Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.  The original recipe can be found over at Oh, Bite It!.

Robyn’s Take:

I don’t remember exactly how this recipe came to my attention, but in my notes I’ve mentioned Connie and Kelly. What I THINK happened is that months and months ago, Connie or Kelly posted the link to the recipe on Facebook with a suggestion that we give it a try, and then Kelly or Connie seconded that motion. So I added it to the list and now we’re finally getting around to it.

Amanda will extra love this recipe because it starts with a boxed cake mix and includes a jar of caramel sauce and frosting from a container.

Your ingredients:

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (1)

White cake mix, caramel sauce, white frosting, sour cream, and salt.

Step one, make the cake following the directions on the back, and then add in 1/2 cup of sour cream.

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (2)

Step two, eat some damn batter as you’re pouring it into your 9×13 baking pan. What would be the point of making a cake if you can’t eat some of the batter?

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (4)

Bake the cake according to the directions on the box.

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (3)
“I just keep this bag warm ’til the cake is ready.”

When the cake is done, let it cool. Then, using a fork, poke some holes in the cake. First I tried using a regular fork, but the cake kept apart where I’d poked the holes. So then I tried using a serving fork, and same thing. Finally, I decided that “fuck it” was the order of the day (“fuck it” is pretty much ALWAYS the order of the day around here), so I jabbed a bunch of holes in the cake and called it good enough.

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (5)

Dump half the jar of caramel sauce on top of the cake, and spread it evenly-ish across the top. Then let it sit for 5 minutes, to let the sauce sink in. Meanwhile, prepare your frosting.

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (6)

To prepare your frosting, dump the frosting into a bowl and mix it with the remaining caramel sauce.

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (7)

Frost the cake.

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (8)

Sprinkle your salt evenly over the top of the cake. The original recipe really didn’t give any guidance on this, but I can tell you that I used about 1/4 teaspoon of salt over the whole cake.

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (9)

Take a terrible picture of the cake.

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (10)

(Confession: that picture was actually taken after I’d put the cake in the fridge overnight. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been nearly as neatly cut. It’s a really soft cake, so if you’re insistent on getting pretty, neatly cut pieces of cake, you’re going to need to refrigerate that bad boy.)

The verdict? A resounding “meh.” I like caramel, and I REALLY like salted caramel, but this just didn’t do it for me. Fred rated it a “meh” as well, and I’m not going to make it again.

I do think that if I’d made a buttercream frosting from scratch and used that instead of that nasty canned shit (I’m a frosting snob, I admit it!), it would have been much improved. But I’m not going to bother experimenting, because life’s too short to fiddle around with a recipe that didn’t blow you away.

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Nance’s Take:

“This is my favorite cooking blog, because y’all hate what you make a good percentage of the time, and I like that. Well, that and I’ve been following you two on the internet since the days of coal-burning web browsers.” – Patrick

Ohhh, you don’t even want to know how pissed I am because I really wanted to prove to him that we don’t hate everything and now I’m screwed.  I hated this GOD DAMN CAKE so bad that there are not enough swear words on Urban Dictionary.com to describe it.

Caramel Shit Cake

Let’s start with this hot mess first. Why do I need to use motherfucking parchment paper?  That shit is expensive and I try to save it for jelly rolls and certain cookies.  Trying to press this into a cake pan was a freaking pain in my ass. And yes, I used the grease the pan first method. Still a pain in my ass.

Caramel Shit Cake

Cat was very interested. I did not care because I was still mad about that parchment paper.

Caramel Shit Cake

Julie decided it wasn’t worth her time and by the end of this hot mess I was wishing I followed her lead.

Caramel Shit Cake

I didn’t even bother with a mixer because my time is precious.

Caramel Shit Cake

I decided to use a big fork because I could and also because I wanted to make sure the holes were big enough for the caramel to go through.

Caramel Shit Cake

Action shot.

Caramel Shit Cake

Rick loves caramel better than chocolate so he was all about this cake. I was dubious because cake, caramel, and frosting are all so full of sugar that I thought this might be some serious goddamn overkill.

Caramel Shit Cake

I don’t know, man. I just don’t know.

Caramel Shit Cake

You could smell the fucking sugar.

Caramel Shit Cake

Artistic shot of the salted shit storm.

Caramel Shit Cake

Robyn’s going to shit, but I’m about to blow this motherfucker up.  This is exactly what I dislike about some food blogs. The enticing description, food styling and photography dazzle all of us so much that nobody ever thinks of the reality. The ingredients and photographs, combined with the blog entry, make for a beautiful looking dessert that everybody wants to make.  But the reality is that it’s so fucking sweet it makes your teeth hurt. The ingredients blend with one another so that all you have is a fork full of sugar mixed with a sugar syrup. Absolutely disgusting.

Everyone tried it, nobody would finish their piece, and the entire cake ended up in the garbage can. Total waste of food, money and time. There are times when people are selling you a dream that you need to wake the fuck up and realize that it’s bullshit. Bullshit, coated with more bullshit, and wrapped up in a pretty bullshit picture.

Beware of bullshit.

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
: Dessert
Cuisine: CAKE
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 box of White Cake mix
  • 1 - 12 oz. jar of caramel sauce (ice cream topping)
  • 1 - 16 oz container of vanilla frosting
  • ½ c. sour cream
  • salt for sprinkling (1/4 - ½ tsp)
Instructions
  1. Following the directions on the back of the cake mix, mix the batter and then stir in ½ c. sour cream. In a greased 9x13 baking dish, pour the batter and bake according to the directions.
  2. Let cake cool and then poke holes in it with a fork.
  3. Spread half of the caramel sauce evenly over the top of the cake. Let sit for 5 minutes while preparing frosting.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix frosting and the rest of the caramel sauce until well combined.
  5. Frost cake evenly with frosting, and then sprinkle about ¼ tsp of salt over the top.
  6. *This is a soft cake, so won't cut in neat slices - if neat slices are important to you (you weirdo), refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

 

Fried Green Beans – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Fried Green Beans. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post. The original recipe was found in the Cooking With Pryde cookbook by Pressley Ridge.

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe was one that Nance found in a cookbook, scanned, and sent to me for my approval. As is the way, when I got the scan, I thought “Oh, that’ll be neat to try”, and then when it actually came time to MAKE the recipe, I was all wailing and rending my garments, asking why why whyyyyyy Nance hates me so much. I mean, I know. I KNOW. It’s my own stupid fault for okaying the recipe, right? But seriously. Why do you think Nance hates me? Is she jealous because I’ve got so many cats, you think? I bet that’s totally it.

So, fried green beans. Fried. Green beans. I swear, I’ve fried more stuff since we started this site than in all my previous mumblety-six years combined.

Your ingredients:

Fried Green Beans (1)

2 lb fresh green beans (I ended up with 1 1/2 pounds, I think. There’s only the two of us, after all!), flour, eggs, milk, salt, baking powder, and oil.

Just a note – I was all ready to make these damn things, when I realized that the milk was 2 weeks past the expiration date. Yeah, apparently we don’t use milk all that much! But I’ve read – somewhere – that you can use evaporated milk in place of regular milk when you’re cooking or baking (I don’t think I’d eat it on my cereal or anything), and since I always have a can or two of that on hand, I decided to give it a try. I’m pleased to announce that it actually worked okay, so I’m going to keep that in mind for the future.

First, you cook your green beans in salted water. The recipe gave no guidelines (“cook beans in salted water” is all it says), so I’m telling you that I boiled my beans in salted water for 10 minutes so that they were cooked through, but not overdone. You can see that I threw the beans in the pot, then remembered I was supposed to salt the water, and just dumped some water in on top of the beans. I’m such a professional.

