Kandy Kakes ~ TastyKake Copy Caturday

Kandy Kakes

Somewhere along the line, someone in Instagram-land decided to make Saturday into Caturday 😹 And while we love our cats, I can’t see making a post about them every single Saturday!

They pretty much do the same thing daily, judge us 😬


So I decided to do a play on that and do “CopyCaturday”. Every Saturday I’m going to find a copycat recipe and make it! See which we find closest, or most improved from the original! We don’t eat much fast food, but we do think there are some good possibilities out there for a good home cooked version.


Growing up, one of my favorite snacks was a Kandy Kake made by TastyKake. Copycat Kandy Kake RecipeSo this week, we decided to try our hand at them!


Let me start off by saying I know our chocolate work needs work! We have watched enough baking shows to know that tempering chocolate is key! 

We just haven’t ventured that far yet!

SO… 

The cake baked very well, tho I have to say I would have baked it just a little less! It got very dense with all the refrigeration, so maybe that would be the solve there?

We let the cake cool completely, just because we thought the peanut butter would melt if it was even a little warm! The recipe didn’t state how the cake should be cooled, in the pan or out, so we popped it out. Way less cooling time, but a little harder to spread everything on. 

  Kandy Kakes ~ TastyKake Copy Caturday

That part went very well! The peanut butter went on smoothly, and relatively evenly. Going over it more than a time or two pulls the cake with it! 

Kandy Kakes, here we come!!!????


Nope, let’s get to the ridiculously messy part…  

Kandy Kakes ~ TastyKake Copy Caturday

I thought it would be a lot easier to encase the cake in chocolate if I cut it into pieces.  The recipe does NOT call for that to happen, in fact you should just keep it whole!!

My brain needed these cakes fully covered in chocolate, because that is how they are actually made by the manufacturer. 

But….

Kandy Kakes ~ TastyKake Copy Caturday

I couldn’t dip them in the chocolate because it was simply too thick! I tried to pour the chocolate over the cake, and that was a fail! The pic is the pour over version! 

So I just stuck them all back together and put another layer of chocolate over them! 

Kandy Kakes ~ TastyKake Copy Caturday

And cut them back apart! 

Kandy Kakes…??

↘↘Nailed It!↙↙

Kandy Kakes ~ TastyKake Copy Caturday

But in reality ~ A very very very far cry from this ↙

Kandy Kakes ~ TastyKake Copy Caturday


Kandy Kakes

Print

TastyKake Kandy Kakes (Copycat)

Course Dessert
Keyword CopyCat, Kandy Kake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Cooling 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 20 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups peanut butter
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp shortening

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Grease and flour a 10x15 baking dish.
  • In medium bowl, combine eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Beat with mixer until creamy.
  • Sift together flour and baking powder and add to bowl gradually, keeping mixer on low speed.
  • In a small saucepan, heat milk and 2 tablespoons butter, until it begins to bubble.
  • Fold milk/butter mixture into cake batter until combined
  • Pour batter into the prepared baking dish.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool to room temperature before spreading peanut butter evenly over the entire cake.
  • Refrigerate to set. Should be set in an hour.
  • Melt chocolate and shortening in a double boiler until smooth. Spread melted chocolate evenly over the peanut butter layer.
  • Allow chocolate to harden and set before cutting and serving.

Was it a Complete Copycat?

The tastes were there, mostly. It was obviously a more fresh version, which is a disappointment, but understandable.


Will we make it again?

Nope, Nope and once again, Nope! They were pretty much an utter disaster for us! And we made the concious decision to just leave it to TastyKake!


Caturday Recipes Aplenty!

There is a site called Top Secret Recipes that has a ton of available fast food and restaurant copycat recipes. It is not a free site! You can buy recipes in different ways, individually or buy one of the books, there is also a membership that you get 8 free recipes a month, you get the picture! Click on the chef below to check it out!

Caturday

Another great resource is Copykat.com . Here you will find TONS of FREE recipes!! She also has a few books available on Amazon! Either way, it’s a win! 😋
       

 

 

 

 

 


Chicken Lettuce Wraps ~ P.F. Chang’s CopyCaturday

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Somewhere along the line, someone in Instagram-land decided to make Saturday into Caturday 😹 And while we love our cats, I can’t see making a post about them every single Saturday!

