Thursday, September 1, 2011

Homemade Noodles

Hey all!  Sorry it's been so long, just wanted to throw a quick post up here about my homemade noodle making experience. 

I had a friend and his girlfriend coming over to help with some yard work since my husband is away and I have two jobs and no time to do yard work.  I know this sounds like it's turning into an episode of Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa, when she cooks for her "friends..." (And why is she never barefoot?) And what is a contessa?))

So I asked him what his favorite meal was and he told me "chicken Alfredo." Blech, I thought to myself.  My years as a vegetarian had forced me to eat crappy Alfredo at just about every other sit-down restaurant I went to.  Often it was basically a watered down roux over top some stale noodles.  Even in my tour of Italy, I was more excited about the pizza and coffee than the pasta dishes.  If I'm eating pasta it should be drenched in cheese....that's just how I feel, I'm a Cornish girl from Wisconsin, what do you want from me?

I had just been to the store, with a plan to make homemade mac n cheese (that's what I'm talkin' about), so I had the basic ingredients, except fettuccine noodles and chicken.  I decided to  make the noodles.  I considered making the chicken, but butchering living animals isn't really my style.  I headed to the store for a few staple ingredients and came home and printed off Kelsey's Essentials (name is a coincidence) fresh pasta recipe, and went to town.  I like it, I like playing with dough, but as my sister-in-law says "yeast freaks me out."  So, I was able to play with dough and not pull a huge disappointment out of the oven!  I made three different flavors/colors: original, spinach, and tomato.   I let it dry overnight and then  I cooked up a garlic Alfredo sauce and added some garden fresh tomatoes and served it up.  I think they liked it (here I go talking about my "friends" again.)  The noodles were very chewy compared to store-bought noodles, I let them cook for quite awhile to reduce the chewiness.  Let me know if you have questions!  Enjoy the pics.  My kitchen, much like my life, is under construction, so don't judge. 

The farm fresh eggs turn the dough, a nice yellow color.

My kitchen is very dark and mysterious (now re-read it with a cheesy vampire voice, and you will understand my sense of humor, or lack of, you choose)

Spinach dough ball makes green pasta noodles.

This was supposed to be red, but the more red I added the more flour I had to add.  So it turned out to be a sun-dried tomatoish color, which I'm fine with, thanks for asking. 

Creepy dark kitchen (you did it on your own this time didn't you?)

Let it rest 20 minutes and then roll that business out.  The directions say to cut it out with a knife, but why would I ever do that when I have a pizza cutter.  And yes, that is a bondo scraper in the background.  You can buy them in a fancy kitchen store, or you can get one at NAPA for like 25 cents or something.  I found mine in the garage and yes, I sanitized it.  Thoroughly. 

Then I hung the pasta strips on a clothes rack.  Yes, I am also drying a shirt at the same time.  Again, with the whole judging thing??? I'm multi-tasking because I'm awesome - alright?  Some of the strips I had rolled too thin and fell onto the floor, which is why you can also see my dog in this image. 

This is what it looked like after I cooked it and drenched it in sauce.  Boom!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Gooly Buns - A 4 Ingredient Dinner - Fast, Easy, and Cheap (the meal, that is!)

This recipe comes to me from my friend Danielle Gates, her mother made it for her and her grandmother made it for her mother. It's amazing!  While I did used to live with Danielle, it wasn't until more recently that she made this dinner for me.  (We're awesome, because we still have slumber parties.) I've asked her for the recipe several times, and she has graciously told it to me.  The problem is, whenever I go to make it, I think, "This can't be all it is!"  I had a hankering for some gooly buns yesterday and called her to verify that this was only 4 ingredients.  It is!  The best thing about the ingredient listing is, that it's stuff you will almost always have on hand in your pantry and fridge.  Do you want to know what they are?  Too bad. 

Just kidding :)

1 lb of ground beef
1 can of cream of whatever soup
1 cup of cheese
1 package of hamburger buns (or hot dog buns or sub rolls, or whatever you have on hand)

The first thing you're going to do is preheat your broiler.