Fried Green Beans (2)

Alice snoopervised from her spot near the top of the kitchen cabinets.

Fried Green Beans (9)
“Why you never make anything tasty, lady?”

When the beans are done cooking, drain them and let them cool.

Fried Green Beans (3)

I let them cool for about 10 minutes, then I was impatient and unwilling to wait any longer because AS USUAL I’d waited until an hour before dinner to start making this shit, and WHY do I do this?!

Place the beans on a sheet of waxed paper (I used parchment paper; I’m sure I’ve got waxed paper around here somewhere, but I have no idea where the hell it is. You’d think “With the tin foil and plastic wrap” would be the correct answer, but NO.) and then cover with flour.

Fried Green Beans (4)

Fried Green Beans (5)

I used my hands to kind of roll the green beans around so they’d be coated on all sides.

In a large bowl, mix eggs, milk, baking powder, and salt; whisk together well. Take your floured beans and place in the bowl of egg mixture, then stir so that they’re well coated. I imagine this might work better if you do it in batches, but I did all the beans at the same time.

Fried Green Beans (6)

Fried Green Beans (7)

Heat an inch of oil in a skillet over med-high heat. When it’s hot, spoon beans into the oil and fry until browned. “Turning only once”, says the original recipe. Yeah, well, fuck that. I didn’t turn them at all. I just reached in with the (metal) spoon and stirred once or twice so that the beans wouldn’t stick together too badly.

Fried Green Beans (8)

It didn’t take them too long to cook, and then I put them on a thick layer of paper towels to drain. I think it took about three batches to get all the beans done.

Fried Green Beans (10)

The verdict? NOPE. I mean, they weren’t BAD, but nothing to write home about, nothing I want to have again, and WAY too much of a pain in the ass. NO THANK YOU.

***************************************

Nance’s Take:

Our family grew our own food and that’s probably the reason I can’t be bothered with gardening to this day. I’m over the whole becoming one with nature bullshit. That dream died as a child when I was snapping bushels of motherfucking green beans while trying to avoid that little yellow bug that lurked on them. We canned the green beans (oh, the joy of washing jars in scalding hot water) and fried them in lard.  Full disclosure: I do not appreciate fresh green beans.

Fried Green Beans

Since this was a new recipe I decided to buy a bag of what appeared to be fresh beans. I’m suspicious of any green bean that isn’t limp and has a color that resembles camouflage hunting pants.

Fried Green Beans

The color of these green beans looks fake. More full disclosure: I was also making dinner (another new recipe coming soon) and my mother was finishing up the batch of homemade pierogies we had started that afternoon. What does this all mean?  My kitchen was in chaos when I made these stupid green beans.

Fried Green Beans

The recipe called for 2 pounds of green beans. I had exactly 14 ounces.  I realized my error after I had already dumped the full 2 cups of flour on the damn things.

Fried Green Beans

This part really pissed me off because how in the hell was I suppose to stop that baking powder from clumping? I have the same problem when I make French toast and add flour to the eggs/milk. This kind of shit annoys me and if anybody has any idea how to do this, please tell me your secret.

Fried Green Beans

The first green bean goes in. You can see to your left where I had another burner lit up for something else I was making. I was in A.D.D hell.

Fried Green Beans

WTF?  It looks like a worm.

Fried Green Beans

I got fed up and put a bunch of them in the oil because I don’t have all day, beans! Note the oil that’s splattered everywhere – I was getting really cranky.

Fried Green Beans

At this point I had my mom, Rick, The Beagle, Sadie, Waldo, Julie and Felina all up in my kitchen business. Trey came down to nebshit, but I told him to get the hell out of my way so he went back upstairs to his bedroom. He’s a smart young man.

Fried Green Beans

I had better luck with those freaking corn dogs and y’all know what a disaster that was! Just look at that greasy mess of rubbery vegetable-tasting shit.

Fried Green Beans

This is a grocery bag full of floured green beans. We each tried one, hated them, and agreed wholeheartedly to pitch the rest in the garbage.

Fried Green Beans

But wait! A few brave souls tried the beans and actually liked them.

Fried Green Beans

The Beagle finished the fried ones off with a little help from The Chihuahua (aka: Felina/FiFi). And now we know who the freaks in the family really are.

This is definitely a recipe that I’ll never make again.

Fried Green Beans - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
: Side dish
Cuisine: Fried!
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 lb fresh green beans
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. milk
  • salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • oil (Robyn used Canola oil)
Instructions
  1. Clip ends of green beans.
  2. Cook beans in salted water for about 10 minutes. Drain and let cool.
  3. Place beans on wax or parchment paper and cover with flour (use your hands to roll the beans around so that they're evenly coated).
  4. In a large bowl, beat eggs and add milk, baking powder and 1 tsp salt.
  5. Take floured beans and place in bowl with egg mixture. Coat beans completely.
  6. Fill skillet with 1 inch of oil. Heat on medium/high heat.
  7. Spoon large spoonsful of bean mixture into hot oil. Fry until browned - turning only once (ha) or using a spoon to stir the beans so they don't stick together too badly.
  8. Life out onto paper towel and drain. Salt, if desired.

 

Chicken Dumpling Casserole

The tandem post will be up later this week. To tide you over ’til then, I’m posting the recipe for Chicken Dumpling Casserole, which was submitted by reader Elaine. She said that if her son had his way, she’d make this three times a week, and he’d have the leftovers the other four days. Nance wasn’t up for giving this one a try, so I went it alone!

The original recipe came from The Shady Porch; adapted recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.

The ingredients:

Chicken Dumpling Casserole (1)

The recipe calls for 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, boiled and shredded. I opted, instead, to boil a whole (small) chicken, then debone it and shred it. I think I ended up with about the right amount of chicken. Other ingredients are chicken stock (from boiling the chicken – if you use canned chicken or a rotisserie chicken, you can use canned broth instead), a stick of butter, Bisquick (or self-rising flour), 2% milk (I suspect that skim milk would have worked okay, too), cream of chicken soup (the original recipe highly recommends the herbed cream of chicken soup; I only had the regular kind on hand), instant bouillon (or cubes), sage, salt, and pepper.

In a 9×13 casserole dish, melt 1 stick of butter. I did this by throwing the butter in the baking dish, and sticking it in the preheating oven ’til the butter was melted.

Chicken Dumpling Casserole (2) Chicken Dumpling Casserole (4)

Spread your shredded chicken over the butter. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and sage over this layer.

Chicken Dumpling Casserole (5)

Mix your Bisquick (or self-rising flour) and milk together in a small bowl, and slowly pour over the chicken.

Chicken Dumpling Casserole (7)

Chicken Dumpling Casserole (8)

In a medium bowl, whisk together chicken stock (strain it first, if you need to), chicken granules/bouillon, and soup. Once blended, slowly pour it over the Bisquick layer.

Chicken Dumpling Casserole (9)

DO NOT STIR THIS TOGETHER, MUCH AS YOU MIGHT BE TEMPTED TO.

Bake ’til the top is golden brown, 50 – 60 minutes.

Chicken Dumpling Casserole (11)

Chicken Dumpling Casserole (10)

The verdict? Man, this stuff is GOOD. I liked it a lot, and Fred liked it even more. The sauce reminded me very very much of the sauce in a frozen chicken pot pie, so I initially told Fred that next time, I should add a layer of vegetables. But to be honest, we both liked this so much as is, that I fear adding a layer of veggies wouldn’t be as good.

