Tales of a Wookie Wife: Fueled by caffeine and good intentions. Feed hairy man. Clean house. Be fabulous. Repeat. You can learn more about me here.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Homemade Not-Donuts

I am, quite frankly, shocked at all the recipes I've seen lately for the whole biscuit "donuts" I've seen everywhere.  I wasn't aware this was a huge revelation as this is something that's been done in my family since my grandma used to make them for my mom when she was a kid, so even though make them every few months or so, I never thought to blog it.

The only reason I'm blogging this now is that I'M not going to piss down your back and tell you its raining like every other blogger I've read that's done these and tell you they taste like the best donuts you've ever had.  They don't.  They don't even taste like donuts.  They are delicious, but they just taste like something that sort of resembles donuts.

First step is to get some sort of frying substance going.  Get a fairly deep skillet or saucepan, put that puppy on the heat (I use high - I have a ceramic burner stove and it just doesn't heat up like a lot do, so you may have to play with the temperature).  I used butter this round.  I usually use whatever cooking oil I have on hand, but I was out, so I decided to be evil.

While that is meting and/or heating, mix up some things to dunk them in once they get done frying.  I used plain sugar for some and cinnamon sugar for others, which is what mom and grandma always used.  However, I got a bright idea and decided to try something a bit different, so I also made a cocoa powder/sugar mixture.  BEST.  DECISION.  EVER.

Once your butter or oil is nice and hot it is time to get started.

Carefully add your canned biscuits to the oil.  A lot of people take the time to cut them into little donut shapes, but they don't taste like donuts, so I don't bother.

Fry them until they are golden-brown all the way around (this one I left in a second too long), then pull them out of the oil with tongs and let the excess oil drip onto a plate for a minute - but just a minute.  You don't want to put them on a paper towel to dry, and if you do, not for too long, because the sugar mixes won't stick.  Once the majority of the oils drip off, plunk it in the sugar mixture and roll it around.

Drizzle with chocolate syrup and you're done!

Here's one of the plain sugar ones split apart so you can see the inside.  It does get fluffy and nice, and they do cure a sweet tooth, but...They don't taste like any donuts I've ever had.

All in all, these are definitely worth making, but if you expect donuts, I'd say you'd be disappointed.  If you make them just expecting a tasty treat, then you're golden!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Freezing Chicken Portions - i.e. How to Deal with that Econo Bag.

Grocery prices are getting pretty damn outrageous.  It is hard to make things stretch if you're on any sort of budget whatsoever, so learning how to use and put back those massive bags of cheap foods is more important than ever.  You can, of course, just split the chicken up to a piece or two per freezer bag and pop it in the freezer raw, but sometimes I take a different method if I feel I'm going to be busy all week.  I've been under the weather for about 2 weeks and unfortunately, when you're sick - especially for more than just a day or two - life doesn't just stop and you have to keep up, so all this being in the freezer to make quick, easy meals was so nice.

I started off with the raw chicken in a loaf pan.  Two pieces.  These bags of chicken thighs are just under 6 bucks for 10 pounds around here.  Now, keep in mind they are full of bones, but I can feed us for a week and a half to two weeks off one bag (not to mention use the bones and skins to make stock to freeze).  I pull out the smaller pieces to freeze raw to use for dinners with sides and cook and shred and freeze the large pieces as one of those is more than enough when doing pastas, casseroles, enchiladas, or whatever else.  I did three batches of "basic" chicken seasoned with garlic, salt, and pepper with about 1/3 cup of water tossed in the bottom.

If you're lucky enough to have an oven, you could do all the flavors at once in separate pans, but I'm dealing with what I've got, which is a toaster oven because *SOMEONE* had to have the massive stove with 4 burners and a grill instead of an oven.  A grill I used once.  That'll teach me.

Anyway, bake at 325 until done...The time will depend on the size of the thighs, but you can usually tell by poking at them...If they are still at all springy, leave them alone.

Once they are done, put them on a plate to cool.

See this?  This is good stuff.  You can either cook the next batch of chicken in it instead of water or you can freeze it to save for soup broths and sauces.

For the second batch, I left that broth in the bottom, then added soy sauce, more garlic, and a little siriacha.

Once all the chicken was cooled, I picked it off the bone, labelled it, wrapped it, and tossed it in the freezer.  I wrap the meat from each piece in separate packages as each of the larger pieces yields about a half cup or a little more, which is plenty for pastas or whatever for two.