Now,brown your hamburger on the stove top.  If you don't know how to do that, I'm not going to help you.  You can see that my hamburger is frozen, because I often fail to plan ahead and thaw out what I want to eat.  So, I put it on low flame and started a load of wash.  You can also see that my hamburger is brownish purplish, not "fresh" red ground beef from the store.  A woman recently told me that some supermarkets put red dye into the hamburger to make it appear red.  (Umm.....Whaaat?)  She knows this because her son is allergic to red dye.  I believe her.  If you don't, do your own Internet research.  My hamburger comes from my parents' freezer (thanks guys!) as my father is a beef farmer.  If you don't have your own cattle I recommend buying part of one to keep in your freezer, you can get one from a local farmer.  Check out your local farmers' market and ask around.  It's cheaper this way, and you don't unknowingly consume chemicals.

Once your hamburger is browned, turn the burner off.  Open your can of soup.  My soup I used had a pull tab on it, so I didn't even need a can opener.  Once your soup is open, dump it in the pan.  Stir it up.  Now, add 1 cup of cheese, I used Colby Jack, you can use whatever you like or have on hand.  The cheese should be shredded or cubed. 

Now, spoon onto buns that have been split (open face) and placed on a cookie sheet or broiler pan (you can use tinfoil if you want) and pop under the broiler until the cheese is all bubbly and gooey.  Like this:

What's-his-face (DH) ate four.  He saved one for me, which I warmed up for my lunch today and am eating right now. 

This should take you 15 minutes or less.  I might add onions next time, I may also season the ground beef with a little black pepper (doesn't need salt, soup has a lot). 

It should also cost you very little.  I don't know how much hamburger is so I can't say for sure, but here's the cost of the other ingredient break down:

Hamburger: FREE
Soup: 3 for $2 = $.66
Cheese: 4 for $5 = 1.25 per 2 cups =  $.62
Buns: Day old bakery goods = $.94

Total investment = $2.22 + cost of hamburger. 

Thank you to Danielle and her wonderful family for sharing this recipe!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

2011 Summer Goals

I think I am too hard on myslef when it comes to setting goals.  I've decided to set some goals that will aid me on my adventure to learn new things, grow spiritually, and have a happy summer and overall life.  I just thought I'd share what some of mine are with you, if you have any summer goals, I'd love to hear them.  I wrote this in third person for the sake of sounding poetic. 

Give something to someone, just because
Send someone an encouraging note
Take a minute when you’re really busy to just play with the dog
Send someone an encouraging note, in the mail
Walk up and down the driveway
Be nice when you don’t want to
Ask God for help
Don’t spend money on stupid things
Learn to do something new
Really try to get out of debt
Talk on the phone
Spend time with your family
Make new friends
Try new recipes
Cook for others
Get rid of junk you don’t need
Support your neighbors, buy local
Buy Flowers for yourself
Go fishing
Grow Something

Monday, April 11, 2011

An Indian Cooking Class at Folklore Village

I was invited to attend an Indian Cooking Class (okay, it was open to the public, anyone could go, but still I was invited) last Saturday at Folklore Village.  The cost was only $15.00!  Compared to the other cooking classes in our area, this is about $50.00 cheaper!  I was on a big  kick of learning how to do new things I don't know how to do for cheap when Melissa Leef invited me via facebook.  This was right as I was thinking about things like cooking classes and learning to do it was destiny. 

Folklore Village

(Image borrowed from Folklore Village's facebook page, thanks!)

All in all it was a great morning!  Kamlesh Varma was our instructor.  She grew up in India and now lives in the Appleton area.  She taught us how to make an entire meal and shared a lot about her culture.  What's more is she sent us home with some recipes and a spice cheat sheet and taught us a lot about Indian culture!  For example her husband of 46 years came along with her.  Their first date was their wedding day.  Gulp.   

Kamlesh and her family telling us how its done.