This is absolutely going into regular rotation. The only change I might (I say MIGHT) try next time would be to maybe take the butter down to 1/2 stick instead of a whole stick.

Thanks for the submission, Elaine!

Chicken Dumpling Casserole
 
Original Source/Author:
: Entree
Cuisine: Southern!
Ingredients
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, boiled and shredded (alternately, you could use the meat from a rotisserie chicken or canned chicken; I boiled and deboned a whole (small) chicken)
  • 2 c. chicken stock (from boiling the breasts, or from a can)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 c. Bisquick or self-rising flour
  • 2 c. milk (I used 2%, but am sure that skim or whole would work as well)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 3 t. chicken bouillon granules or 3 bouillon cubes
  • ½ t. dried sage
  • 1 t. black pepper
  • salt, as desired
Instructions
  1. Place boneless, skinless chicken breasts in sauce pan with enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat; cover your pot and let sit for 10 - 15 minutes to finish cooking. Remove from stock (reserve stock) and allow to cool, then shred the chicken.
  2. (Alternately, use the meat from a rotisserie chicken, canned chicken, or boil a small whole chicken.)
  3. ------------------------
  4. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  5. In 9x13 casserole dish, melt 1 stick of butter (place butter in baking dish and place in preheating oven until butter is melted.)
  6. Spread shredded chicken over butter. Sprinkle black pepper, salt, and dried sage over this layer. (If you want to make a pot pie, add a layer of vegetables over your chicken.)
  7. In a small bowl, mix milk and Bisquick/self-rising flour. Slowly pour over chicken.
  8. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 c. chicken stock (strain it first, if you need to), chicken bouillon granules/cubes, and soup. Once blended, slowly pour over the Bisquick layer.
  9. Bake time varies; bake until the top is golden brown, 50 - 60 minutes.
Notes
Notes from Elaine (who submitted the recipe):
I use black pepper and poultry seasoning on the chicken before I add the flour/milk layer.
I use the Better than Bouillon chicken base that I buy at Costco. Lower in sodium and I think it has more chicken flavor.

 

Deep-Dish Pepperoni Pizza – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Deep-Dish Pepperoni Pizza. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.  The original recipe came from a cookbook Nance found somewhere (hopefully she’ll provide the info on that).

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe is one that Nance found in an old cookbook, scanned in, and sent to me for approval. I didn’t even have to check with Fred on this one – I had no doubt that he’d want to give it a try, because he’s a pizza lover. The ingredients:

DeepDishPizza (1)

A packet of yeast, olive oil, sugar (I don’t know why it looks like so much sugar, it’s only 1 teaspoon!), salt, all-purpose and whole wheat flours, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni. The original recipe called for tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and garlic powder, so you could make your own pizza sauce. I had a jar of Pizza Quick sauce in the cupboard, though, so that’s what I used. If I’d had a jar of Shirley’s Pizza Sauce, I’d have used that, but I was all out. SAD FACE.

In a medium bowl, combine the yeast and warm water and let it sit ’til the yeast is foamy. I wandered off for about five minutes.

DeepDishPizza (2)

Mix the oil, sugar and salt into the yeast; then add both flours and then either stir ’til a soft dough forms or until you’re tired of stirring, whichever comes first.

DeepDishPizza (3)

Dump the whole shebang out onto a lightly floured surface.

DeepDishPizza (4)

Knead 10 times, at which point you should have a cohesive dough. Put it in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top of the dough.

DeepDishPizza (5)

Cover with a damp cloth and then put in a warm place for 20 minutes or until the dough rises to double in size. Then punch the dough down so that it deflates. If you’re very lucky, the dough might make a farty sound for you, so you can giggle like a 12 year old boy.

DeepDishPizza (6)

(My dough didn’t fart. HMPH.)

The directions said to use a 9-inch cake pan for this – I don’t have a 9-inch cake pan (well, at least not a round one), so I used a pie plate instead. Press the dough in the bottom and up the sides.

DeepDishPizza (7)

Bake until lightly golden brown, 8 – 10 minutes.

DeepDishPizza (8)

Sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella on the baked dough. Then, if you’re using a prepared pizza sauce, dump that in. If you’re not, then mix your tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and garlic powder together and dump it in.

DeepDishPizza (9)

Top that with half your pepperoni, sprinkle with a cup of cheese, top THAT with the rest of your pepperoni, and then sprinkle the rest of your mozzarella on top.

DeepDishPizza (10) DeepDishPizza (11)

Bake it!

DeepDishPizza (12)

Let it cool for a few minutes, and then eat it!

DeepDishPizza (13)

The verdict? It was DAMN good. Fred’s not usually a fan of deep dish pizza (he prefers thin crust), but he liked it a lot, and suggested that we have it again in the future, very soon. Next time I make it, I’ll use more toppings (mushroom, onion, maybe some green peppers for Fred). Two thumbs up to the deep dish pizza – Nance picked another winner! I have no cat, kitten, dog, or chicken pics for you this week because I’m a slacker, so let’s take a look back at one of my favorite pictures – Chef Tony who, after spending a month at Petsmart, finally got his silly self adopted last Thursday. ABOUT DAMN TIME.

Pierogie Casserole (14)

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Nance’s Take:

Copyright and Source Giordanos.com

Source: Giordanos.com I have never had a stuffed crust pizza. Last year Cheyenne (my son’s fiance) and I were going to ride a train to Chicago to try Giordano’s stuffed crust pizza.  The trip was postponed, but I still had pizza-on-the-brain when I saw this recipe.

Deep Dish Pizza

I used my handy-dandy yeast measuring spoon for this recipe.  I bought it a while back because I buy my yeast in bulk.  The spoon is equivalent to the amount in one standard yeast envelope.

Deep Dish Pizza

Please don’t mind the huge copyright mark – I have no idea what I was doing and I wasn’t going back to fix it. Meanwhile this is an action shot of olive oil.  I’m sure you’re impressed.

Deep Dish Pizza

I didn’t get a picture of the proofed yeast, but you can sorta see it around the flour mound.  When it get’s bubbly like that it’s proofed (which in normal language means it’s ready to be used).  The bowl that I’m using is spectacular. They’re KitchenAid Mixing Bowls and they have a handle on the side (of course I didn’t get a picture of it) that makes it easy to use.  It also has a special texture on the inside that allows the bowl to be easily scraped clean.  I got mine at Marshall’s on clearance thinking they would be okay for cake mixes and now I use them for everything.

Deep Dish Pizza

I was horrified to see this because OHHELLNO.  This is when I took the spoon out and went all in WITH MY HANDS.  I absolutely hate to have my hands in any kind of food like this, but sometimes they are the best tools and you have no choice.

Deep Dish Pizza

Don’t ask.  Just know that I kneaded that bitch while trying to take a photograph. And yes, I do have a tripod.  I just don’t use it.

Deep Dish Pizza

I don’t grease the bowl for pizza dough.  I put oil in the bottom of the bowl…

Deep Dish Pizza

And rub my pizza dough in it and then flip it over and do the same.  The pizza dough is covered, but the bowl is not.   What the hell do I know about making pizza?   Just do it any old way you want to do it.  I’m not the boss of you.

Deep Dish Pizza

I went ahead and used the sauce that the recipe called for and we all thought it was really good.

Deep Dish Pizza

You can tell that Rick wasn’t here by the looks of my dough.  Had he been in the kitchen this shit would have been pretty.  I cannot make a pretty anything when it comes to cooking.  Hell, I’m doing good to make edible.

