15 Minute Doughnut Holes

If you are anything like me and I can only assume you might be slightly since you are reading this? I see a recipe that sounds delicious so I either end up printing it or ripping it out of whatever I am looking at. However I do tend to steer clear of ones that look difficult; you know the ones that have the never ending list of ingredients and pages of steps.  I just don’t have the time or the energy to even attempt them.

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I am however not afraid to pick up an ingredient or two that is generally not on my shopping list. I purchased a jicama to try to make deviled eggs that I had at Coastal Flats in VA. I bought a Chinese cabbage to make dumplings. Just this week I bought some buttermilk to make a Texas Sheet cake (recipe 3/31/2014) The good news is I was able to make what I wanted; the bad news is what to do with the leftover ingredient? I hate to waste anything so I will either come up with or look for something I can make with it before it goes bad. I‘m pretty sure I passed the waste not thinking onto my husband; or maybe he came like that? He saw one lonely ripe banana on the counter this morning and made banana pancakes for us for breakfast.

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I am currently soaking some chicken thighs in some of the buttermilk, and I have a little left, OK I made sure I had enough left over to make some doughnut holes. I found a 15 minute doughnut-hole recipe online quite a while ago. They are easy and pretty damn good. I cut up the rest of the jicama added  some diced carrots and broccoli for a vegetable medley for dinner one night and the Chinese cabbage stays really well in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks in the veggie drawer. Cut off what you need at a time, it adds great crunch to a salad.

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15 Minute Doughnut Holes – it makes a couple dozen

1¼ cup AP flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

Whisk the above in a medium bowl

¼ cup milk

¼ cup buttermilk

¼ cup sugar

3 tbs melted butter

Whisk the above in a small bowl

Add wet to dry mixture just till combined

½ tbs – shape into a ball (try not to handle too much)

Place in the hot oil; fry to golden brown, turning over once – about 3-4 minutes

Vegetable oil for frying at 350’

Cinnamon and sugar for shaking

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken

6 Bone in skin on chicken thighs

Buttermilk to marinate

½ cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper

Soak chicken in buttermilk for several hours or overnight. Heat oil to 350’ dredge chicken in flour fry for 15-20 minutes turning once

Clam Chowdah – I am from New England – it’s legal

I was sitting at the island yesterday morning updating a couple of FB pages we have, my husband’s company website and scheduling some cooking classes when my husband decided he would love for me to make him some clam chowder. I didn’t have any clam juice or can’s of clams in my cupboard. which is kind of shocking to even me, especially since they would sit quite nicely next to the beans, mustard’s and San Marzano tomatoes among everything else I have in there. I guess I could change that.

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I probably don’t have anything clam related on hand because I personally don’t eat clams, I do tend to make other soups, that I also eat, more often than clam chowder but both my guys really like it. Even though they do comment that mine is “different” don’t get me wrong they love it, but it is definitely not as creamy white (I do use milk not cream) as the ones they get when they order out. And I don’t recall ever seeing thyme in any clam chowder they have ordered. Regardless I know they love it when they ask me to make it and make a special trip to the store to pick up the ingredients for it.

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Clam Chowder

4-6 slices of bacon

1 medium onion diced

2 sticks of celery diced

1 bulb minced garlic

½ cup water

2 cups milk

4 cups clam juice

4 tbs flour

3-4 potatoes peeled and diced

2 bay leaves

½ tsp thyme

Kosher salt

Freshly cracked pepper

2 Tbs (optional)

Cut bacon into a few pieces, brown in stock pot on medium heat. Remove bacon to paper towel to drain, reserve 2-4 tablespoons off the bacon grease.  Add diced onion and celery; saute on low until soft. Add garlic saute another minute. Add flour cook thoroughly, add water and clam juice slowly stirring until smooth, add thyme and bay leaves, season with salt and pepper, add diced potatoes and boil till tender 15-20 minutes.