We first learned to make Onion Pakoras, which is an Indian snack or appetizer.  Kamlesh said that during monsoon season these are enjoyed with a warm cup of masala tea.  Her daughter Anu (who also came along to help teach) will sometimes call her up and request her to make these on a rainy afternoon.  These reminded me of onion rings.  They weren't rings but they were battered onions that were deep fried.  Instead of wheat flour using she used Besan and Rice flour (can be found at your local Indian grocer), so it gave it a new texture unlike an onion ring kind of cakier ( I know that cakier is not a word, but that's how I want to say that).

As a dipping sauce for Pakora we learned to make a Coriander Chatni, which is basically Cilantro sauce and was amazing.  It was like salsa, but with more cilantro than tomato.  

Pakora - I apologize for the bad pic.  It was before I got into my picture taking mojo.

After the Pakora and Chatni, we learned to make Chapati.  This was a fried (you can bake it if you want, but why would you?) flat bread.  Kind of similar to a pita, only way yummier.  Kamlesh is from northern India where they eat their meals with bread.  She said that Southern Indians eat more rice in place of bread.  She had us roll out the dough and then fried them up, she also put some on the burner (gas stove) and kind of char cooked them, these were good too, but small potatoes compared to the fried ones. 

Rolling Chapati

Frying Chapati

Fried Chapati

Speaking of potatoes!  She made the most amazing potatoes that I've ever eaten.  They were like an Indian version of American fries...clearly we did not think up the idea of frying potatoes, because these were way better!  She peeled the potatoes and cut them in chunks, threw them in a pan with some oil and then added her Indian spice magic.  They were spicy, but not too spicy.  The kind of spicy, where you think it might be too spicy for a second, but can't stop yourself from eating another bite. 

Indian Fried Potatoes
(I'm sure they have a name, but I don't remember.)

Finally we got to the meat of the matter (I crack myself up), obviously not beef, but chicken.  Her husband and daughter are vegetarians, but she is not.  She  sliced chicken thighs into chunks to create her chicken curry.  This allows them to cook evenly.  She threw the chicken in a pan and added her special seasonings and let them cook until they reached a beautiful glazed consistency.  Some of the seasonings she added were cinnamon, turmeric, bay leaves, coriander powder, cumin powder and some garlic and ginger paste.  She also added a tomato, an onion and some yogurt (I would not have thought of that) and some garam masala and cilantro.  Even though only a small amount of turmeric was used, I was surprised as to how yellow it made the chicken.  Not noticeably in the pan, but left kind of a yellow tinge of deliciousness on your fingers.  I liked it.  To read more about garam masala go here.

Yummy pot of chicken curry notice potatoes and pakora in background.

Plated up (didn't last long)
Kamlesh said that they do not use silverware.  They eat with their hands, rather one of their hands.  They use the bread (chapati) to pick up what they want to eat.  Kamlesh's daughter Anu said that she didn't feel this was a very good method because it causes you to just keep eating...too much bread, get more chicken...too much chicken, get more bread....and so on and so forth.  I thought it was a great method, but I can see where she's coming from...

She made us a delicious dessert too, but I don't have any notes on it and can't remember what it was called.  I am more of a savory lover and was too busy feeding my face with chapati, potatoes and chicken curry. 

Look at all those spices!
I don't know if I will be comfortable cooking an Indian meal for awhile, but I feel more at home with many of the spices.  I also feel like I could walk into an Indian restaurant and make somewhat of an intelligent order and know what I was going to get on my plate.  
I have some of the recipes she prepared.  If you'd like to give one a go, let me know and I will send you the recipe or we can try it together. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Operation Clean House

Those of you who know me well know that I've never cared too much for housework, you would know this by being allowed in my house.  After going to school at night and working two jobs for who knows how long, I always said I just didn't have the time.  Well, now I am a graduate (two times) and have only one job (for right now anyway) and I even get to work from home, so my house is yeah right.  I do, however, have the energy to do something about it now! 

