Thursday, December 31, 2009

Doughnut Recipe

(Recipe yields 1 dozen doughnuts)

My kids were craving Krispy Kreme doughnuts, so rather than spend a lot of money, I scoured the internet for a great doughnut recipe. I had tried the copy cat Krispy Kreme recipe on Recipezaar, in the past, and I was going to use it if I couldn’t find anything better. But, like most of the people, I thought that recipe was a little too bready. Then I came across a site advertising “The Secret Donut Recipe” by Brad Flickinger located at . Secret Donut Recipe This recipe is the best for homemade doughnuts that I have ever come across. They are not bready. They taste as close to bakery version as possible. The texture was excellent – not to mention the taste. I felt that the only thing I would change is they could have been a little sweeter. I don’t know if using 2% milk versus whole milk may have been the cause for this or not. I think next time instead of ¼ cup of sugar I might try ½ cup. But, regardless, Brad’s recipe was very detailed and he was right on about the cooking temp. They turned out great. I also tried his glazes, both the vanilla glaze and chocolate glaze. I definitely will be making this again, but I might try making eclairs or jelly donuts next time, too.

Brad’s recipe calls for very few ingredients, most of which you already have at home. One unusual ingredient, and this almost made me change my mind about making these doughnuts, was the use of ½ cup mashed potato. But, I couldn’t even tell it was in the dough. Also, by cooking it in the microwave, this recipe is quick, easy, and delicous. I have to give Brad a huge “Thank You” for coming up with this recipe.


1 cup warm milk (not hot)
2 packages yeast
2 cups of flour (and extra for kneading and rolling dough with)
½ cup of mashed potatoes
½ tsp salt
¼ cup of sugar
dash of sugar for yeast mixture
2 Tbs cooking oil


Microwave a decent sized potato which will yield ½ cup when mashed. I cooked mine for 10 minutes – flipping it after 5 minutes. The skin just peeled right off. Then mashed it well and placed it in a measuring cup. Set it aside - you will mix this in with the dry ingredients.
Microwave 1 cup of milk until it is warm, not hot and combine with 2 packages yeast, and a dash of sugar. Let this sit for about 5 minutes until bubbly while you get the dry ingredients ready. In a large bowl, combine the 2 cups of flour, salt, sugar, and mashed potatoes. Mix the dough well. Add the yeast and milk mixture and more flour to form a nice dough. Next, you can move it to a flour board for kneading (I just kneaded mine in the bowl, but you will have to add additional flour because it is very wet and sticky. Keep kneading and adding flour until it resembles regular dough. If you come across any potatoe lumps, use your fingers and they will combine with the dough. I didn’t have much trouble getting the lumps out as I kneaded it. I did a taste test at this point and couldn’t even tell it had potato in the recipe.
Roll the dough out to ½” thickness and using a biscuit cutter or a large glass (which is what I did) cut doughnuts out. Then I used a pill bottle lid for the center, cut small doughnut holes out of those doughnuts. I floured a cookie sheet and set the doughnuts on that. Leave them alone for 10 minutes. Brad’s recipe indicates that you should let your oil heat up while doing this. I agree. You need the temp to be 360 degrees and this will be at Medium High. It will take 5 minutes for the oil to reach that temperature.
When frying the donuts, start with the little doughnut holes first, that way you can make sure the temperature is right. They should take about 1 minute to turn golden brown.

Don’t just plop them in the oil or you may get splashed with hot oil. When frying, try to get as close to the surface and let them slide in the oil. This will avoid splashing hot oil everywhere. Fry the doughnuts on both sides until lightly golden. This will take just a minute or two. After frying the doughnuts, place on a paper towel. Then dip each one in the glaze of your choice. I had my son do the dipping while I did the frying. You may need help here, too.

Now for the glaze recipes.

Heat ½ cup of milk with 1 Tbs butter for both glazes until warm.

Vanilla Glaze

In a bowl mix:

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbs of milk & butter mixture (above)
¼ tsp of lemon juice (optional – I left this out)
¼ tsp of vanilla extract

If you need a thinner glaze, add more milk mixture.

