A few of my favorite things

Last year I decided to start a blog. My plan is to retire at 75 and do what I love. I thought of starting cooking classes, but that is a lot of physical work. Blogging was born. I must tell you, this is not easy. I am not as savy as I want to be. But I am not a quitter. My mindset is to learn something new everyday. Even though, there have been many challenges, this is such a trip! Learning that I can make money blogging, really peeked my interest. Advertising is one of the ways to make money. I want to let you know that I will always tell the truth. I promise that I will never advertise anything that I don’t like or use! So I have decided to share “a few of my favorite things.”

In January 2009, we traveled to Washington D.C. to a Saladmaster convention. We were involved in a international cooking competition. I was so excited and sick as a dog. It was a cold with extreme coughing. I tried all my go-to’s to get me better and nothing was working. We were all given goody bags at the airport. In the bag I found “Airborne” WP_20160611_16_11_18_ProWP_20160619_16_32_16_Pro I was so desperate, I decided to try it. I started to feel better and was able to not only compete with my team, WE WON! Now at the first sign of sniffles I take Airborne. I never leave home without it. This is something I recommend to everyone I meet. I pay between $5-$7 depending on where I get it.

At least once a month, I’m in Sam’s club for the “donut ministry”(also known as Hospitality). Every now and then I will pickup a roasted chicken ($4.99 and already cooked). One day I went in and they were giving samples of an Asian chopped salad.WP_20160610_17_46_11_ProNormally I don’t buy “kit food”, but I wanted to try it. It has become my favorite salad. The base is a coleslaw with cilantro, green onions, a yummy dressing (sesame ginger)and you top it with slivered almonds and Wonton noodles. I got hooked on the fact that everything is in the bag. This time,being a family of one, convenience trumps cost! I paid $2.58 for 3-4 servings and at Albertson’s the kit was $5.00 for 6 servings. The smaller bag is better for me, because the vegetables can wilt before I finish the bag.
A couple of years ago we went on a woman’s retreat and I fell in love with this electric kettle.WP_20160313_13_52_33_Pro (2)WP_20160619_16_37_11_ProMine is the first one and has a larger, capacity 1.7 liters. Yes, it is cord free when you lift it off the base. It heats the water in less than 5 minutes. This is perfect for a tea drinker like me, it’s fast and very convenient. Many recipes call for hot or boiling water and I have it quickly. This one I got at Costco for under $25.00 and I use it everyday.

This next item, I have used for years and it is always in my lunch kit as an emergency meal.WP_20160611_16_08_25_Pro After making the soup for dinner, I realized that it would be great for a quick lunch. The package makes 8 servings(1/4 C. dry,each) and I can measure a serving into a zip bag and add a little chicken bouillon(dry). I take it to work, pour into a cup, add boiling water, stir and cover. In 5 minutes it’s soup. When I make the whole bag, I add chopped broccoli, sauteed onions,chicken bouillon, boiling water and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Yes I could make it from scratch, but why? It’s a really good base and very easy to put together.This one I always get at Big Lots, it’s $3.00 a bag, one of the best prices in town. I have served it as a covered dish many times.

The last one is Gruyere cheese.WP_20160617_17_44_56_Pro I first tried this cheese in a recipe for French Onion soup. Whenever I try a new recipe, I always make it as written the first time. Once I know how it should taste, I have the freedom to tweek it. With the cheese, I always grate my cheese and store in a freezer bag. The benefit is, I can use less cheese and still get the flavor I’m looking for. One of the many things in my freezer(ready for me when I’m ready for it). It’s very tasty and slightly smokey. This cheese is not cheap, can be as much as $16 per pound, I found this half pound package at WalMart for $3.99. Much more to share, later.
Remember to Be Nice, Be Kind and Be of Service!
Pat G

Patty’s Fried Chicken

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This recipe comes from my mom and grandmother. In the old days we bought whole chickens and cut them into 8 or 10 pieces (cut the breast in half to make 10). Walter loved the breast and the rest of us love drumsticks. Because chicken parts go on sale often, I just buy the parts I want. The breast is great for salads, casseroles and soups, so whenever they go on sale, I’m buying. I always buy on the bone, with the skin on. The skin is really easy to take off and there is flavor in the bone. They go on sale at least once a month, for under $1 a pound.WP_20160520_11_45_57_ProWP_20160502_09_54_05_Pro
I always rinse the chicken with cold water, pat with paper towel. Next, I sprinkle the pieces with Paula Deen’s house seasoning; 1 C. kosher salt, ¼ C. ground black pepper & ¼ C. garlic powder. Just mix all the ingredients and store in a container with a shaker top. Be sure to label any special blends that you put together. The “House Seasoning “is what I use on most meats, it’s a great blend. You want to season at every step. In the old days we used paper bags, but now I use a gallon size zip bag for coating the chicken. In the zip bag, I put 1C. AP flour (I always buy all-purpose flour, because with a few ingredients I can make self-rising flour) 1T House Seasoning and 1t. Onion powder, shake up the bag to blend. Once the chicken is seasoned, start adding pieces to the flour to coat. Shake the pieces twice to make sure they are completely coated and set them aside. Prepare the skillet with at least 2” of oil and pre heat the pan on medium high (should take at least 8-10 minutes). You can test the temperature by sprinkling a pinch of flour in the oil, it will sizzle when ready. Slowly add the pieces, one at a time, away from you. Make sure that you don’t crowd the pan. There needs to be room to turn the pieces.WP_20160502_16_39_07_Pro (2) Cook the pieces for 15 minutes on the first side, they should be golden. Then turn on the other side and cook for another 10 minutes covered. Remove from the skillet and drain on layers of paper towel. Repeat the process until all the pieces are cooked.
To make the gravy, pour off most of the remaining oil, leave 1/4 C. and there will be drippings. WP_20160412_10_45_42_Pro (2)At a medium temperature, sprinkle in 1/4 C. of the seasoned flour and whisk to combine. As the gravy thickens, add hot water to thin it down.WP_20160412_10_59_50_Pro (2) You will notice a change in color as it cooks. It becomes lighter in color. Continue to cook for a few minutes to get rid of the taste of flour. WP_20160412_11_05_16_Pro (2)Taste to make sure the flavor is where you want it. Most times I add bouillon powder or cubes to kick up the flavor. Great on potatoes, rice or grits. Your gravy should be a little thinner than you want, because it will continue to thicken. The most important bit of advice I can give about cooking, is taste your food.

Remember to Be Nice, Be Kind and Be of Service!
Pat G