From Imperfect Homemaking: How to Make Never-Fail Oven Fries…


As part of our Year of Less we aren’t eating out for an entire year. (The Rules state that we may go to a restaurant if invited as part of a social occasion. Note to all of my real-life friends: please for the love of all that is slathered in special secret sauces, please hold your next birthday at a restaurant. Please….)

Anyways, sometimes a girl just needs some french fries, ya know? Some really good crispy on the outside but soft on the inside and just a tiny bit too salty french fries. Here’s how I get my fry fix without leaving home.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice your potatoes into strips. I really like red potatoes for this, but any potato you have on hand will work.

Now this is the secret to really good oven fries: Drizzle the potatoes with both olive oil and melted butter. I’ve tried them with just oil, and just butter, but it’s the combination that makes them so super awesomely good. Trust me on this.

Sprinkle them with a coarse salt like kosher salt or sea salt. Use a fair bit of salt. Potatoes need salt.

Now stir all your butter and oil and salt and potatoes so that the potatoes are evenly coated. Grease a cookie sheet with a tiny bit of olive oil and lay your potatoes out on the cookie sheets. A little bit of overlap is okay, but try to have only one layer of potatoes so that they can crisp up nice. You might need two cookie sheets.

And I know that some of you are going to think to yourself “the potatoes are greased, so I don’t need oil on the pan” but you really do, because if you don’t oil the pan all your delicious crispy edges will end up stuck to the pan instead of your french fry. I always regret it if I don’t take a moment to grease the pan.

Bake the fries at 400 degrees, turning and flipping and shaking them a bit every 5 minutes until they are golden brown on the outside and soft inside. This will normally take a total of about 20-30 minutes.

Taste (when they aren’t mouth-burningly hot anymore) to make sure they have enough salt, and serve. Enjoy!

Please let me know if you try these. I would love to know what you think!

And thanks so much for visiting The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking! Please take a moment to “like” me on facebook or follow me on Twitter!

Calibrate Your Cooking Thermometer for the Most Accurate Readings …

Calibrate Your Cooking Thermometer for the Most Accurate Readings Most of us have meat or cooking thermometers we use around the kitchen, but how often have you thought about calibrating it to make sure the readings are correct? Most cooking thermometers—even digital ones—tend to drift with time and repeated use. Thankfully, it’s easy to recalibrate them and guarantee accurate readings.

The folks over at The LA Times’ Daily Dish have a step-by-step on how to calibrate both dial (instant-read) and digital thermometers. Dial thermometers naturally require the most attention, and need to be calibrated either in freezing (32 degrees F/0 degrees C) or boiling water (212 degrees F/100 degrees C) before their first use, and then again every month or so, and especially any time the thermometer has been dropped or jostled. They can be recalibrated by using a wrench to hold the hex bolt behind the dial and then turning the dial until the correct temperature is registered.

Digital thermometers on the other hand should be tested every six months or so against freezing or boiling water to make sure they’re still accurate too—if they’re not, most digital thermometers have a reset button and that’ll do the trick. If not, just replace the batteries—that could be the problem.

I’d never thought about recalibrating my kitchen thermometers, but I’ll give it a try, even if it’s just to check if the read is off by more than a few degrees. Two or three degrees won’t hurt, but more than five or ten could be a problem. Have you ever had to recalibrate a cooking thermometer, or do you think it’s much ado about nothing? Sound off in the discussions below.

Test Kitchen Tips: Calibrating Your Thermometer | Daily Dish

DIY Cream Cheese …

DIY Cream CheeseIf you’re into making some of your own foods and love cream cheese you can make your own without any special equipment, starter cultures, or hard-to-find ingredients. All you really need is half and half, heavy whipping cream, a touch of buttermilk, and salt.

This recipe comes from culinary weblog The How-To Baker, who also has instructions for making your own bagels to go along with the cream cheese. The only bad news about making cream cheese is that it will take five days from the start until you’re spreading it on a bagel and that if you use ultra-pasteurized half and half and cream it may not separate into curds and whey very well, so look out for non-ultra pasteurized equivalents.

What you’re doing is pouring your half and half and whipping cream in a saucepan, bringing that to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and pouring the mixture into a sanitized mixing bowl. Over the next few days you’ll be taking it out every 12 hours to drain any liquid out and let the curd firm up. Full step-by-step instructions and measurement amounts can be found at the source link below.