Deep Dish Pizza

My dough is pre-baked per the recipe and I put the cheese on the bottom.  Did I mention that I doubled this recipe? We were ALL home and hungry.  I was a little nervous about the amount of sauce it called for, but I was determined to stick to the recipe.

Deep Dish Pizza

Ready to go into the oven.

Deep Dish Pizza

This is what came out of the oven.  The one on the right has onions, peppers and ground beef.  The one on the left was made from the recipe.

Deep Dish Pizza

If you have ever made a lasagna, you know that you should let it set for a few minutes after it comes out of the oven. The same thing applies here, but everyone was hungry and I didn’t wait.  Can you say Regret?

Deep Dish Pizza

Jesus H.  This is what happens when people cannot wait.

Deep Dish Pizza

This is me trying to get the rest of the filling out for the one slice that we just had to cut immediately.  For shits and giggles go ahead and scroll back up to the first picture and compare.

Deep Dish Pizza

This is the slice that had the hamburger, onions, and peppers in it.  The pizza was pretty good, but I don’t know if I’ll go through all that hassle to make it again (probably not).  I will, however, be using the sauce recipe because we all really liked it. I believe this is a sorry substitute for a real deep-dish pizza from Chicago so I think I’m just going to wait until I can try the real thing.

Deep-Dish Pepperoni Pizza - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
: Entree, Snack
Cuisine: Pizzaaaaaaaaaa
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • ½ c. whole wheat flour
  • ¾ c. tomato sauce, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, ½ tsp garlic powder OR canned pizza sauce
  • 2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 oz sliced pepperoni
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Lightly spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine the yeast and ½ c. warm water (105ºF - 115ºF) in a medium bowl until the yeast is dissolved and foamy.
  3. Add the oil, sugar and salt. Mix well.
  4. Add the all-purpose and whole wheat flours.
  5. Stir until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a floured work surface. Knead 10 times until you have a cohesive dough. Place the dough into a greased bowl, turning to grease the top of the dough.
  6. Cover bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough rise in a warm place until almost double in size, about 20 minutes. Punch the dough down.
  7. Press the dough into the bottom and up the side of the prepared pan, pinching any holes to seal, if necessary. Bake until lightly golden, 8 - 10 minutes.
  8. Combine the tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and garlic powder in a small bowl. (Alternately, you can use canned pizza sauce instead)
  9. Sprinkle ½ c. mozzarella over the baked crust. Pour the tomato sauce mixture over the cheese. Place 2 oz. pepperoni evenly over the sauce.
  10. Sprinkle with 1 c. cheese. Arrange the remaining pepperoni over the cheese. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  11. Bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  12. Let cool for a few minutes and then serve.

 

Sandy’s Taco Dip – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Sandy’s Taco Dip, submitted by reader Jennifer Arnold. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe was submitted by reader Jennifer Arnold, several months ago (according to the time stamp on my email, she submitted it back in August!) It was initially scheduled for us to make sometime in February, but Nance suggested that it would make more sense for us to make it this week, what with the Superbowl coming up. And she was right!

(As an aside, don’t forget that last year we made Stuffed Cheesy Bread on Crack, which is also an excellent Superbowl-type dish. When it comes to the Superbowl, we’ve got you COVERED, yo.)

Right off the bat, I loved how this recipe didn’t require a bunch of different ingredients.

Sandys Taco Dip (1)

Ground beef, taco seasoning, cream cheese, shredded cheese, salsa. That’s it!

Brown your ground beef in a large skillet.

Sandys Taco Dip (2)

While that’s going on, spread your (softened) cream cheese in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.

Sandys Taco Dip (3)

It totally looks like a thick layer of buttercream frosting, doesn’t it? YUM.

Once your ground beef is done browning, drain it, then follow the instructions on the taco seasoning packet – which is pretty much always going to be to add water to the browned ground beef, then let it simmer for 3 or 4 minutes. I didn’t take a picture of this part, so you’ll have to use your imagination.

Layer your taco meat on top of the cream cheese.

Sandys Taco Dip (4)

In retrospect (and looking at this picture), I wish I’d let the liquid completely simmer away before I did this, but oh well. It worked out anyway – there was plenty of liquid in the salsa, so it’s not like this was going to be a dry food.

Layer the entire jar of salsa over the top of the taco meat.

Sandys Taco Dip (5)

Then sprinkle your cheese over the top.

Sandys Taco Dip (6)

Bake until the whole thing is bubbly – I took mine out of the oven at 12 minutes, but I think it would have been fine to go to 15.

After you take it out of the oven, let it cool for a couple of minutes before digging in with the tortilla chips.

Sandys Taco Dip (7)

The verdict? This stuff was GOOD. I actually ate a ton of it with tortilla chips, and then ate some more over angel hair – I know, it sounds weird. It was lunch time, and nothing in the fridge looked good to me, so it was Angel Hair Taco Dip for me.

Fred liked it even more than I did – though he thought it had too much cream cheese, and he ended up putting some in a bowl, adding more salsa, and stirring it all together before eating it with tortilla chips.

I know there are a ton of taco dip recipes on the internet (I looked!), but most of them are kind of fussy, with the shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes and chopped olives. This recipe right here is super simple, goes together quickly – and really, who are you trying to impress? If you’re making this stuff for a Superbowl party, you’re talking about a bunch of ingrates who’ll drink all your beer and wine and get into fistfights over some game-related nonsense. Don’t go overboard for those assholes.

Sandys Taco Dip (8)
Chefan is once again unhappy with me; since there’s onion in this (from the salsa), he can’t have any. WOE.

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Have a recipe you want us to make? Check out this page (there’s also a link to that page up there under the banner) and follow the instructions to submit a recipe!

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Nance’s Take:

I asked Robyn to tweak our recipe schedule so we would be doing this one before the Super Bowl because you never know when someone is planning a Super Bowl party, right?  Go Seahawks!  LOB (Legions of BOOM).  Yeah, trust me when I say it’s going to be tense up in here because Shirley’s rooting for Denver. We’re gonna need food to keep our shit-talkin’ mouths busy!

This is a Facebook conversation I had with my oldest son. Barring the salty language, the implication is true. He’s basing it off of our last get-together in which we all heckled the Golden Globe Awards. Our gatherings are small and LOUD. Robyn can testify to The Crazy that is my family, but we always have food and a good time so there’s that. Unfortunately, work schedules didn’t allow for a Grammy Awards party, but I still made the dip.

Taco Dip

When I decide to make something I want to do it right that minute (dammit). The ground beef being in the freezer caused a bit of a dilemma.  Thank God my microwave has an express defrost button.

Taco Dip

The Beagle does not appreciate the fact that I am ruining her chances of eating ground beef by putting taco seasonings in it.

Taco Dip

The microwave also has a soften button which saved my ass when it came time for the cream cheese. If only it had a dust my house button.

By the way, I halved this recipe.

Taco Dip

This is where I start to wonder if Rick is going to even try this stuff because he doesn’t like cream cheese.  And now you know why I halved this recipe.

Taco Dip

Awkward action shot. Salsa! Tequila! Whoops! Just Salsa!

Taco Dip

I just noticed that there are two (2) copyright notices on these pictures. Better not try to lift my prints, yo. There’s a pretty good chance that I have listened to way too much rap music today, but you probably already figured that out.

Taco Dip

The cheese. Probably way more than the recipe called for.  But if you think I’m ever going to worry about having too much cheese, you are SO WRONG because cheese IS LIFE (unless you are no longer eating cheese – and if you get that reference my husband will think you’re the shits). Although I really don’t like pre-shredded bagged cheese because check out that shit that’s coating it. Anti-clumping stuff…blech, I hate that.

