An update on homemade BBQ sauce

So I tried making more BBQ recently, it really is that good! Well the first time I made it, I had forgotten to add the apple cider vinegar until about halfway through and my barbeque sauce was a little thick. This time, I added all the ingredients when you’re supposed to add them in the beginning, and it turned out a lot more like a sauce! Go figure, do it right and it comes out right…

Fried Food without a Deep Fryer

I haven’t had the chance to make dinner all week with the start of school. With a night to chill, I decided to fry some chicken. But we all know I can’t just use egg, milk and flour. Doesn’t work. Too simple. What I did simplify, though was the use of a deep pot and vegetable oil instead of using a deep fryer (mainly because I don’t have one – the trick is to make sure the oil is screaming hot).

It's a little crispy, but it's good that way.

It's a little crispy, but it's good that way.

So instead, I mixed with my flour a garlic mesquite spice that I got from a renaissance festival ( with some parsley – which brings out the flavor of other spices, oregano for that smoky Italian flavor, and of course some salt and pepper. And then I added about a palm-ful of bread crumbs for some more crunch. I attribute the darker color to those. And then with the egg I mixed milk and sour cream, it made the batter a little more doughey and a whole lot crispier.

I served these crispy peives of goodness with some boxed pasta (I used Garlic and Olive Oil Vermicelli) and some leftover ratatouille. Yum!

Chicken Marinara, the easy way

Breaded chicken tenderloins, spaghetti and some marinara sauce…the easiest way to make chicken marinara on a budget. Pretty tasty too. The trick is to get the marinara sauce just right. I used a mix of spices, a can of tomato paste, a can of tomato sauce, and a can of water. Let it simmer and you’ve got a tasty way to enjoy and normally pricey dish. Oh, and don’t forget the cheese on top, especially when it’s melted.

Perfect Picnic…almost.

A picnic wouldn’t be complete without the weather. Of course it had to rain on mine. The food tasted good though.

The key to a picnic is making food that is easily transportable and can sit for a little while. I made macaroni salad – which by the way mom, works well with regular macaroni too! I grilled some steak with a house blend, sliced it thin and put it on a baguette. I put some mayonnaise, spicy mustard and just a little steak sauce.  Mmmmmmm!

Junk – that’s healthy?

Ahh…comfort food. A little of this, a little of that…and really nice on the budget! Dad actually taught me this recipe, said he experimented with some stuff that was left in the fridge and figured out a staple. It has fried potatoes – which note, works much better with vegetable oil than it does with olive oil. And though I haven’t tried it, probably works even better with canola oil. Kielbalsa, scrambled eggs, onions, garlic, cheese, salt and pepper. Which as my roomie said, aren’t really ingredients (the salt and pepper).  Fry it all together in one pan, and you’re done.

By the way, it makes really, really good breakfast burritos the next day.

Honey Mustard Chicken and Ratatouille

Yum! This Honey Mustard Chicken was fantastic! I took a little bit of spicy dijon mustard, mixed it with an equal amount of honey from the honey bear and two splashes of apple cider vinegar, then rolled some chicken around in it and threw it in a hot pan. OH MY GOODNESS. It was fantastic!hm chicken

Ratatouille on the other hand was a little more tricky. Though well worth it. I love veggies and mixed with the tomato chunks it made them taste so much more flavorful. The only trick is that it has to be covered in order for everything to soften up and the flavors to infuse. What made it even better is that I actually reserved some of the eggplant and squash from the paninis and just chopped that up with the onions and garlic,  so I didn’t have to buy anything! Woohoo! (Here’s the recipe).

I paired these with some boxed pasta, and voila! Dinner for two. I bet with some candlelight and a good bottle of wine it might actually be kind of romantic.

Greatest Marinade Ever!

The boyfriend said he wanted me to put teriyaki on steak for dinner tonight. Yeah, well, I can’t just do anything plain. So I added a little of this and a little of that, and as he said, it was “phenomenal.” It had teriyaki sauce in it! I think it ended up somewhat tasting like a finidini sauce, but with a little more tang and a slight after-kick at the end. Pair it with a baked potato and some salad, mmmm, yum!

Here’s the recipe for my Sweet and Tangy Teriyaki Marinade.

Tuna Casserole Mix-Up

Thanks Mom! I mixed up her recipe with Rachel Ray’s for Italian Tuna Casserole and the end result was fantastic! Definitely an easy weeknight dinner too. Few ingredients, little time to cook. I’m pretty sure the longest part was waiting for my pasta water to boil. I tasted the sauce while I was making it and I just kept tweaking it a little bit more. I didn’t measure anything. I cook like Mom too. I did take a little hint from Rachel though, and instead of trying to cut the garlic really tiny, I grated it into the pan. The trick with that is to not let it burn…

And who said that the Dollar Store is a bad place?? That’s where I got all the ingredients! Well, except the onions and garlic. I think that all those people who have to cook with $100 ingredients are pazzo! (That means crazy in Italian). Given, there are a few ingredients that are scrumptious that I might pay a little more for, but only on special occasions.

Here’s the recipe. And credit to Rachel is on the bibliography page.

This is the end result, well at least before I melted the cheese in the oven. Yum!

This is the end result, well at least before I melted the cheese in the oven. Yum!

Yummy BBQ Sauce and Veggie Paninis

So who said that carnivores don’t like veggies? My boyfriend is notorious for ignoring the greens and isn’t so big on the cheese. But he liked my veggie paninis! And I don’t even have a panini maker. What I do have is a George Foreman Grill. Works just the same. Eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese with a cilantro and basil pesto.  The trick is not to add too much salt to the pesto and to only grill the veggies until they are a little squishy. Pile it on a baguette and squish it in a George Foreman for a few minutes…presto! Scrumptious.

Just on a whim I made Neely’s BBQ Sauce after seeing the couple use it on the Food Network. Oh my goodness it’s delicious! It comes out really thick after simmering for an hour and 15 minutes, but it’s sooo worth the time. Unfortunately it reduces quite a bit, and I halved the recipe so there wasn’t much left at the end. But I’m betting it’ll taste really good on pork chops.

This is what it looks like when it's done...about 4 shades darker than when it started.

This is what it looks like when it's done...about 4 shades darker than when it started.