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Friday, February 4, 2011

I Cloned the Colonel with Todd Wilbur's Help

Recently I found a cookbook that I got as a gift several years ago.  I never really looked at it until my daughter got a different title by the same author.  My cookbook is called The Best of Top Secret Recipes from the Files of Todd Wilbur.  


After looking through it again there were quite a few recipes that I wanted to try.  Since I just got a deep fryer (Hamilton Beach – more about that later) I wanted to try something in it that would be good and interesting.  I had a whole chicken in thawed in the bottom of the fridge (that I cut apart myself, saving some cash and then cooked the back with some veggies and seasons to make some killer stock) so I thought why not fried chicken?  At first I went to my trusty computer and started to search for fried chicken recipes but all that I came across called for buttermilk of which I had none.  Then it hit me – I have a secret recipes cookbook and I think there is a recipe for KFC chicken in it!!!  So I grabbed the cookbook and sure enough there it was, and easy too!
The only time consuming part was having to brine the chicken before I cooked it, which gave me time to figure out the new deep fryer.  The Hamilton Beach 3 liter deep fryer that I ordered from Walmart (using my ebates account and got $1 back thank you very much!) has a digital timer and a temperature dial.  


But the best part about it is the whole thing comes apart to clean!  The fryer was about $50 but so far it seems like it was worth the money.  It does take a lot of oil and there really isn’t any way to store the oil unless you strain it and store it in plastic yourself, not like a Fry Daddy that has a lid.  But unlike a Fry Daddy there is a basket and not just a separate utensil to scoop out the food.
Now back to the chicken…. According to the recipe you do a double dip which builds up the coating and the flour is seasoned with what I’m guessing is Todd’s “clone” of the Colonel’s 11 herbs and spices from back in the day. 


The chicken came out juicy and crispy.  My son said its the best chicken he ever ate anywhere at any time!  Believe me that's quite a compliment.   I’m not going to give you the exact recipe but will tell you that its on page 53 of the cookbook.
And if this has whetted your appetite for more recipe clones check out Todd’s website at  www.topsecretrecipes.com  and don’t forget to check out the latest video – a 2 year old making cheesecake --too cute!
Super Bowl Sunday is coming soon so I’m planning on frying up a storm – wings, chips, pickles and yeah maybe some oreos  (you can get the oreo recipe on Todd’s webite too) or maybe snickers or cheese sticks or……

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuna Melt - The Power of Grated Onion

Tuna Melt with chips

In the spirit of saving money here is a way to make the most of your money by using the cheapest protein in the entire store – canned tuna!  With just a few ingredients you can whip up   lunch or dinner; add some chips or a can of clam chowder and it will become a filling meal.
First of all take 2 cans of tuna (either packed in water or oil) and drain them.  Add them to a large mixing bowl.  Now for the secret ingredient – grated onion.  That’s right, grate don’t chop or slice the onion.  By using a hand grater on the small side you can grate the onion right into the bowl, and be sure to get all the juice too.  After you grate the onion add some salt and pepper, chopped garlic and a little pickle relish.  To hold it all together add some mayo thinned out with a little lemon juice.  I know this recipe looks a little vague but as you add things you’ll  be able to see how much you will need.
<TIP>  To make this into a tuna melt toast your English muffin first.  Nothing worse than hot tuna on cold bread…..  Pile the tuna salad on top of the warm English muffin and top it with some sharp cheddar cheese.  Put it back in the toaster oven or under the broiler until the cheese melts. YUM!
This is just one version of tuna salad.  Come up with your own. Experiment!  Maybe throw in some dill pickles chopped up or capers or even maybe some chopped olives.   At about 75 cents a can you really can’t beat it.  Tasty, cheap and healthy! And once you use grated onion you will never chop again!

Coupon Mom- Teaching the Art of Couponing

I have to admit I’m relatively new to the coupon game.  I do get a thrill when I can get over $300 for almost half price but I don’t do it alone.  I’ve found what I consider to be one of the best if not THE best website for novice couponers.  Not only does this site offer printable coupons but also has sale lists for some of the more known stores like CVS, Rite-Aid and Target.  When you pull up these lists there is a check off spot, what is for sale, if there is a coupon and what the final cost will be.  If you check the box, you will be able to print the list and get a grand total at the bottom.
 Ingenious!  And for those of you who think it takes too much time to coupon there is a video you can watch that explains the whole process, how to coupon in about 15 -20 minutes making this effortless.  Now saving money is easy. 
So if you need to stockpile or want to learn to stockpile or if you just want to cut your spending down then check out www.couponmom.com
There are lots of benefits when you signup for the email newsletter or “like” her on Facebook page.  For a novice there is no better way to get started than by taking advice from a pro.
I do have one tip though.  If you go to some of your favorite restaurant websites and sign up they will email you offers.  Recently I got an email from Red Robin for a free towering onion rings when I buy a burger.  Not a bad deal!  Free is always good.  Another way to get “good eats” for less is to check out www.restaurant.com   They offer discounted gift certificates to restaurants in your area.  But act fast because they run out quickly, especially the more popular ones; and now on coupon mom’s  website she gives a code that will give you a $25 gift certificate for only $5!!!!  What a great way to get your Valentine’s Day dinner. 
Coupon Mom’s website is a wealth of information and now for the month of February she is offering a $500 giveaway. So sign up for the newsletter, “like” her on Facebook and get coupons, lists and gift certificates discounts – and remember its all FREE!