Taco Dip

I very specifically told Rick that this was done when the cheese was bubbling. That cheese was not done when he took it out of the oven. And HE took this picture since I was too busy doing running commentary on The Grammy Awards so everyone on my Facebook would know my thoughts on Robin Thicke (love the song, hate that leeeeeezure suit wearin’ douchebag).

Anyway…

This dip was so easy to make and we thought it was fabulous. Definitely a keeper!

Sandy's Taco Dip - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Original Source/Author:
: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Mexican, of course. DUH.
Serves: 12?
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 pkt taco seasoning
  • 3 (8 oz) pks cream cheese (left out to soften for an hour or so)
  • 8 oz shredded cheese (Taco/Mexican blend adds more flavor)
  • 15.5 oz jar salsa
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Spread softened cream cheese in a 9x13" pan.
  3. Brown ground beef; drain and then prepare according to the directions on the taco seasoning packet. Spread over the layer of cream cheese.
  4. Layer salsa over the taco meat.
  5. Sprinkle shredded cheese over it all.
  6. Bake until bubbly; 12 - 15 minutes.

 

Chinese Sweet and Sour Cabbage – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Heads-up:  In the interest of full-disclosure this recipe came from a book that I found at a thrift store.  I like recipes that don’t force me to lose my mind trying to track down special ingredients.  And I don’t like recipes that use a bunch of difficult or time-consuming steps. I just want to try new recipes and make food that I think my family will enjoy. Thankfully, Robyn feels the same way so we’re going to switch the recipes up a bit and see how it all plays out.  

I’ve been scanning recipes and sending them to Robyn for her approval (like she’s the boss of me) and we’re hoping to bring more relatable recipes to the site.  We still want your recipe submissions, but please keep in mind that we’re not guinea pigs and we’re really not pretentious food bloggers.  Ain’t nobody got time for recipes that takes 15 different ingredients and 8 hours in the kitchen before it can be served.  -nance

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Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Chinese Sweet and Sour Cabbage from the Cooking With Pryde cookbook by Pressley Ridge. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe was one that Nance found in a cookbook and I am ALL about the Chinese food (AS YOU KNOW) and I love cabbage, so I couldn’t wait to try this. Fred, being all clueless-like, said “I don’t see what’s particularly Chinese about it”, so I pointed out the vinegar. I mean, DUH.

Your ingredients:

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (1)

Bacon, brown sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, cabbage. Not shown: water, and chopped onion (because I didn’t notice the onion listed in the recipe the first 30 times I looked it over.)

I used store-bought bacon for this recipe because generally when a recipe calls for bacon, it’s expecting the smokey flavor of cured bacon. We don’t cure the bacon from the pigs we raise (because I think uncured bacon is THE BOMB), so I keep bacon in the freezer for just such an occasion.

First step: brown your bacon. I made my bacon in the oven, like such.

While the bacon was baking, I shredded my cabbage in the food processor.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (2)

And then I chopped up an onion, because I realized the recipe called for it. The recipe calls for 2 Tablespoons of chopped onion, but my small chopped onion added up to 3 Tablespoons, so I threw it all in because I am SUCH a rebel. No use in wasting perfectly good chopped onion. (I don’t actually throw extra chopped onion away; I have a bag of it in the freezer, and if I have more chopped onion than I need, I toss the leftovers in the bag.)

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (3)

When the bacon is done, drain it on paper towels and let it cool.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (4)

I’m only mentioning this because I KNOW HOW Y’ALL ARE, and SOMEONE will notice – the recipe calls for 6 slices of bacon, but I had 8 in the freezer so used them all. Shut up, they were small pieces!

Measure out 3 Tablespoons of bacon grease, and put them in a medium pan. Or, if you fried your bacon on top of the stove, use that skillet. Try not to slip on the grease that splattered all over your floor because you were too hoity-toity to fire up the oven to make bacon.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (5)

Look at that lone tiny piece of bacon, swimming in a sea of bacon grease. Yummmm.

Toss your onions, sugar, cornstarch, water and vinegar in the skillet. Cook over medium heat “until it is thick and clear”, according to the original directions. What I did was simmer it for about 10 minutes, until it looked syrupy to me.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (8)

While that was going on, I crumbled up my bacon.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (11)
The kitchen troll was played by Loony Jake this week. Loony Jake was pretty excited about the bacon portion of the recipe, but REALLY annoyed that once again I was making something with onion in it, which meant he couldn’t have any. SUCKS TO BE YOU, Loony Jake.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (7)

Remove the syrupy dressing from the heat, and let cool. I let it cool for about 5 minutes, and since the original recipe didn’t say exactly when to add the crumbled pieces of bacon, I just stirred it right into the dressing.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (9)

Then dumped it over the shredded cabbage.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (10)

Mixed it together well, put a cover on top of the container, and put it in the fridge. You’re supposed to let it sit for at least 2 hours before eating it, but I ate a spoonful before I put it in the fridge, and really liked it.

Two hours later, I liked it even more.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (12)

This recipe gets two thumbs up from me, and two thumbs up from Fred. We both liked it a lot (Fred said “It’s kinda like sweet coleslaw”), and the chickens aren’t getting any of it. I’m definitely making this again. Good choice, Nance!

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Nance’s Take:

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

The Beagle is only here because she smells bacon.

I have no idea what made me pick this recipe because I do NOT like anything with fresh cabbage in it.  That shit needs to be cooked (haluski) or pickled (sauerkraut) before I’ll partake. I think the words Chinese, Sweet, and Sour threw me and I just didn’t notice the word Cabbage.  Yeah, I’m aware that this is another recipe with Asian flair…anything to keep that Robyn happy!

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

It starts out with bacon which is always a good thing. True confession: I seldom make bacon. Someone else usually makes it because I have the attention span of a gnat. But Rick was in Louisiana and Shirley was tackling the damn cabbage so I got stuck with the shit job of frying it.  Boo!

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

The recipe called for shredded cabbage and this is where I think my mother lost her mind. We have a food processor, but for some reason Shirley got the grater out. I was too busy burning the bacon, making a taco casserole, and frying some chicken breasts (all at the same time) to care. When I realized that I was taking multi-tasking to the idiot level, I quit for the night.

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

We started bright and early the next day. If by bright and early you mean after lunch. The Beagle was bored with the whole cabbage situation before it even began.

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

The recipe said to use your bacon drippings for the sauce. Since I had made my bacon the night before I had to use my dirty little secret.

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

This ugly beat-up container sits in the back of my fridge.

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

Old school bacon grease. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it and OMG, fry some motherfucking potatoes in it!

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

She who keeps a container of bacon grease in her refrigerator will not use her hands to crumble bacon. I’m a walking contradiction.

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

I was so pissed that I had to cut this onion up just to get two tablespoons of chopped onion. The good news is that it can be chopped up and frozen. I learned that from Fred Anderson (Robyn’s husband) when he blogged about buying frozen chopped onions at the grocery store. Back when he use to write about normal things and not horrifying, scary things.

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

The sauce was easy. You just throw everything in there and cook it until it thickens.

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

Action shot! Once it has thickened a bit you dump it over your cabbage and mix it up.

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

The recipe says to wait a couple hours before serving. I actually took a spoonful (knowing full well that I hate raw cabbage) while it was warm. It was delicious and tasted nothing like the shitty raw cabbage that I expected. I tried it after it cooled and it was still delicious.

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

Since I knew this was raw cabbage and I have a hatred, I made this with the intention of sending it off with my mother to her card party. Bye-bye fabulous sweet and sour cabbage. Bye-bye. :sob:

Everyone at the card party liked it, too. It’s a keeper for me!

