Simple Homemade Mac n Cheese Recipe

YES, it’s another homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe!

It might not be as good as the ole fashioned baked stuff your grandma made! But, in my opinion, it’s better than the boxed stuff and pretty simple to make!

What you will need:

2 qt Sauce pan (for noodles).
1 qt Sauce pan (for cheese sauce).
Whisk or large wooden fork or stir spoon.
1 Tbsp of Vegetable or Olive Oil.
1 1/2 cups of small elbow macaroni noodles.
1 “heaping” cup of graded cheddar cheese (mild or medium).
3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream (you can use regular whole milk).
3 Tbsp of butter.
1 1/2 tsp of salt, or to taste

Follow suggested directions on the box to cook the macaroni noodles.

Add about 4 and 3/4 cups of water to the 2 qt sauce pan, Tbsp of vegetable or olive oil and 1 tsp of salt and bring to a boil. Add noodles and cook until al dente or slightly firm but not tough. Be careful not to over cook. 

When noodles are close to done, melt the 3 tbsp of butter in the smaller sauce pan on low heat. Add about 1/2 tsp of salt and the 3/4 cups of heavy whipping cream, to the pan. Whisk butter and cream together until well blended.

If your noodles are done, drain briefly in a strainer (we want to retain just a little of the moisture so don’t strain it dry) and return it to the hot pan. Set it aside on a pot holder or cool burner on the stove.

Increase heat to medium-low (#3 or #4 on electric stove) on the heavy cream and butter, and whisk or stir a couple of times, until it starts to simmer (decrease heat a little).

Add graded cheese a little at a time and whisk or stir constantly together and melt the cheese until completely dissolved. Keep repeating this step until you have mixed in all the cheese and it is completely dissolved and smooth (if not completely dissolved, it will taste grainy).

Then pour over the done and drained noodles in the 2 qt sauce pan, and mix around until noodles are well coated with cheese sauce.

Note: If it looks a little dry, try adding a little hot water to the pan and stir until blended together and smooth again.

Serve immediately!

I am not good at making these videos with one hand, but here is a video of me making the cheese sauce.

Enjoy!

Simple Homemade Pizza for Dinner!

Making delicious homemade pizza from scratch (except the sauce, it’s store bought), isn’t too hard! Here is my recipe!
(makes two 12 inch pizzas) 

You will need:

2 1/4 to 3 cups of flour (I use bread flour).
1 package of quick or rapid rise yeast.
1 cup of warm water.
1 Tablespoon of sugar.
1 Teaspoon of salt.
1 & 1/2 Tablespoons of olive oil (and extra for greasing bowls and pizza pans)
1 16’oz block of whole milk low-moisture mozzarella cheese.
Any pizza sauce that you like.
I recommend a 5 oz box of Boboli sauce. It needs no refrigeration for unopened packets and can be stored in the cabinet for a while. It contains 3 sauce packets. We use 1 packet for two 12 inch pizza’s.
Two 12 inch pizza pans.
I recommend non stick. 
Your choice of toppings (pepperoni, black olives, hamburger, anchovies, etc.).

Note: You can use a bread machine or mixer with a dough hook to make your dough if you want. May actually turn out better. But I don’t have one, so I just use my ole fashioned “hand” mixer. lol!

 

Smoked Chicken

Going to smoke some chicken. Getting marinated in some salt water and lime brine.

My brine solution is nothing fancy. You dissolve 4 table spoons of salt in a couple of cups of really hot water. Then ice down the water and stir to make it completely chilled. Then poor over whole chicken or part of it on one half and part on the other evenly and then fill with more water to cover chicken (may have to weight it down with something).  You can add some other seasoning if you like to the brine like teriyaki or soy sauce, some rosemary, garlic, etc (experiment). Cover and refrigerate over night. Rinse well before seasoning. Add maybe just a light sprinkle of salt if you want

Going to make one 1/2 lemon pepper and one pepper and garlic. Will update this as I go. I coated it with olive oil 1st, then seasoned it all over, and under the skin as far as I could.

Looking Good, after about an hr. Got a little hot on one side, though. 😉

3 hrs later, the finished product. It was good. Could have used a little more time in the brine maybe or maybe some season salt.

Char-Broil 430 Offset BBQ Smoker Pit Mod

Made a little modification to my Char-Broil 430 Offset Smoker for better smoking.

So I got this little Char-Broil offset smoker (430 model) on a whim when my propane grill was on the fritz and my other pit had rusted out too much.

It’s small, cheap, and was easy to put together. Has just enough room to smoke a small brisket or a full rack of ribs. And, plenty of room to grill enough steaks or burgers for my family of 4.