I haven't been cooking much lately so I haven't posted in awhile, is because my kitchen is under construction, as in, I have no electricity in my kitchen, (the other reason is because I was on a 7 day cruise, but I'll blog about that later!), so I cannot therefore cook.  As I haven't been cooking I've been exploring some other areas of my home and have discovered that they are quite messy!  So, I've been occupying my time with getting things cleaned up.  One thing about cleaning have to keep doing it!  Seems like I could just follow DH around and pick up after him and not get anything else done! 

If any of you have struggled with this and worked through it, I'd be happy to hear how you've done.  Anything from sharing your daily/weekly cleaning schedules with me to ways you got your hubby on board would be fantastic.  Lots of the articles I've found on-line are for families with children.  We are a child-free home, (we do have a little Jack Russell Terror, I mean Terrier).  Soon I will be sharing with you what 'm doing to cut down the clutter and get my hubby on board.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Kelsey's Homemade Laundry Soap

Kelsey's Homemade Laundry Soap

As some of you may know, things are a little tight around here as Trevor is pursuing his art, and fixing up the house, and maybe fixing up some vehicles.  Therefore, we are cutting out unnecessary expenses.  Like laundry detergent.  I made my last batch in late November, and it has lasted me until now.  Woohoo! 

Making your own laundry detergent is easy.  It's cheap, and you know exactly what is in it. 

To make your own laundry detergent you will need:
A 5 gallon bucket with a lid
1 bar of soap
1 cup of Washing Soda
1/2 - 1 cup of Borax
3 gallons of water (+ 6 cups)
essential oils or fragrance oils (optional)

You may now have many questions running through your mind. Such as "Where can I find a 5 gallon bucket with a lid?" "What kind of bar soap?"  "What is Borax?" "What is Washing Soda?" and  "Where do I buy these?"   Don't worry, I'm going to tell you.

My friends at Dodger Bowl Lanes were kind enough to give me a 5 gallon bucket with a lid.  It was a pickle bucket and still smelled slightly of pickles, so if you do this, I recommend putting some bleach in there to soak overnight, then rinse it out completely.

This time I used Lever 2000, last time I used Dial.  Whatever you have on hand will work fine.  

Washing soda as defined by Wikepedia is Sodium Carbonate.  You can read more about it here:

Borax is also known as sodium borate.  You can read more about it here:

I purchased both my washing soda and my borax at the local Piggly Wiggly, I found them in the laundry aisle.  If I recall correctly they were each about $4.00 per box.  This is a good deal considering that you only use a small portion of the box for this recipe.  You may be able to find them cheaper, but I thought this was a good enough deal for me not to have to go hunting all over tarnation for them.

Step 1:  Heat 6 cups of water to boiling on your stovetop.  The saucepan that your husband borrowed from you to use for something in the garage would work great.  Especially because when he borrowed it, you raised an eyebrow, at the unidentified object in contained.  He reassured you that it was no big deal, and you moved on.  However, now, the saucepan is nowhere to be found, and he's just not sure where he left it.... Ah well, you can use your least favorite wok.  And don't bother getting upset about it, because he probably really won't care that much, and you will be the only one upset. 

Step 2:  Whittle down your bar of soap while the water heats up.  (The Lever 2000 whittled much more easily than the Dial did.)  Now, halfway through this process you will be little do these pieces really need to be?  I'm sure these larger chunks will melt down just fine.... WRONG, right about the time you think that you need to whittle those in at least half.  Or you will be watching this pot melt soap for-eva.  Okay not forever, but a really long time, and you will eventually use a slotted spoon to discard the large chunks floating on top.  I don't know this for a fact....I'm just could happen.  Do step 3 as you do this step.

Step 3:  Add whittled soap to boiling water.  Reduce heat so it is no longer boiling, just really really hot.  Stir often, maybe use a slotted spoon...just in case?

Step 4:  Once all (or most of the soap) has melted away, pour into the five gallon bucket.  (Be careful, it's very hot!)  I use hot pads just in case.  I put the bucket on the floor, it's easier to pour into. 

