Coleslaw…the KFC way

I found this recipe at Top Secret Recipes and it is fast becoming my most requested dish at BBQ’s and family dinners.  It really does taste just like the stuff at KFC, which is about the only coleslaw that I’ve found that I like.

You’ll need:

1/2 cup mayonnaise (use the real stuff…miracle whip will make it way too sweet)

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup milk

2 1/2 TBSP lemon juice

1 1/2 TBSP white vinegar (I’ve used all sorts of different kinds of vinegar with just results just as good as the white stuff)

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1 head of cabbage

1 medium carrot

2 TBSP minced onion (I used one whole small onion)

I always mix up the dressing first…Combine the mayonnaise, sugar, buttermilk, milk, lemon juice, white vinegar and salt & pepper in a bowl and whisk it together, then set it aside to be doing it’s thing while you shred the vegies.

Start with the onion and carrott…in a food processor, shred on the smallest setting, then add to dressing mix.

Shred the cabbage on the same setting, then put in a large bowl.  Pour dressing mixture over the top and combine well.  This stuff is best if you refrigerate it overnight, but that NEVER happens when I fix it.  Cover it and refrigerate a couple hours at least…the longer the better.

I have to remember to pull out a bowl in advance of serving it so my husband can have some when he gets off of work, because this stuff is GONE immediately.


Homemade macaroni and cheese

An easy yummy alternative to the boxed stuff.

This simple recipe has fast outdone our normal boxed mac and cheese days.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back.

Cook macaroni noodles according to directions on package.

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 TBSP butter, and enough flour to make a roux, and whisk while slowly adding milk until you have a medium thick gravy.  Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, and stir until melted and blended.  Salt and pepper to taste.  (adjust amount of cheese according to preference…we like it extra cheesy, and sometimes add more.

Drain noodles when cooked, and fold into cheese sauce.

VOILA…easy peasy mac and cheesa…and inexpensive too.

You can serve alone or as a side dish.  For variety, you can add vegies, and/or chopped ham.


Meaty Spaghetti Sauce

I’ve made homemade spaghetti sauce since early on in my marriage.  I just could not justify the amount of money that a little jar of pre-made stuff in the stores requires.  It’s not terribly complicated, but it’s one my most requested and highly complimented family dishes.  Here’s how I do it:

In a heavy sauce pan, cook 1lb lean ground beef until barely pink.  Add one diced onion and 1-2 cloves garlic, and cook until onion is translucent.  (I’ve also been known to sneak other vegetables into my sauce and cut down the meat.  Shredded carrots, and zuchinni are easy, healthy additions, as are green or red peppers, mushrooms, and olives).  Drain off  fat and return meat mix to pan.

Add two large cans of diced tomatoes and two large cans of tomato sauce, 2TBSP sugar and 2-3 TBSP Italian seasoning mix.  Cover and simmer for 1-2 hours.

This sauce is wonderful as is, but we LOVE garlic at our house, so about 30 minutes prior to serving, I will sneak in another clove of garlic for a little more kick.

See?  Easy.

We use this sauce as a dipping sauce for garlic french bread, as pizza sauce, or as regular spaghetti sauce in our favorite Italian recipes.    It makes enough to serve a family of six with leftovers for lunch the next day, or a family of four two times.  Leftover sauce can be frozen and re-heated later for a quick and easy meal instead of dining out.

Mashed Beans

How I make what my family refers to as “the best refried beans ever”  I actually learned how to do this from a sweet Mexican acquaintance in southern Idaho.  Eating canned beans just can’t compare to real beans.

Rinse one small bag of the beans of your choice.  Our favorite is pinto, but black beans are also good done this way.  Place rinsed beans in large crock pot and cover with water.  Since I am one that eyes and tastes her food instead of following a hard recipe, I can’t give you exact measurements, but the way I do it is to cover the beans with water, so that the water above the beans is about the same depth as the beans at the bottom.  It will look like about 1/2 to an inch of water above the beans.

Add two or three cloves of garlic.  It can be minced or whole, doesn’t matter really, it will be completely mush by the time you’re done.  I’ve heard this helps with the gas effect of the beans, not sure of the validity of that promise, but it sure does make them taste good.

DON’T SALT your beans until they are cooked.  Salt added to the water hampers the skins from softening, and your beans will not mash the same as if you wait.  Trust me.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.  Personally, I like the longer, slower cook time better, but either works.  If you didn’t add enough water and it looks like the beans are drying out, just add some more…but make sure it’s hot water, as cold water can cause your crock pot to break from rapid temp change.

When they are soft and mushy, add salt to taste, and mash them up.  If it looks like you have too much liquid, you can drain some off, but I find it unnecessary to do so, you’ll probably just end up adding it back in to make them a good consistency…if they ARE too runny, no problem,  just leave the lid off and continue to let them cook down.

It’s not often possible at our house, but we have found the beans are actually better after being refrigerated overnight and reheated.  It really demands a lot of willpower, though, usually we dig right in.