They pretty much do the same thing daily, judge us 😬


So I decided to do a play on that and do “CopyCaturday”. Every Saturday I’m going to find a copycat recipe and make it! See which we find closest, or most improved from the original! We don’t eat much fast food, but we do think there are some good possibilities out there for a good home-cooked version.


This week we decided on P.F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps! For one reason, Zach suggested it when I asked 🙂

I haven’t had Chicken Lettuce Wraps at P.F. Chang’s before, so I was relying on him to give me the review of this recipe!

I found a few I liked, and kind of merged them based on what Zach said was and wasn’t in the actual restaurant version! 

Here is what I came up with!

First, my ingredients …

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I loved this recipe since the only things I had to buy were the lettuce and the ground chicken! We had used some water chestnuts out of a can a few weeks ago and I froze the other half (they were still pretty crunchy for having been frozen!!), so those were used in this recipe. We always have green onions frozen as well (now I have to say if you are looking for a crunch in your green onions, freezing them is not the way to go!)

First things First

I always make my sauces first so that they have a chance to really meld together! 

This is a pretty standard sauce for me! I am a very big fan of Asian food! The soy sauce is from an Asian Market because I love the flavors of the sauces I find there! Lots less salt, lots more flavor! 

Lots of choppy choppy!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Onions, ginger, garlic …

The ginger was a gift from one of the Harvest Hosts we stayed at! We put that in a ziploc and froze it! Then when we need it, we simply take it out and grate what we need! 


I’m going to pause here to say how much I love that white prep bowl!! I was looking for something to measure out multiple spices into and happened upon these! And I just love them! The clear ones are also from Walmart, but I prefer the white ones! It’s a 6oz bowl, so just large enough to hold my spice mixes when cooking! I prep everything ahead of cooking so I’m ready! Pretty sure I need more of them 😃 At $1.25 each, that’s a steal for the convenience they bring!


Chicken Lettuce Wraps + White Rice 😋

It’s at this point that Zach starts the white rice in the InstantPot! It’s the easiest way to make rice! If you haven’t tried that yet, check out my post (Can We Revisit The InstantPot?) on the basics of cooking rice (and potatoes) in the InstantPot! 


So all the prep work was done, and all I had to do was cook! 

                                                                              ☺        Chicken Lettuce Wraps  Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Sauté the onions, garlic, and ginger, add the meat … cook! Done! Finally!

Now it’s at this time I realize that getting Iceberg Lettuce was NOT the way to go! The leaves literally ripped apart as I was trying to VERY CAREFULLY peel them away! It was not pretty! But I made it work because there were no other options on board! 

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Despite the iceberg lettuce debacle, they were delicious! Messy, but delicious 😋

P.F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Print

P.F. Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves mince
  • 1 tbsp ginger freshly grated
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/2 can water chestnuts drained, thinly sliced
  • 2 green onions sliced thin
  • 1 lettuce large, sturdy leaves. washed
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk the hoisin sauce, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil until well blended
  • In a large skillet, over med-high heat, heat olive oil. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in ginger and garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add ground chicken and cook until just done, about 5 minutes. Break up the meat as it cooks.
  • Pour in the sauce and cook for an additional 2 minutes, until the sauce reduces slightly and the chicken has finished cooking completely.
  • Remove from heat and add in water chestnuts and green onions.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper
  • Build wraps by placing lettuce leaf on a plate. Add a scoop of white rice in the center, then top with the chicken mixture. Repeat with remaining lettuce leaves.

Notes

Prepare white rice along with this recipe  🙂 


Was it a Complete Copycat?

Zach said YES! It was!  😊😊😊 


Will we make it again?

Yes, Yes we will!! Of course, we usually have the ingredients on hand at all times! I would definitely go with fresh green onions just because I think the crunch would be an added bonus! Also, more sturdy lettuce 😂! It was a challenge to eat just by picking it up, and not much easier with a fork! So those would be our changes! But the flavors were amazing! 


CopyCaturday Recipes Aplenty!