Chocolate Glaze

In a bowl mix:

1 cup of powdered sugar
2 Tbsp of Hersheys Unsweetened Cocoa
3 Tbsp of the milk and butter mixture mentioned above

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Beef and Cornbread Shepherd’s Pie Casserole

This recipe can be topped with cornbread or mashed potatoes.  It is a great way to use up those left-over mashed potatoes.  While you are preparing the meat mixture, you can roast your peppers in the oven.  The smell of the roasted peppers will drive everyone in the household hungry.  For this recipe, I use 1 red bell pepper, 1 poblano, and 2 jalapenos.  When I use cornbread for the top, I prefer the Martha White pre-packaged “Sweet Yellow” cornbread mix.  I like it, not only because of the flavor, but because I only have to add milk and egg and stir.  No sifting or measuring of ingredients with the exception of the milk. Only one package of cornbread mix should be used here, I made it one time using two packages and it came out too dry for our tastes. If you make your own cornbread, you may need to adjust the sauce with flour and water to make a gravy so the dish is not too dry. Also, you can add vegetables to this meat mixture sauce.  Mushrooms, green beans, hominy, almost any vegetable would work.  This recipe can be made without the vegetables, too, but I encourage everyone to try the roasted peppers.  They are the key ingredient for this dish. The meat mixture can be topped with either prepared corn bread mix or mashed potatoes.  Whichever you choose, I hope you enjoy this recipe.


1 lb ground beef
1-2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce or tomato puree (your preference)
1 red bell pepper
1 poblano pepper
2 jalapeno peppers
1 15 oz can whole kernel corn drained (optional)
1 15 oz can pinto or black beans (optional)
½ cup of pre-shredded cheddar cheese (optional – for the cornbread)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ - 1 tsp garlic powder
1 pkg Martha White "Sweet Yellow" cornbread mix
1/2 cup milk
1 egg


If you have a large cast iron skillet, you can prepare the whole meal in it.  If you don’t, you will need to start off preparing the meat on the stove top in a large skillet and then after preparing the sauce, place in a baking dish like a casserole dish prior to topping it with the mashed potatoes or cornbread mixture (whichever you are making).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place your peppers on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil. Place them in the oven for 15-20 minutes.  I like to remove the seeds and slice them in half prior to roasting them. Either way will work, you will need to remove the seeds and the skin after roasting.

Meanwhile, brown your ground beef in the skillet. Do not season until it is done.  Drain off the fat.  After draining the fat, season your meat with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add 1-2 Tbsp of tomato paste to the meat and combine well.  Add your tomato sauce, corn and beans.  Chop your peppers and add as well.  Remove any seeds and skin. Turn to low or turn heat off after it is ready while preparing the topping (your mashed potatoes or cornbread mixture).

For Cornbread version of this recipe:

Preheat the oven for 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, prepare the cornbread mix per the manufacturer’s directions. For additional flavor, you can add ½ cup of pre-shredded cheddar cheese and 1 Tbsp of chopped jalapeno and 1 Tbsp chopped red bell pepper. After the sauce has cooked, move the sauce to a baking dish (if not using a cast iron skillet) and dab or spread the prepared cornbread batter over the top.  Bake the casserole for 17-20 minutes, or until the cornbread turns a light golden brown on top.

For mashed potatoes version:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Using left-over mashed potatoes, after the meat sauce has cooked, transfer the sauce to an oven friendly dish (if not using cast-iron skillet).  Spread the mashed potatoes over the top.  Do not add cheese until this is done baking or the cheese will burn.  Cover with foil. Bake for 17-20 minutes. Remove from oven.  Remove foil and add ½ cup of shredded cheese over the top and insert under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until the cheese melts.

Recipe for mashed potatoes:

I don’t know anyone other than my daughters who probably don’t know how to cook these, but I am posting this for them.