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Side note if you want to thicken without or in addition to the flour/fat roux route and you have a potato ricer, you could peel a few potatoes and add them to the chowder, take them out and place them in the potato ricer, it will help thicken your soup/chowder

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Add clams, I tend to you use a combination of whole belly and chopped clams.  Add the milk and you can finish it off with a couple of tablespoons of butter.

Fried Calamari – easier than you think

A few years ago Calamari was another one of the things my son asked me to make that I had never made before. I am not sure if he is getting me back for making him try everything on his plate; which is still a rule in my house today. Or if he is testing to see if I can pull it off. Now that he is older I think he is having me test recipes to find the best one so he can make it someday. I’ve seen him more than once take my recipe binder and make a dish or two from my treasures.

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While he is the first to order it if it is on the menu while eating out; we all really enjoy eating calamari. We have made it a couple of times at home, the first time my daughter bought and cleaned it; while it was totally doable; it was kind of a pain to clean out all the bones and pretty messy. A couple of weeks ago I noticed a frozen package of cleaned calamari I immediately picked it up I figured why not try it out, if it was terrible I have no problem not eating or serving it. I have said more than once that if what I made was inedible takeout is only a phone call away. Thankfully I had not had to make any calls to date. Though I will definitely admit, some recipes have never been repeated or we discuss how to change it and make it more to our liking.

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Calamari can go from delicious to a rubbery mess in a matter of seconds.  While it requires a little TLC to make it delicious it really isn’t too difficult. Make sure the frying oil is at 350’ Make sure to soak the cleaned calamari in milk for a couple of hours before you are ready to cook them and only fry them for 1 to 2 minutes.


If you are going to clean your own pick up 6 medium or 8 small quid

Or pick up a package of frozen cleaned calamari – must be entirely thawed

Milk to cover

Vegetable oil for frying

1½ cups AP flour

1 tsp dried oregano

Kosher salt & fresh cracked black pepper

Lemon wedges for serving

Roasted garlic aioli

Make sure to clean the squid thoroughly, cut the bodies into ½ inch pieces, and trim the long pieces of tentacles. Place in a bowl and cover with milk. Set in the fridge for a couple of hours – at this time you’ll want to roast the garlic for your dipping aioli.

If using a deep fryer heat to 350’ or place 2 to 3 inches in a heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat until it reaches 350’ using a deep fry thermometer.

In a shallow dish place flour, oregano, and season well with salt and pepper; drain squid and dredge it in the seasoned flour. Working in batches, fry the squid in the hot oil until golden brown 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon; transfer fried squid to paper towels to drain. Serve with lemon wedges and aioli or whatever your favorite dipping sauce is.

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Roasted garlic aioli

1 cup of your favorite mayonnaise

3 cloves roasted garlic

Squeeze garlic onto a cutting board; add a pinch of salt and using the side of a knife work the salt into the garlic which will turn into a nice paste. Add it to the mayo and voila – a delicious dip.

Roasting Garlic

You can either roast a few pieces or a whole head. I suggest a whole head, if can be used to flavor many dishes. For one; roasted garlic mashed potatoes YUM! Clip off the top of the head of garlic leaving the head intact but remove some of the paper to expose the tip of the garlic, add a little olive oil 1-2 tablespoons and place in a tinfoil packet. In a 400’ oven place foil packet in a dish and roast for about an hour. Cooking time will depend on size of garlic so keep an eye on it.

Chicken White Wine, Tarragon and Cream – slow cooker

My mother-in-law mentioned the other day that she was looking for some crock-pot recipes, I noticed a slow cooker magazine at my local grocery store and I figured I would check it out and then give it to her. While looking at it I started marking pages; I can’t tell you how many times I see a recipe that looks awesome and make a note to try it later and never find it again. After marking like 7 pages I quickly came to the conclusion; I am going to have to buy her her own copy.

