Homemade Veggie Burgers Can Be Quite Good With This Basic Recipe from Kathie

I’ve got quite a few projects going on at any given moment.  I also have quite a few recipes on hand.  What happens is that things get set aside, reordered in priorities, and life sometimes changes your plans.

I went for a drive one day and a seam ripped open on the roof of my Jeep.  That can be fixed since the vinyl is still supple.

I was working on a Docker project that hit a wall.

Then the house “emptied” and I found that I was going to have room to do some of those things that needed doing when there was nobody else here but me, the parrot, and the dog.

At any rate, I found myself standing in the kitchen and remembering a conversation with my godmother Kathie.  She’s vegetarian, and I am not.  Now, I will eat vegetarian meals, but they have to come up to my Foodie Standards.  After all, I was brought up on home made Lasagne and Baked Ziti.

What I wouldn’t give to be in the kitchen listening to Mom and Aunt Betty bicker about what goes into the Saturday morning spaghetti sauce for that night, and Sunday night’s dinner yet one more time.

Kathie and I were talking about how I would pack what the office called “Weird Food” for breakfast.  It had to be high protein, low carb, and low fat.  I was on a training diet for my skating, and it meant that I was constantly hungry and pumping food into my open gullet.  She reminded me that I could eat vegetarian foods, and I lamented that they typically are more expensive than the meat based diet that we’re used to here in the US.

Case in point were the veggie burgers that I would have with breakfast.  They were about $10 a pound where beef burgers were around $3.50 a pound, and chicken breasts can be found as low as $1.50 a pound at a restaurant warehouse store I shop.

She shared with me a recipe that she had kept for a while and I put it in my phone where it rode around until I could put it all together.

The recommended beans are black beans, and I substituted Refried Beans.  That was the trick.  The Refried Beans are a paste that are mildly seasoned, depending on the brand.  Along with the other spices, this made a burger patty that tasted mildly Mexican, and seasoned.  You would not know there isn’t beef in it, although you may realize that it isn’t pure beef.

Ok, I’m being generous, but these were good!

Served on the homemade bun with cheese and a slab of tomato, I actually enjoyed this and didn’t miss the $10 a pound veggie burgers.

Since the can of refried beans were only $.99 at Trader Joes, the entire recipe was about $.30 a serving.  Plus a roll.  About 150 calories maximum if you are counting.

The trick is that you have to cook these until they firm up or else you end up with a rather interesting bean and oatmeal paste that breaks apart annoyingly.  The Refried beans were a bit moister than the recommended pre-cooked black beans that would be mashed.

Enough of my own blather here you go with the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound cooked Beans.  Canned, drained, and rinsed or Refried Beans – to taste.
  • 1/3 cup Quick Oats
  • 2 Tablespoons Ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon Yellow Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F

 

To Food processor, add all ingredients and mix until almost smooth.

Or

Mash beans until almost smooth like I did in a mixing bowl.

Divide into four parts and shape into patties.

Bake for 10 minutes on Baking Parchment Paper or foil.

Flip all patties

Continue baking for 5 minutes more or until desired firmness.

Outside should be crispy.

Note that this recipe with refried beans took longer than the suggested time by a significant amount.  I cooked them for 10 minutes and flipped every 10.  Recipe was done to my taste by about 35 minutes.

Patties may be reheated in a skillet with a little oil for added flavor and texture.

 

Have you ever stuck a fork into some food and said that you wished you had the recipe?

I did when I had this cake the second time.  It is THAT good!

Oh, and as a bonus for those who care, the cake itself … it’s actually Vegan!  Yeah, no milk, no eggs.

The icing is vegetarian since it requires butter and milk.  If you want to try making it Vegan, go ahead I won’t judge…

But this cake is excellent as is.  One of the best Chocolate Cakes I have had in memory.

It is a chocolate cake recipe from the Great Depression Era, when they had to be thrifty and scrimp on every corner they could.

But… whoever came up with this recipe came up with an amazing cake.

I find it every time I look for a chocolate cake recipe, and it haunted me until I took the time to make it.

You will find recipes like this one every time you search.  Some add things to it that are unnecessary and added fluff.   You can have it plain, without icing, and just a bit of confectioner’s sugar on top.  I opted for a rather simple buttercream icing and am really glad I did.

The trimmings I had of the cake to make it round the first time out tasted almost as rich as a brownie.  It stayed moist in the refrigerator longer than I expected, which is a big bonus.  My regular recipe is good, but this is better.

The process of making this is simple:

  • Add to a large mixing bowl (I recommend a stand mixer, but that is for speed) all your ingredients saving the vinegar for last.
  • Mix until smooth (See, that stand mixer would help)
  • Pour into floured and buttered 8 by 8 inch pan.
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean when tested.

