Shuffling Off to Buffalo Chicken Pasta

 A lot of things I share, I have made only once ... Not because they suck but because have you SEEN the sheer volume of recipes out there? I mean ... How can I NOT make something different every time I cook?  😁 This time around it was this recipe (or one like it. Again, it's been centuries since I made this): 

If you're pressed for time, get your pasta water boiling, get all the ingreeeeeeedients out, then add pasta to the water, and THEN put together the Buffalo sauce. (See the link above for the complete recipe). As you can see, it's fairly simple. No fancy additives at all. 

The green onions are my modification, mainly for garnish, but also, because onions ... You could toss the whites into the sauce, or just use the tops for garnish. Have you way with them. 

Getting saucy ... 

Stir in the chicken. 

Once everything is nicely coated throw the cooked and drained pasta in with the sauce, give it a whirl or five, then put it in your baking dish of choice.  

Conversely, you could probably cut out the baking time, and just cook things right there in the skillet, let the sauce "reduce" for 5-10 minutes, on a medium heat, and serve it straight out the skillet. Just saying, because that's probably what I did. I also did not add the shredded cheese to the top. Personal choice. Make it your own!  

Sorry for the craptastic pictorial example. I know nothing of lighting.  

All in all, this was great for a quick meal. You can pair it with a vegetable of your choosing, like peas, or green beans, or broccoli, or a salad. Also, even though we cook for two here, you can make the entire recipe and use the rest for lunches, or snackables, or whatever you so choose. Do not ask me freezing. I am not food-freezing aficionado, nor expert. 

ALSO, the canned chicken is not set in stone. You could use leftover meats from a rotisserie bird, or cook up a bunch of plain chicken boobs in your slow cooker, and use whatever the recipe calls for here, then use the rest of the chicken for other meals. Everything is flexible. 

Finally, let me tell you about a little skillet I got for Christmas one year. It's a Greenpan 11- or 12-inch (or maybe even larger) with a lid that looks a bit like this one. 

I don't believe I've ever owned such a cooking device that is so durable, and so versatile, and has taken years of abuse with only a few minor dings.  If you want a pan that will serve you honorable for decades, I believe this would be your match. If you're thinking about, or you have gone minimalist, and you need to whittle down your cookware collection, this one will take the place of at least two.  

If you want to check out more about it, click on the picture. Please note, this IS an Amazon affiliate link, but there are plenty of other Greenpan resources out there with a click of your Google machine.  :) 


Sweet, Sweet Taters (of the Fry Varietal)

 My first time ever having a sweet potato "fry" was at a now-defunct diner called Uncle Fud's somewhere between here and Findlay. They were, of course, deep-fried in that oh-so-lovely-restaurant-grade cooking oil, and crinkle cut, and mostly overcooked, but damn, were they good!  

Of course, knowing I don't own a deep fryer, nor do I want to eat fried foods all day, every day, I wanted to make them at home, in a mostly healthier manner. I cannot recall the precise recipe I found online back then, but it was something like this: 

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Whenever I am in a pinch, and searching for recipes, Simply Recipes is usually a good starting point, and they usually are in the top rankings whenever you google anything recipe-related.  

My number-one hint for making the best, most consistent "fries" is to make sure they're cut evenly. These weren't and therefore did not cook evenly. The best way to get a consistent shape is to cut the previously peeled sweet potato into some format of a rectangle (it is a long potato!) so you have four smooth sides-

Then, slice that rectangle into four to six, or however many slabs, depending on your desired fry size, and cut each slab into four to six fries, also depending on your desired outcome. Disclaimer: I cannot draw a straight line on paper, nor digitally, but it was lovely color choice, closely matching the true color of the Ipomoea batatas

Pro tip: Give the scraps to your canine children, especially if you back the scraps on a low heat, and make them even chewier, or dice them to make a sweet potato hash. 

This is a picture of random slicing that results in randomly cooked/burnt fries. Don't do this, unless you like burnt fries. 

Seasoned here with skosher salt, and coarse-ground pepper, and coated with a tablespoon or two of oil. I cannot remember precisely what kind of oil I used, but I can tell you, indubitably, that you probably want to avoid olive oil when backing at seriously high temps, above 400F. The smell is atrocious!  Canola oil, or even an oil spray would work just fine.  

Assemble the fries on the baking sheet of your choice in a neat and orderly fashion to allow the heat to get everywhere with a modicum of efficiency. The link above calls for 450F (preheated) at 15-25 minutes, with a toss half way through. 

Dipping sauce = mayo, mustard, and honey, whisked. 

Here, you see the finished product before its descent into my stomach. 

