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Tim Allen

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I feel like making those famous Tim Allen grunting noises (huhhh, huhhh, huhhh). Not for extra powerful motors on ordinary home improvement tools, but for extraordinarily successful experimenting in the kitchen.  I’m so pleased with the way it turned out.  It all started with a thawed out, cut up chicken, and a desire to eat it fried, but I was out of eggs.  Without an egg in the milk, the flour batter would fall off too easily…. 😦  What to do, what to do…..

I looked around my kitchen for some kind of substitute batter solution.  In the refrigerator there was a half a can of condensed Cream of Mushroom soup.  Hmmmm….  and I had an open bag of instant potato flakes.  Would it work?

Potato flakes can be used to make potato pancakes…..

I turned on my stove and put the large wok on the burner with a cup and a half of corn oil in the bottom of it.  I made sure I had my largest pot lid ready to cover it.

I quickly put the condensed cream of mushroom soup in a bowl large enough to dip my

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Image by avlxyz via Flickr

chicken quarters into, and added some water (about a the same amount of water as the soup in the can) and stirred it up; just enough to get it to a thick creamy texture, so it would stick to the chicken.  I got a second bowl out to put the  potato flakes in, also large enough to roll the chicken quarters in.  I had a lot of potato flakes, which is good, because you want it to have plenty of flakes to create the  crust.  The creamy mushroom soup was just right for absorbing the flakes and getting it all to stick to the chicken pieces.

I also put a three quart sauce pan on the back burner with lots of water and some butter in it to boil to use up the mashed potato flakes after I was done with the chicken pieces, and I put on a smaller pan for some green beans that I added seasoning salt to for flavor.

 
 

I had my large wok pan with plenty of oil in the bottom set on a good medium temperature (between 5 and 6 on an electric stove) already hot before I put the chicken quarters in and a good large lid to hold the heat in while the pieces were frying.  

 
 

The oil was just about half way up the chicken pieces so they were steaming on the top while they were frying on the bottom.    After about ten minutes, I flipped the pieces over to fry on the other side.  The Mushroom Potato crust stayed on!  And it looked good too. 

 

Another ten minutes on the second side and I took the pieces out and put them on a plate with some paper towels to absorb some of the oil, and then popped them into the microwave for a couple of minutes to make sure these heavy chicken pieces were cooked all the way through.

I repeated this for a second set of chicken pieces as they don’t all fit in the pan at the same time.  I actually had enough pieces of chicken that I filled the wok pan a third time before I was finished.  

 

For the third set of chicken pieces, I just put the pieces in the still heating oil, and let them fry themselves while we ate.  The portions of potato crusts that had fallen off the previous chicken pieces adhered themselves to the third set of frying chicken parts, and they turned out delicious, as well.)

Rachel had fried chicken. Delicious and sweet....

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Add iodized table salt over the tops of the still hot chicken pieces, just before you put them on the table.

 

An added bonus to this cooking experiment was the left over cream of mushroom soup went into the already cooking season salted green beans, and the left over potato flakes went into the boiling water pot to become Mushroom and Chicken Seasoned Mashed Potatoes.  There was no waste and it was all delicious.  Even my picky eater who doesn’t like mushrooms liked it all.

Spaghettis

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Beef being cooked in a frying pan.

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Beef being cooked in a frying pan. It has been...

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A can of Contadina tomato paste.

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Cooking spaghetti. Photo by Eloquence.
Image via Wikipedia

I know, I know…. good spaghetti is supposed to take forever to cook.  All the herbs have to simmer the flavor into the sauce, yada, yada, yada.  Well, be that as it may, sometimes you just don’t have time for all of that, and this recipe works Really well in a fifteen minute pinch.  For those of you who already know how to cook this stuff, don’t mind all the little details.  I will write it for those who may not have had a lot of experience in the kitchen, just in case this gets read by someone new to cooking spaghetti.

Things you need:

One large skillet

One two or three quart pan for boiling the noodles in (or you can use that upright  noodle cooker thing)

Two or three quarts of water (depending on how many people you are serving – this recipe can stretch a little)

If serving three people, enough spaghetti to fit inside a ring made by your thumb and middle finger (if you have small hands like mine)

If serving four add a little more spaghetti.

(and a tiny bit of oil for the cooking noodles to keep them from sticking to each other while they cook)

1 pound ground beef  * (can be frozen – but then you have to keep cutting it off as it cooks in the pan)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, or one crushed garlic clove

Half an onion, chopped fine, or 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder (onion powder is fairly potent)

1 teaspoon iodized salt (where else are you going to get your necessary trace iodine?)

1 tablespoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon powdered summer savory

1/4 teaspoon powdered thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

(Or you can use two tablespoons of your favorite Italian Seasoning mix)

1 small can of tomato paste

1 16 oz. can of tomato sauce (you need both of these)

Start the noodles cooking first.

Put the water on to boil, add a little salt here if you want, and the little tiny bit of oil (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon added into the water)

While you are waiting for the water to boil put the ground beef into the skillet and start it frying (turn the temp between 6 and 7 on an electric stove)  If the meat is frozen, you can also add a little water to help keep it from browning too much while all the parts cook, but then you need to cover it some to keep all the heat in (add a little iodized salt onto the cooking meat, it smells better) (You really do need your trace iodine to make your thyroid function properly).

When the water is almost to a boil, add the noodles.  It can stick out of the pot initially.  As the noodles cook, keep poking them down.  They will sort of bend/melt into the pot of water as they start cooking.  Stir them up as they bend into the water to get the little bit of oil to coat them all evenly.  The noodles are done when they turn almost white.  They Won’t look translucent (sort of see through) anymore.

When the ground beef is all browned, pour some of the grease off of it.  How much depends on how much there was in it before you started cooking (some ground beef doesn’t have much to begin with).  You don’t have to get All of it off,  just most of it.  Don’t pour this in your kitchen drain, it has a tendency to harden down in the pipes and make everything stick to it, and then you’ve got yourself one heck of a clogged drain.  If you have rose bushes, save the grease for them.  They love the fat from your cooking  (don’t pour it over them hot). Pour the cooled grease around the base of the roses.

When the grease is off the meat, add the tomato sauce into the skillet with the browned meat (I did say a large skillet), then the tomato paste.  Then add the salt, onion, garlic and herbs.  Let this simmer together for a bit.  If you are serving four people, add a  1/2 cup of water to it. If it is going to be a little while (maybe someone is late), add a little more water and let it simmer down.  When finished, the sauce should be just a little thinner than a good ketchup.

While this is simmering together check on the noodles.  They should be getting about done by the time you have added all the ingredients together.  Drain and rinse the fully cooked noodles in a colander under cold water.  The cold water stops the cooking process so your noodles don’t get all gooey ( If your spaghetti has to sit for awhile, leave the noodles in some cold water to keep them moist).

If you have some ready salad fixings this goes well with spaghetti.  Red leaf lettuce, baby spinach,  and a chopped tomato,  some halved radishes, and thinly sliced cucumbers, with a little salt and a little Italian dressing…  Yummmm…

If you still have some time, butter some bread on one side, sprinkle lightly with salt and garlic powder, and slip this on a cookie sheet under the broiler for a little bit (watch it like a hawk, so it won’t get burnt).

Place a portion of the cooked noodles on a plate and ladle the finished spaghetti sauce over them.  Serve hot, with the salad on the side and garlic toast.  This meal goes well with milk, dark grape juice,  mulled cider, or a dry red wine if you like it.

Note*  If you are working on disaster preparedness, this recipe can be used with a 16 oz can of beef chunks substituted for the ground beef.  All the rest of the ingredients can be part of your food storage.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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