Step 5:  Add 1 cup of washing soda and up to 1 cup of borax to melted soap.  I use almost 1 cup of Borax because hubby's clothes are so dirty from playing in the garage all the time.  The first time I only used half a cup.  This is fine for my clothes, but I think Trev's could use the extra umph. 

Step 6:  Add 3 gallons of water.  You can use milk jugs, I use a 2 qt pitcher.  There are 4 qts in a gallon, so this is 6 pitchers. 

Step 7:  Stir it up.  Is good if you have a super long spoon so you don't have to touch it with your hands (It will dry them out in a hurry).  If you are using essential or fragrant oil, add up to an ounce about halfway through and continue stirring.  (See slotted spoon, just in case)

  Step 8:  Put the lid on, carry it to your laundry room, and let it sit over night.  In the morning it will be more of a gel.  You can stir it up periodically to keep it from clumping.  I don't know if that will work or not, but sure can't hurt. 

That's it, you now have your own laundry detergent!  I use a cap from one of my old laundry jugs to measure it out. 

If you live with someone who tends to be a little over-zealous on the use of their laundry soap, you can add water to make it stretch a bit further. 

If you have old laundry jugs you can put it in there and give to college students or friends as a nice gesture, or simply to keep it easier access for you. 

It doesn't make a bunch of suds, just remember it is the soap that cleans, not the suds.  If you have a front load washer, I would water it down a bit more.  This is a low suds operation, so it is perfect for front loaders as is, but probably doesn't need to be as potent. 

I don't mind wasting this as much as my other stuff.  We've all done it, forgot that we left a load in the washer all day...or since yesterday, okay fine, a couple of days.  It used to pain me to waste fragile soap on a re-wash, now I just dump some in and move on. 

This hasn't made me rich or anything, but I don't cringe at the thought of buying laundry soap anymore.  Now we can put our money toward things we need, like cute little coats for the dog to savings. 

If you try this, I would love to hear about your experience.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cabbage Kielbasa Stew

Cabbage Kielbasa Stew

I first made this stew when working in a local group home.  I would like to give a shout out to Diane Bober for the starter recipe.  When I moved on from the group home I didn't take any recipes with me other than what I had committed to memory, so I'm sure this isn't spot on.  This stew makes me feel warm all over and it smells delicious!  It's just perfect for a winter weather advisory afternoon.  Sometimes I make it in the crock pot, and sometimes, I want to eat it right now so I rush it on the stove.  Last night was one of those nights that I wanted it "right now."

1 Polksa Kielbasa (I used Turkey this time)
1 Onion
1 Medium Head of Cabbage
2 Carrots
2 Celery Stalks
1 can broth (vegetable or chicken)
1 can of water
2 garlic cloves
2  Bay Leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fennel seeds if ya got 'em,
(if not doctor it up with some rosemary and Italian seasoning, and a titch of cumin)
2 Potatoes (optional)

Cut up your onion, get that sauteing in the pan with a bit of oil of your choice.  Ideally, you would throw the sliced kielbasa in now too, but mine was frozen so I was thawing it out in the microwave.  While waiting for the kielbasa to thaw, go ahead and slice up your carrots and celery*, and throw them in the pan with some salt and pepper.  Add your garlic, minced. Ah now, the kielbasa has thawed... slice that  up thin and throw it in the pan.  Continue sauteing while you shred the cabbage, however large or small of pieces you want.  I am lazy, so we get big pieces of cabbage (easier for hubby to pick out too).  Add the cabbage to the pot, add your broth and water.  Sometimes I run out of broth and just use water.  You have to let it cook longer, but it still tastes pretty good!  

I then add my spices.  Throw in your bay leaves and cover the top with salt and pepper (you can always add more later). I keep forgetting to buy fennel seeds at the grocer, so I used a touch of cumin, and some Italian seasoning and some rosemary.  Use what you like to create a good flavor that you and your loved ones will enjoy.

Let it simmer on the stove until the cabbage is soft and tender.  Let it simmer longer if you want your flavors to merry more, it smells great.  I of course wanted to eat it "RIGHT NOW," so I didn't cook mine very long last night.  