 

To make a more modern sized cake, I doubled the ingredients and got a two layer 9 inch cake.

Yes, Double the ingredients.  I did say Depression era and 8 by 8 one layer was the original size.

I also Doubled the icing for a 2 layer, 9 inch cake.

8 by 8 inch is a 20cm square.

9 inch round would be 23 cm.

Or so.

 

Ingredients:

 

For the cake (Each Layer):

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Cider or White vinegar

For the Icing (Each Layer):

  • 2 Tablespoons butter (room temp or melted)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon milk (I used 2%)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bread Dough in Five Minutes In A Plastic Bag

I guess the title says it all, if you’re looking for the short description.

There’s always a back story with me so hold on for the ride.

I wanted a Pizza, but really this can be used to make most basic breads.  I did not want to fuss around with a “full batch” of dough and make a cookie sheet full of rolls and … well you get the picture.

I will say that this will scale up to a larger batch and should be limited by how strong your own hands are.  You see, it’s all about your grip strength.  If you’ve got arthritis or some other limitation, use the machine.

On the other hand, this dough flew together so fast that it’s a great way to make fresh dough for small batches like one pizza dough ball or a couple of rolls.

Basically, I have a “Standard Recipe” for bread.  It’s “Pat’s Pizza Dough” recipe.   It makes 10 sandwich rolls, or about 8 torpedo rolls.  It also will make three pizza dough balls.  The original recipe is at the link – or you can even see my original note written 20 years ago in the picture.

The idea was cut the recipe down to one third of normal, then make it in a bag.

I added to a clean and food safe plastic bag the following ingredients.

  • 3 ounces of water
  • 2 teaspoons of oil
  • 1 cup of bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon of bread yeast
  • 1/3 teaspoon of salt (I used a well rounded 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1/3 teaspoon of sugar (I used a well rounded 1/4 teaspoon)

The process was simple.

 

  • Squeeze most of the air out of the bag and wind the top up to close it.
  • Grip the mix at the bottom of the bag and squeeze it repeatedly.
  • The mix will eventually form a dough ball through repeated kneading.

 

You may have to adjust the water content to fit your needs.  Bread dough is effected by the weather and conditions in your house and kitchen just as you would expect.  Wet climate will make stickier dough, dry climate you may need to add more water.

For Pizza Dough, you need a dough ball that is more dry than tacky or sticky.  Similar to Play-doh or similar modeling clay compound.

For Bread Dough, you need a dough ball that will be a bit tacky and it may want to stick gently to your hands or the side of the bag – but you will be able to remove it from the bag.

Basically that’s about it.  I’ll use this again because it’s saving me a lot of time in preparation and clean up work.

But… it took me just five minutes to get this dough done.  Add to it rolling time and rising time as normal.

Three Ingredient Cake Recipe that actually tastes moist

This really shouldn’t be called a recipe.  It should be called a Hack.

It is so ridiculously easy to make that I laugh at it.

 

It is so popular that the recipe is just about everywhere including on the sites for the companies that make the mixes.

 

 

I tried it with a bulk white cake mix, but the recipe I keep seeing everywhere calls for a “Box Of Cake Mix”.  They are not specifying flavor.   Use your favorite.

The cake mix can’t be one of those “Just Add Water”.

You need a cake mix that wants you to add an egg.

I used White,  but a Yellow Cake mix would be fine.  Choose a flavor that is complementary to the Pie filling you are adding.

I wanted Cherry this time, but I have done it before with other flavors.  I have blueberry and lemon pie filling waiting in the wings for when I want to do it again.

 

 

Why do I have six cupcakes?  I have a small Bundt pan and I didn’t want to risk a mess.

The recipe calls for either two layers, or a Bundt Pan.  It was not very specific.  I would say two 9 inch layers or even perhaps 3 8 inches, but I suspect that may be a bit thin.

Butter and flour your pans.

Bake at 350F / 180C for 35 minutes (or whatever metric equivalent you need to have your toothpick come out clean).

I mean that really is it.  It is laughably simple.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box or 15 ounces of cake mix
  • 1 can of pie filling – 20 ounces or 590 ML
  • 3 large eggs

Process:

  • Butter and flour your pan.
  • Keep cupcake liner and pans aside for any extra cake batter.
  • Preheat oven to 350F or 180C.
  • To a large mixing bowl add 1 box/15 ounces cake mix, 1 can (20 ounces) of pie filling, and 3 eggs.
  • Mix the batter until smooth.
  • Add batter to pans taking care not to overfill.
  • Bake for approximately 35 minutes and test with a toothpick.
  • Make sure toothpick comes out clean

 

Optional:
Icing or not.  I have been putting Honey on top and I really do like that instead.

Personal preference!

Serve and enjoy

How Does The Leaked KFC Fried Chicken Recipe Bake?