For a bonus recipe, for dinner that night, I put 2 of the smaller pieces of chicken in the pan with the previous drippings and covered them in a garlic and black pepper marinade.

Paired with mashed potatoes and green beans and...oh yeah...


Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Liebster Award

I got tagged for an award!

Yep.  Just blurt it out like that because its never happened before and I'm stoked because I'm a huge fucking dork.  Sian over at Sort Life Out; Buy Milk tagged me on this wing of the little blog manor for this one, so thank you!  :)  Will be ever so much fun.  I am a dork.  I am also fighting to get it to make the text bigger, so if you are having trouble, bear with me.


  • List 11 facts about yourself
  • Choose 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers to nominate (not including your nominator)
  • Ask 11 new questions for the bloggers that you nominate
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you by your nominator
  • Thank your nominator and give a link to their blog

Ok, here goes:  11 facts.
  • I collect pretty much everything.  Bones, Hello Kitty stuff, Sonic the Hedgehog stuff, Batman stuff, Ironman stuff, books, vintage dishes, knives & daggers, anything pertaining to Death Note...you get the picture.
  • I am a coffee/tea addict.  I drink coffee all the time except when I am drinking tea.  Hot, iced, however I can get either one, I'm happy.  I almost always have either a cup of hot coffee, a glass of iced coffee, or a glass of iced green tea.
  • I don't like watch any sports except boxing.  I love boxing.  It has been pissing me off of late, but I do love it.  The Wookie got me into it and now I just enjoy the hell out of it.  Especially when it is one of the Klitschko brothers fighting for more reasons than just my love of boxing...
  • I don't like new things.  Not when it comes to houses, most furniture, most decor, jewelry etc.  I prefer the feel and look of vintage things or antiques and a lot of them are more solid and hold up better than newer items.  This also applies to about half of my clothes.  Vintage dresses I find in thrift shops tend to be cut for my rather...er...ample bosom, hips and ass better than most modern clothes.
  • I sing, have perfect pitch, and tinker with several instruments, though I'm not particularly good at any of the instruments.  Singing always came naturally...Instruments, not so much.
  • I don't like diamonds.  Never have.  I have a few vintage diamond pieces that were gifts or that I found at thrift stores, but only a few.  I've always preferred opals and sapphires.  I stumbled across the diamond boycott a year or so back and signed it, so if you haven't, you may consider it.
  • I can build stained glass windows.
  • I love to go to cities to shop and hang out, but I grew up in the country and I prefer living deep in the woods.
  • I have a strange obsession with odd clothing.  I have an ankle-length, red and black plaid, flannel dress with plaid ruffles at the bottom hem that are in all different colors and styles of plaid.  It was the ugliest thing I'd ever seen on the hanger and I just knew I had to have it.  I bought it and regularly rock the hell out of it in the winter and actually get as many compliments on it as I do odd looks.
  • I've been obsessed with Alice and Wonderland since I was about 4.  Everything I see Alice in Wonderland  anything (not the Disney abomination or the Burton - though his was okay), I have to have.  This includes the actual books.  If I see an edition I don't own and I have the money, its mine.  The oldest one I have so far is a second edition.
  • I once had a pet squirrel.