You will see that I did not add potato.  You can add it if you like.  I leave it out because hubby sometimes picks out all the sausage leaving vegetable stew for me to eat.  If I leave out the potatoes, this doesn't happen as much. There is more sausage to stew ratio.  If you did add potatoes you can peel them or not peel them.  I wouldn't, because I hate peeling potatoes. 

  * I always wash my veggies before i peel them.  This way I can save the skins (onion, carrots, potatoes etc.) for a veggie broth for next time.  I throw them in a freezer bag and label it.  OR, i feed them to the chickens.  OR I make broth out of them, strain the broth and then feed it to the chickens.  AND your garbage doesn't get stinky!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cheeseburger Pizza with Pickles - Say Whaaat?

When I was 19, I got a job in a small town gas station.  I didn't even know I had applied, my mom had turned in an application for me and they called and were like "you're hired."  Thanks Mom!  I very much enjoyed my gas station job in this very tiny town.  It was the only gas station, and I was the new girl in town.  I hit it off really well with a lot of the guys in town....I think, because I wasn't their cousin....and I made their pizza.  I got to know everyone in town really, really, quickly many good relationships were formed...a couple I probably could have done without, but that's a story for a different day.  Today we are going to talk about Cheeseburger Pizza, a recipe I learned whilst working in the back room of this classy gas station.  

Ingredients you will need:

Pizza Crust (I use Jiffy, but you can use whatever you like)
1 can Pizza Sauce
1/3 cup Ketchup
1/3 cup Mustard
1/2 onion
1/2 lb ground beef
Equal parts Mozzarella and Cheddar cheese (enough to cover the top of your pizza)
 Tomato (optional)

Step One:
Make your crust and preheat your oven according to crust package directions.
Step 2:
Brown  and drain your hamburger.  (I usually do steps one and two at the same don't have to if you don't want to, but it saves time...)  Some people like to add the onions to the ground beef, I like my onions added later. 

Step 3:
Put your sauce on the crust.  I use about 1/2 can to start and add more if I need to.  Put sauce in the middle of the pizza, now add about 1/3 cup of ketchup and 1/3 cup of mustard to the sauce pile.  Spread around to edges with a spoon.  (It sounds weird, but just do it, you will thank me later.)

Step 4:
Add toppings
I add raw onion, and had a tomato in the house, so threw that on too.

Then I add the beef.

Next, add your cheese (I only had mozzarella in the house, is much better if you can add cheddar) and put your pickles on! 

I used baby dills because that's what I had in the fridge, you can use hamburger slices, or whatever kind you like on your cheeseburger.  

Step 5:
Now pop it in the oven . 
When you are done you should get something that looks a bit like this.  It sounds strange, but is absolutely deicious, especially if you can't decide if you want a cheeseburger or pizza.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gourmet Soup in Five Minutes Flat

Today is dreadfully foggy and dreary looking outside.  I want only to curl up my my bed and sleep away the day.   However, I feel like my boss, coworkers, and clients make take offense.  So, I decided I needed some homemade soup for lunch, except of course I didn't have any.  We RARELY eat canned soup here, but I went to my cupboard to see if anything intrigued me.  There on a bare cupboard was a lonely can of tomato soup.  There was also a can of cream of mushroom soup, does anyone really eat that as soup?  I use cream of mushroom for casseroles only.  If you eat this on a regular basis please let me know, I'm curious as to know why?