Chinese Sweet and Sour Cabbage - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Original Source/Author:
: Side dish
Cuisine: Chinese, OBVIOUSLY
Serves: 12?
Ingredients
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 2 T. chopped onion
  • ½ c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • ¼ c. water
  • ⅓ c. vinegar
  • 1 head of cabbage, shredded
Instructions
  1. Brown bacon; drain and cool; crumble.
  2. Reserve 3 T of bacon drippings; add to skillet. Add onions, sugar, cornstarch, water, and vinegar. Cook over medium heat until dressing is thick and clear (about 10 minutes).
  3. Cool for about 5 minutes.
  4. Mix crumbled bacon into the dressing, mix well, and then pour over shredded cabbage. Mix well, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

 

Granny’s Chocolate Cobbler – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Granny’s Chocolate Cobbler. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.  The original recipe can be found over at Tasty Kitchen.

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe came about months ago, when Richard suggested that we make chocolate cobbler. He didn’t provide a link to a recipe (RICHARD), so I Googled around for one, and so here we are.

You guys know how I am when it comes to recipes and shit. I glance at the picture, glance at the ingredients, and don’t bother to actually look at the instructions until it’s time to actually make this shit. I do it totally half-assed – why use a whole ass, when a half ass will do? So it wasn’t until I was gathering the ingredients that I realized that this recipe is pretty much identical to the Easy Fudge Cake recipe in my Cooking Down East cookbook, by Marjorie Standish (the only difference being that the Marjorie Standish recipe uses shortening instead of butter). I hadn’t made it in many years, but it’s a good cake to throw together when you want something sweet and chocolatey without having to run to the store for something.

So, your ingredients:

DSC05145

Flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, sugar, milk, melted butter, vanilla extract (WHICH YOU COULD MAKE YOURSELF!)(PS: I love how many of you had NO idea that vanilla extract has alcohol in it. You are SO my people), light brown sugar, and hot tap water.

Firstly, stir together your dry ingredients.

DSC05155

Then add the milk, melted butter, and vanilla, and stir ’til it’s well mixed.

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Next (not pictured), dump your batter into an ungreased 8-inch baking dish. Then in a small bowl, stir together your remaining white sugar, brown sugar, and cocoa.

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Sprinkle that mixture evenly over the top of your batter.

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Then pour the hot tap water over the top of the whole mess.

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DO NOT stir it together after you’ve added the water, just pop it in the oven and go have a consultation with a visiting chef.

DSC05225
“Chef Sugarbutt not approve of this “chocolate that cats cannot have” nonsense.”

When the center is set (ie, not jiggly), your cake is done. Remove it from the oven, let it cool a bit, and then serve with vanilla ice cream

Don’t forget to take a terrible picture of it before you eat!

DSC05247

I’ve figured out why I can take good cat pictures and not good food pictures. It’s because cats are ALIVE and give you something to work with, with expressions and ears and go-fuck-yourself looks. They’re FUN to take pictures of. Food just lays there looking like it needs to be eaten (or not), and so it’s more work to get an appetizing picture of it. Clearly, it’s not a skill that I possess, and obviously I’m not that interested in making myself a proper FOOD BLOGGER. Those of you who can make food look appetizing, you have my admiration. It ain’t easy!

So the verdict on the chocolate cobbler? It’s good when it first comes out of the oven, a big ol’ scoop of vanilla ice cream made it even better, but it doesn’t reheat well. Fred said it was “okay” hot, but wasn’t interested in having more than a bite. Basically, I ate a piece, he had a bite, and after I took a bite the next day, the chickens got the rest. Make it and serve it if you’re not going to have leftovers, or if you’re craving something chocolatey and sweet, but don’t expect to eat it for a few days.

Will I make it again? Possibly, but I’m not rushing to do so.

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Nance’s Take:

I had to go to Ree Drummond’s (aka: Pioneer Woman) social-recipe site to get this recipe. Oy. There is a particular type of woman that makes my skin crawl and boy, there are a shit-ton of those type over there. I will take your crazy food porn comments over uptight and prissy any motherfucking day!

This particular entry would have been posted earlier, but the Golden Globe Awards got in the way. The kids were all here and I made three racks of baby back ribs using the recipe we featured a while back. I was planning on making the cobbler for dessert, but we all ended up sitting in the living room eating ribs, potatoes, and corn on the cob while critiquing every single actor/actress on the screen. Any dessert was completely forgotten by the time Jacqueline Bisset made her cringe-worthy speech.

And…I just made it today and I’m typing this entry the night before we’re due to post. Procrastination. WINNING!

Chocolate Cobbler

The recipe immediately annoyed me because it had the dreaded word divided in it. It forces me to pay attention and that’s the kind of shit that will drive me right outta the kitchen. Ugh.

Chocolate Cobbler

It also takes 1/3 cup of butter and I knew that was going to be a pain in the ass. I like things that don’t require me to figure out how to measure it. Just gimme a recipe that takes a stick of butter, for chrissakes. Why do I have to work so hard?

Chocolate Cobbler

Okay, this part wasn’t hard. Please note: I used Shirley’s special Wolfgang Puck whisk that she has been hiding from me. The woman needs a strait-jacket.

And tell the truth…how many of you really measure out your vanilla? I’m all about guestimating it with always trying to error on too much. I bet Robyn (aka: Miss GoodyTwoShoes) measures her fucking homemade alcohol fueled ladeeda vanilla.

Chocolate Cobbler

Nectar of the Gods. And also, a wee bit over 1/3. FML.

Chocolate Cobbler

Apparently I’m not happy if I’m not making a huge mess.

Chocolate Cobbler

Action shot!

Chocolate Cobbler

This batter was delicious.

Chocolate Cobbler

Same batter. I’m just having moderate to severe lighting problems.  I do not, however, have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.  Am I the only one that thinks that commercial’s particular wording is a little awkward?

Chocolate Cobbler

The topping gets dumped and spread all over.

Chocolate Cobbler

And you finish it off with a nice drink of water.

Chocolate Cobbler

This is what came out of the oven. You’re supposed to serve this with homemade ice cream, but homemade ice cream sucks. I opted to just try it without any ice cream and it’s…okay. This recipe tastes like warm pudding with chocolate cake on top. Except sweeter.  After it cooled I tried it again.  And it just tasted like room temperature pudding with cake on top.  Except sweeter.

Chocolate Cobbler

Blurry Sadie is not impressed with this recipe and neither was I. It wasn’t horrible, it just wasn’t our thing.

Granny's Chocolate Cobbler - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
: Dessert
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • Cake:
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 T cocoa powder
  • ¾ c. sugar
  • ½ c. milk
  • ⅓ c. melted butter
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • --------------------
  • Cake topping:
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 4 T. cocoa
  • ½ c. light brown sugar, packed
  • --------------------
  • 1½ c. hot tap water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, 3 T cocoa, and ¾ c. white sugar.
  3. Add milk, melted butter, and vanilla to the dry mixture. Stir until well mixed.
  4. Pour the batter into an ungreased 8-inch baking dish.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together ½ c. sugar, 4 T cocoa, and brown sugar. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the baking dish.
  6. Pour the hot tap water evenly over the top of it all. DO NOT MIX.
  7. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the center is set and not jiggly.
  8. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve with ice cream.

 

Vanilla Extract!

The tandem post will be up later this week. I told Nance to just back off, because I’ve been meaning to put up a post about making your own vanilla extract for a really long damn time, and I need to just get it DONE. But making your own vanilla extract is so so so easy, you need to do it! Like, right now!