Sian's questions:
  • What inspires you most?  - A ton of things.  Some days its a picture, some its a song, a person, nature, a quote...It can be anything on any given day.
  • Why did you start your blog? - Originally, it was basically only going to be a cooking blog with maybe a few random crafts thrown in.  We'd have friends our age (early - mid 20s) come over and be astounded at the things I would cook and always want to eat with us.  I was shocked that none of them knew how to cook, many even had kids.  I figured I'd post simple recipes with using as few mixes and boxes as possible for anyone who stumbled upon the blog that needed it.  From there, it just sort of grew until I recently branched it into the three "wings".  :)
  • What is the most precious item you own? (Precious as in monetary or sentimental value) - Physical item?  A painting I have by a departed family member.  It is the one material thing I can think of that absolutely could not be replaced.
  • What is your favourite quote?  - There are about a million translations of it, but this is my favorite one.  It is from the Book of Kells by Giraldus Cambrensis.   "Look closely at it and you will penetrate the innermost secrets of art; you will find embellishments of such intricacy, such a wealth of knots and interlacing links that you might believe it was the work of an angel rather than a human being."
  • Do you have any interesting future plans for your blog? - Not really.  I do this for me and to help out whoever find any of it useful.  I'm not egotistical enough to think this will ever become some huge thing.  I am not that interesting.  :)
  • You've been given an infinite budget for an evening to entertain. Who do invite (celebs/dead/fictional/location is no object), what do you serve, what entertainment do you put on and what do you wear? - This one is easy.  Wearing something casual - jeans maybe.  Coffee on a nice terrace somewhere with Zahi Hawass.  Yeah, I'm that nerdy.  Most people would probably pick a bunch of celebrities or hot people.  I want to have coffee and a conversation with who I think is the most interesting person alive so I can ask him about 20 gazillion questions and hear every story he has to tell and probably just generally annoy the shit out of him with my inquisitiveness.  
  • Describe your ultimate outfit. - Since I went casual on the last one, I'll go big and dreamy on this one - anything by Zuhair Murad.  His dresses are stunning.
  • What book affected you in the biggest way? - The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.  I've read it several times and it still gives me chills and I still discover something new every time I read it.
  • If you could only have three wishes, what would you wish for? (No wishing for more wishes!) - All around health.  I got dealt the bad end of things genes-wise and it sucks.  Natural talent for languages - it is extremely hard for me to catch on to anything language-wise.  I've bought programs, taken classes - still only a few words will ever stick in my brain.  Third is a 3-story gingerbread Victorian home with a wrap-around porch, large kitchen, turrets, and an attic so there's loooots of storage.  Just park it in the yard, kthx.
  • Do you have an controversial opinions that would surprise your followers? - Probably.  I support The Venus Project.  I do think it is something that will unfortunately probably never happen, as I am realistic, but I do think it is a great idea and support it and the fact that it is out there and others support it does show some amount of hope.
  • What's the biggest secret that you're willing to admit here? - Nothing I can think of, actually.  I'm not really even interesting enough to have a bunch of secrets, lol.Ok, 11 to nominate!  :)  That's tough because I don't follow too many blogs.  Most of the ones I do, I don't ever see filling out these things and the few that do, I think have already been nominated!  For sure, though,  Miss Saiwai Beauty may have fun with this one.  ^_^  Anyone else who wants to take on the challenge, consider yourself nominated and here are my 11 questions!  Some stolen.  All pretty random.  I'm over-caffeinated.  You're shocked, I know.

  • Why did you start blogging?
  • What is your favorite mixed beverage?  And spill the recipe!  (No pun intended, actually.)
  • If you could visit anywhere in the world, where and why?
  • What is your favorite thing about yourself?
  • What is the thing about you other people always point out but you don't see?
  • If you got filthy rich and decided to start a charity, what would you start?
  • Do you have any hidden or secret talents?
  • How do you feel about Mars?  (the planet)
  • What is your favorite movie and why?
  • What did you want to be when you were little?  If you didn't become that, what changed your mind?
  • If you had a time machine, to when would you travel first and why?

Have fun!

**Every time I tried to make the text bigger, it made more of it smaller.  Blogger is fighting me today.  You win this round, blogger.  You win this round.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Triple Post - 3 Ways to "Style" a Chicken Mixture

Seeing as how I've been a very, very bad food blogger, I decided I'd attempt to make up for it with 3 recipes in one...and I even remembered to take final pictures for all but two, so you only have to use your imagination on one.  As a result, this is a *VERY* image-heavy post.

I've been seeing recipes online everywhere for ages on assortments of different fillings for baked taquitos and I've been wanting to try them, but, since I'm me, I forgot all my recipe lists and had to wing it when I got to the store, so I ended up making my own oddball little recipe and finding even more uses for it than just taquitos.

First, I marinated the chicken.  Nothing special, really, just a garlic and black pepper marinade I found on sale.  I'd planned to use two pieces of it for dinner that night and only make taquitos with one, but a friend brought dinner by, so I didn't have to cook, thus it all got turned into the taquito mixture.  Anyway, I let the marinade sit 24 hours and then took the chicken out to temper before cooking.

Heat a large skillet up to medium heat.  I usually prefer cast iron for chicken, but this non-stick pan is the largest skillet I have and the only one all 3 would fit in.

Plop them all in and let them cook!

Flip them over...Yes, my skins stuck.  Again.  Still.

Once they look nice and gorgeous on the outside, you can take them out.  They will be cooked again later, so whether you want to skillet them (new verb!) until they are completely cooked or just nice and pretty on the outside is completely up to you.