There is a site called Top Secret Recipes that has a ton of available fast food and restaurant copycat recipes. It is not a free site! You can buy recipes in different ways, individually or buy one of the books, there is also a membership that you get 8 free recipes a month, you get the picture! Click on the chef below to check it out!

Caturday

Another great resource is Copycat.com . Here you will find TONS of FREE recipes!! She also has a few books available on Amazon! Either way, it’s a win! 😋
          


Crunchwrap Supreme ~Taco Bell CopyCaturday

Crunchwrap Supreme

Somewhere along the line, someone in Instagram-land decided to make Saturday into Caturday 😹 And while we love our cats, I can’t see making a post about them every single Saturday!

They pretty much do the same thing daily, judge us 😬


CopyCaturday 😺

So I decided to do a play on that and do “CopyCaturday”. Every Saturday I’m going to find a copycat recipe and make it! See which we find closest, or most improved from the original! We don’t eat much fast food, but we do think there are some good possibilities out there for a good home cooked version.


This week we decided to try Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap Supreme! It’s the only thing Zach says he will eat at Taco Bell (we never go to fast food places, so I have no reason to doubt that info 😆) 

Crunchwrap Supreme

Print

Taco Bell's Crunchwrap Supreme

Copycat recipe of Taco Bell's Crunchwrap Supreme
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword CopyCat, Crunchwrap
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 29 minutes
Servings 6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 small onion, yellow chopped
  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic minced
  • 8 ounces queso cheese dip warmed
  • 6 flour tortillas large, burrito size
  • 6 tostada shells
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups lettuce shredded
  • 1 tomato diced
  • 1 cup mexican cheese bllend shredded
  • cooking spray or olive oil

Instructions

  • In a large, heated skillet, cook ground beef and onion until beef is cooked through. Drain grease. Stir in taco seasoning, water and minced garlic. Continue to cook until it starts to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes.
  • Warm the queso cheese dip in small pan on stovetop just until creamy.
    Warm tortillas in oven preheated to 200°.
  • Lay one tortilla on a flat surface. Spread about 1/2 cup of taco meat onto the center of the tortilla. Add a few tablespoons of the warmed queso dip on top of the meat. Top meat and cheese with one tostada shell. Spread a thin layer of sour cream on top of the tostada. Top with lettuce, tomato and cheese.
  • Cut a small piece of tortilla to cover layered taco. Fold the bottom tortilla over the center, folding the edge over the center as you go around.
  • Repeat process with remaining tortillas and fillings. There will be a total of 6 crunchwraps.
  • Spray a large, non-stick pan with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat. Place one crunchwrap, seam side down, into skillet. Cook for 2 minutes or until golden-brown. Flip over and repeat on other side.
  • Serve with sour cream, queso or any additional toppings.

We made this together. I was in charge of getting it to the pan-frying the assembled crunchwrap stage and Zach did the frying 🙂 


Prepping was easy 🙂

The prepping and cooking parts of this recipe were identical to making a regular taco!  I had some taco seasoning that I had made (quite a while ago)  so I used that up in this recipe. 

Just like the recipe says, brown the meat and onions, place it on the tortillas (again, we were using up what we bought last week, instead of the pack we had purchased this morning!) 

Oops!

It’s at this point we realize those tortillas were not nearly large enough to fold over the middle! They weren’t even large enough to fold over the sides.  Fortunately we had purchased large tortillas! So we took the meat and cheese off the smaller tortillas and transferred it to the larger ones! 

So when buying tortillas for this recipe, check the size against some tostada shells! 

I warmed up the queso on the stove, and then spooned it over the warm beef mixture. And it pretty much disappeared! I know that Taco Bell uses Nacho Cheese Dip, but we wanted the queso dip instead, so maybe next time ~ nacho cheese!

🌮Layers, Layers, Layers🌮


Tostada Shell & Sour Cream

Lettuce & Tomato topping

CHEESE!

Zach took the smaller tortillas and cut them for our center pieces for the top ~ so no waste!


Crunchwrap Supreme Perfection!

Zach did a great job pan frying these things! The top folded tortilla just wanted to unfold! Pretty sure that there was some opening and then re-closing of them! I tried to “glue” it together with queso, but it was a no on that! 