Pair these yummilicious beans with homemade corn tortillas, and top with cheese and salsa or fresh tomatoes for a frugal, filling, healthy meal.

Chowder of the Seven C’s

We’re staying in a furnished motel room for a couple weeks until we move.  There are four of us, two queen sized beds, a couch, tv, table with two chairs, and a small kitchenette area with a tiny little fridge, three burners, a microwave and a coffee maker.  THANK God for the coffeemaker, lol.  My husband had the foresight to pack along our small crock pot, and I’m so glad we did.  I’m having to improvise with meals, but I think I’m doing an okay job so far (at least they are telling me it tastes good, and there’s nothing left over, so I’m inclined to agree with them).  Today’s improvisation is shared below.

(I named it Chowder of the Seven C’s, then had to come up with seven, had a little help from the family.  )


Chicken stock

Canned Chick peas





I used a can of chicken, but it could easily be made with chicken breasts, or even leftover cooked chicken.

I used Lipton chicken noodle soup mix, but if I were in my own kitchen, I’d have used chicken stock with my own spices and without the MSG.

I didn’t have celery today, and it still tastes OK, but I think it will be better with the celery.  In my own kitchen, I’d have sauteed the onion, celery, cabbage, and garlic before adding it to the soup.

I also added: rice, mixed veggies, summer savory, pepper, garlic, and onion.

Basically, I threw everything in the crock pot except the cabbage and covered with water.  I didn’t measure anything, just poured it in until I was satisfied with the amount, if I had to guess, I’d say it was maybe 1/2 cup of rice, a couple cups, maybe 3 of frozen mixed vegies, a tablespoon, maybe two of summer savory, and garlic, the soup mix, and 1/4 of a large onion.…all in my small crockpot.  About an hour from mealtime, I’ll add in the cabbage.  If I were doing it in my own kitchen, I’d do the sauteing at this point, then add to the soup.

The place smells AMAZING.  This little crock pot of chowder will feed four adults, I’ll serve it with bread and butter or my amazing corncakes left over from last night’s meal.

Mexican Pot Roast

I was out of several ingredients I needed for Mexican Meat Mix


so I improvised with what I had on hand, and it was delicious!

Pork roast (the one we had was a cheap rib roast, so bones had to be removed when it was cooked)
2 cans green chilis, chopped
1 large can black beans
1/2 jar medium salsa

Cook the roast on high for four-five hours, remove bones, shred meat and add green chilis, salsa, and beans, Reduce heat to warm and cook until heated through, maybe 15-30 minutes. Serve over hot rice, top with cheese, salsa, (and sour cream if you have it, we didn’t and it was fantastic anyhow…I’m sure it’s even better with a dollop of sour cream!)

YUUUUUMMMMMMMM…I thought I’d made enough for significant leftovers, but my crew went back for seconds and thirds and Kevin took a container for his dinner at work….there was enough leftover for two of us for lunch…Next time I’m going to have to tweak this one to make it stretch.  I’ll add a second can of beans, and increase the salsa.  Also, ideally, I’d have added onions, but we were out.  Even so, as it was, it was a hit with the family, I’ll do it again 🙂

What’s Cooking–homemade chili

I’m on a mission, to find good, nutritious, filling meals that don’t break my bank.  I cannot believe how much more expensive food is here on the Island.  I am easily paying twice what I would be paying for the same products in Idaho.  Combine that with the fact that we are making about half what we were there, and you know why I’m on the hunt.

Last night I covered a lb. of kidney beans with cold water (I cannot find my favorite pinto beans anywhere here, I’m seriously contemplating buying from an online source and having them shipped here, otherwise, how am I going to make authentic Mexican food without pinto beans…I ask you!?) in my medium sized pot to soak overnight.  Today, I drained and rinsed the beans, then covered again with fresh cold water and am currently cooking on medium-low heat.  They are starting to smell DELICIOUS!  Note:  I learned years ago that you don’t want to add salt until they are completely cooked, for some reason, salt keeps them from getting good and soft if you add it too soon.  I’ll salt them later.

In another pot, I am browning 2lbs ground beef, two chopped onions (not too fine, I like the taste and consistency they add to my chili), salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  I hardly ever measure when I do this, I just add it till it looks right, then add a little more garlic.  I’ll separate this into four parts, use one for my chili, and place the other three parts in the freezer for subsequent meals.

To the pan with my seasoned hamburger, I add a large can of crushed tomatoes and a packet of taco seasoning mix.  Eventually, I plan to be making my own spice mixes again, but for now, I can’t afford to purchase all my spices needed at once, so I make do with pre-made mixes.  I also add crushed red chilis, for a little heat.  When the beans are soft, I’ll add half of the pot to my chili mix, and use the other half for bean and ham soup.  Both meals are high in protein, taste great, and most importantly, are budget friendly.  The chili can be served as a meal in itself, served over rice, french fries, or used to make chili macaroni.