Usually when tomato soup is in the house, it in mind for a specific recipe, but this soup had no plans, so I put my eye on him.  By this time I was quite hungry, having skipped breakfast due to my grogginess, and did not want to wait an hour for good tasting soup, but also did not want to eat a can of plain old soup.  An memory of my younger years, came back to me and I remembered that Gordon's Restaurant in Dodgeville used to make the most amazing Cream of Tomato Basil Soup.  In an attempt to recreate this (in five minutes or less) I threw the tomato soup in a pan, added garlic salt (tomatoes love salt), some paprika, a cup of milk and a few Tablespoons of dried basil.  I'm sure that this soup would have been better if I would have used garden tomatoes, fresh basil, heavy cream and sauteed onions, but for five minutes or less I was very very pleased.  I ate it with some of my homemade rye crackers.  The sun still isn't shining, but I'm enjoying the coziness of my office a bit more.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Crock Pot Fajitas

I've had a round steak marinating for a day or so.  Last night we had a couple pieces of it with our baked potatoes, it was tough...really really tough.  I put the man in charge of marinating it, and he didn't beat it with a mallet, like I normally do.  So, fortunately, I only cooked up half and let the other half continue to marinade overnight. 

Today at lunch, I cut it up into small strips and threw in my little baby crock pot with a bunch of fajita seasoning that we got for our wedding.  It's been almost five years and I still have a whole bunch, I'm sure it isn't as strong so I used 4 Teaspoons and mixed it with half a cup of water in the bottom of the crock.  I shoved all the meat strips in there, put the bone and the fat on top (for flavor) and sliced up half an onion I had in the fridge and threw it in there.

I am cooking it on high for the afternoon ( I started it at about 12:30).  At 5:00 I will check on it and see if I need to turn it down.  I will then saute` up another onion and a green pepper and maybe some carrot shavings.  You can put these in the crock but they get a little mushy, and I like my crisp.  I also don't have much room left in my crock to add as many veggies as I would like.  I will be serving with warmed tortillas, sour cream and salsa.  If we had mushrooms in the house I would add those too...but we don't.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Best Baked Potatoes

I'm sure you're thinking "Really?  You started a blog so you could tell us how to make baked potatoes?"  Well, it's my first post so give me a break, I'm really just trying to figure this whole thing out before I commit to doing this, and I have some baked potatoes baking away in the oven, and they really are the best so I thought I would let you know how I do it.  This way you can quit getting angry at me because of my foodie facebook posts.  This way you can get off your behind and make whatever I'm making, and not be so jealous all the time. 

For the BEST Baked Potatoes, you will need:

Potatoes  (I don't know how many people are you feeding, and how many potatoes will each person eat?)
Salt:  A fair amount... (separated)
Olive Oil:  Put some in the bottom of a shallow bowl.  If you need more, you can add more.  Quit getting so worked up about measurements, they're baked potatoes for crying out loud!


1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2) Scrub your potatoes.  Back in the day, I learned a trick from a really neat lady named Nurse Nancy.  She would throw all the potatoes in the sink, fill it will cold water (like ice cold) and dump a bunch of salt in.  Because we were using so many potatoes we would just mix them up and the salt did our scrubbing for us.  I have found that this is less successful if you are only using a few potatoes (they don't rub against eachother in the sink).  In any case, wash the dirt off your taters. 

3) Dry your potatoes.  Not sure why.  Just do it. 

4) Stab your potatoes 2-3 times with a fork or a knife.  Be careful.  It is frustrating to stab yourself with a fork.  I used to stab before I dried, but those suckers are a little slippery.  Maybe that's why we have to dry the potato.

5) Now, roll your taters in tthat shallow bowl of olive oil, coat them and set aside on a cookie sheet.  Roll the rest of your taters in the oil and add to the cookie sheet.

6) Bunch them all up together in the middle of the cookie sheet.  Sprinkle salt liberally.  Flip potatoes over.  Sprinkle salt liberally. 

7) Now, you can remove them from the pan and place on oven rack and bake.  I did this the first time and put the cookie sheet on the bottom of the oven to catch dripping oil.  This time I just spread them out and left them on the pan, because I don't think it will hurt anything.  Leave them in the oven until they are done, about an hour. 

The end result is a delicious potato that is so good, I can eat without adding any butter or sour cream. The skin puffs up and gets crispy and the generous coating of salt adds the perfect amount of flavor. Of course, when you do add butter and sour cream, it is extra super delicious. 

Give'em a try and let me know what you think.