Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

I love sweet potato fries. Especially when they are paired with a good dip and are actually crispy. I’ve had trouble making my sweet potato fries crispy in the past, though. Until I found this method, that is!

It’s really simple, but a couple extra steps and it makes all the difference!

You’ll need:

1 large sweet potato

2 TBL olive oil

2 TBL cornstarch

Oil for frying

Sea salt to taste


That’s it, so let’s get started!

Peel your sweet potato and cut into 1/2 fries.


Then put 2 TBL cornstarch in a large bag along with the fries and shake, shake, shake till the fries are coated in the cornstarch.

Next, put 2 TBL of olive oil in a bowl or on a cookie sheet and coat the fries in the oil as well.

Preheat deep fryer or bring a large heavy pot of oil to 375 degrees. Once at temp, place fries in oil (carefully):

After 7 minutes, they should look kinda like this:

Quickly upon removing fries from oil, sprinkle with desired amount of sea salt and toss to coat evenly on a paper towel-lined platter.

All done! Now wasn’t that easy? These were the best, crispest sweet potato fries I’ve ever had and I hope you enjoy them as well. I served mine with french dip sammies. I’ll be making the french dips again and blogging that super easy recipe soon. They were so delcious!

Published in: on September 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm  Comments (1)  
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Amazing Ranch Dressing Recipe and Pinterest

I have a new obsession with Pinterest. If you don’t know what Pinterest is, you’re living in the dark ages and probably still have a myspace page that you update regularly. Seriously, folks, get with the program! Pinterest is a website that allows you to basically “bookmark” things you see online that you like, but you bookmark with PICTURES and a link to the website page you found it on.

It is incredibly useful to keep and organize all those websites you used to “favorite” or “bookmark” and forget about. By saving each link with a picture of what inspired you, it’s much easier to remember why you fell in love with the page/recipe/idea in the first place and I find myself actually trying recipes that might’ve otherwise been long-forgotten in my favorites folder before the age of Pinterest.

This incredible ranch dressing recipe is one such little nugget of awesomeness that I remembered to make tonight after pinning it awhile back. The original blog post that inspired me can be found here. It is beyond amazing and reminds me of the ranch dressing found at Gatti’s Pizza (which is a personal addiction of mine, I might add. I go there JUST for the ranch dressing. I wish I was kidding.)

So without further ado, here’s the ranch dressing recipe that I fell in love with tonight. I will never ever be able to buy ranch dressing again. Not even from a packet. As with most items, from-scratch is almost incomparably better. You. Must. Try. This. You will not be disappointed!

Annie’s Ranch Dressing

¾ cup mayonnaise
¾ cup sour cream
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup buttermilk
1 small bunch chives
Small handful parsley
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food
processor starting with ¼ cup of the buttermilk and blend for 10 seconds.  Check
the consistency and taste and blend in additional buttermilk as desired.  Taste
and adjust seasonings as necessary. Dressing will be thin, but tasty! Store in an airtight container in the
refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Homemade Fried Chicken…it’s not as scary as it sounds (Part Two Frying)


Now that we’ve addressed the brining aspect, I’ll show you how I bread, fry, and bake my chicken. Yep, you read it right, I fry then bake it! This alleviates a common concern for many home cooks which is whether or not they’ve cooked the chicken enough. It also serves another purpose in that the way we bake it allows for the grease to drip off and you end up with crispy NOT greasy chicken…but still with all the flavor of fried chicken! So let’s get started.

For this you’ll need one whole cut-up chicken with the bone-in (preferably already brined as in Part One), about 2 cups flour, salt and pepper, oil/shortening, and approximately 2 cups buttermilk. Just like your grandma used to do it. I’ve tried adding other seasonings in and we just didn’t like it…so maybe grandmas all over the world had it right the first time. Simple is sometimes best!

Put your buttermilk in one container (a bowl, pie tin, or shallow dish works nicely) and heavily salt and pepper it:

Do the same with your flour…lots and lots of salt and pepper and mix together with a fork or whisk in a shallow bowl or pie plate!

Next you’ll need to preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and put a metal cooling rack inside of a sheet pan. This is where you’ll put the chicken when it is done being breaded before it goes into the frying pan.

Also begin preheating your oil in a deep skillet or pan. You’ll need at least an inch or so deep of vegetable, canola, or peanut oil…or Crisco vegetable shortening, whichever you prefer. You want the oil to reach at least halfway up the sides of the chicken while frying to get an even browning effect. I usually turn my burner to a 6 or just above the medium heat setting at this point. The oil will preheat while you bread your chicken for frying.

The order you bread in is extremely important so we start with a thin flour coat. Dip one chicken piece at a time in flour mixture, turning to coat evenly.

Take the lightly floured piece of chicken and move it to the buttermilk dish, coating completely in buttermilk.

From the buttermilk, back to the flour for the final flour coating.

Once your chicken is fully coated in the 2nd layer of flour mixture, you are done with it and you may move the chicken to the cooling rack inside the sheet pan until you have repeated the process with the rest of the chicken pieces.