Crunchwrap Supreme 😋

Finished product!  It was pretty good! I felt as if that taco seasoning I made quite some time ago may have lost some flavor! So next time I’m going to make it fresh! I could have added a lot more tomato, since it seemed to be lost in the mix! 

Crunchwrap Supreme

Zach suggested Pico de Gallo instead of the tomatoes, and while that isn’t the way Taco Bell does it, it sure can be the way Nancy & Zach do it! I make some pretty good pico 😁

CopyCat Crunchwrap Supreme ? 

Was it a complete copycat? No 🙁 

Mainly because of the taco seasoning! I did not use a copycat of Taco Bell’s seasoning (or buy it already made in the store). So the taste was a bit different! Of course, the rest was spot on! The building of the crunchwrap was just as remembered, and the crunch was perfect! 

Will we make it again? Yes!

Definitely a WIN recipe! Just a tweak on my own seasoning 😂


So what’s the plan for next Saturday? I have no idea just yet! 


Caturday Recipes Aplenty!

There is a site called Top Secret Recipes that has a ton of available fast food and restaurant copycat recipes. It is not a free site! You can buy recipes in different ways, individually or buy one of the books, there is also a membership that you get 8 free recipes a month, you get the picture! Click on the chef below to check it out!

Caturday

Another great resource is Copycat.com . Here you will find TONS of FREE recipes!! She also has a few books available on Amazon! Either way, it’s a win! 😋
          


Copy Caturday ~ Popeyes Mashed Potatoes

Popeyes Mashed PotatoesPopeyes Mashed Potatoes

Somewhere along the line, someone in Instagram-land decided to make Saturday into Caturday 😹 And while we love our cats, I can’t see making a post about them every single Saturday!

Popeyes Mashed Potatoes

They pretty much do the same thing daily, judge us 😬


Caturday Revamped

So I decided to do a play on that and do “CopyCaturday”. Every Saturday I’m going to find a copycat recipe and make it! See which we find closest, or most improved from the original! We don’t eat much fast food, but we do think there are some good possibilities out there for a good home cooked version.

Popeyes Mashed Potatoes

This week I made Popeye’s Mashed Potatoes! When I lived in St Augustine, I didn’t have easy access to Popeye’s, so I had never tried anything there. When I moved to Jacksonville, there was one right around the corner from my apartment! I don’t eat much fast food, but I do enjoy really good mashed potatoes, so one day I decided to stop and try some fried chicken and mashed potatoes. 

I ALWAYS eat my mashed potatoes first, regardless of who made them! So imagine my surprise when I started eating what I thought was regular mashed potatoes with gravy (you know, like KFC), only to have some fire in my mouth! They are SPICY! In a very good way! At first I didn’t want to like them, I am super picky about my mashed potatoes, so I just wouldn’t allow it 😂 But I really do like them !!

Popeyes Mashed Potatoes

Since Zach and I never get fast food, and he never tried Popeye’s Mashed Potatoes, I decided to give these a try! I searched around for a recipe and found a lot of different versions. How did I pick one? I made the one that I had all the ingredients for! Simple 🙂 

Print

Copy Caturday - Popeye's Mashed Potatoes

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 8 Garlic Cloves
  • 4 teaspoons Sea Salt divided
  • ½ Teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Creole Seasoning
  • ¾ Cup Whole Milk warmed
  • ½ Cup Butter unsalted, melted

Instructions

  • Cut the peeled potatoes into cubes and add to cold water, enough to cover with water, plus about 2" above. Add 2 teaspoons of the salt and the garlic cloves and bring to a boil. Cook for about 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
  • Drain then return to pot.
  • Heat pot over low heat. Add the remaining salt, pepper, Creole Seasoning, heated milk and melted butter.
  • Mash until creamy.

Notes

When it comes to baking products my go to Company is
King Arthur Baking
 

When you don’t have Chicken Gizzards!

I know that Popeye’s has a fantastic gravy that goes on top, and while searching for a “copycat” of their recipe, I was met with ingredients I didn’t have on hand (chicken gizzards to name just one!) so I used a generic Cajun gravy!