What you need:

DSC05815

You need to ignore how shitty these pictures are, for one. I threw my bottle of vanilla extract together in 5 minutes this morning, and wasn’t very careful about making things look pretty, so. Just deal with it.

I make my vanilla extract in bulk because I have plenty of room to store it, making it in bulk ensures that I’ll always have some on hand, and if I make it in bulk, I don’t have to do it again any time soon. So I use a 750 ml bottle of vodka, and a 375 ml bottle of dark rum. I got Absolut vodka and Bacardi rum. Are these good brands? I have NO clue. It wasn’t overly expensive, and that’s what matters – those are the brands I always use, probably because I recognize the names.

Also, obviously, you need vanilla beans. They don’t show up in the picture very well, but I got my beans – they’re Madagascar Vanilla Beans – from Olive Nation. They shipped quickly, arrived in a vacuum-sealed bag, and were nice, big fat vanilla beans. You can find perfectly good vanilla beans for less if you Google around, I’m sure, but that’s what I used and who I plan to use again in the future. You need 12 vanilla beans per 750 ml bottle. (Penzey’s is also a good place to get your vanilla beans.)

First thing, although I didn’t get a picture of this, you’re going to need to make room in the vodka bottle for the vanilla beans. So I dumped about 1/2 cup of the vodka into a (clean) canning jar which I covered and put in the cabinet, because I didn’t want to toss it or use it for cleaning (did you know you could use vodka for cleaning? That’s what I hear!) or give it to the cats (oh, cool your jets. I’m not feeding alcohol to my cats. They’re mean drunks.)

Next thing, using a sharp knife and a cutting board, cut your vanilla bean down the center, leaving it attached at the top.

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Then pop it in the bottle.

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Do the same with the remaining 11 vanilla beans.

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If you want to (and don’t want to buy the bottle of rum), you could stop here. I like adding a bit of rum to the bottle, though, because it makes it a bit darker. I mean, your extract is going to get dark on it’s own as it ages, but it doesn’t hurt to have the rum add a bit of color to the whole shebang. All I did was fill the bottle the rest of the way up with rum. How much you add is up to you, but I’d guess that I added around 1/4 c, maybe a little less.

DSC05828

Then shake your bottle, mark the date on it (I use a sticker on the bottom), and put it in a cool, dark place. Every time you happen to catch sight of the bottle (or every few days), grab it, shake it up, and put it back. In two months, you’ll have the perfect bottle of vanilla extract! You can leave it in the big bottle (like I do) or you can divide it up into smaller bottles. Whatever works for you works for me!

This is the bottle I’m currently using, and according to the sticker on the bottom I made it in February 2011. I go through vanilla fairly quickly, though, so I’m sure the only reason I’m still using a bottle I made 3 years ago is because I made several bottles at once.

DSC05830

So, there you go. That’s how I make it – you don’t have to use vodka and rum, you could use bourbon or brandy or even just all rum. The vodka/rum combo is what I always use, because it’s what I like.

I’ll include the proportions so that you can make a 2-ounce bottle of vanilla extract, if you prefer. I know not everyone goes through vanilla as quickly as I do!

Vanilla Extract!
 
: Extract!
Ingredients
  • Making a 2-ounce bottle:
  • ¼ c. (less 2 T.) vodka (use the full ¼ c. if you're NOT using the rum)
  • 2 T dark rum (optional)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • ---------------------------------
  • Making a 750 ml bottle:
  • 750 ml vodka
  • 375 ml (or less) dark rum (optional)
  • 12 vanilla beans
Instructions
  1. Making the 2-ounce bottle:
  2. Pour your vodka into a small jar or bottle
  3. Cut your vanilla bean in half, leaving it attached at the top
  4. Place cut vanilla bean in jar with vodka
  5. Add rum (if you're using it)
  6. Shake well, keep in a dark, cool place, and shake every time you see/think of it. Let age for about 2 months before using.
  7. --------------------------------------------------------
  8. Making the big bottle:
  9. Remove ¼ - ½ c. vodka from the 750 ml bottle, to make room for the vanilla beans; set aside.
  10. Cut all 12 vanilla beans down the center, leaving them attached at the top.
  11. Place the vanilla beans in the bottle of vodka
  12. Fill the bottle the rest of the way up with dark rum, if you're using it. Otherwise, fill it up with the vodka you set aside.
  13. Shake well, place in a dark, cool place, and shake it every time you see the bottle, at least every few days.
  14. Let age for 2 months before using. (When it's done aging, you can leave the extract in the big bottle or separate it into smaller bottles.)

 

Fletcher’s Corny Dogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This particular recipe link was sent to us from Connie, who just so happens to know that I love corn-dogs.  It came from The Recipe Book on Blogspot and it’s a copy-cat recipe of the famous Fletcher’s Corny Dogs.  Robyn begged me to do this one on my own because she didn’t want to deal with the deep-frying.  I don’t blame her because deep-frying is a huge stink-fest that is sometimes filled with skin burns and flames.  

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Obviously I had high hopes for this corn-dog recipe, but I have no idea what possessed me to have four motherfucking packages of hot-dogs ready. My other son and his fiance were over so that made six of us. You can go ahead and do the math if you want, but I’ll just tell you that it was too many damn hot-dogs.

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I forgot that I bought some bamboo skewers a while back and bought another package (they’re like $2 at Target). Do you even care? Way to be one of those food-bloggers, Nance. Let me tell you the cute story about how I accidently bought too many skewers. And then I’ll tell you how you can use the extras for kebabs (of which we never eat). Or how you could use them to hold up twee signs on cupcakes.  KILL ME.

I’m going to give you the quick and dirty run-down on these corn-dogs because I’m boring myself. Just know that we followed the directions.

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We rolled the hot-dogs in flour because it is supposed to make the batter adhere to the hot-dogs better. We also started out using a cast iron skillet like the recipe said we could (foreshadowing). I used a tall glass to dip the hot-dog in the batter. I did everything they say you should do, dammit.

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I even used a thermometer to make sure the temperature of the oil was right. I was on the ball, baby.  This part pissed me off the most because Rick broke my thermometer that night.  I blame the fact that he’s left-handed.  Ahem.

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You just don’t know the anticipation that was going on in our kitchen. For the record, three of the people in the house left to go to the store and the three that stayed were the most interested in the corn-dogs. Alex, because he also loves corn-dogs. Me, OBVIOUSLY. And Rick, because he kinda looks at this shit like science so it’s fascinating to him (nerd).

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WTF?

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Let me try another one and I’ll swirl it this time to try and keep the batter on.

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Eventually we decided to ditch the damn cast iron skillet.

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We’re bringing out the big guns. This is one of the inserts for a commercial food warmer. It is NOT made for deep-frying.

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I loved watching Alex’s face when this thing started rocking back and forth because the oil was getting hot. Shit was totally unstable and we had no business using it for deep-frying, but whatever, DO NOT DO THIS AT HOME. Alex was raised in the same house as my mother and that woman lived to make us nervous about anything she could. Her particular favorites being that the furnace would blow up if I left the boys home alone (teenagers, mind you) and that the house is going to fall over the hill one of these days. Please understand now why I am insane.

Rick, who had not spent impressionable years around Crazy Shirley, handled the deep-frying while Alex and I stayed as far away from that hot lava disaster-waitin-to-happen as we could. In some parts of the country we would be called by our native name…chickenshits.

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This is as good as it got.

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Don’t even say it. Don’t even THINK IT.

Corn Dogs

It ended up being a huge pile of despair.