Next it’s into the frying pan for your little chicken. You can take one droplet of water and drop into the pan of oil to test if the oil is hot enough. If it is, the water will pop and sizzle, if not, it will just kinda sit there with no reaction. The temperature of the oil is very important and is not to be rushed. Putting fried items into oil that is not yet up to temperature will result in soggy, icky fried items. Never underestimate the power of a properly temped cooking device!

So, into the oil your chicken goes. Carefully place the chicken in. Do not throw or drop the chicken or you could end up with a nasty hot oil splash. Slowly and carefully, place your chicken in the pan of hot oil. Do NOT move the chicken once it is in the oil, you’ll lose breading if it is moved before the breading has crisped up properly.

It should look a little like this…see how the oil is bubbling up the sides of the chicken? That’s what you want to see:

Leave chicken on the first side for 5-6 minutes, then flip ONCE. Constantly flipping fried items is another big mistake many new fry cooks make. You’ll never get to golden brown and delicious if you flip more than once. So turn the chicken and fry for another 4-6 minutes or until lightly golden brown on the 2nd side.

Remember that cooling rack in the sheet pan from earlier? Now’s the time to grab that. Place the fried chicken on the cooling rack in the sheet pan and pop in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes while you finish up the other details of your dinner.


Take the chicken out of the oven and serve to a delighted audience! Check out the incredibly moist delicious chicken breast, here. See that glistening? That’s juicy wonderfulness and FLAVOR. It’s definitely worth your time to give chicken frying another chance!

Homemade Fried Chicken…it’s not as scary as it sounds! (Part One-Brining)

I know everyone likes to think that frying your own chicken at home is some incredibly daunting task only to be performed by the most amazing cooks…but it’s not. I admit it can be a litle scary wondering if you’ve cooked your chicken thoroughly by the time the crust is golden brown, but if you follow a few easy steps, you too can be a master of homemade fried chicken that looks as lovely as this:

The first step for making fried chicken that is juicy and flavorful begins with the brine. A couple of hours of brining will allow your chicken to remain moist despite the extreme temperatures of frying and will allow the chicken to cook more quickly as well.

Brine Recipe:

Dry Brine Ingredients:
It should also be noted that the salt to water ratio needs to remain the same, but everything else can be added, deleted, or substituted as they are just for imparting flavor to the chiken while brining.

Combine ingredients for the brine in a large pot/bucket/ice chest. You will also need ice packs to keep the brine at a safe temperature for a couple of hours during the brining process. Place your rinsed chicken pieces (I buy whole cut-up chickens for this dinner. They should weigh around 6 lbs and have the bone-in.)

The chicken pieces will likely want to float somewhat and look something like this:

This is where you use ice packs (or another food-safe heavy item) to push the chicken pieces below the surface. It might look something like this:

Now put your brining chicken in the fridge or add ice if you haven’t used ice packs. It’s super important to keep your chicken at a safe cool temperature for the next 2 hours.

Another note, once the chicken has finished brining, dump the brine. Do NOT reuse it. And be careful to wash everything that has touched the chicken or brine very well. Raw poultry can harbor food-borne illnesses, so it’s very important to properly cleanse anything that has come in contact with it.

Many people want to know if they can skip the brining part and the official answer is yes, you can. But once you’ve had brined chicken and un-brined chicken, you’ll never want to skip this step again, it’s absolutely worth the effort.

Now on to part two-the actual frying of the chicken.

Published in: on September 6, 2011 at 2:40 pm  Comments (2)  
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He’s back, I’m back, and we’re hungry!

Most of you have noticed that it’s been a really long time since I updated here. That may’ve had something to do with Army Dude (aka my husband) taking a nice little year-long vacation to Sunny Iraq. He’s back now (yay!) and so am I…because I just don’t cook much at all while he’s away. After a year of having Dominos on speed dial, I’ve ventured back into the kitchen and thought I would share my excitement with you by getting my bahootie back to blogging!

One of the first breakfasts I made for Army Dude was some French Toast. French toast is usually pretty simple and most people know how to make one version or another. But this french toast is the kind you crave at midnight…it’s just that good.

First, gather your ingredients. You’ll need the following:

1 cup half-and-half

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons sweetened french vanilla coffee creamer (other flavors work, too, or warm honey can be substituted)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 (1/2-inch) slices of challah, brioche, or french bread, stale

4 tablespoons butter

The night before, whisk together the first 5 ingredients to make your custard.

Put custard in the fridge and set bread slices out on cooling racks to dry up overnight (4-8 hours).

The next morning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pour custard into a shallow dish (a pie pan works nicely). Prep a large cookie sheet/jelly roll pan by putting an oven-safe cooling rack inside of it.

Dip the bread slices, one at a time, in the custard mixture and let soak for 30 seconds on each side.

Once soaked on both sides, remove the slices from the custard and place on the cooling rack in the cookie sheet pan to allow excess to drip off. Let sit for 1-2 minutes.

Butter a large skillet or griddle on medium-high heat. Place bread slices in skillet and cook until lightly golden brown, flipping only once. This should take about 2-3 minutes per side. Once browned, put the toast back onto the cooling rack inside the sheet pan and pop into the oven for 5-7 minutes.

Serve immediately or turn off the heat in the oven and let them stay warm while you finish the rest of breakfast. Serve with butter, maple or fruit syrup, and powdered sugar. Yum!


Published in: on September 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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