Print

Cajun Gravy

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth or stock
  • ½ teaspoon cajun seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt to taste

Instructions

  • In a saute pan or saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.
  • Add flour and whisk to make a paste (continue whisking until no lumps remain). Cook for one minute.
  • Slowly add broth to pan, whisking continuously. Add Cajun seasoning and pepper, whisking to incorporate. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until desired thickness is achieved, while whisking continuously.
  • Remove pan from heat and add hot sauce, stirring to incorporate. Taste test and add more hot sauce to taste. Last, add salt as needed and stir to incorporate (season to taste).

Popeyes Mashed Potatoes Recipe Review

So how was it ?

First, I used my Instant Pot to make my potatoes! I just find it less messy (I have a pot boil over issue!). I doubt that altered the flavor, since I only added garlic and salt to the water? But next time, more garlic!

I’m not sold on it being a copycat of Popeye’s ~ it’s been a minute since I had some! I guess I need to pick up a container the next time I see Popeye’s to compare! But I’m sure it isn’t an exact match. Maybe the lack of chicken gizzards? I’m willing to try again for the copycat version!

But as for the recipes in this post, I was impressed more with the gravy than the mashed potatoes. I haven’t had Popeye’s without the gravy (guess I’m getting 2 containers!)! But the mashed potatoes were very similar to my own, and I just use salt, pepper, milk and butter. So maybe an increase in the seasoning would have helped!?

The gravy tho… I would have added just a TAD more spice, but not much!! It was smooth and silky, and the flavor was definitely there! We just like things a bit spicy 🌶 

And we had leftover gravy to use the next day on open-faced roast beef sandwiches! I always have roast beef on hand, that I cook myself and then Zach slices for sandwiches! And this gravy elevated that already flavorful roast beef!

Double Win on the Cajun Gravy!

Popeyes Mashed Potatoes

I’m currently waiting on suggestions from Zach for next week, but I heard talk of Taco Bell Crunchwraps! I’m in! 😋


Caturday Recipes Aplenty!

There is a site called Top Secret Recipes that has a ton of available fast food and restaurant copycat recipes. It is not a free site! You can buy recipes in different ways, individually or buy one of the books, there is also a membership that you get 8 free recipes a month, you get the picture! Click on the chef below to check it out!

Caturday

Another great resource is Copycat.com . Here you will find TONS of FREE recipes!! She also has a few books available on Amazon! Either way, it’s a win! 😋
          


Affiliate Disclaimer

Can We Revisit the Instant Pot?!

Revisit the Instant Pot?!

Why yes,  let’s revisit the Instant Pot!

I’ve learned to appreciate it so much! Well, for a few things anyway! Apparently there is a vast world of Instant Pot recipes, and for that reason, I’ll continue using it!

Let’s talk about my favorite food item in the Instant Pot! Or at least the ones I have tried!

POTATOES!

I absolutely LOVE potatoes! But honestly, the prospect of making mashed potatoes on the stove top is daunting! Especially with my heat intensity issues on the current stove!

So the first thing I love is how easy it is to set up! Seriously!

Peel. Cut. Drop in Pot. Cover with Water. Go.

Ok, so let’s go a bit more step by step!

Cut potatoes in equal sized rounds and toss them in the pot! There is no specific amount, I just cut enough to cover the bottom, but not overlap too much!

Cover with water and add Salt and Pepper to Taste!

Set your lid, close the vent and cook on manual pressure for 8 minutes! I always turn the Keep Warm button off!

Once the timer goes off, do a quick release !

Drain your potatoes! Add in whatever you normally use in your mashed potatoes! I use butter, milk and S&P! Or add in sour cream!

Then just mash away!

Delicious! Every time! And I don’t have to worry about a pot boiling over on the stove! Obviously a very important thing, since I mentioned it earlier!

Revisit the instant pot
Finished Product

Making mashed potatoes in the instant pot significantly cuts down on the mess I have to clean up afterward with boil overs! This will be a continued theme throughout this post! Obviously boil overs drive me nuts!


Baked Potatoes…😋

I love me some baked potatoes! But honestly, it’s not something I think of immediately, usually not until it is entirely too late to go baking them in the oven! And since we don’t have a microwave, there wasn’t another option!