Ok, a little history here.

There’s that famous recipe.  The one with eleven herbs and spices.  The one we all had at one time or another in Western Fast Food.  It’s pretty good.  I have had it before, and I’ll probably have it again.

There are a lot of attempts to duplicate it or at least come close.  Many professional chefs have tried, with varying results.  I’ll allow you to search for your favorite.

At one point the Chicago Tribune newspaper published an article saying that the recipe they had was The Original KFC recipe.  They weren’t sure completely, but it made for a good story.  More correctly, it is alleged by a family member that this is the recipe that Harland Sanders used to make his chicken.

Do go read that link at the Chicago Tribune.  The writer told a wonderful story and the Trib definitely deserves the read and my own thanks.

I had to try it.  Or rather, I had to try that printed recipe “My Way”.  And THAT is why I say “Alleged” above.  You see, when I made this, it turned out great.  But it had too much pepper in it.  Black pepper specifically, so when I make it next time, I will tweak it for my tastes.

Otherwise I really did like the chicken that I got.  So much that I will be eating some today for lunch in a big bowl with rice.

Yum.

If you like KFC chicken, either go to a proper KFC and get it there, or go through the work of figuring this one out yourself.

While I have no personal information other than the article, and I can not say whether this is absolutely KFC’s original recipe, it tastes so much like my own memory of it that I’ll keep making it for myself.

 

Yes, it is good.

Yes, it is worth the time and effort.

Yes, I will do it again.

Is it truly KFC?  Dunno but it’s damn close!

How I did it:

There is a Buttermilk Marinade for 30 minutes that I of course skipped since there is no Buttermilk in the house.  You can substitute milk.  You can also skip it.  I would expect the Buttermilk to add a little moderation to the spices and tenderize the chicken due to the acid.

I pressed the chicken breasts by using a meat mallet, but obviously that isn’t necessary since the KFC restaurants are selling mostly chicken parts with bone in.  I used breasts because that was what I had here on hand.  Pressing De-boned chicken makes for a more uniform thickness and therefore a more “controlled” result when baked.

Breasts were dredged through a scrambled egg wash, then generously dipped in the flour and spice mixture.

 

 

This mixture will make enough for about five pounds or two and a quarter Kilos for my non US Audience.  Hello, folks from Sunny Florida!  I split the coating in half and it worked out great for my 40 ounces of chicken parts or 1.1 KG (or so).

I did not have Celery Salt on hand.  I substituted 1/2 the amount of ground Celery Seed.  There does seem to be quite a bit of salt in this recipe to begin with.

I baked the chicken parts on a cookie sheet at 450F 230C for 15 minutes and tested to make sure that it was cooked to an internal temperature of 165F or 75C.  Thicker pieces were returned to the oven until they reached 165F.

 

 

This picture below is a direct link to the Chicago Tribune graphic, but will be explained in case that link disappears.

What that well loved recipe says is to add to two cups of flour the list of 11 herbs and spices.  The “Ts” are Tablespoons.  It makes a bit more than 3 cups of coating.

The list of ingredients are:

2 cups flour plus

  1. 2/3 tablespoon salt
  2. 1/2 tablespoon thyme
  3. 1/2 tablespoon basil
  4. 1/3 tablespoon oregano
  5. 1 tablespoon celery salt
  6. 1 tablespoon black pepper
  7. 1 tablespoon dried mustard powder
  8. 4 tablespoons paprika
  9. 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  10. 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  11. 3 tablespoons white pepper

For the metric crowd:

a cup flour is 120g

a Tablespoon is 15ml

Since this is “cooking” instead of “baking” if you’re a wee bit off, you should be fine.  It isn’t like making bread or a souffle!

Nice thing is that since Recipes are never patented in the US, we can share and enjoy.

But I would say the nicest thing about making this recipe is that once you’re done, you will be craving for your nearest KFC restaurant.  Get the biscuits and gravy as a side.

Do they have a proper “red eye” sausage gravy there now?  I wonder….

My own final verdict is like I said before, I will do it again but I will cut back on the black pepper.

 

I did have a heavy hand in coating the chicken which is why there’s a strange powder on some of the pieces.  If you actually deep fry the chicken, that extra will cook and turn brown.   Baking is a bit less forgiving of my own mistakes when it comes to over-coating your chicken.

 

Now that I am sitting here, reading and re-reading my writing… well lunch is coming and I’m looking forward to more of this recipe chicken!

Basic Lime Cilantro Salsa in Five Minutes

 

The hardest part of making fresh salsa is getting the ingredients.

I mean, you have to schlep to the store.  You have to get out of the house and actually go out into Public!

(gasp!)