It works great as a grill, but when I 1st started to use it as a smoker, I had some problems. It’s made of very thin metal, and has several gaps where the smoke and heat can escape. So I had to experiment a lot with the dampeners to get the airflow right, to get the temps where I wanted them. But, I came up with a way for it to work a little better.

I had a steel company (West Texas Steel) cut me a metal plate (16 gauge thickness I think) to fit over the smoking chamber where the grill grates normally sit (cost about $11). The plate leaves about an inch gap at the end, close to the side where the smoke stack sits over, for the smoke to escape there.

Then I lined the bottom of the smoke chamber and the little coal grates that sit in the bottom, with heavy duty foil. I set my meat directly in there. Then put the plate inside and on top of the rails, where the grill grates normally sit. It fit perfect!

I also drilled a hole and added a extra temp gauge in the bottom half of the smoking chamber, so I could monitor the temp where the meat was.

Worked great! Held in more of the heat and cooked more even. Only problem I have now is, the smoke box does not hold enough coals to keep it going for a long while. So you can’t slow cook all day or night without needing to add more coals a few times.

Anyway! Our little 4th of July brisket turned out pretty good!

Homemade Gringo Style Cheese Enchiladas Recipe

Here is my Homemade Gringo Style Cheese Enchiladas Recipe! Yum!

Nope, it’s not a traditional cheese enchiladas recipe but it works for me and my family. And, they are delicious!

cheese enchiladas recipe

You will need:

  • A medium size skillet.
  • 8 to 12 corn tortillas.
  • A steam cloth (cheese cloth) or thin kitchen towel and a couple of large paper towels, to wrap tortillas in.
  • 1, 16 oz block or two 8 oz blocks of mild cheddar cheese, grated.
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped onion.
  • A 9 x 9 or bigger metal (non stick) sheet pan with sides, or glass baking dish (I was able to fit 9 enchiladas tightly in the 9 x 9 pan).
  • Enough foil to cover the pan.

Seasonings:

Note: I put all my seasonings in a bowl together (except for the flour and oil which I bowl each separately or just leave in separate measuring cups), ahead of time.

  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1 & 1/2 to 2 TBS Chili Powder (I use only 1 1/2)
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • Optional for spicier flavor: 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Dried (crushed) Oregano
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 14.5/15 oz can of Chicken Broth.

Chili Gravy
The Chili Gravy for this Cheese Enchiladas Recipe is what makes it good, instead of using Enchilada Sauce from a can!

Heat the 1/4 cup of vegetable oil in medium skillet over medium heat.

Then when oil is ready (should sizzle when you drop a pinch of flour in it, add the 1/4 cup of flour.

Stir to completely dissolve all the flour real well and heat until mixture is a very light brown.

Add seasonings a little at a time, and mix in until well blended.

 

Add the can of low sodium chicken broth and stir frequently until well blended and it starts to thicken. Should be almost the consistency of a thin gravy (maybe just a little thicker). You want it thin enough to mostly cover your enchiladas, but not be runny. Cook and stir longer to thicken. If it gets too thick, you can add a little water at a time to thin it out. Then turn off heat when it’s the consistency you like.

add the chicken broth

Steaming the Corn Tortillas
I know most people fry the tortillas to soften them up, but I steam them in the microwave, which makes the recipe less greasy!

Wet the steam cloth and wring it out good and lay it on a flat surface. Put 3 or 4 tortillas in the center and wrap the cloth around them. Microwave for 1 minute. Repeat for however many enchiladas you are making.

Check tortillas and microwave an additional 20 to 30 seconds, if tortillas are not yet soft and pliable (should be soft but not mushy). Be careful!!! The cloth will be very hot and so will the tortillas, with hot steam.

If you don’t have a steam or cheese cloth.

Take a thin kitchen towel, get it wet and wring it out good. Then set a couple of large paper towels on top of the wet towel. Set tortillas on top and fold over the paper towels to wrap up tortillas and then fold the towel over that. Then microwave for 1 minute. Add 20 to 30 seconds to the time if needed. They should be soft but not mushy.

Add the Cheese and Roll Them Up!
Add a loose handful of cheese (and onions if you desire) to one steamed corn tortilla at a time, and roll it up a like a burrito, a little tight but not too tight, or it might split the tortilla.

homemade gringo cheese enchiladas recipe

And as you roll one up at a time, place in the (non stick) sheet pan with sides, or the glass baking dish, close together.

homemade gringo cheese enchiladas recipe

Add the Chili Gravy and Top With Cheese!

You may need to thin out the gravy with a little hot water if it has thickened up while sitting in the pan. Then pour as much of the chilly gravy from the skillet as you want, over the enchiladas. And then top with the left over cheese (not too much now or it may take too long to melt).

cheese enchiladas recipe

Cover pan with foil and bake in the oven on 350 for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until cheese is well melted and bubbly.