4-6 medium potatoes
1 tsp salt
water (enough to cover potatoes)
¼ - ½ cup of milk
2 Tbsp butter

Wash, peel, and slice the potatoes into ¼ inch slices.  Place in a 4-quart sauce pan and cover with water.  Add salt.  Cook on high until it begins to boil – I usually place a lid on top to speed up the process, after it boils, turn heat down to Medium-high and take the lid off.  Cook for about 15-20 minutes until they are tender when stabbed with a fork or knife. When they get to this point, it is important to turn the heat down to low or remove them from the fire, over-cooked potatoes will make a sticky gluey mashed potatoes otherwise.  So drain them.  Using a electric mixer, mix them with the milk and butter.  Adjust the taste by adding more salt if necessary or more butter or milk.  Serve immediately. You can also mash them using a hand mixer or potato masher, but I usually make mine with the electric mixer.

Store any left-overs in the refrigerator or freezer and thaw and use for the recipe above.

Pizza Recipe

My sons wanted me to blog about this recipe. To them it tasted like real restaurant style pizza. I just make this often, to avoid the high cost of eating out. I like to keep a lot of these ingredients on hand like the pepperoni and canadian bacon and sausage can be kept in your freezer until ready to use. I usually have the cheese and tomato sauce on hand because I use them frequently in other recipes like chicken alfredo, or my other recipes that we eat often. The tomato sauce is very forgiving. I didn’t have my usual tomato sauce, but I found a can of diced tomatoes in the pantry. I pureed them using my blender. I still had a little tomato paste in the frig, so it all worked out well, they actually like the sauce better that way. I used to make my dough using the Pioneer or Martha White (I can’t remember the actual brand name) packages at the store. You’ll find these located next to the Italian sauces like Prego in the grocery store. And for this recipe, you can do so as well. Just follow the directions on the package. My recipe for the dough is similar in that you bake the pizza in a 450 degree oven for 5 minutes prior to topping it. I think this makes the whole pizza cook faster. You also need to use warm water to activate the yeast. We love how the crust comes out. I include a garlic butter sauce that I use. We love garlic bread, and this gives the pizza extra flavor. This pizza will cook quick. So please turn the temp down from 450 to 425 or 400 when baking it. I left it at 450 once, and it looked like it was ready in 11 minutes, but since my husband used to make pizzas in the past, I know they should bake as close to 20 minutes as possible. That way all the meat toppings are cooked properly.

Garlic-butter Ingredients (for crust) – enough for 2 large pizzas

½ stick of butter (4 tbsp)
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ - ½ tsp dried oregano
¼ - ½ tsp dried basil

Sauce Ingredients – makes enough for 2 large pizzas

1-2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 small can tomato sauce
1-2 tsp sugar
garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried basil

Dough Ingredients – makes 1 pizza (double recipe to make 2 large)

1 pkg yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
2 cups flour
1-1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Topping Ingredients – enough for 2 large pizzas

1 pkg sliced pepperoni
1 pkg canadian bacon
1 pkg jimmy dean sausage
4-6 oz of uncooked ground beef
1 pkg Italian blend pre-shredded cheese (contains parmesan, romano, asiago, etc)
1 pkg Mozzerella pre-shredded cheese (8 oz minimum)
1 pkg portabella mushrooms
1 small can sliced black olives


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine your yeast with warm water and 1 tsp sugar and let it set for 10-15 minutes. After the yeast is bubbly, add or sift in the flour and salt. Keep extra flour on hand so it doesn’t stick to your fingers. Work this into a dough. On a floured board, roll out the dough. First, form into a large ball, try to roll this into a perfect circle. Grease a cookie sheet and lay the pizza onto the cookie sheet. Prick the crust surface with a fork. Place in the oven for 5 minutes.

If making two pizzas, repeat the above steps. I believe the dough recipe is only enough for 1 pizza and you need to double it to make 2 large pizzas.
Prepare your garlic-butter sauce. In a small container (I use my small liquid measuring cup) melt ½ stick butter and add the seasonings and combine. Using a baster or a rubber spatula, spread this onto the pizza after removing it from the oven. By using the measuring cup, you can actually drizzle the butter onto the crust and spread with the spatula or brush. Also, stir frequently (the garlic tends to sink to the bottom) to ensure that you get an even spread on the garlic flavor. You can use minced garlic instead, but you still will have to stir frequently because the garlic sinks to the bottom. I am guessing at the amount of garlic, too. I usually eyeball my seasonings and don’t measure them. So you may need to add more garlic. Stir and do a taste test with your finger. Avoid using garlic salt. It will make it taste too salty.