Before NOW!

I love how simple it is!

First ~ Put the steamer basket in the pot!

Second ~ Put a few washed and poked potatoes on the basket.  I use about 4 or 5, depending on size. I always go for uniform size so that they cook evenly! Uniform(ish) 😆 No 2 potatoes are the same!

Anyway, 4-5 potatoes, kinda close in size. Don’t forget to poke some holes in the potatoes.

Last ~ Lid on. Vent closed. Pressure cook on high as follows:

Small ~ 5 oz ~ 12 minutes
Medium ~ 6-7 oz ~ 14 minutes
Large ~ 8 oz ~ 16 minutes
Extra Large ~ 10-14 oz ~ 18-20 minutes

At the end of the cooking time, allow the Instant Pot to do a natural release. Open the lid and pop those babies out with some tongs!

Then, of course, top with your favorites!

Clearly faster than the oven!


I have made Hard Boiled Eggs as well!

Again, not much different in the timing as compared with stove top, but definitely worth not having to watch for pot boil over 😆

Besides, they are super easy to peel! I love that aspect! I hate when I have to pick at an egg 🙄 Mostly because I have very little patience in the kitchen 😐 work in progress, obviously 😑

 

Perfect Egg 😍

Yolk just the way I like it!

Eggs, Eggs, Eggs….

First, put the steamer basket in the Pot.  Second, Place the eggs on top. I made 6 eggs because that’s how many fit in without being crowded!

I have a 6 qt Instant Pot and the minimum amount of water is 1.5 Cups, so that’s how much I put in.

Finally ~ Set your lid, close the vent, and Manual Cook on low for (3 minutes for soft boiled, 4 minutes for medium boiled, 5 minutes for hard boiled). Turn Keep Warm Off!

Allow to do a Natural Release.

That’s it! Once the pressure is released, pop open the lid and have some delicious eggs!

Obviously an easy alternative to the stove! In fact, it’s the only way I will cook them now!


And White Rice was a definite try!

Again, super easy. Same rules apply here as with stove top.  Two cups of water to one cup of rice. I’m sure you can adjust the water ratio to your liking, we like our rice a little sticky and this ratio works perfectly! So adjust accordingly 🙂 Clearly sticking to your instant pots minimum amount!

 

High Pressure Cook for 4 minutes, and do a Natural Release!


Will I continue to Revisit the Instant Pot?

Heck yes!

I’ve really just done these few things successfully! Tried other things, such as frozen chicken when we forgot to take something out for dinner that morning, but it was meh 😐!

Of course, I wish I had gotten one a long time ago! At this point, it has made my starch making so much easier, and best of all, cleaner!

Next thing for me to try is proteins ! Let’s see what kind of recipes I can find for that! Soon!

Time to experiment! Along with my Personal Taste Tester, Zach 😁

Thanksgiving Dinner, Just A Day Late!

We hope You and Your Family had a Wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sometimes plans change on the road.  I had planned Thanksgiving Dinner for Zach and myself, along with one friend.  Plans changed for that friend, so it was just going to be the two of us.

I was just a bit off on the plan.  I didn’t think Thanksgiving was on the 24th, for whatever reason, since there isn’t a 31st in November.  But I realized this on the 22nd.  Oops. No turkey, no dried bread for stuffing, pretty much only had potatoes and some veggies.  


Shopping for Thanksgiving, a few times

Off to the store we went. Stopped at Aldi and lucked out on one fresh turkey being available that wasn’t $44!!  Cause there were 2 available, but I wasn’t paying $44 for a 10-lb turkey.  So $19.04 for an 11-lb sounded reasonable (but really not, my frugal brain was reeling from this purchase!!!).  But we got it, and went home to be thankful we had a turkey! 

And I realized I forgot anything that might be worthy for use as stuffing.  I figured I’d just bake some bread.

Well, then comes the 23rd.  And I realize in our downsizing spree, that we have gotten rid of anything that might have housed this 11-lb gem of a turkey to cook it!  Off to the store Zach went


Baking, Cooking, Improvising

Now comes the “I forgot the stuffing parts bread baking” moment.  I found a great recipe, followed it to a T!  Didn’t have a dutch oven, so opted for the rolls instead.  Didn’t matter, I was cutting it into cubes for the stuffing anyway.  So I get all the way to the final rise.  30 minutes, then in the oven.  15 minutes in, our hosts stopped over to say Hi! 