I'll be honest, I'd never had sweet potatoes with anything but a metric fuqueton of sugar and marshmallows, and the like, until that first time at Uncle Fud's, so the salt/pepper thing freaked me out a bit. However, it was a fairly tasty concoction.  

This was also well before the arrival of air fryers, so I can't tell you the exact coordinates for that contraption, but if I ever do decide to make them in an air fryer, I'll update. Meanwhile, there are approximately 10,000 YouTube videos explaining air fryer cooking, so you're sure to find a suitable method there.  

These are great as a side, or solo, or even for a meatless meal, with a salad on the side. Enjoy. 😁


Train Kept a Rollin'

That train, she definitely did keep a rollin'. It's been YEARS ... But here I am, back to share some of the food adventures I've had since 2017.  There was a lot (A LOT) of chicken. There was some keto, and there was some not keto ... just food.  

The focus remains the same - cooking for two - because it's what we still do. Pull up a chair, grab snacks, and enjoy the feast!  ❤

Disclaimer of the highest proportion:  Please keep in mind that the pictures published from here on out were taken over the course of at least six years, with anything from a Canon Sure Shot (or whatever it's called) to Samsung Galaxy phones of differing makes, a Moto Z, and some other phone that was complete shite, like an LG, or something, and currently, we're shooting with another Samsung Galaxy model. Point being, I am not a professional photographer, or food blogger. I work with what I've got, and I'm doing good if the shot is not blurry :D Rock on! 


All Dressed Up: Dairy-Free Keto Ranch Dressing

 Greetings. Recently, I discovered that dairy (think sour cream, cheese, heavy whipping cream, etc.) is causing my body a tremendous amount of grief. As a person doing a ketogenic diet, you might think the death knells would be ringing for my keto-ing days. Au contraire, mon amis! Instead I am doing everything in my power to make sure I can continue producing the ketones that are making me the best version of myself, all while finding ways to sub out the dairy-laden products for much less inflammatory foodstuffs.

One thing that was a staple in my diet was my homemade keto-friendly ranch dressing, replete with all kinds of sour cream, and heavy whipping cream.  It was the bomb. All smooth, and creamy, and savory, and salty, and full of dairy goodness. It was a part of my everyday menu, at least six days a week. I do miss it. HOWEVER, I was lucky enough to find a very capable and laudable substitute that contains none of the aggravating dairy components.  From KetoDiet Blog, it's called "Fat-Burning Salad Dressing ..."

As you can see, the ingredients are fairly simple: mayo, healthy oil (I used extra light EVOO), herbs, garlic, and some salt and pepper ...

The first time I made the Fat-Burning Salad Dressing, I followed the recipe precisely, which included Dijon mustard and lemon juice. I have to admit, it wasn't my favorite, but it was salty, and savory enough that I powered my way through the batch, because I wasn't going to throw out that much good oil, and herbs!  She does list several variations, and though I did not use any of those ideas, I DID make a few of my own tweaks to come up with a very solid replacement for my previous salad accessory. 

I bumped up the amount of mayo, and oil to 1/3 cup each, ignoring the MCT oil measurement, because I am out. I completely omitted the mustard, and cut the amount of lemon juice down to just a very small splash. My herbs included one green onion (scallion, spring onion, whatever you want to call it), a small bit of fresh dill, and probably three to four tablespoons of Italian parsley. I used chopped garlic, to the tune of about 1 teaspoon, because I absolutely hate trying to clean my garlic press without that little tool that pushes the garlic out of the holes. Then, I added a teaspoon each of salt and coarse-ground black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. 

You could probably take the time to hand chop all the herbs and stir everything together with good result, but again, me=lazy, so I put my trusty Magic Bullet blender to work. You get dressing in 30 seconds or less, no chopping involved. Well, that's a lie. I cut the green onion into a few smaller pieces, just to speed up the process. The way I made it, I ended up with probably a full cup (8 ounces) or more of dressing, which will last me an entire week, typically. 

What results is this: 

Not sure why, but I think my version looks a whole lot better than the picture in KetoDiet Blog's recipe post.  Maybe because I added less lemon juice and blended the bejesus out of it. Regardless, the flavor is perfect, and so absolutely versatile that I can make whatever dressing I want, with very few carbs, ZERO sugar, and full flavor. 

All in all, I'd say this recipe is a must-try, even if you're not keto-ing, but you just want something that hasn't been processed or corn-syrup-ed to death. I promise you that making your own dressing is not expensive, it is not difficult, it is not time-consuming, and the more you make and consume your own creations, the more you will notice how not-good, and even disgusting mass-produced salad dressings can be. 

So, check out KetoDiet Blog's Fat-Burning Dressing, here, give it a whirl, if you're in the market for a new dressing, and let me know what you think. 

Rock on!