Prepare the tomato sauce by combining all the ingredients for the sauce. Taste it and adjust for salt and seasonings. The secret is using a little sugar – it takes the bitterness out. My husband used to make pizzas when he was younger, and I remember him telling me what the secret was, also adding a little tomato paste instead of just using a can of sauce helps to make a thicker sauce. Spread the sauce over the crust after you finish spreading the garlic-butter sauce.

Top the pizza: For a meaty pizza, use pre-sliced pepperoni, canadian bacon, raw ground meat (dab very small amounts all over the crust), the same with the sausage (dab very small amounts – raw or uncooked), sliced mushrooms, black olives, etc. Sprinkle the Italian blend cheese first and lastly, top with the mozzerella cheese. For cheese pizzas, skip the meat and just top with cheese. The sky is the limit. Toppings can be whatever you desire. We cook the meaty version so much, so I am using that as an example here.

Bake this in the oven at 425 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. If making two pizzas, alternate them on the cooking rack so the crusts bake the same half way during the cooking process. The pizza is done when the crust turns a light golden brown and the cheese has melted completely especially in the center and starts taking on a golden tone. Oven times may vary. You want the pizza to cook as close to 20 minutes as possible, so you may need to adjust the heat to accomplish this. That ensures that the meat is fully cooked. You shouldn’t need to turn the heat lower than 400 degrees F. It needs to be hot for the crust to bake right.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baja Sauce for Spicy Tacos

My son loves Taco Bell.  He had me taste his taco with the baja sauce, and I had to agree, it was delicious.  So I searched around for a recipe that we could make at home. By combining red bell pepper and jalapenos makes for a really spicy sauce for your tacos. I had to make adjustments to the recipe I found because I could taste the mayonnaise.  So I increased the red bell pepper and jalapeno and roasted them in the oven first. Feel free to use this sauce on other things like quesadillas and even as a salad dressing.


1 red bell pepper
2 jalapenos
1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. White wine vinegar
¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
¼  tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1-2 Tbsp. of olive oil


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place your bell pepper and jalapenos on a cookie sheet with a drizzle of olive oil. Place them in the oven for 15-20 minutes.  Remove them and place them in a bowl, cover with seran wrap, and refrigerate for about 10 minutes.  This makes it easy to peel off the skin.

Remove them from the refrigerator.  Peel off the outer thin skin.  Using a small paring knife, slice around the stem and remove the seeds from the inside by using a spoon or knife.  Chop them into small pieces and place them in your food processor or blender.  Puree them until smooth.

In a separate bowl, place 1 cup of mayonnaise.  Add the puree of peppers and the seasonings to the mayonnaise and mix well.  You need to refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours for the flavors to meld together.  The longer you wait the better.  We waited 6-8 hours for ours.

Serve as a taco sauce.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chicken Fried Steak

It had been awhile since we had a steak dinner because of my husband’s problems with his dentures.  He usually doesn’t wear them because they are painful.  This steak was so delicious that even he managed to eat it though.  I served them with a creamy white gravy (recipe below) along with roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes.

In the past, when making the breading, I used to dip the steaks in buttermilk and 2% milk.  I accidently discovered a secret ingredient when I ran out of buttermilk and didn’t want to run to the store.  I found that by mixing 2 tablespoons of Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing in my milk and egg mixture that it gave it the sourness similar to buttermilk, but that it tasted even better. So now, even if I use the buttermilk and regular milk, I will always add the salad dressing in there too.  This goes for fried chicken, fried fish, fried okra, anything that I need to bread and fry up.  I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.