Never a problem, but I didn’t want to crank the oven up to 375°F while there were 4 of us in the bus!!  Well, the rolls rose perfectly, and they should have been popped in the oven then. They weren’t, so they collapsed. Maybe they rose a little more before I got them in the oven, but I’m not sure.   Oops .

But I went with it, because again, I was using it for stuffing.   And it came out not so terrible. Slightly dense, which I’m sure is the over-proofing. 

Here’s the recipe 🙂   It has seriously deep flavors, just savory enough for stuffing!!  I was pretty excited!!

[mv_create key=”2″ thumbnail=”https://rightatthelight.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/IMG_20221124_135955_HDR2-1.jpg” title=”Thanksgiving Stuffing Bread” type=”recipe”]

I was set, for stuffing anyway!  All I needed to do was dry it. So I put it on my oven-sized baking sheet and set the oven to 200°F and forgot about it for a while.  It was getting chilly in the bus, so it served two purposes to turn the oven on


A Change in Plans

But then our current hosts invited us over for Thanksgiving Dinner with them and their family.  So we bumped our meal a day, because why not?  After all the craziness of getting what we needed, I was ok with a day break! 


Black Friday Thanksgiving Dinner

So our dinner consisted of the usual, Turkey, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, and the rest… minus the Green Bean Casserole.  Cause that’s not on our list of favs anyway (sorry, just can’t) .

The Sides

So maybe not traditional mashed potatoes, but they once were 🙂  I made them for dinner 2 nights ago!  This is listed as an appetizer, but I planned on using it as a side!

[mv_create key=”1″ title=”Loaded Mashed Potato Balls” type=”recipe”]

I sooooo struggled with making this dish.  First, I work on a gas range, which I’m not totally used to yet.  And it has problems.   The temps are WAY off.  I could have it set at low and the flame is like it is set on high.  So A LOT of improvising goes into my cooking. 

But these potato balls were not having it the first go round.  I used a stainless steel pan and olive oil.  And it was a MESS!   User error, I guarantee, but a mess all the same. 

I had a moment of sheer frustration.. and then revamped the methods.  Used a teflon pan, with butter, flattened the balls into more like a pancake and they were golden!   A few minutes on each side and they were done!  Perfect side for our turkey!

The Turkey…

Our Turkey and gravy, well … pretty traditional.  The stuffing was a bit nontraditional in a few ways.  First, I rarely bake my own bread for stuffing.  I buy it either from the bakery department or get a bag of pre-seasoned cubes from Pepperidge Farms 🙂  .  Second, I cannot find chestnuts, and I always put that in my stuffing.  So, none in it this year since I just couldn’t find any.  So sad

[mv_create key=”3″ title=”Easy Turkey and Gravy” type=”recipe”]

I followed this recipe closely and it made a very nice, moist turkey! It was just Zach and myself, so we have a lot of leftovers!  I’m hoping to find some unique recipes to try with them!!


Dessert … Finally!!!

Zach wanted Cheesecake.  That was the only thing he requested, so I was happy to find a cheesecake recipe to try 🙂   I love cheesecake also, so it wasn’t hard to convince me that it needed to be dessert.   So here is what I tried ! 

[mv_create key=”4″ title=”Apple Crisp Cheesecake” type=”recipe”]

Now, let’s talk about my experience with this recipe. 

First, I didn’t read the instructions, just the ingredient list. I’ve made a billion cheesecakes, so didn’t even think about it.   Turns out, I don’t own a 6″ springform pan   I own a 9″ and didn’t think this recipe would translate well in that pan. 

Well, I bake cakes at events, and usually bake them in single(ish) serve pans from Walmart. 

At that time, I wanted bulk so I ordered some from Amazon.  And they were TEEEEEENY!!!! Too tiny for the cakes I was making back then!!