I don’t think you can ever make corn-dogs at home that are as good as they make at amusement parks and fairs.  So it looks like I’ll be staying in Connie’s guest bedroom next year when the Texas State Fair opens!

Almost Fletcher's Corny Dogs
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Fletcher's Corny Dogs are the quintessential Texas State Fair delight. No trip to the fair is complete without a stop (or two, or three) to the Fletcher's stand located by the boots of Big Tex. The recipe is a closely-guarded secret, but this recipe is awfully good and will suffice for the 49 weeks of a year that you cannot get a Fletcher's.
Original Source/Author:
: Deep Fried and Full of Fat
Cuisine: All American !
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal (not stone-ground)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ - 1 cup milk
  • 8 hot dogs (1 lb package) (kosher beef, or your favorite beef/pork combo)
  • 8 Popsicle sticks or ¼" thick wooden skewers
  • peanut oil for frying
Instructions
  1. A deep fat fryer is best for cooking corny dogs, but a good cast iron dutch oven or deep cast iron skillet will work just fine.
  2. Fill fryer to the manufacturer's max fill line with peanut oil, or pour 3" of oil in a cast iron dutch oven or skillet. Insert a reliable deep frying thermometer and slowly bring the oil to a temperature of 365°F.
  3. While oil is heating, skewer hot dogs with the Popsicle sticks or skewers, leaving 3 finger's length exposed for a good grip. Set aside.
  4. Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl deep enough to fit the skewered hot dogs. Add beaten eggs and mix well. Add ½ cup of milk, then add more as necessary (up to 1 cup) to make a batter that is slightly thicker than pancake batter. Mix with a whisk until just combined, but do not over beat or your corny dog will be chewy and gummy.
  5. When peanut oil is to temperature, dredge skewered hot dogs in the batter and let the excess drip off, then gently place in the hot oil. (If using a deep fat fryer, insert the hot dog vertically and hold it a moment or two to let the batter "set" before laying it down in the fat.) Cook for 6 to 7 minutes, turning it a couple of times to cook both sides evenly. Cook until the corny dog is an even deep, golden brown color.
  6. Remove from the fat and drain on a rack over paper towels. Serve hot with yellow American mustard.

 

Woohoo Chicken Tortilla Soup – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Woohoo Chicken Tortilla Soup. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.  The recipe was submitted by reader Kim, who lurks at us from Illinois.

Robyn’s Take:

This recipe, as mentioned above, was submitted by reader Kim in Illinois, who told us she’s a longtime lurker. The recipe came from her mother (Carolyn), who got it from someone she worked with. So basically, we don’t really know where it originated. Kim knows that if the copyright people come after us I’ll roll over on her so fast she won’t know what hit her, and she’s okay with that.

This recipe looked simple enough, and y’all KNOW I AM ALL ABOUT THE SIMPLE. Also, it’s on the Mexican side of the menu. Fred loves Mexican food the way I love Asian food, so I didn’t even have to ask him if he’d be interested. It was an automatic “HELLS YES.”

Your ingredients:

Chicken Tortilla Soup (1)

Cooked chicken, shredded. Chicken broth, Ro-tel, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn, zucchini, onion, garlic, cumin. Salt and pepper. Monterey Jack cheese (I couldn’t find pre-shredded, so had to buy the block and shred it my own damn self.)

A note on the chicken – Kim mentioned that this would be a good recipe to use my canned chicken with. And it certainly would – but I ran out of canned chicken some months back, and haven’t gotten around to canning more. Luckily I had plenty of whole chickens in the freezer, so the day before I made this, I roasted a whole chicken, and used all the meat off of that. You could also buy a rotisserie chicken, or just use the 4 – 6 chicken breasts that the recipe calls for.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (2)

Saute your onion and garlic in a large dutch oven/pot until the onion is translucent. While that was going on, I took the opportunity to dice my zucchini.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (3)

I could have diced it a bit smaller, I suppose, but WHATEVAH.

Then just dump everything (except the cheese and chips) into the pot. Stir, and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Kim mentioned that she likes her soup soupy rather than stewy. We’re more of a stew-loving household, so I only added one carton of chicken broth to the pot.

This is what it looked like before it started simmering.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (4)

While it simmered, I shredded my cheese. I didn’t shred any of the skin on my hand, which I’m pretty sure must be a Christmas miracle.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (5)

YUM.

Then I went and snorgled Chef Tony until he smacked me and told me to let him snooze.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (6)

When the soup is ready, dump it into bowls, top with chips and cheese, and eat.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (8)

The verdict? Thumbs way, way up. We ate it for dinner twice, and then Fred claimed the leftovers for lunches for the better part of the week. We’ll definitely be making this again. Thanks for the submission, Kim!

PS: The recipe called for 2 teaspoons of cumin. I only used one, because cumin is a stinky, stinky spice. The fact that the soup was good despite the presence of cumin means that either I’m outgrowing my cumin hatred or it was a really good recipe. Probably both.

***************************************

Nance’s Take:
I have a recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup that I seldom make because it’s full of calories and fat grams.  When I saw the word zucchini in this recipe I just assumed it would be a whole lot healthier than my cheese laden one.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
This is what happens when you see the word zucchini and don’t bother to read the rest of the recipe.  I figured throwing grated zucchini in there would make it gross so I left it out.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
I love a one pan/pot meal.  Well, one pot and a baking sheet.  Close enough.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
I baked my chicken (425 for 30 minutes) and it was hand shredded on-site. Don’t you just love pretentious snobby cooking blogs? I’ve been reading some lately and OHMYGAWD, what a bunch of bitches! Seriously. I know that they are trying to make a career out of whatever it is they feed their family, but Oy to the Vey. I bet Amanda just loves the shit outta them because they can make a production out of a piece of toast.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
I tossed everything in and walked away so it could do it’s thing.Chicken Tortilla Soup
Blurry picture, but it definitely shows the purpose of a dog. Who else is going to pick up what lands on the floor? The Beagle was hoovering big time.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Waldo is always in the middle of everything. He even stands behind my mom with the 3 dogs while she gets their food ready. Poor little guy is so slow he has no idea what’s going on…he just knows he doesn’t want to miss it.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
I thought it looked fabulous.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Cheese!
Chicken Tortilla Soup
I didn’t have any tortillas so I had to improvise.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
The Beagle is hopeful, but I can’t even give her a Frito since she’s grain-free. Don’t feel bad. Shirley scrambles eggs for them (with cheese) and they get chicken and other meats. It makes my husband crazy because we buy special (expensive) food for them and Shirley can’t just give that to them. They have to have a little something to go with it. And I should probably note that Alex (her grandson) was here this week and she did not cook anything for him. Animals are winning.

The verdict?  Well, we didn’t care for it.  But…

My son, Trey ate the hell out of it and finished off all of the leftovers!  I remember reading that Kim’s son loves it so it must be some kind of crack for teenage boys. I’m keeping this recipe.

Woohoo Chicken Tortilla Soup - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
: Entree
Cuisine: Souplandia!
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 4 - 6 cooked chicken breasts, shredded (or the meat from 1 small chicken)
  • 2 32 ounce cartons chicken broth (use less if you prefer a thicker soup; I only used one carton)
  • 1 10 ounce can Ro-tel diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 14 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 12 ounce cans corn, drained
  • 2 - 3 medium zucchini, cut into large dice
  • 1½ c. chopped onion
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 2 tsp cumin (use less, if preferred)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Crushed tortilla chips
Instructions
  1. Saute onion and garlic in a large dutch oven/pot until onion is translucent.
  2. Dump everything except the cheese and chips into the pot. Stir, and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  3. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese and chips.