2-3 lbs of Cubed Steak (round steak that has already been tenderized)
½ cup Buttermilk (optional)
2 cups 2% or whole milk
2 eggs
2 Tbsp Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing (in the bottle – already prepared)
2 – 3 cups of flour
1 –1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon of black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper seasoning
½ teaspoon ground paprika (optional)
Cooking oil


In a large skillet, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan, but not so that the steaks are covered on top, allow the tops to stick up out of the hot oil. I’ve never measured my oil, I just eyeball it.  Probably about a cup or so. Heat this on a high setting.  You want it to be hot, but not too hot.  I cook my steaks 5-6 minutes on each side.  I have to play with the heat.  I get it really hot and then most of the cooking is done on medium-high setting.
You can let it heat up while you are working on the breading. So you may want to set it at medium-high. I have to warn you though, if you don’t have it hot enough when you cook your steaks, the breading will fall off and it won’t come out right. You can test the oil by putting a very, very, small drop of water in it, if it sizzles it is hot enough. I’ve gotten to wear I check it by placing my hand over it, I can tell if it is hot enough.  Be very careful either way. If it’s smoking or sputtering, it’s way too hot, get that skillet off the burner and let it cool off!

You need two large bowls.  One to put your egg and milk mixture in, the other to put your dry ingredients like flour, salt, and seasonings in. In one large bowl, combine the milk, buttermilk, salad dressing, and eggs.  Sometimes I add a little salt and pepper to this as well, that is up to you.  Using a whisk, mix them up together.  In another bowl, combine your flour, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder and mix to combine well.  You will need a platter to set your breaded steaks on as you prepare them.

I like to use the cubed steaks that come in a family pack already cut in serving sizes and tenderized.  So take a steak and dredge it in the flour mixture first.  Then shake a little excess flour off and dredge it in the milk mixture.  Now back into the flour mixture making sure you let any excess egg & milk mixture drip off into the milk mixture before doing this. Otherwise your flour will clump up – you want your flour to be loose.  Make sure both sides are coated well.  Place on a platter.  When you have done 3-4 (enough to fit in your skillet) stop breading and place them in your skillet.  You need to time them.  If you over cook these, they will be tough and hard to chew.  You want a nice golden crispy coat before you turn them over.  This will take about 5-6 minutes.  Once you have cooked them on each side, I usually place mine on a cookie sheet in the oven on a low setting like 250 F while I finish the others.

These steaks are so tender that if you let them soak too long in the milk mixture, they will fall apart.  However, if you want to go ahead and bread all of your steaks at one time, you should refrigerate them while you cook the others.  I noticed on food network that cooks that left their breaded foods too long at room temperature, would have trouble keeping the breading on when they fried them.  So put them on a platter that can be refrigerated if you do this. Basically I think there are two causes for the breading not to stay on – one is not having the oil hot enough when you fry them, two is what I just said, leaving them at room temperature too long.

These steaks taste great with creamy white gravy.  I posted this gravy recipe before, but I will include it below.  My gravy tastes better without buttermilk.  I have tried to make it on more than one occasion – reducing the buttermilk, but it is just too sour for my tastes.  Feel free to add buttermilk if you like, but I prefer it without it.

Gravy Recipe

2 Tbsp bacon fat
2 Tbsp butter
1 tspn Kosher salt
2/3 cup of flour
2-3 cups of milk

In a saucepan, heat your bacon fat and butter until the butter melts.  I usually do this on medium high, but I stand over it so it doesn’t burn.  You may want to do this on medium setting.  As soon as the butter melts and the oil is hot, add your flour.  I eyeball this as well, using my hands and just my finger tips, I put in 3 finger fulls of flour – I’m guessing it amounts to 2/3 of a cup.  You want the same amount of flour as to fat/butter.  So try to shoot for that amount.  Using a whisk, combine the flour and oils together.  Now add your milk until it is the right quantity that you want. You can always thicken it up later.  I use about 2 cups or so.  Bring it up to a boil, stirring frequently, and then down to medium, and all the way down to low.  Allow it to simmer long enough for the flour taste to be removed.  If it is too thin to your liking, you can thicken it by taken a small measuring cup with about ¼ cup of water and adding a little flour.  Stir it up to get the lumps out and pour it in and combine and let it cook.  Or if your gravy is too thick, you can thin it out with water.  Sometimes if I let my gravy sit too long, it gets too thick, so I just add a tablespoon or so of water.  Sometimes you may have to add more.