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Like most I don’t always have a ton of time in the morning so I planned on prepping both my dinner for the night and the crock-pot for the next day. If I have several dishes in mind I will always cut enough onions, peppers, garlic and potatoes and carrots or whatever I am going to use in multiple dishes all at the same time and just set aside per dish.  You already have the cutting board and knife out just keep going; you’ll be happy you did.

Though sometimes it doesn’t always work out quite like you planned; both dishes I was making asked for some dry white wine. I opened a bottle made the first dish, poured myself a glass, my husband walking by decided he wanted a glass, by the time I got around to making the meal for the slow cooker, yup I was out of wine and had to open another bottle. It was worth it, the chicken from the crock-pot was amazing. We didn’t save the leftover carrots and mushrooms but we did have a couple of chicken breast (they were large ones) they were so flavorful and moist, so much so my husband sent me a text on his lunch telling me how amazing his sandwich was. He just asked me what I was blogging about and told me to tell you that the chicken has a great flavor and he really likes it. He is so helpful wink wink.

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Chicken with White Wine, Tarragon and Cream (slow cooker revolution)

Serves 6 – cook on low 4-6 hours

4-6 bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts, trimmed salt and peppered

¼ cup olive oil

16 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved if small or quartered if large

2 onions minced

½ tsp dried minced thyme

4-6 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup flour

¾ cup dry white wine – I used chardonnay

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 pound carrots peeled, halved length wise and sliced about ½ inch thick

2 tbs soy sauce

2 bay leaves

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup minced fresh tarragon – (note) I used less because I am not a fan of black licorice but I would use it again in this dish

  • Pat chicken dry, season with salt and pepper. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken skin side down, do not crowd the pan. Repeat with remaining chicken. Set aside and let cool. Remove and discard the skin.
  • Add remaining oil, mushrooms, onions, thyme and some salt to the pan. Cover and cook till softened, about 10 minutes. Uncover continue to cook until the mushrooms are dry and browned about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stir in flour and cook for about a minute. Slowly whisk in the wine, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps. Transfer to slow cooker.
  • Stir in broth, carrots, soy sauce and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Place browned chicken along with the juices into the slow cooker.  Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4-6 hours on low. Any longer and you risk drying out the chicken
  • Transfer chicken and vegetables to a serving platter and tent loosely with foil. Let braising liquid settle for about 5 minutes; remove any excess fat from the surface. Discard bay leaves. Stir in cream and tarragon and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reserving 1-2 cups of sauce to serve with chicken pour the remaining over the chicken and veggies.

Soups on – Yummy Tomato Soup from my garden

I have had a garden every year for the last 25+ years.  Every year there is a crop or two that just does not do well; my tomatoes have never been one of them.  Though they seem to all come at the same time which is not ideal as who could possibly eat 30+ tomatoes before they go bad. I do give some away; I also freeze several bags. I tried making spaghetti sauce and canning it, it wasn’t my favorite and was quite time consuming.  This year I finally purchased a food mill; what a great invention; should have bought one years ago.

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The weather lately has been very cold and that screams a hot pot of soup.  I used my new purchase and made some pretty damn yummy tomato soup. Add some chives, thyme, basil or dill, sour cream, cheddar cheese, or goat cheese whatever your taste buds fancy.  Make some grilled cheese sandwiches and you have a wonderful meal.

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Tomato Soup

2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs. unsalted butter

1 large white onion, finely chopped

1 large clove garlic, peeled and smashed

2 Tbs. all-purpose flour

3 cups lower-salt chicken broth

5-6 large tomatoes peeled and seeded – a food mill accomplishes this best

Or use a 28-oz. can whole peeled plum tomatoes, pureed include the juice

1 ½ tsp. sugar

1 sprig fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a 5 or 6 quart Dutch oven, heat the oil and butter over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the onion a cook till soft, add garlic cook another minute. Add the flour and stir to coat the onion and garlic.