 

So, I used them here.   Making them individual cheesecake cupcakes, sort of.   I had to improvise on everything but the actual recipe.  I made it just as it stated.  I layered in the tiny pans just like I would have in the springform.

It was the bake time I had no clue on.  Cheesecake is such an exact timing thing.  So I searched online for some answers and came up with 22 minutes.  But all of those recipes had me pull them right after the bake time, instead of resting for the hour in the cooling oven.  So I took my chances and left them in.  Good move.   

I followed the rest of the timing on this recipe above, and it was perfect.  Cooling times were spot on.  And I have to say they were absolutely delicious. 

 

Here are my final thoughts on the ebook 🙂

 

These recipes were easy to follow, good home cooking dishes. They were a hit at my Dinner table. The ingredients were simple, yet delicious. I was able to make the dishes I prepared with ingredients I already had in my home! I’m adding these recipes to my collection of tried and true, and to my definitely try lists !!

Go check the book out for yourself! 

HERE


So that’s it!  Our First Thanksgiving together, the First Thanksgiving in the bus on the road!  Was it a success?  We ate, we were full, we have leftovers…..I say yes!!!

Our New Instant Pot ~ And Our Failures!

When it comes to living in a bus, the one thing you need to do is downsize. And after you are done with that, you need to downsize some more. We had a rice cooker, and a crockpot, and an air fryer, and while we used the rice cooker a lot, the crockpot was too big to make meals for 2 and the air fryer rarely made its way out of storage.   So we thought if we got an instant pot, we could essentially downsize from 2-3 appliances to just one.  

We ended up finding a GREAT deal at Walmart for a 6-qt Instant Pot Duo. We tried to find a 3-qt but had very little luck and when we did, they cost as much as the larger ones.  So as long as it FIT under the floor to store it, we have a nice freezer to put leftovers in 🙂 I purchased this one because it had the features I wanted, and it was $50* with Free Shipping.  Black Friday pricing to my door?  I’m in!! 

So, the first night we tried it (after doing the recommended water test), we found a recipe for using frozen chicken breast, uncooked rice and vegetables. We had the frozen chicken breast and uncooked rice, but we used frozen vegetables instead of fresh.  Followed the instructions for cooking and away we went.  To Mushy Rice Boulevard.  The chicken was cooked great, the vegetables weren’t terrible. There were these pockets of herb bombs that came with some of the vegetables. But a fail

Pretty sure it was the extra water in the frozen vegetables that caused the excessive mushiness.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it.

Fast forward to the next night and I decide to make us Sesame Chicken. Halfway through cooking it and I remember our disastrous dinner from the previous night included the last of our white rice. So, Zach offered to go to the one store in town, Dollar General. Where they had no white rice.  No brown rice.  Just Knorr side dishes, and instantly ready in 90 seconds in the microwave rice. All fine, but… I’m looking to use it with Sesame Chicken :/  So I just tell him to get whatever might go with the meal being made and continue cooking.  

He ended up with a Knorr Side dish, herbs and butter, or something like that. Best option. 

We really had no clue how to make it in the instant pot, and maybe should have just stove topped it, but we had a new toy, so into the instant pot it went. Like we were making straight up white rice. 

It was mushy

I’m sure this time it was the fact that the rice was pre-cooked in some fashion for quick cooking at home?!  Maybe? 

((Funny thing is, the next morning… I realized we DO have rice.  We have a bag of Sushi Rice.  Not sure how that cooks up ))

So it gets better.  Zach LOVES BACON.   It’s almost a daily in this house.   Normally cooked on the stove in cast iron.  Zach decides he’s going to look up how to cook bacon in the Instant Pot.   Something about opening and closing it a billion times with 2-3 minute intervals of flipping bacon.   And it was a fail. A finish it in the cast iron skillet kind of fail

I am trying hard boiled eggs in this thing today.  So many people rave about this one thing.  Hard boiled eggs, easy in the instant pot.  For us too???   I’m not into “new” so it may be my unwillingness to give up the pots and pans, but I’m willing to try.  Hopefully eggs will win me over.  I’m very particular about my eggs

Stay tuned.  I’m determined my next post about the Instant Pot is filled with success !!

*Price as of this post is $50.  Regular price listed is $81.99.

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