While your chickens are cooling enough to be dissected, grab the rest of your ingredients.  For the taquitos, we'll be using one block of softened cream cheese, one can of corn, about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese of your choice (I used colby jack), some taco seasoning to taste - your own or a packet, whichever - and one poblano pepper.  Mine was frozen from where I snagged a bunch on sale, so its in that saran wrap mummy up there.

Go ahead and shred your chickens, discarding the bones and skins, then add a few tablespoons of whatever drippings were on the plate to a skillet.  You could use the same skillet if you're good, but I'm the epic chicken cooking failure, so with the skins all stuck on my old skillet...yeah.

Toss your chickens in the skillet, then add the taco mix and 1/4 cup of water until all the water is absorbed.

You should be left with this.

Once your chicken is taco-fied and in a bowl, add your poblano pepper while it is still nice and hot and stir it around and let it sit for a few minuets so they can soften a touch while the mixture cools some.

While they are softening, open the can of corn, drain it, then stir it into the mixture as well.  Yes, corn.  I feel better if there is a vegetable involved in at least some form, okay?  Don't judge me.  I'd have added black beans, too, if I'd had any.

Next, add about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese...

Then the block of cream cheese and mix it all up!

It should turn into something like this.

Now, to roll the taquitos!  I'd bought these massive burrito tortillas, so I ended up cutting them into halves with a pizza cutter.  I tried thirds first, but there was baaarely enough room to roll, so I swapped over to halves.

Once you have your pieces, spoon a thin line of filling into the middles.  You don't want too much and you want to keep it an inch or so away from the ends to allow room for the filling to move.  Let's face it:  You take a bite of a taquito and if it is over-stuffed, all your filling goes pouring out of the end, usually landing into a molten white-hot pile in your crotch.  Let us spare ourselves that pain.

After the filling is on there, dip your finger in a glass of water and lightly wet the outer edge of the tortilla.  This will help it stick when you roll it and freeze it.

Roll it up and press down where the wet part was so it sticks.

Then, roll them up in wax paper to further hold them together and stack them in the freezer.  Once they are frozen you can put them in whatever container or bag they will fit into, but I laid them flat on a plate to freeze so they stayed all straight and pretty.  We'll see the final results later.  :)

***Part 2***

Now, for the dinner recipe I did with the filling mixture, you'll need a can of chili.

Take about 1/3 of the chili and spread it over the bottom of a loaf pan.

Now, take two full tortillas, stuff them generously with the filling, and add extras if desired.  I had a bit of nacho cheese left over in the fridge that needed to be used up, so I just put a little of that inside.

Roll them up, stuff them in the loaf pan, then cover them with the remaining chili and top with shredded cheese, and bake covered at 350 for 30 minutes.  We'll see the results for this one later, too, and...holy cow.

***Part 3***

After those recipes, I STILL had chicken mixture left.  I was out of tortillas, so I decided to try crescent rolls.
I laid them out...

Spooned in a little filling...

Then, I rolled them up, sealed the edges, and baked according to the directions.  These were pretty good, though my least favorite of the bunch.  These are also the ones I forgot to take final pictures off, but I'm sure we've all seen a stuffed crescent roll anyway, so on to the good food porn!

These are how the taquitos turned out.  Baked, not fried.  I baked them pretty much like you would a store-bought taquito - 15 minutes at 350.  They have a great flavor from the poblanos and are cheesy and quite good.  I've cooked them both in the toaster oven and the rotisserie pizza thingie (14 minutes on that) we have and both work out great.  Despite not being fried, they still have the nice, crispy exterior, but as an added bonus they stay dry and don't get your fingers all slimy when you pick them up.  I figured it up and with prices around here it is about the same cost to make them myself as it is to buy them frozen, maybe a few cents cheaper.  A lot of work, but not bad considering at least I know what's in these.

Now, for the big kahuna...

I'm not really sure what to call these.  I was thinking maybe Wet Hens since they're sort of a wet burrito with chicken.  Either that or "Holy Fuck these Rock".  Seriously, so good.  Unhealthy and evil?  Oh, yes.  But very tasty, especially when you cut off a bite and scoop some of that guacamole up with it.  Not something I'll be making often due to the horrid unhealthiness of it all (even worse than my usual stuff lol), but definitely worth sharing and trying at least once.