Once the cream cheese is ready it’ll store in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Homemade Cream Cheese without a Starter Culture | The How-To Baker

From Jaime at Raising Up Rubies: diy Bisquick … ♥

i’ve been thinking more and more about all the cleaning supplies i use
and all the preservatives in all of the food we eat
and i’ve been making changes a little at a time

i started making my own laundry detergent last year
and i will never go back to Tide
(no offense Tide)
the cost is 1-2 pennies a load
and the ingredients are simple … it’s nice to know that we can have everyday products
without all the chemicals and other things
our bodies we’re probably never made to put up with :)

i’ve started a few dryer balls with my sister-in-law
our project was interrupted a few times so we’re only half done
but i’ll let you know how they turn out
next on my list is fabric softener

after church sunday i started to make pancakes, then realizing i was out of Bisquick
thought it was the perfect opportunity to take a peek at all the recipes to make your own
that have been floating around pinterest
i looked at three different ones and kinda mixed ’em all together…
with some of my own how-to

divide all ingredients in half
mix one half of the recipe at a time in an electric mixer
… starting with the first half
mix dry ingredients together in the mixer until well blended
add 1 cup of the shortening and mix again until incorporated
(scraping the paddle as needed)
about 2-3 minutes

that’s it!
i figured the ingredients cost me $2-3
which made the equivalent to 2 large boxes of the real stuff
each box cost somewhere between $4-5 at Wegmans


Make an Egg in a Bacon Cup, and Other Incredible Bacon-Cup-Based Foods [Food Hacks] from Lifehacker…

Attention bacon lovers: If you don’t own a muffin pan already, you’ll probably want to pick one up real soon. You can turn bacon into ingenious edible bowls by baking bacon in a miniature or full-size muffin pan. Think bacon egg breakfast cups, breadless BLTs, or bite-sized bacon appetizers.

The possibilities are almost endless for these crunchy bowls.

The photo on the top left comes from caterer Peter Callahan (via Delish), who showcases bacon baked in a mini muffin pan topped with baked beans in his book Bite By Bite. (Alliteration unintentional!) Bon Appetit has the recipe for these mini bacon cups.

The photo on the top right is from Kirbie’s Cravings. The bacon’s not really a bowl in this case, but rather a ring holding an egg. I made these this morning using Kirbie’s recipe, and they were the cutest and tastiest breakfast cups. Essentially, you start with either pre-cooked or halfway-cooked bacon molded into a circle in the muffin pan and crack the egg into it. Check the site for the recipe and other variations, including adding avocado or putting a circle of toast at the bottom of the regular-size muffin pan.

Make an Egg in a Bacon Cup, and Other Incredible Bacon-Cup-Based FoodsMegan at Not Martha showcases yet another bacon cup, this time made by weaving the bacon strips onto the back of a muffin pan (i.e., turn the muffin pan over, like you do to make cookie bowls or taco bowls). Fill with lettuce and tomato, and you’ve got a breadless BLT.

Got any other bacon cup ideas?

Make Your Own Chick-Fil-A Sandwiches at Home …

Make Your Own Chick-Fil-A Sandwiches at HomeChick-Fil-A chicken sandwiches are renowned for their juiciness and crisp, perfectly seasoned crust. However, Chick-Fil-A the establishment has also recently become notorious for making offensive anti-gay remarks. Whether you want to keep your food dollars elsewhere or not, we can all agree that making awesome chicken sandwiches at home is a good thing.

Serious Eats’ J. Kenji Lopez-Alt has reverse engineered the Chick-Fil-A sandwich, which is composed of: “A juicy, salty, crisply fried chicken breast. A soft, sweet, buttered and toasted bun. Two dill pickle chips.”

In his food lab, he painstakingly experiments with various combinations to find the exact seasoning mix, brand of pickles, and the perfect coating. The coating trick he finally found is one you could use to get extra crunchiness for all your frying needs:

By adding some of the milk mixture to the flour mixture and working it around with my fingers before I dip the chicken into it, I could create an extra crisp coating that fried up with enough nooks and crannies and make an English muffin hide with embarrassment.

Hit up the link below for the full recipe and lab experiment notes.

The Food Lab: How to Make a Chick-Fil-A Sandwich at Home | Serious Eats

50 PLUS Nutella Recipes…


I heart Nutella….love. it. So I thought it was time for a round up of Nutella recipes…don’t you? I can’t get enough so why not make Nutella cookies, ice cream, truffles, brownies, cheesecake, plus much, much more!
I couldn’t think of a better place to find my recipes then Pinterest. So I made a board of over FIFTY Nutella recipes just for y’all. Plus I know my addiction will make me add even more recipes to this board so be sure to follow along!

Head on over to my Pinterest board for the entire round up and to click over to some amazing recipes! Be sure to make some of them this week….cause y’all know you want to! ENJOY!

~Thanks for stopping by!~
%d bloggers like this: