then it's a nice chewy layer.  Trust me, they are so good.

You won't believe how easy this is.  Preheat your oven to 224.  Start with three egg whites, and some cream of tarter in a mixing bowl.

Whisk on medium speed until it's foamy. Then, turn the mixer to high and add the sugar one Tbsp at a time and mix until it's very glossy and stiff.  About 3 minutes.

Perfect, look how nice and shiny it is.

Add the chocolate chips (sky's the limit with things you could add here). Fold them in gently.

You'll want to make the cookies about two Tablespoons full.  I just mounded it up on a large spoon.

Make sure that you're cookie sheet is lined with parchment paper - these will stick!

Aren't they beautiful?  I can't believe I made meringue!

Bake for 75 to 90 minutes.  I baked mine for about 80 minutes, until they are dry and firm. Cool completely on the baking sheet.

I can't tell you how happy I was with these, they just need to be experienced by you personally.  Please let me know if you love them as much as I do!

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies - from Real Simple

3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 225° F.

With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium until foamy. Increase speed to high and gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue to beat until stiff and glossy, 2 to 3 minutes. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Drop mounds of the meringue mixture (each equal to 2 tablespoons) onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. Bake until firm and dry, 75 to 90 minutes. Cool completely on the baking sheets.

February 10, 2011

Easy Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

I think I may have mentioned in the past about my super picky eater.  Well, she loves macaroni and cheese BUT she will rarely eat my homemade versions.  One of the reasons is because I usually buy the white cheddar and she's got it in her head that macaroni and cheese should be orange.  I'm not sure what the other reasons are really.  I try my hardest to stay away from the boxed variety (which I personally like very much) in order to try to keep it sort of healthy.  I usually lose this battle. 

In an effort to find something she'll eat, I stumbled upon this recipe.  It's very basic, it's orange, it seemed just up her alley. I gave it a try, and the verdict is?  She didn't hate it.  It sort of reminds me of Stouffers frozen macaroni and cheese which I find yummy and she will eat it about 75% of the time.  So, I consider this a win!

Grate up 10 ounces of sharp cheddar.  Whatever color your child will eat.

Melt some butter, slowly add the flour and cook for about a minute.  Then add the salt and pepper and the milk and cook until thickened.

Pour the grated cheese into the thickened cream sauce and mix well.

It doesn't take long to melt, just keep whisking.

Pour the sauce over the cooked noodles and then stir it up.

At first it seemed like there was way to much sauce for the amount of noodles I made, but after letting it sit for a short period of time it absorbed into the noodles and became much like the consistency of Stouffers frozen variety.  Very creamy, yet mild and perfect for kids (adults too).  Try this for your picky eater and let me know if its a hit or not.

I found this recipe here: Easy Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

February 6, 2011

Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Yeast Bread

This was my very first attempt at a "swirl" of any kind.  As you can see from the photo above I didn't put enough cinnamon sugar down to make a very noticeable swirl.  Having said all that, this bread was super delicious!  You could totally taste the cinnamon sugar (even if you couldn't see it) and the pumpkin gave this bread a nice moist flavorful taste. Not to mention the wonderful color.

I read a blog called Tracey's Culinary Adventures; and that's where I saw this recipe.  I think the original recipe didn't call for the swirl part and Tracey added it because, well she's a genius. 

Give this a try, it's totally worth it.

This dough was really easy to put together.  You pretty much put all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix it before you even have to worry about letting it set.  This is different from the other yeast dough recipes I've made. 

As you can see above, I didn't take pictures of the whole mixing process because I'm sure you all can figure that part out.  I started taking pictures when I rolled the dough out to begin adding the cinnamon sugar mixture.

This process is after the dough has risen once. Now cut the dough in half, this recipe makes two loaves.

First, roll the dough out to about 9x18 inches.  Now you put melted butter on the dough, so the cinnamon sugar will stick.

See, not nearly enough cinnamon sugar.  Don't be like me, add lots more!

Now begin rolling the dough.  Once rolled, pinch the seams together and put it in a well greased 9x5 inch loaf pan.  You'll need two loaf pans.

Now cover each loaf pan with plastic wrap and let rise again until the loaf has risen past the height of the pan. 

As you can see, one of my loaves started to pull apart.  This didn't make one bit of difference to me but if you don't like it you can pinch it back together.

I put butter on the tops as soon as they came out of the oven but you don't have to.  Let cool before cutting.

I toasted mine and it was totally awesome.  I will be making this again!

Here is the recipe from Tracey's Culinary Adventures: Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Yeast Bread

February 4, 2011

Scentsy Winner

Congratulations Corrina, you're the winner!  I'll get in touch with you and you can decide which warmer and scent you'd like!  Thanks everyone for your entries!