Serve Immediately! 

Serve hot with a side of refried beans, chips and salsa!

 cheese enchiladas recipe

Hope you enjoy my Homemade Gringo Style Cheese Enchiladas Recipe!

Salud!

Homemade Alfredo Sauce Chicken Wings Recipe

Homemade Alfredo Sauce used on Chicken Wings, Recipe.

Chicken Wings:
I deep fried, 8 to 10 wing pieces (about 4 to 6 wings, with tips removed and parted) for 10 minutes on 350. But you can bake them in the oven if you prefer. Seasoned with season salt and pepper. Keep warm when done, until ready to toss in homemade Alfredo sauce.

Homemade Alfredo Sauce Recipe:
4 tablespoons of butter
3/4 cup of heavy cream
1 cup if shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt, pepper and garlic powder (I don’t know an exact amount for each seasoning but probably be less than I used. Just a few shakes of a shaker, lol)

Melt butter in a skillet on low heat. Add heavy cream, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Heat cream, stirring frequently, until starting to bubble and simmer. Add cheese gradually, stirring constantly to melt and blend in, until smooth. Turn off heat and let sauce stand for a couple minutes. Pour some of the sauce into a bowl and 3 or 4 wing pieces at a time, turning them to coat. Add more sauce as needed. Or just add the wings to the pan itself and turn to coat. Remove from sauce, plate and sprinkle with extra cheese if desired. Serve! Enjoy!

homemade alfredo sauceNote: This sauce is great to use on fettuccine noodles or other pasta! Cook your pasta al dente, drain but reserve a cup of the hot liquid you boiled the pasta in. Put your cooked noodles in a large mixing bowl, add sauce and turn to coat and mix sauce in. Add the pasta water a little at a time to thin the sauce out and make it creamier. Add cut up grilled chicken pieces for a delicious chicken Alfredo! YUM!

By the way, the wings were so good! I want to make it this way again, real soon!

Fried Chicken Recipe – Very Delicious!

Do you like fried chicken? I sure do! But, I really love home fried chicken!

fried_chicken_PNG14105Not only do I like working on computers, but I also love to cook! One of my favorite things to cook is, fried chicken. There are several ways you can make it at home, and I am definitely no expert. But yesterday I made some, deep fried.

Below is my recipe for “extra crispy style” home cooked, deep fried chicken. It’s not a quick and easy recipe to follow and a bit long of a read. But, it turned out so good that I thought I would try and write it up, so I could share it with others. And, I wanted to try to cover as many details that I could. Once you get it down though, it gets easier. Feel free to adjust it as you like!

Enjoy!

What You Will Need

For Brine

  • 4 to 6 hrs for marination.
  • A large mixing bowl (2 qt).
  • 4 TBS of regular table salt.
  • 1 Cup of hot water.
  • 2 or 3 trays of ice cubes or equivalent in crushed ice.
  • About 2 cups of cold water.

A sharp butcher knife or boning knife, and a cutting board (if you want to cut up the chicken yourself) .

chicken1 whole fryer size chicken, probably around 3 lbs or less, cut up into 8 or 9 pieces. A roasting chicken is too large. See the video below on how to do it yourself.

For Breading

  • breading chicken3 or 4 cups of all purpose flour, or more as needed.
  • 2 large containers, 1 for dusting the chicken with flour and 1 for breading the chicken.
  • 2 TBS of Season Salt.
  • 3 tsp Pepper.
  • 2 tsp Paprika.
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder.
  • 3 eggs (for egg wash)
  • 2 cups of milk (for egg wash)

For Frying
deep fryerA home electric deep fryer (I use a Presto 06006 Kitchen Kettle Multi-Cooker/Steamer).

If you don’t have an electric deep fryer, you can probably use a large heavy bottom fry pot, dutch oven or cast iron pot on the stove. But you will need to monitor the heat (300 to 325°) with some kind of cooking thermometer, as you can burn the breading easily before the chicken is done. And, it needs to be large enough to cook 2 or 3 pieces of chicken at a time. Here is an article with some handy tips for deep frying, that might help.

Vegetable Oil

vegetable oil Or you can use peanut oil. I have never tried peanut oil for fried chicken because it is more expensive, but some say it makes it taste better and the oil lasts longer.

You will need enough to cover the chicken and be able to rotate it around in the oil, as it fry’s. Most instructions for electric deep fryers say to fill oil to fill line on the fryer.

And, a Meat Thermometer.

meat thermometerI have fried chicken enough as a fry cook in restaurants, to be able to tell when it’s done. But, when in doubt, I use a meat thermometer. The internal temp of fried chicken, should be at 165° when done, and juices run clear with no pink. Nothing wrong with using a thermometer, to just be on the safe side!