Then you have to get the stuff!  (Yikes)

I was buying salsa in a jar when I went to the market and I thought to myself, I’m an excellent cook, I know what I am doing, I have amazingly sharp and deadly knives to chop and mince my vegetables, I can make cakes from scratch and wash them down with my coffee that I roast in my own kitchen…

So why not make some basic salsa?

Yeah I know, I’ll get off the soap box and stop patting myself on the back.

Thing is that I needed a chunky salsa.  I have been making these big dinner servings of Bean and Cheese Quesadillas lately.  Very high quality food, no “junk” added.  It could be made vegan if I wanted, although I’m fine with it not being vegan.  It could be made Non-Vegetarian if I tossed some meat in it, but I like the way this tastes without adding beef or anything else.

That plus more food than a “regular person” can eat ends up being only 500 calories so I can justify washing it down with a beer.

5.6 ounces of rice fried with salsa, cumin, and chili powder is only 200 calories, plus an ounce of cheese, one corn tortilla, and 100 calories worth of canned refried beans.

 

(ok, so the salsa isn’t zero calories, and I do add about 4 ounces of salsa to it)

But it’s the salsa that I’m going on about.  This is basic.  This is something you can throw together when you need some because you ran out.  It’s also fresh and without any weird chemicals, so if you’re into eating healthy and light, you end up with a lot of the stuff and can justify it.

Oh and since I’m not adding any oil or anything heavy, it’s calorie count is very low.

The process is simple:

 

  • Chop all your vegetables up to a rough chop.  (see picture above)
  • Mash the Tomatoes with a fork so that they are partially broken up.
  • Add lime juice for flavor and preservative.
  • Store in the fridge and use promptly.
  • When I make this I tend to keep it in a large plastic bag and smash the Salsa up to make sure it is tenderized
  • It kept a week for me and was still fine in the refrigerator

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 to 3/4 sweet or white onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped and to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Lime Juice, or to taste
  • Optional: 1 or 2 Finely Chopped or Minced Jalapeno Peppers
  • Optional: 1 Bell Pepper, Roughly Chopped

For the ingredients:

 

I hate “heat” so I leave the Jalapeno out.  I know, it’s Salsa, and it adds flavor, but I can’t bring myself to do that.

Also some people can’t abide Cilantro.  It’s a genetic thing, I get it.  Some folks think it tastes like soap.  Personally I don’t.  I have that “mutation” that makes Cilantro taste wonderful.  So leave it out if you like.

Bottom line, this is a BASIC Salsa recipe.  You can toss in any amount of ingredients and have fun with it.

After all, if YOU like it, then it’s a wonderful thing, right?

Maple Coated Nuts in the Crock Pot Recipe

I have a habit of talking to my friends about cooking.  I am not a cook, nor a baker, just an enthusiast.  I do it sometimes when I have made a new recipe that I particularly enjoyed, or one that challenged me and gave me a feeling of accomplishment.

I was in a conversation with a lady I knew when I lived Up North where the tundra thaws out from time to time, Philadelphia.  We segued into what to make for dinner and desserts.  I commented that I had made this recipe below that is nothing more than Maple Syrup coated salted nuts.  It was beyond simple, and I made it in the crock pot.

This will turn your house into one of my favorite memories of Summer at the Jersey Shore, going into Planters Peanuts, and the smell in there.  My house smelled of gently roasting salted nuts for the rest of the day.

She immediately got interested since she loves slightly salty sweets, and nuts.  If it is as easy as I say it was then she wants the recipe and a narrative so she could do it herself.

The thing is that the picture showing a piddling quarter of a container tells you just how good these were.  They were amazing!

So here you go:  Here is the Process:

  • Mix together the wet ingredients – Maple Syrup, Vanilla Extract, and Salt in a large mixing bowl.  A two quart mixing bowl works perfectly for that.
  • Fold in two cups of mixed nuts and mix the entire mass well until all are coated.
  • Prepare the crock pot out.  Coat the bottom of a large crock pot with coconut oil.  Wipe off the excess with a paper towel.
  • Add the nut mixture to the crock pot and smooth out to one layer of nuts.
  • Turn on the crock pot at high heat, and cover it.
  • Every 30 minutes, stir the nut mixture and level it back off.
  • After 1 hour 30 minutes, you should be done, however it is a judgment call as to whether the coating is “dry enough.  Mine was a little bit sticky but I would not say it was “wet”.
  • Spread out onto a sheet of parchment paper or similar, and allow to cool and dry.
  • I ate mine within a week but you could go longer.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces of Maple Syrup.  I used “real” but that fake pancake Pole Syrup or Honey SHOULD work.
  • 1 teaspoon of Salt – or to taste if you are watching your salt intake
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups of unsalted mixed nutsyour preference, I used 1 1/4 cup Walnut halves, 3/4 Peanuts.
  • Coconut Oil to coat the crock pot