Add the broth, tomatoes, sugar, thyme, and ¼ tsp. each salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat while stirring, making sure the flour doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Cover and reduce heat to low, simmer 40 minutes.  If using sprig of thyme, remove.  Let it cool slightly and then puree in batches in a blender or food processor. Rinse the pot and return the soup; season with salt and pepper. Serve warm. Garnish as desired.

If you ever wondered what to do with the rind of your parmesan reggiano save them up in a plastic baggy in the fridge and you can add them to your soup while it is simmering. Remove before you puree.

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Crazy Chocolate Cake

I have been making this particular chocolate cake for as long as I can remember; at least since I was in middle school.

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I am not entirely sure where it came from but I believe it has been around for many many years.  If you are looking for a great recipe to teach a child try this one. It mixes easy in one bowl and is pretty forgiving.  The frosting is pretty simple as well.  The benefit is no box is necessary.

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If your house is anything like mine, any given night an impromptu dinner party can happen.  I am pretty sure the majority of people out there like a little something sweet to have after dinner. I believe it is always a good idea to have a few recipes in your back pocket for such an event.  It also helps if the recipe has everyday ingredients you probably already have on hand. It doesn’t take long to put together or bake.  I think the longest part of the process is waiting for it to cool. I know be impatient; I  have even served it slightly warm.

You know when you go to someones house for dinner and you are asked to bring the dessert.  Even though you are full everyone still wants to at least sample it. The host insists you bring the leftovers home.  Well I have not been asked to bring this one home.

This delicious cake meets all of the requirements I listed above; plus it travels well.


Crazy Chocolate Cake

Bake at 350’ for about 25-30 minutes – Cool completely before frosting

You can leave in the pan or remove and plate

1½ cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

3 Tbs cocoa

½ cup vegetable oil

1 Tbs vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup milk

Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Spray a 9×9 pan or similar.  This makes one small cake I tried doubling it but I didn’t care for the way it came out.  It is so easy to throw together if you want to make a layer cake just add ingredients to the same bowl.


Buttercream frosting

1 stick of softened butter

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

If too thick to spread add a dash or two of milk

In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients turn on the mixer on medium until all combined about 3 minutes.  You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Square the other cookie (Raspberry Squares)

There are a couple of types of bar cookies the typical chewy type like brownies and blondies.  Then there is a very nice alternative that is more like a pastry shortbread type that is tender, buttery and crumbly.

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Sometimes you want something sweet but you don’t have the time or patience to make individual cookies.  I will admit I do make more cookies than bars and I am not a fan of jelly filled anything but I found this raspberry bar recipe and fell in love.  I have made these many many times now, when I offer to bring them places I always double the batch just so I can leave some at home.  They are really easy to make, generally can be thrown together in about 15 minutes, not including baking I hope you try making them.  You can substitute the filling for whatever your preference is.

Raspberry Bars

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1¼ cups quick-cooking oats

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

½ cup finely chopped pecans or almonds, or a combination of both

12 tablespoons unsalted butter softened but still cool.  Cut into pieces

1 10oz jar of raspberry preserve


Easily doubled – which is how I generally make them

Preheat oven to 350’

Spray 9×9 pan fold two 16-inch pieces of parchment or aluminum foil. Fold and press the first sheet into the pan pressing the corners, with the second sheet crisscross over the other.  You will want to make sure the end over hang; this is to take the bars out of the pan a lot easier.  Spray with the sheets with cooking spray.

Mix the flour, oats, sugars, baking soda, salt, and nuts in a bowl of an electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds.  With the mixer on low, add the butter pieces; continue until the mixer is well blended and resembles wet sand; about 2 minutes.

Transfer two thirds of the oat mixer to the prepared pan; use your hands to press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake until the crust starts to brown, about 20 minutes.  Using a rubber spatula spread the preserves evenly over the baked oats; sprinkle the remaining oat mixture evenly over the preserves. Bake until the preserves bubble around the edges and the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 ½ hours. Remove the squares using the foil or parchment paper handles. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 1 ½ inch squares.