How to Cut Up the Chicken

10 pieces of chickenPlease be careful with the knife! I highly recommend asking your butcher or meat market clerk to do it for you, if you are not confident in cutting it up yourself. Ask for a 10 piece cut if possible, this will give you 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 breasts, the keel (breast bone) and the back (you can save the back to make chicken stock for soups). Hopefully they know what they’re doing. It’s getting harder to find someone who can still do this, these days! Especially in the big box stores like Walmart!

If you want to do it yourself. Here is a video of a basic way to cut up a chicken, where part of the keel and rib bones are removed from the breast, so it fits in the fryer a little easier. Sometimes I just split the breasts, or I cut the keel out to have 3 piece’s of white meat, depending on how big my chicken is. But, I leave my wings whole, and in the video, she parts them. It takes a little patience! I made a video too, but it’s not very good!

Set your cut up chicken in the fridge until ready for to be added to the brine.

Making the Brine

In the large mixing bowl, add the 4 TBS of salt and cup of hot water, and whisk to dissolve the salt.

fried chicken dissolve salt

Add the 2 or 3 trays of ice cubes or crushed ice to the mixing bowl and stir it around to cool off the water real good (check to make sure, all water is completely cold). Then add your chicken pieces to the bowl and add more water (about 2 cups) to cover chicken so that it’s kind of floating in the bowl, so you have a little room to stir it around once in a while.

ice water add chicken pieces

Set the bowl in the fridge for around 4 to 6 hrs to marinate. Kind of stir the chicken pieces up once in while.

Alternatively, you can brine your chicken in a gallon size ziplock freezer bag. Mix your salt and hot water in a small bowl, cool it down with ice and then pour it over the chicken in the bag. Add more ice and cold water to cover chicken and then seal the bag. Then once in a while, shake the bag up lightly to move the pieces around in it. But be sure to set the bag in something to put in the fridge, just in case the bag leaks.

Getting It Ready

When your chicken is done marinating in the brine, you will need to drain the chicken.

Then put about 1 or 2 cups of flour in whatever container you are using to flour dust the chicken. And about 1 to 2 cups of flour in whatever container you are using to bread the chicken in. Then add all your seasoning to the container for the breading flour. With a dry whisk, mix all the seasoning and flour for breading together very well, and set aside (just to be clear, you will have one container with the plain flour and 1 container with the seasoned flour).\

Egg Wash

Get a container big enough to fit the biggest piece of chicken you have and enough room for the egg mixture. Beat the 3 eggs in the container and then add the 2 cups of milk. Then beat the mixture together until well mixed.

Heat the Oil

Add your oil to the fryer and heat to 300 to 325°. I know most recommendations are for 350°, but it seems the breading darkens too fast at this temp in my fryer. You can check if the oil is ready, by getting a pinch of flour and sprinkling it in the fryer, and if it sizzles a lot right away, it’s ready. Some fryers have a light that will go on or off when it’s ready. Mine just stays on. So sometimes I test it with a small cut piece of the chicken and if it starts frying right away, it’s ready.

Breading the Chicken

Here is a video of how I bread the chicken.

Toss a couple of pieces in the plain flour to coat it. Shake off excess flour. Then dip the pieces in your egg wash and let it drip off or shake off excess. Then put the pieces in the seasoned flour. Mix pieces in the flour to coat well. Press the pieces down into the flour and then mix around again, about 3 or 4 times. Shake off excess flour and then slowly drop pieces into the fryer. Be sure and leave room for rotating piece in the oil. Only bread and fry a few pieces at a time. The pieces that you don’t bread, store back in the fridge, until needed.

If you notice your flour getting really clumpy, sift it and add more flour. I sometimes dump it and start over with fresh flour and seasoning, using same amounts as listed.

Frying the Chicken

Set a timer for about 12 – 14 minutes. Smaller pieces and white meat might take less time. Larger dark pieces may take more time. When done, pieces will float, and sizzling will be very light in sound. Remove pieces and use your meat thermometer inserted into a thick meaty piece of chicken, to check for done-ness. It should be at 165°. If unsure, cut into a thick piece and it should be white all the way through, with clear juices and no pink. Drain pieces on a plate lined with a few paper towels or on a wire rack set on a baking sheet pan. I put mine in my oven on warm or on a very low temp (150°), until it’s all done and ready to eat.

Eating the Chicken

fried chicken

We like to serve our fried chicken with sides of mashed potatoes, green beans and cream gravy! YUM! I also made some extra buffalo style wings to go with it, because one of the kids doesn’t like fried chicken so much.

Well, that is about it. I know it’s a long recipe! Hope it works for somebody!